Application Deadlines:

  • Founders Affiliate – Jan. 15, 2016
  • Greater Southeast Affiliate Jan. 15, 2016
  • Mid-Atlantic Affiliate – Jan. 12, 2016
  • Midwest Affiliate Jan. 13, 2016
  • SouthWest Affiliate – Jan. 14, 2016
  • Western States Affiliate – Jan. 14, 2016

Award Activation:  Jan. 1, 2016

Applications must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. CDT on the deadline date.  The system will shut down at 5:00 p.m. CDT.  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 Rates


To encourage and adequately fund the most innovative and meritorious research projects from independent investigators.

Science Focus

Research broadly related to cardiovascular function and disease and stroke, or to related clinical, basic science, bioengineering or biotechnology, and public health problems, including multidisciplinary efforts.


Proposals are encouraged from all basic, behavioral, epidemiological, and community and clinical investigations that bear on cardiovascular and stroke problems.

Target Audience

Faculty/staff members conducting independent research at time of application. 

At application, principal investigator must hold an M.D., Ph.D., D.O. or equivalent doctoral degree and must meet institutional requirements for grant submission.  Awards are not intended to supplement or duplicate currently funded work.  Rather, it is expected that submitted applications will describe projects that are clearly distinct from ongoing research activities in the applicant’s laboratory.  Minor variations from existing research projects are not sufficient to constitute independent and distinct projects.

At the time of application the applicant must:

  • hold a faculty/staff appointment of any rank (or equivalent), and must be conducting independent research. Not intended for individuals in research training or fellowship positions.
  • hold a M.D., Ph.D., D.O., D.V.M. or equivalent post-baccalaureate doctoral degree.

Percent Effort

While no minimum percent effort is specified, the principal investigator must demonstrate that adequate time will be devoted to ensure successful completion of the proposed project. 


At the time of application, must have one of the following designations:

  • U.S. citizen
  • Permanent resident 
  • Pending permanent resident. Applicants 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 United States (having filed an Application for Employment Form I-765).
  • E-3 Visa - specialty occupation worker
  • H1-B 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.

Location of Work

The award may be completed at any accredited institution in the following affiliates:

Founders - Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont
Greater Southeast - Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, U.S. Virgin Islands
Mid-Atlantic - District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina or Virginia
Midwest - Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin
SouthWest - Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming
Western States - Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington

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.

Annual Budget

Award: $77,000 per year, including 10% institutional indirect costs

  Up to 50% of total award may be used for salary and fringe benefits of the principal investigator, collaborating investigator(s), and other participants with faculty appointments, consistent with percent effort.

Project Support:  Project-related expenses, such as salaries of technical personnel essential to the conduct of the project, supplies, equipment, travel, volunteer subject costs, and publication costs.

  • Travel is limited to $3,000 per year.
  • International travel is permitted without prior AHA approval.
  • No limit on supplies, equipment, computer/electronics, volunteer subject costs, publication costs, etc.

Award Duration:  Two years. New applications may be submitted in the final year.

Total Award Amount:  $154,000


  • An investigator may not hold more than one AHA award concurrently.


    a) An investigator may hold two AHA grants (affiliate and association-wide) concurrently if all three apply: 

    1)  There will be no more than six months remaining on the initial award. 
    2)  The projects have no overlap in specific aims.
    3)  There is no budgetary overlap between the two projects.

    b) An investigator may hold the Innovative Research Grant and one other association-wide or affiliate award.

    c) A Fellow-to-Faculty Transition Award recipient may apply for and receive a Grant-in-Aid during the faculty phase. The awardee may request only project support for these AHA grants, since the Fellow-to-Faculty Transition Award provides significant salary support.
  • At the time of award activation, the amount of other research funding available to the principal investigator may not exceed $250,000 annually. This includes direct funds, and does not include the applicant's salary/fringe and intramural funding. 
  •  An applicant may submit only one affiliate application per deadline. If eligible, an applicant may simultaneously submit an application to an affiliate and to the association-wide award program. The proposed research plan may need to be adjusted based upon different length of award and dollars available. The deadline dates may be different for each submission. If both are funded, the applicant must choose one award.
  • Awards are not intended to supplement or duplicate currently funded work. Rather, it is expected that submitted applications will describe projects that are clearly distinct from ongoing research activities in the applicant's laboratory.  Minor variations from existing research projects are not sufficient to constitute independent and distinct project.
  • 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.

To judge the merit of the application, reviewers will comment on the following criteria. Please be sure that you fully address these in your proposal.

  1. Significance: Does this study address an important problem broadly related to cardiovascular disease or stroke? If the aims of the application are achieved, how will scientific knowledge or clinical practice be advanced? What will be the effect of these studies on the concepts, methods and technologies that drive this field? 
  2. Approach: Are the conceptual framework, design, methods and analyses adequately developed, well integrated, well-reasoned and feasible (as determined by preliminary data) and appropriate to the aims of the project?  Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative tactics?
  3. Innovation: Is the project original and innovative? For example: Does the project challenge existing paradigms and address an innovative hypothesis or critical barrier to progress in the field?  Does the project develop or employ novel concepts, approaches, methodologies, tools or technologies for this area?
  4. Investigator: Is the investigator appropriately trained and well suited to carry out this work? Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level of the principal investigator and other researchers?  Does the investigative team bring complementary and integrated expertise to the project (if applicable)?
  5. Environment: Does the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Do the proposed studies benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, or subject populations, or employ useful collaborative arrangements?  Is there evidence of institutional support?
  6. Impact: How does this project relate to and support the mission of the American Heart Association to building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke

Interim Reporting
Assessment of annual progress reports to include research findings, abstracts, and publications, and names of trainees supported.

Publications, citations by others, ability to attract ongoing research funding, faculty advancement and/or other evidence of career progression, contribution of Association support to career advancement.

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
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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.

Research Award Recipients

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