The Biden administration pretends at the moment that they want to create a new organization that works like Darpa and that’s more open to innovation the way Darpa is more open to innovation. The announcement reads:
Launch the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H). The discretionary request calls for $6.5 billion to launch the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH). With an initial focus on cancer and other diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s, this major investment in federal research and development will drive transformational innovation in health research and speed application and implementation of health breakthroughs.
Part of what makes Darpa special that it’s not told by politicians to focus on the problems that are most obvious to the politicians but is more free about chosing politicians. Focus on Cancer/Diabetes/Alzheimer’s suggest that’s not the case here as those are the traditional targets of NIH funding anyway. Does anybody have a more optimistic take on the annoucement and expect it to actually produce an organization that’s comparable to DARPA?