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ARPA-H Now Accepting Abstracts for Transformative Ideas

Published March 20, 2023

Dear Washington University research community,

I’m excited to share that the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) is now accepting abstracts for creative and concise ideas to produce breakthroughs in health.

ARPA-H has released the first ARPA-H Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) soliciting innovative idea for the four focus areas detailed below. The agency-wide BAA offers a mechanism for researchers to connect with ARPA-H with an idea that the proposer feels could be valuable to accelerate and implement health innovation and high-impact solutions for everyone. The agency-wide BAA will be refreshed on an annual basis and highlights current technical areas of interest to guide potential proposers. We anticipated additional program-specific calls for applications to be announced in the near future as ARPA-H hires program managers.

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. Proposers are strongly encouraged to use the Heilmeier Catechism questions to prepare their three-page abstract. Each compliant abstract will receive a response, possibly requesting a full proposal.

You can learn more about ARPA-H through our webinar and our “Seeding Ideas” event on April 3 and 4, 2023. Please take advantage of these resources to develop projects and science teams fitting the ARPA-H philosophy and culture, which emphasizes bold thinking and team science. We plan to continue to send information as program managers and programs are introduced at ARPA-H.

If you have questions on the scope and mission of ARPA-H, contact the Research Development Office.

Mark Lowe, MD, PhD
Interim Vice Chancellor for Research

ARPA-H Focus Areas

Health Science – Focused on new tools, technologies, and platforms. Disease-agnostic approaches encouraged but not required.

  • Novel molecular platforms to modulate host systems, reach targets with spatial and temporal precision, and mitigate off-target effects
  • Microbial cellular engineering
  • Gene, cell, tissue, and organ replacement for accessible personal interventions
  • AI-enabled, empirically validated physiological models
  • Miniaturization of complex hardware

Scalable Solutions – Focused on access and affordability challenges:

  • Treatments that adapt to pediatric patient development
  • Manufacturing to reduce cost, speed production, and eliminate supply chain risk
  • Standardization, automation, and democratization of complex procedures
  • Methods to enhance rural or low resource delivery
  • Reduce or eliminate health disparities
  • Diagnose and treat rare diseases wherever patients are

Proactive Health – Focused on reducing need for medical intervention:

  • Vaccine/therapy to reduce disease spread of disease and eliminate risk factors
  • Reduce disparities, especially in mental health, substance use, maternal morbidity and mortality, and chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease
  • Measure, analyze, and enhance health-promoting activities, including aging independently
  • Injury / stress recovery, including regenerating brain tissue after trauma or stroke to end paralysis and cognitive loss
  • Non-invasively characterizing brain and other deep tissue and organ health
  • Machine-enhanced computational models to predict changes in health status, reduce medical errors, and improve clinical settings

Resilient Systems – Focused on improving reliability in crises such as pandemics, social disruption, climate change, molecular disturbances, and economic instability:

  • Engineer resilient tissues, microbiomes, and biophysical systems
  • Rapidly integrate off-the-shelf solutions, decision tools, and adapt supply chains, manufacturing, logistics, and workforces in emergencies
  • Protect, secure, integrate, analyze, communicate, and present health data
  • Use homes, community centers, pharmacies, and other accessible locations for clinical trials, to diversify participation and integrate end-user feedback into designs
  • Build trust in healthcare system and distribute high-quality guidance
  • Real-time tracking of health outcomes, performance of interventions, especially for underserved communities
  • Health information, consent, data reuse, biosecurity, band potential unintended consequences