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UW ARPA-H Committee

UW ARPA-H Committee

ITHS is facilitating the UW ARPA-H Committee, a visioning committee to help research leaders develop strategy and direction related to a new federal funding agency. The committee is chaired by the ITHS Executive Director Tong Sun and includes representatives from the School of Medicine, College of Engineering, and School of Pharmacy, as well as leadership of the Institute for Protein Design and Population Health Initiative. The sponsors of the committee are Jihui Yang, Vice Dean of the College of Engineering, and Shelly Sakiyama-Elbert, Vice Dean of Research and Graduate Education of the School of Medicine. The UW ARPA-H Committee will identify key opportunities for collaboration, provide feedback on abstracts and assist with team development, and socialize ARPA-H across the UW research community.

Transformational Approaches to Big Health Challenges

What is ARPA-H?

The Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) is a federal funding agency that supports the development of high-impact research to drive biomedical and health breakthroughs to deliver transformative, sustainable, and equitable health solutions for everyone. ARPA-H’s mission focuses on leveraging research advances for real world impact. ARPA-H awardees are developing entirely new ways to tackle the hardest challenges in health. ARPA-H is collaborative, spirited, and driven by a commitment to accelerating life-changing health solutions.

ARPA-H Strategy

Like other Advanced Research Projects Agencies, ARPA-H provides research funding to create new opportunities and solve important problems through ambitious, well-defined, and measurable programs. Each program is led by a Program Manager (or PM) who champions a core idea, frames a challenge, and awards projects to multidisciplinary teams of performers, whose work is then measured and evaluated to ensure that only the best solutions advance.

ARPA-H supports research carried out by a wide variety of groups across the country, including everyone from academia and private industry to the government. Watch the video below to learn more about the ARPA-H model.

Request for Funding Proposals

ARPA-H opened its first Agency-wide Open Broad Agency Announcement (Open BAA), seeking funding proposals for research aiming to improve health outcomes across patient populations, communities, diseases, and health conditions. The BAA calls for revolutionary proposals to outline breakthrough research and technological advancements.

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. ARPA-H is considering proposals under this BAA on a rolling basis through March 14, 2024.

ARPA-H held an informational proposers’ day on April 4, 2023 to answer questions from potential proposers. View a recording of the event or the slide deck that was presented.

Focus Areas

ARPA-H’s focus areas will unlock new ways to collaborate and attack problems.

  • Health Science Futures: Expanding what’s technically possible
    • Accelerating advances across research areas and removing limitations that stymie progress towards solutions. The tools and platforms developed apply to a broad range of diseases.
  • Scalable Solutions: Reaching everyone quickly
    • Addressing challenges that include geography, distribution, manufacturing, data and information, and economies of scale to create programs that result in impactful, timely, and equitable solutions.
  • Proactive Health: Keeping people from being patients
    • Preventative programs will create new capabilities to detect and characterize disease risk and promote treatments and behaviors to anticipate threats to Americans’ health, whether those are viral, bacterial, chemical, physical, or psychological.
  • Resilient Systems: Building integrated healthcare systems
    • Developing capabilities, business models, and integrations to weather crises such as pandemics, social disruption, climate change, and economic instability. Resilient systems need to sustain themselves between crises – from the molecular to the societal – to better achieve outcomes that advance American health and wellbeing.

Specific Funding Programs & Initiatives

In addition to the Open BAA, ARPA-H is developing projects and programs to tackle specific thorny challenges. Emerging programs issue specific solicitations to find teams and solutions in the area of interest. Watch ARPA-H announcements for the latest opportunities.


Key questions for proposed ARPA-H projects

Key questions for proposed ARPA-H projects

ARPA-H is modeled after the approach of the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA), focused on supporting high risk-high reward projects to develop emerging technologies. A former DARPA director, George Heilmeier, devised a set of simple questions, now known as the Heilmeier Catechism, to help the agency’s program managers evaluated proposed research programs. To assess how projects might serve the agency’s mission, ARPA-H has adapted and expanded the set to the following 10 questions:

  • What are you trying to do? What health problem are you trying to solve?
  • How does this get done at present? Who does it? What are the limitations of present approaches?
  • What is new about our approach? Why do we think we can be successful at this time?
  • Who cares? If we succeed, what difference will it make?
  • What are the risks? That may prevent you from reaching your objectives? Any risks the program itself may present?
  • How long will it take?
  • How much will it cost?
  • What are our mid-term and final exams to check for success?
  • To ensure equitable access for all people, how will cost, accessibility, and user experience be addressed?
  • How might this program be misperceived or misused? And how can we prevent that from happening?

How the UW ARPA Committee Can Help You

The UW ARPA-H Committee seeks to serve as a resource for the research community by supporting development and implementation of strategies to engage ARPA-H as well as concept and project team development for ARPA-H submissions.

If you’re interested in submitting a concept proposal to ARPA-H, the committee can help by providing feedback on your abstract, including appropriately scaling your budget and project scope, and/or by connecting you with potential collaborators and other experts essential for your project.

UW ARPA-H Committee Members

  • Tong Sun (Chair)
    Executive Director, Institute of Translational Health Sciences
  • Anirban Basu
    Stergachis Family Endowed Director, Comparative Health Outcomes, Policy, and Economics (CHOICE) Institute
  • Cole DeForest
    Associate Chair for Graduate Studies, Department of Chemical Engineering
  • Su-In Lee
    Professor, Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering
  • Ali Mokdad
    Professor of Health Metrics Sciences, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME)
  • Sean Mooney
    Chief Research Information Officer, UW Medicine

  • Margaret Rosenfeld
    Associate Vice Chair for Clinical Research, Dept. of Pediatrics, Seattle Children’s Research Institute
  • Tueng Shen
    Associate Dean for Medical Technology Innovation, School of Medicine & College of Engineering
  • Nate Sniadecki
    Associate Director, Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine
  • Lynda Stuart
    Executive Director, Institute for Protein Design
  • Sean D. Sullivan
    Professor, School of Pharmacy
  • Paul Yager
    Professor, Department of Bioengineering
  • Ying Zheng
    Associate Professor, Department of Bioengineering

Contact Us

Please email the ITHS Research Development team ( with any questions about ARPA-H or to get feedback on an ARPA-H proposal.