In a commentary published in Science, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director Eric S. Lander, Ph.D., National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., and other leaders describe a vision for a new science entity, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H). Included in the President’s fiscal year 2022 budget with a requested funding level of $6.5 billion, ARPA-H would accelerate biomedical innovation and adoption of technologies and approaches to revolutionize healthcare and medicine.

Lander and Collins, et al write that ARPA-H should embrace a culture and approach similar to that of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to champion innovative ideas in health and medicine. Put forth 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, including cancer, infectious diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, and others. Projects supported by ARPA-H would focus on solving practical problems that foster breakthroughs to serve patients equitably—at levels ranging from the molecular to the societal—and drive them to the point of adoption. The authors argue ARPA-H could act as a mechanism to remove barriers and bring bold ideas to fruition more quickly. 

ARPA-H could help the U.S. capitalize on this unprecedented moment of scientific promise to drive life-saving discoveries and advancements which have the potential to significantly impact the health and quality of life for all Americans. 


  • Collins, FS; Schwetz, TA, Tabak, LA, Lander, ES. The Advanced Research Project Agency for Health (ARPA-H): Accelerating Breakthroughs in Medicine and Health. Science. 2021. DOI: 10.1126/science.abj8547


  • Eric Lander, Ph.D., Director, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Science Advisor to the President 
  • Tara A. Schwetz, Ph.D., Assistant Director for Biomedical Science Initiatives, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., NIH Director 
  • Lawrence A. Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., NIH Principal Deputy Director


To schedule an interview with Drs. Lander or Schwetz, please contact OSTP Communication Director Julia Krieger by emailing press@ostp.eop.gov. To schedule an interview with Drs. Collins or Tabak, please email NIHNMB@mail.nih.gov

Additional Materials

Concept Paper
Fact Sheet

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