The American Heart Association is committed to maintaining research programs of the highest quality. That's why we've developed research program standards to ensure they remain at a uniformly high level. The most important of these written guides is our Standards for Research Programs, which contains policies, standards and guidelines to help ensure that our research programs are fairly and consistently conducted.
Peer Review of All Requests for SupportSince we began providing research funding in 1948, we've required that funds be awarded in strict accordance with peer review committee appraisals of scientific merit. Peer review is mandatory for all national and affiliate research applications.
The American Heart Association ensures that its peer review process provides a fair evaluation of each and every application submitted. Its review panels consist of scientific expert reviewers familiar with the science of the application and may also include lay reviewers. Lay reviewers are individuals without formal training as a scientist who have a strong interest in the prevention and/or management of heart disease and stroke. In the AHA peer review process, lay reviewers will specifically help to evaluate the potential impact of research applications to the mission of the AHA through their scoring (evaluation) of the lay summary portion of an application. The score and assessment of scientific reviewers take into account all of the review criteria for the type of program being reviewed. The panel must maintain a quorum throughout discussion of each proposal's scientific merits.
Our peer review is also impartial. Each committee member assigns each application a priority score. Also, the conflict-of-interest policy prevents a reviewer with a professional or personal interest in an application from reviewing, discussing or scoring it.
Finally, while peer review committees evaluate the scientific merit of each application, they do not allocate funds. Each research committee, using the peer review committees' ranking of applications based on scientific merit, determines how funds will be allocated between the various research programs. It then makes a recommendation to the Board of Directors for final approval.