If you’ve been reading TiB for any length of time, you’ll know that I believe that accelerating scientific progress is one of the most important challenges we face today. As Tyler Cowen put it this week, “Better science is one of the biggest “free lunches” standing before us
”. You’ll also know that I see the core problem as one of incentives (see, e.g., TiB 103
): how do we create the funding mechanisms and career structures to ensure that our best scientific minds work on the most important, highest impact problems? How do we make it easier for ambitious researchers to take real risk, especially early in their careers?
We’ve talked a lot about the emergence of new research funding institutions that will experiment with new answers to these questions. I’ve written most frequently
about the Advanced Research and Invention Agency
(ARIA) - a new institution for funding breakthrough research that is the UK’s take on (D)ARPA.
I believe that - if executed well - ARIA has the potential both to catalyse important breakthroughs and present a new model for how to do high-risk, high-reward science funding. Of course, it’s all too easy to sit on the sidelines and casually throw in the “if executed well” caveat as a weekend newsletter writer, so… given how important I think this mission is, I’ve decided to contribute to making that a reality.
I’m excited and honoured to be appointed today as the founding Chair of ARIA
- and I’m delighted that we have in Ilan Gur
a truly exceptional founding CEO. (As it happens, Ilan was a guest on the TiB podcast
, long before we had any idea we might end up working together)