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Thinking DARPA-Like

As part of its 2020 budget package, the UK is seeking to establish a research agency modeled after DARPA in the US, the Guardian reports.

DARPA, it notes, was formed as ARPA — the Advanced Research Projects Agency — during the Space Race of the Cold War to compete with the Soviet Union on a scientific front, changing its name when it shifted its focus toward defense issues. 

This proposed UK agency, currently dubbed "British ARPA," is to receive £800 million ($1 billion) to fund high-risk, high-reward research in emerging fields, BBC News adds. "We must also continue to build on our great strengths in the basic research that feeds the innovation of the future and will ensure the UK maintains its status as a global science leader," Venki Ramakrishnan, the president of the UK Royal Society, says, according to the BBC.

In addition, the budget also aims to double public investment in research and development from its current £11.4 billion level to £22 billion per year by 2024 to 2025, according to the Guardian. This, it notes, includes £400 million for infrastructure and equipment at UK universities.