How Boris’s research agency can thrive

What is the recipe for outstanding innovation? According to Kwasi Kwarteng, the new Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, we should learn it from America. When he announced last week the launch of Britain’s new Advanced Research and Inventions Agency (ARIA), he reiterated that the £800m organisation would be based upon DARPA, America’s high-risk, high-reward defence research agency. This is no surprise. Since the 1950s, DARPA has racked up an extraordinary series of breakthroughs, including the internet, GPS, drones and stealth technology. Yet when it comes to recapturing what Kwarteng calls ‘the spirit of Britain’s long and proud history of inventing’, he should look at Britain’s history