Learn more about HHS’s new sponsor agency, ARPA-H, at faculty webinar April 14

Vanderbilt University

Research Development and Support will offer an online seminar to explain a new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services research agency called Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), which aims to transform health care through cutting-edge research and innovation. Padma Raghavan, vice provost for research and innovation, will welcome participants to the seminar, which is open to all members of the Vanderbilt University research community, on April 14, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., on Zoom.

The webinar will outline the ARPA-H funding model and the agency’s priorities and will feature a panel discussion with a sample of faculty who have received ARPA-type funding in the past. Panelists will discuss topics such as how to conceptualize research for ARPA-H, funding differences between working with this type of agency compared to traditional agencies like the National Institutes of Health, and strategies for engagement and relationship building, which will be a key requirement for successful ARPA-H applications.

The federal government announced the formation of ARPA-H in May 2022. Full agency details are still being finalized, but it’s clear that ARPA-H will be modeled after similar agencies, including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which was responsible for the development of technologies such as GPS, the internet, dog-like robots and even Siri. Further, $1.5 billion has been appropriated to ARPA-H in the FY 2023 budget, with additional funding anticipated over the next several years to accelerate the development of breakthrough technologies and treatments for some of the most pressing health challenges of our time. ARPA-H programs will focus on high-risk, high-reward projects that have the potential to transform health care in a significant way. 

ARPA-H will prioritize the development of innovative technologies to help improve health care delivery and access, which could include technologies such as telemedicine, wearable devices and digital health platforms that can help patients and health care providers manage chronic conditions or prevent disease. One of the key features of ARPA-H will be its emphasis on collaboration among researchers and stakeholders from different fields and sectors, which is one of the ways ARPA-type agencies differ from other federal agency opportunities. This collaboration could include partnerships with industry, academia, government agencies and patient advocacy groups. By bringing together experts from different areas, ARPA-H aims to foster a culture of innovation and accelerate the translation of scientific discoveries into tangible benefits for patients. 

With ARPA-H announcing its first round of opportunities on March 15, the upcoming April 14 seminar is a great first step for potential faculty applicants who are interested in ARPA-H but may not be used to ARPA-style programs. 

Research Development and Support aids faculty members in developing proposals to be pitched to private foundations and federally funded opportunities, which makes it an ideal resource for faculty looking to pitch an idea to ARPA-H. Services include searches for new sponsors and funding opportunities, coordination and team building for proposals of any size, content development and draft review. Research Development and Support is in the Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Innovation. To learn more or to request services, email rds@vanderbilt.edu.