Research body championed by Dominic Cummings receives at least £800 million in budget

Dominic Cummings, senior aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA.

Dominic Cummings, senior aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA. - Credit: PA

A new science and research body championed by Dominic Cummings will receive at least £800 million from the government, the chancellor has revealed.

Rishi Sunak said the sum would go towards a 'new blues-skies funding agency' modelled on the Advanced Research Projects Agency (Arpa) in America.

Cummings has long been a supporter of the scheme, advocating for it in a number of blog posts.

In a recent post he described his recruitment strategy for government advisers, saying officials were 'hiring data scientists, project managers, policy experts, assorted weirdos'.

Blue-skies research is science that explores new ideas which do not yet have any obvious real-world applications.

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The budget said the agency 'will fund high-risk, high-reward science'.

Rishi Sunak also said investment in research and development would be increased to £22 billion per year by 2024-25.

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He revealed that over the next 10 years more than £1 billion would go to the animal health science facility at Weybridge in Surrey.

He also set out £180 million over six years for a state-of-the-art storage and research facility for the Natural History Museum at Harwell Science and Innovation Campus.

The upgrade will put the facility at the forefront of natural sciences research and international collaboration, housing and increasing access to around 40% of a world-leading biological collection.

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