ARPA-H Would Boost Biomedical Breakthroughs

Funding News Edition: July 21, 2021
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President Biden recently proposed creating the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) as a new science organization within NIH. He requested $6.5 billion for ARPA-H in his fiscal year 2022 budget.

The June 22, 2021 NIH News Release described the niche ARPA-H could fill. By accelerating biomedical innovation and adoption of technologies and approaches, ARPA-H can help the United States capitalize on life-saving discoveries and advancements in healthcare and medicine.

As a distinct division within NIH, ARPA-H would focus on time-limited projects with goals, benchmarks, and accountability to revolutionize how we prevent, treat, or cure a range of diseases (e.g., Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer). Supported projects would focus on solving practical problems that foster breakthroughs, serve patients equitably, and drive solutions to the point of widespread adoption.  

NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director Dr. Eric Lander, and other leaders offered commentary in the July 9, 2021 Science article “ARPA-H: Accelerating biomedical breakthroughs.” They said ARPA-H should embrace a culture and approach similar to that of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), with a nimble and flexible strategy to champion innovative ideas. 

For more on how ARPA-H could serve as a mechanism to remove barriers and swiftly bring bold ideas to fruition, check the full text of the Science article.

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