MWA Undergraduate Student Research Program

Application Deadline:  Feb. 2, 2016
Award Activation:  June 1, 2016

Applications must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. CT on the deadline date.  The system will shut down at 5:00 p.m. CT.  Early submission is encouraged.  Your institutional Grants Officer (GO) has the final responsibility of submitting your completed application to the American Heart Association.  It is important that you check with your GO for his/her internal deadline.

Program Description, Eligibility and Peer Review Criteria

Success Rate


The purpose of this undergraduate research training program is to encourage promising students from all disciplines, including women and members of minority groups underrepresented in the sciences, to consider research careers while supporting the highest quality scientific investigation broadly related to cardiovascular disease and stroke .

Science Focus

Funding is available for research broadly related to cardiovascular function and disease, stroke, or to related clinical, basic science, and public health problems. Candidates should be interested in basic, epidemiological and/or clinical disciplines that bear on cardiovascular and stroke problems.  The extent to which the focus of the project is related to CVD and/or stroke is an important factor that will be considered.  However, the applicant is not required to be a part of cardiovascular/stroke-oriented laboratory, clinic or department. 

The laboratory sponsor and institution are responsible for disclosing the nature of research and activities taking place in the laboratory where the student will be conducting research, and the safety or health-hazards/risks which are known or reasonably likely to be encountered. Students are responsible for learning and following appropriate safety procedures in the laboratory.

Students will not receive college credit for their summer research activities. Therefore, participation in the program will not appear on an official transcript from the institution where the student is assigned.

Target Audience

To be eligible for this program, undergraduate students should be: 
  • currently classified at the junior or senior academic status at the time of award activation (June 1, 2016)
  • be enrolled full-time in an undergraduate degree program, at the time of application (Feb. 2, 2016), in either a four-year college or university, or a two-year institution with plans to transfer to a four-year college or university by the fall semester immediately following the summer program.


At the time of application, must have one of the following designations:
  • U.S. citizen
  • Permanent resident
  • Pending permanent resident. Applicant must have applied for permanent residency and have filed form I-485 with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and have received authorization to legally remain in the U.S. (having filed an Application for Employment form I-765)
  • E-3 Visa - specialty occupation worker
  • H1-B Visa - temporary worker in a specialty occupation
  • F-1 Student Visa - temporary worker in a specialty occupation
  • J-1 Visa - exchange visitor
  • O-1 Visa - temporary worker with extraordinary abilities in the sciences
  • TN Visa - NAFTA Professional
  • G-4 Visa - family member of employee of international organizations and NATO

Awardee must meet American Heart Association citizenship criteria throughout the duration of the award.

Applicants are not required to reside in the United States for any period before applying for American Heart Association funding.

Program Structure
The students and sponsors apply as a team and are responsible for submitting the application.

Location of Work

The award may be completed at any accredited institution in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota or Wisconsin.

American Heart Association research awards are limited to non-profit institutions, including: medical, osteopathic and dental schools, veterinary schools, schools of public health, pharmacy schools, nursing schools, universities and colleges, public and voluntary hospitals and others that can demonstrate the ability to conduct the proposed research.

Applications will not be accepted for work with funding to be administered through any federal institution or work to be performed by a federal employee, except for Veterans Administration employees.

Funding is prohibited for awards at non-U.S. institutions. 

Budget/Annual Award Amount

Trainee Stipend/Salary:  $4,000 for the summer research experience

Payment will be made to the institution for disbursement to the fellow.  Faculty sponsor and institution assume fiscal responsibility. The institution may supplement the award amount. The award is for educational purposes and does not constitute an employee-employer relationship between the student and the American Heart Association.

Direct use of award funds to pay tuition is prohibited. The AHA will not pay dependent allowances.

Students accepted into the program are responsible for arranging housing and transportation.

The student and the laboratory supervisor will determine the number of hours and days the student will spend in the laboratory. The student is expected to devote full-time effort (40 hours per week) for a minimum of 10 weeks to laboratory activities.

Duration:  10 weeks minimum    


  • The student cannot hold a comparable award as a source of supplementation.
  • An applicant may submit only one affiliate application per deadline.
  • An applicant who is unsuccessful in a competition may resubmit the same or similar application three times (the original plus two resubmissions). The same or similar application submitted for the fourth time will be administratively withdrawn. 

Peer Review Criteria

Contacting AHA peer reviewers concerning your application is deemed a form of scientific misconduct and will result in the removal of your application from funding consideration and institutional notification of ethical concerns.

Because the fellow receives only a stipend from these awards, additional research support for the proposed project MUST come from the sponsor's laboratory. The availability of additional funds should be clearly described by the sponsor.

To judge the merit of the applicant for the award, reviewers must comment on the following criteria.  Please be sure to address these in your proposal. Each criterion will account for 1/3 of the overall score. Student (1/3), Sponsor and Environment (1/3) and Project (1/3).

Evaluation of the Student
  1. Does the student have potential for a research career? If the student has prior research experience, how will they benefit from the summer research program (ex., new techniques learned)?
  2. Is this supported by the student's academic record and the assessment provided by the letters of reference?
  3. How well-rounded are the student's interests?
  4. Has the student augmented his/her school work with extracurricular activities related to his/her school work?
  5. How well-formed are the student's career objectives? How does the summer research program contribute to these objectives?
  6. Will this program provide the student with his/her first exposure to research? If the student has already had a research experience, discuss how this will be augmented with the requested program.
  7. Are there special circumstances, ethnic, financial, physical or social, that require special consideration?
  8. If applying as a student/sponsor team, what is the sponsor's assessment of the applicant?  
Evaluation of the Sponsor and Environment

  1. Is the sponsor an independent investigator?
  2. Does the sponsor have the experience to direct the proposed research training, as evidenced by their track record regarding productivity, funding and prior trainees?
  3. Does the sponsor have adequate current funding to support the student's work?
  4. Does the sponsor provide a comprehensive training plan that will facilitate the student's progress towards his/her research career goals?
  5. What is the level of commitment of the sponsor towards the development of the student?  How involved will the sponsor be in the daily supervision of the student?
  6. Are appropriate plans in place to orient the student to the laboratory?
Evaluation of the Environment

  1. Does the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success for the training experience?
  2. Is there evidence of institutional commitment?
Evaluation of the Project Description
  1. Significance : Does this project address an important problem broadly related to cardiovascular disease or stroke? Is there a clear rationale for the project? What is the likelihood that the research will result in a presentation or publication including the student?
  2. Approach : Is the proposed approach appropriate to accomplish the stated research goal(s)? Are the student's role and responsibilities clearly  defined? Are there additional educational aspects of the summer program that the student will benefit from (e.g., participation in journal clubs, observation at research meetings, clinical rounds, etc.)?



Need Help?

Select "For Scientists" under the "Funding Opportunities" tab for helpful information regarding:
  • AHA Research Policies and Procedures
  • Applicant Information Guide
  • FAQs
  • Login Issues
  • Membership/Application Fee
  • Resubmissions
Log in to Grants@Heart (opens in new window)
The Grants@Heart site is a web-based
system for application preparation,
submission, peer review, and awards

Required Documents

When completing an application for funding, the Applicant(PI) is required to submit certain documents.  In addition, other individuals (referred to as Third Parties) associated with the application will provide supporting documents.  All required documents must be uploaded to Grants@Heart by the applicant before the application can be submitted to the Grants Officer.  The G.O. is responsible for sign-off and submitting the application to AHA.  Toggle between the tabs above to view a complete list.


For program questions/inquiries, call 214-360-6107 (option 1) or email

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