Faculty explore ARPA-H funding and proposal model for pathbreaking innovation

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Established in 2022, Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health champions high-risk, high-impact biomedical and health projects that are often overlooked by traditional funders. Vanderbilt University welcomed faculty members to an information session in Alumni Hall on Sept. 14 to discuss funding opportunities, priorities and strategies involving ARPA-H.


The event, hosted by Research Development and Support, within the Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Innovation, provided an overview of ARPA-H’s funding model and emphasized the importance of engagement and relationship building for successful applications.

Sharing their firsthand experiences with ARPA-H, Vice Provost for Research and Innovation Padma Raghavan and Bob Webster, Richard A. Schroeder Professor of Mechanical Engineering, offered insights into the ARPA model for funding of high-risk, high-innovation research.

“ARPA-H wants to advance high-impact research to drive breakthroughs in equitable, sustainable and scalable health outcomes,” Raghavan said at the event. She encouraged faculty to “think of big, transformative ideas that have the potential for driving measurable impact rapidly” when proposing a project to ARPA-H.

The ARPA model uses a funding framework that differs radically from other government agencies and has led to high-impact innovations in defense, intelligence and energy.

During the event, faculty brainstorming sessions revolved around ARPA-H’s four key areas—health science futures, scalable solutions, proactive health and resilient systems. The goal of the sessions was to spark fresh proposal ideas that align with ARPA-H’s vision and to sow the seeds for cross-disciplinary collaboration.

“Our research and development team is ready to support our faculty as they consider their project ideation and development to seize opportunities at ARPA-H,” Raghavan said.

­To that end, RDS will offer open office hours over Zoom to discuss ARPA-H proposals every Thursday, 12:30–1:30 p.m.

Research Development and Support aids faculty members in developing any proposals made to private foundations and federally funded opportunities. RDS is also ready to connect faculty with technology transfer and commercialization experts and the industry collaborations team as needed.