We’ve known the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) would offer non-dilutive funding awards for life science R&D, but till now, the new federal agency had not opened up a funding mechanism. That just changed.

Here are the basics:

  • There’s a pre-application and then a full application.
  • There doesn’t seem to be a budget cap.
  • Foreign applicants are allowed.
  • It covers four very broad areas:
    • Health Science Futures: The Health Science Futures focus area seeks to develop the innovative tools, technologies, and platforms that can be applied to a broad range of diseases. While approaches that are disease agnostic are encouraged, proposals are welcome that bring radically new insights to address diseases that include, but are not limited to cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease, infectious diseases, and cardiovascular disease, which may serve to establish generalizable paradigms. Proposers are encouraged to address diseases that affect large populations, rare diseases, or diseases for which treatment options are limited.
    • Scalable Solutions: The Scalable Solutions focus area seeks to improve access and affordability and address health ecosystem challenges that impede effective and timely development and distribution of healthcare and disease response at a scale that reaches every citizen regardless of geography or resources. Anticipated approaches include innovations that overcome challenges in geography, 6 distribution, manufacturing, data and information, and economies of scale to ensure solutions can reach everyone quickly.
    • Proactive Health: The Proactive Health focus area aims to improve personal health and wellness to reduce the likelihood that people require medical intervention or minimize the time that they remain in acute care through accelerated recovery and regeneration capabilities. Proactive health programs will create new capabilities to identify and characterize disease risk, reduce comorbidities, and promote treatments and behaviors to address challenges to human health, whether those are viral, bacterial, physical, psychological, environmental, or caused by the natural aging process.
    • Resilient Systems: The Resilient Systems focus area aims to create capabilities, develop mechanisms, and accelerate system integrations to enhance stability in the face of disruptive events. Resilient systems need to sustain themselves between crises – from the molecular to the societal – to better achieve outcomes that advance American health resilience at the population level. From software systems to manufacturing pipelines, biophysical systems to microbiomes, and patient communities to provider networks, reliability is key to weather crises such as pandemics, social disruption, climate change, molecular disturbances, and economic instability.

Read more about the founding of ARPA-H and its inaugural director Dr. Renee Wegrzyn, or watch Dr. Wegrzyn’s persentation on ARPA-H at the 18th Non-Dilutive Funding Summit.

“With today’s announcements, ARPA-H is officially open for business,” said Dr. Wegrzyn. “Through our Agency-wide Open BAA solicitation, site selection strategy, and ARPA-H Dash competition, we have opportunities to immediately start funding, opening the door to catalyze the entire health ecosystem – this is what everyone at ARPA-H came here to do, and we’re ready for it! I am committed to ensuring that ARPA-H is a place where innovative and bold ideas are encouraged, where creativity and pathfinding are rewarded, and where talent from across industry, academia, and government can come together to pursue cures that have evaded us.”

First BAA Announcement

Broad Agency Announcement pursues innovative high-impact biomedical and health research proposals

ARPA-H opened its first Agency-wide Open BAA, seeking funding proposals for research aiming to improve health outcomes across patient populations, communities, diseases, and health conditions. The BAA calls for proposals to outline breakthrough research and technological advancements. Proposals should investigate unconventional approaches, and challenge accepted assumptions to enable leaps forward in science, technology, systems, or related capabilities. ARPA-H also encourages concepts to advance the objectives of President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot, as well as more disease-agnostic approaches.