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2022.08.11英国新研究机构的老板解释其创新之处

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发表于 2022-8-14 20:24:59 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式

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By Invitation | Technology
The bosses of Britain’s new research agency explain its innovations
Ambition, risk and the deployment of top talent will underpin ARIA, say Ilan Gur and Matt Clifford

Aug 11th 2022

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Scientific discovery drives technological change that leads humans to flourish. The good news is that the world is training more scientists and funding more research than ever before. The bad news is that, despite this, scientific productivity seems to be slowing down.

Scientific papers abound—in recent years as many as 7m were published annually—but a shrinking fraction represent real breakthroughs. Increasingly, Nobel prizes recognise discoveries made decades ago. And in the many fields where we can objectively measure progress, such as in improving crop yields or discovering new drugs, steady advance demands exponentially more resources.


What is going on? Has the universe of knowledge grown so vast that we are doomed to accept diminishing returns from scientific research?

We don’t think so. We see an enormous opportunity to accelerate progress by unleashing the full potential of the world’s scientific talent. In leading the UK’s new Advanced Research and Invention Agency (aria) from August 15th, we will liberate the best scientific minds to work on the most important problems with the right support and resources. Of course, excellent work is already being done and funded today. But if we want to see a radical acceleration of scientific progress, we need radical institutional innovation in science.

We know that this kind of innovation can unlock extraordinary results. The Soviet Union’s successful launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957 was so shocking that it prompted America to create a new kind of r&d institution: arpa (now darpa). Its founding mission was to create technological surprises but prevent technological surprise. darpa has had extraordinary success. The internet, mrna vaccines and gps all have their origins in darpa’s research. What has made the agency work? Above all else, is empowerment of brilliant people. darpa hired a director, who in turn hired visionary and unusual programme managers (PMs). PMs were free to fund projects that often looked crazy or impractical, as the internet did in the 1960s. A tolerance for taking high risks, minimal bureaucracy, and a flat structure have been darpa’s tenets.

darpa was created as a specific solution to a specific problem. Our goal is not to clone it, but to recognise the power of its model. Technological surprises are what we need to ensure society is prepared for emergent threats, from climate change to pandemics. The need for breakthrough technology is more urgent than ever. That is why we need a new agency now.


aria is a rare opportunity to create a new kind of research agency that, like darpa, creates transformational technologies decades ahead of its time. The UK has an extraordinary density of scientific and technological talent. It is home to a disproportionate number of the world’s best universities. And its burgeoning startup sector has created over 40 “unicorns” (private companies worth more than $1bn) across sectors ranging from biotech to semiconductors.

These assets, coupled with aria’s structure and freedoms, are a remarkable foundation to build on. The British government has created an organisation that is ambitious, independent and backed by £800m in funding by 2025-26. The task now is to shape its vision and initial focus. We know we don’t have all the answers. Our goal is to collaborate with and amplify the existing science and technology ecosystem, not bypass it. We’ll kick off our work in the autumn with a series of roundtables to get input from the research community on aria’s design and plans.

While we have much to learn and decide, we know that a few principles will be at the heart of aria’s work, mission, and ethos.

First, aria will be ambitious in everything it does. We will fund nothing incremental or cosmetic. We want aria to be synonymous with bold visions and radical ideas. We want to look back decades from now and say that the technologies which stemmed from aria had at least as much impact as those born at darpa over the past 64 years. We will be proactive in sharing what we learn and allowing others to build upon it, so that aria’s impact is amplified around the world.

Second, aria will take real risks. We will seek out extraordinary projects that might otherwise fall into the cracks between existing funding options. Many of these projects will fail. Those with the greatest impact are likely to take many years to bear fruit. We will create a governance system that embraces these realities, while holding aria to the highest standards and ensuring that it is a good steward of taxpayers’ money.

Third, and above all, aria will live or die by its ability to attract, activate and amplify the success of exceptional people. As two professionals who have built careers backing talented individuals early and supporting them to achieve extraordinary things, we want this to be at the heart of everything we do. It is also the principle by which we will build our own team.

We are optimists. A future of flourishing humans with astonishing capabilities on a thriving planet is within reach. The people who have what it takes to make the breakthroughs we need are out there. aria’s job is to empower them. ■

Matt Clifford is aria’s chairman and Ilan Gur its chief executive officer. Mr Clifford is also the chief executive and co-founder of Entrepreneur First, a British firm which supports startups and their founders.



