ARPA-H Strategic Initiative Seed Fund

Proposal Timeline for AY 2021-2022:

  • Proposal Deadline: October 15, 2021
  • Awards announced: November 30, 2021
  • Award period: 12 months following the announcement

Fund Information:

In order to respond rapidly to emerging opportunities, the Provost’s Office has established the ARPA-H Strategic Initiative Seed Fund for Rice faculty to apply for new collaborative research seed funding for up to $50,000 with TMC partners.

Background: The Biden administration has proposed to develop a new federal life sciences program called ARPA-H ( Although still in a very early stage, the ARPA-H funding mechanism would be very different than the current NIH awards evaluation process.

ARPA-H is described in the following manner: “Recent advances in biomedical and health sciences—from immunotherapy to treat cancer, to the highly effective COVID-19 vaccines—demonstrate the strengths and successes of the U.S. biomedical enterprise. Such advances present an opportunity to revolutionize how to prevent, treat, and even cure a range of diseases including cancer, infectious diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, and many others that together affect a significant number of Americans.

To improve the U.S. government’s capabilities to speed research that can improve the health of all Americans, President Biden is proposing the establishment of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H). Included in the President’s FY2022 budget as a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with a requested funding level of $6.5B available for three years, ARPA-H will be tasked with building high-risk, high-reward capabilities (or platforms) to drive biomedical breakthroughs—ranging from molecular to societal—that would provide transformative solutions for all patients.”

The fund: To position Rice for the NIH launch of the new ARPA-H funding mechanism, the Provost Office has created the ARPA-H Strategic Initiative seed funds program. It is expected that these awards will lead to competitive ARPA-H proposals.

ARPA-H Strategic Initiative seed funds may only be used for allowable expenses through the Rice procurement system. These funds may not be used for F&A costs, summer salary, purchase of research equipment, or reducing teaching responsibilities.


Full-time and research faculty members at Rice are eligible to apply. Project proposals must include at least one TMC partner. Proposals that match the Rice contribution with a TMC contribution will be viewed more favorably. In-kind support in lieu of matching dollars is acceptable.

Review process:

The review of proposals will be carried out by a faculty panel assembled by the ENRICH Office and the Vice Provost of Research.

Review criteria:

Proposals will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  1. The quality, significance, and potential impact of the project;
  2. The contribution the project makes to furthering the VISION FOR THE SECOND CENTURY (V2C2), particularly in proposals that might help the University do any of the following:
    • Raise our research and scholarship profile (strong preference will be given to those proposals that develop new research relationships);
    • Promote Rice’s interdisciplinary activity (strong preference will be given to those proposals that extend across schools);
  3. The likelihood that the project will lead to outside funding; specifically a competitive ARPA-H proposal.

How to apply:

Proposals must be submitted using this form by October 15, 2021 at 11:59pm.

Proposals must include the following in a single PDF document:

  1. A project description (in 12-point type, 1 inch margin) written such that a faculty peer will be able to understand the significance, scope, and objectives of the proposal. The project description should be no more than three pages, including figures;
  2. A single-page budget indicating how the requested funds will be expended during the award period of one year, and including a statement of collaborator support;
  3. An abbreviated curriculum vitae for each applicant of no more than five pages per CV. NIH Biosketch is acceptable.


The ARPA-H STRATEGIC INITIATIVE SEED FUND is facilitated by the Rice ENRICH office. Contact with questions about the fund and/or seed grant application process.