New Health-Focused Advanced Research Agency Seeks $500M in Technical Support

Galeanu Mihai/Getty Images

The Health and Human Services Department’s version of DARPA—ARPA-H—is setting up a wide-ranging contract for support staff.

Ahead of its first birthday, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, or ARPA-H, is building out a $500 million contract for technical expertise its researchers will be able to tap in the future.

The agency—a division of the Health and Human Service Administration modeled after other research support agencies like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA—launched last May with the mission to “create breakthroughs in biomedicine,” with a focus on preventing, detecting and treating diseases, according to the scope of work for a draft solicitation posted to

Since being formally established, ARPA-H has spent the last year setting up, and got its first director in September, Dr. Renee Wegrzyn.

“ARPA-H will create the transformative and collaborative space that is required to support the next generation of moonshots for health,” Wegrzyn said at the time, “Not only for complex diseases like cancer, but also systemic barriers like supply chain gaps and equitable access to breakthrough technologies and cures for everyone.”

The new contract for Strategic Technical ARPA-H Talent Support, or STATS, will give researchers access to “broad contracted technical support.” The draft solicitation includes descriptions for 31 labor categories, showing the breadth of talent ARPA-H is seeking.

The agency plans to develop a multi-award indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract, establishing a pre-vetted set of contractors from which ARPA-H program managers can tap as needed.

The contract is set to max out at $500 million over the five-year ordering period, though every offeror awarded a spot on the IDIQ will be guaranteed at least $5,000 before the contract expires. No single task order will be more than $250 million.

The agency is currently looking for feedback on the draft solicitation, and is accepting comments through Feb. 7. The final solicitation is expected before the end of February, with awards projected for early June.