Advanced Research and Invention Agency Bill

It is a pleasure to follow my hon. Friend Chris Green. As mentioned by my hon. Friend Alan Mak, scientific and engineering leaders—such as Stephenson who almost 200 years ago started passenger rail travel on the Darlington to Stockton railway on the Aycliffe levels in my Sedgefield constituency —stimulated changes that we could not imagine. The bicentenary of this event in my constituency is 2025 and we look forward to welcoming visitors to see the celebration. This Bill can be an inspiration for more leaders to grow up among our young people as they see that our country supports the development and motivation of great ideas.

In speaking in support of this Bill, I remind the House that we heard in the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee that the UK ARPA needs to be able to take risks. It therefore must be kept at arm’s length from existing public R&D structures to avoid culture-capture. Many of the UK’s existing research bodies seek to manage out risk, which is contrary to the terms of the UK ARPA, which must be able to tackle high-risk, high-reward projects with pace and energy.

I will further explain my support by using a real-world example from a company that has already raised with me its belief that ARIA can be a force to develop UK innovation. There is a business in my Sedgefield constituency called Kromek.

Kromek Group plc designs, develops and produces x-ray and gamma-ray imaging and radiation detection products for the medical, CBRNe security, Homeland Security and civil nuclear radiation detection markets. 

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