应邀参加 | 技术
英国新研究机构的老板解释其创新之处
伊兰-古尔和马特-克利福德说,雄心、风险和顶级人才的部署将支撑ARIA。

2022年8月11日



科学发现推动了技术变革,使人类得以繁荣发展。好消息是,世界正在培训更多的科学家,并为研究提供更多的资金,这是前所未有的。坏消息是,尽管如此,科学生产力似乎正在放缓。

科学论文比比皆是--近年来,每年发表的论文多达700万篇,但代表真正突破的部分却越来越少。越来越多的诺贝尔奖是对几十年前的发现的认可。而在许多我们可以客观衡量进展的领域,如提高作物产量或发现新药,稳定的进步需要成倍的资源。


到底发生了什么?难道知识的世界已经变得如此巨大,以至于我们注定要接受科学研究的收益递减?

我们并不这么认为。我们看到了一个巨大的机会,通过释放世界科学人才的全部潜力来加速进步。从8月15日起,在领导英国新的高级研究与发明机构(aria)的过程中,我们将解放最优秀的科学人才,让他们在正确的支持和资源下研究最重要的问题。当然,今天已经有出色的工作在进行并得到了资助。但是,如果我们想看到科学进步的彻底加速,我们需要在科学领域进行彻底的制度创新。

我们知道,这种创新可以释放出非凡的成果。苏联在1957年成功发射的人造卫星1号是如此令人震惊,以至于促使美国创建了一种新的研发机构:ARPA(现在的DARPA)。它的创始任务是创造技术上的惊喜,但要防止技术上的惊喜。DARPA取得了非凡的成功。互联网、mrna疫苗和gps都起源于darpa的研究。是什么使该机构成功?最重要的是对优秀人才的授权。DARPA聘请了一位主任,而主任又聘请了有远见的、不寻常的项目经理(PM)。项目经理可以自由地资助那些看起来很疯狂或不切实际的项目,就像互联网在20世纪60年代那样。对高风险的容忍,最小的官僚主义和扁平化的结构一直是darpa的宗旨。

darpa是作为一个具体问题的具体解决方案而创建的。我们的目标不是克隆它,而是认识到其模式的力量。技术上的惊喜是我们所需要的,以确保社会为从气候变化到大流行病等突发威胁做好准备。对突破性技术的需求比以往任何时候都更加迫切。这就是为什么我们现在需要一个新的机构。


aria是一个难得的机会,可以创建一个新的研究机构,像darpa一样,创造出领先时代几十年的变革性技术。英国拥有非常密集的科学和技术人才。它拥有数量众多的世界上最好的大学。其蓬勃发展的创业部门已经创造了40多个 "独角兽"(价值超过10亿美元的私人公司),涉及从生物技术到半导体的各个领域。

这些资产,再加上阿里巴巴的结构和自由,是一个了不起的基础。英国政府已经创建了一个雄心勃勃、独立的组织,并在2025-26年之前获得8亿英镑的资金支持。现在的任务是塑造其愿景和最初的重点。我们知道我们并不拥有所有的答案。我们的目标是与现有的科学和技术生态系统合作并将其放大,而不是绕过它。我们将在秋季举行一系列圆桌会议来启动我们的工作,以获得研究界对阿里亚设计和计划的意见。

虽然我们有很多东西需要学习和决定,但我们知道有几条原则将是阿里亚的工作、使命和精神的核心。

首先,"咏叹调 "将对其所做的一切充满雄心。我们不会资助任何渐进式或表面化的工作。我们希望 "咏叹调 "成为大胆设想和激进想法的代名词。我们希望在几十年后回首往事时,能说源于阿里亚的技术至少与过去64年在达尔帕诞生的技术一样具有影响力。我们将积极主动地分享我们所学到的知识,并允许其他人在此基础上再接再厉,从而使aria的影响力在全世界得到放大。

第二,Aria将承担真正的风险。我们将寻找非同寻常的项目,否则这些项目可能会落入现有资金选择的缝隙中。这些项目中有许多会失败。那些影响最大的项目可能要花很多年才能开花结果。我们将建立一个接受这些现实的管理制度,同时以最高标准要求阿里亚,并确保它是纳税人资金的良好管理者。

第三,也是最重要的一点,Aria的生死取决于其吸引、激活和放大杰出人才的成功的能力。作为两位在早期支持有才华的人并支持他们取得非凡成就的专业人士,我们希望这一点成为我们所做一切的核心。这也是我们建立自己的团队所遵循的原则。

我们是乐观主义者。在一个繁荣的星球上,拥有惊人能力的人类繁荣的未来是可以实现的。有能力实现我们所需要的突破的人就在那里。Aria的工作就是赋予他们权力。■

马特-克利福德是阿瑞雅的董事长,伊兰-古尔是其首席执行官。Clifford先生也是Entrepreneur First的首席执行官和联合创始人,这是一家支持初创企业及其创始人的英国公司。
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