Helpful tips and templates for ARPA-H Funding Support
- May 1, 2023 UCSF Informational Webinar (video)
- May 1, 2023 UCSF Informational Webinar (Keith Yamamoto slide deck)
- May 1, 2023 UCSF Informational Webinar (Gretchen Kiser slide deck)
- ARPA-H April 2023 Proposer's Day Video
- ARPA-H April 2023 Open BAA
- ARPA-H Open BAA FAQs
- Renee Wegrzyn, Director of ARPA-H, February 2, 2023 at Stanford University
A new federal funding agency - the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) – was created to speed medical breakthroughs to patients who urgently need them. ARPA-H is focused on a bold mission to advance high-potential, high-impact biomedical and health research that cannot be readily accomplished through traditional research or commercial activity. ARPA-H will make big bets to build high-payoff capabilities or platforms to drive biomedical breakthroughs – ranging from molecular to societal – that will provide transformative solutions for all individuals. ARPA-H will be looking for projects that are transformational, driving biomedical breakthroughs. They will not support incremental research efforts. They seek to support "Imagine if..." projects.
In September 2022, President Joe Biden appointed longtime biologist and former government scientist Renee Wegrzyn as the first director of the nascent Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health. Wegrzyn is a biomedical scientist and an entrepreneur in synthetic biology with a decade of experience leading multiple biotech projects at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). She has professional experience working for two of the institutions that inspired the creation of ARPA-H—DARPA and Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA).
For the 2024 budget, Congress has provided an increase of $500 million to ARPA-H’s start-up budget of $1 billion. This new health innovation incubator, modeled after DARPA and ARPA-E, is working to jumpstart multi-sector-fueled, high-risk/high-reward science aimed at shattering barriers and forging progress against existing and emergent health threats. Importantly, the bill also includes authorizing language that will guide the next phase of this agency’s unique and important trajectory.
Research Areas and Priorities
ARPA-H will make big bets to build high-payoff capabilities or platforms to drive biomedical breakthroughs – ranging from molecular to societal – that will provide transformative solutions for all individuals. The focus areas below illustrate the types of work and impact that ARPA-H may pursue as it hires its first PMs.
Health Science Futures - Expanding what’s technically possible
Accelerating advances across research areas and removing limitations that stymie progress towards solutions. The tools and platforms developed apply to a broad range of diseases.
Scalable Solutions - Reaching everyone quickly
Addressing challenges that include geography, distribution, manufacturing, data and information, and economies of scale to create programs that result in impactful, timely, and equitable solutions.
Proactive Health - Keeping people from being patients
Reducing the likelihood that people become patients. Preventative programs will create new capabilities to detect and characterize disease risk and promote treatments and behaviors to anticipate threats to Americans’ health, whether those are viral, bacterial, chemical, physical, or psychological.
Resilient Systems - Building integrated healthcare systems
Developing capabilities, business models, and integrations to weather crises such as pandemics, social disruption, climate change, and economic instability. Resilient systems need to sustain themselves between crises – from the molecular to the societal – to better achieve outcomes that advance American health and wellbeing.
ARPA-H will be looking for projects that are transformational, driving biomedical breakthroughs. They will not support incremental research efforts. They seek to support "Imagine if..." projects. They will ask proposals to address the following set of questions about a well-defined problem.
ARPA-(H)eilmeier Questions - Towards a Well-Defined Problem
- What are you trying to do? What health problem are you trying to solve?
- How does this get done at present? Who does it? What are the limitations of present approaches?
- What is new about our approach? Why do we think we can be successful at this time?
- Who cares? If we succeed, what difference will it make?
- What are the risks? That may prevent you from reaching your objectives? Any risks the program itself may present?
- How long will it take?
- How much will it cost?
- What are our mid-term and final exams to check for success?
- To ensure equitable access for all people, how will cost, accessibility, and user experience be addressed?
- How might this program be misperceived or misused (and how can we prevent that from happening)?