A year after the Biden-Harris administration stood the agency up, the Advanced Research and Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) is finally ready to start funding innovative projects aimed at advancing the health sector.

ARPA-H recently opened its first open broad agency announcement (BAA), seeking funding proposals for research aiming to improve health outcomes across patient populations, communities, diseases, and health conditions.

“We’ve only been open for about a year. President Biden launched us in March of 2022, and in that time, we have been building out our business operations site, so we are prepared and very excited now to say that we’re actually ready to start to fund some of those big, audacious, innovative programs,” ARPA-H Deputy Director Susan Monarez said on April 27 during FCW’s Health IT workshop event.

“We have our first BAA announcement that’s open,” she said.

The March BAA issued on March 31 “is a broad call for proposals that will outline breakthrough research and technological advancements,” Monarez said.

“This is something that we’re super excited about and we’re hoping that we get the really brilliant, transformational, innovative ideas submitted to our agency and we can push out some great funding in the coming months and really start to drive some of these products that we know are going to transform the health ecosystem,” she said.

Monarez explained that the BAA is “truly open” and that ARPA-H is casting a wide net in hopes to receive applications across all different sectors – including commercial and academia. The deputy director said her agency is about to publish a list of questions that will help guide organizations when they apply to the BAA.

During the FCW webinar, Monarez highlighted that ARPA-H is also currently working on setting up three agency locations across the United States. ARPA-H was tasked by Congress for this site selection process. One site will be the main hub located in the Washington, D.C. area; the second hub will focus on customer experience; and the third location will be an investor catalyst – helping performers bring their ideas to market.

ARPA-H anticipates these site locations will be announced this fall.

Additionally, Monarez said the agency has set up its first competition, which it has dubbed ARPA-H Dash. It is a bracket challenge that will help identify “revolutionary evidence-based ideas to transform health.” The competition is open to everyone, including the general public, to vote for their favorite innovation. The competition concludes on May 16 with a $15,000 grand prize awarded to the winning transformation.

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Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan