The new US biomedical research agency will fall under the umbrella of the National Institutes of Health, though its director will report direct to the health secretary, Science reports.
Last month, Congress approved a $1.5 trillion spending bill that included $1 billion to create an Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, or ARPA-H, to fund high-risk, high-reward research. But just where the new agency would fit in among other federal agencies was left up to Health and Human Service Secretary Xavier Becerra.
According to Science, Becerra has informed Congress that ARPA-H will not be a separate agency within HHS. Instead, it is to be part of NIH, though physically separate, it adds, noting that NIH will be in charge of administrative work like payroll for ARPA-H. Additionally, Becerra said that ARPA-H is to have a lean staff that hold their posts for about three to five years, so they are not beholden to how programs there have been run previously and that the agency's as-yet-unnamed director would report to him, rather than the NIH director.
"We need to make sure it's not anchored or tethered to doing things an older way," Becerra says, according to Science.
It notes, though, that lawmakers have introduced bills that could affect ARPA-H's physical location or establish it as independent of NIH.