The Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA) is the Government’s new science funding agency. Backed by £800 million out to 2025-26, ARIA will pursue the scientific and technological discoveries that have the potential to profoundly change our world for the better.
Today, I am delighted to update the House on ARIA’S leadership and confirm that I have appointed Ilan Gur as ARIA’S first CEO, and Matt Clifford MBE as ARIA’S Chair.
Ilan Gur is Founder and CEO of Activate, a non-profit organisation that empowers scientists and engineers to bring ground-breaking research to market.
Ilan Gur previously founded two science-based start-ups and served in the first cohort of Programme Directors at ARPA-E. He obtained his PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of California, Berkley. He will take post on 15 August for an initial fixed term of two years.
As ARIA’S founding CEO, Ilan Gur will play a pivotal role in setting the agency’s paradigm-shifting research agenda and establishing ARIA’s culture and organisational structure. He will be tasked with identifying, recruiting and inspiring a team of exceptional technical talent to tackle the world’s greatest challenges.
To support Ilan Gur, Matt Clifford MBE will take the helm as ARIA’s first Chair. Matt Clifford is co-founder and CEO of Entrepreneur First, an international investor in technical talent that has helped to build technological companies worth over $10 billion.
Matt Clifford is co-founder and non-executive director of Code First Girls, has served as a Council member at Innovate UK, and a Trustee of the Kennedy Memorial Trust. Before starting Entrepreneur First, Matt Clifford worked at McKinsey & Co and earned degrees from the University of Cambridge and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Matt Clifford will take post on 15 August for a fixed term of four years.
Both appointments have been made in accordance with the Governance Code on Public Appointments following a fair and open competition overseen by an Advisory Assessment Panel.
These appointments mark an important milestone in ARIA’s creation, ahead of the agency becoming fully operational later this year.