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Driving force

The government’s plans for R&D offer some answers, not all

One person you wouldn’t ask for driving advice is the prime minister’s closest adviser, given his recent road trip-cum-eyesight test. Perhaps it should come as little surprise, then, that the long-awaited R&D ‘roadmap’ unveiled by the government last week is a little sketchy as a means of navigation.

The roadmap, billed as a long-term plan to increase the UK’s research capacity, bears Dominic Cummings’ fingerprints: there is a large mention of the new UK innovation agency, UK Arpa, which Boris Johnson has now indicated will be set up this summer. There are other familiar bold statements too—pitching R&D as a means of “powering up” a beleaguered economy and “levelling up” a regionally unequal UK.

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