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Western States Affiliate Innovative Science Award

Application Deadline: February 20, 2014 (5:00 p.m. CT)
Award Activation:  July 1, 2014

Application Process for Final Phase

Welcome to the Final Phase of the application process. Only those individuals invited to apply to the WSA Innovative Science Award are eligible.  


Notice:  Applicants are required to either be a Professional Member or to pay an application fee when the full application is submitted.  
Read more about the membership/application fee.
Investigators are required to submit their application in Grants@Heart using their existing user ID and password. For technical difficulties with logging in, please contact

Additional help documents.

Award Description, Eligibility and Peer Review Criteria

Award Description

One-time grant award for projects to support the initiation of highly innovative, high-risk, high-reward research that is, or could lead to, translational research and could ultimately lead to critical discoveries or major advancements that will accelerate the field of cardiovascular and stroke research.

Research deemed innovative may introduce a new paradigm, challenge current paradigms, look at existing problems from new perspectives, or have the potential to be transformative. A solid rationale for the work must be provided.  Proposed work should not be the next logical step of previous work, but should have a high probability of revealing new avenues of investigation, if successful. 


  • Transformative research is defined as research from individual scientists or groups of scientists that is groundbreaking, exceptionally innovative, original and/or unconventional with the potential to create new scientific paradigms in CVD and stroke.
  • Translational research is the process of applying ideas, insights, and discoveries generated through basic scientific inquiry to the treatment or prevention of CVD and stroke
The principal investigator (PI) is responsible for clearly and explicitly articulating the project's innovation, significance and the potential transformative and/or translational impact on cardiovascular and/or stroke research.

Science Scope

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 disciplines as well as epidemiological, behavioral, community, and clinical investigations that bear on cardiovascular and stroke problems.

Target Audience

At the time of application, the applicant must:
  • Be an independent investigator
  • Hold a M.D., Ph.D., D.O., D.V.M., or equivalent doctoral degree.
  • Be assistant to full professor (or equivalent) at an accredited research institution within the Western States affiliate.
This award is not intended for postdoctoral fellows, others in research training positions and/or individuals in transition into independent positions. 


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 - 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 
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 institutions in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, or 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.


Total Annual Award Amount:  $200,000 Number of Awards: Eight awards will be made for two years. Up to four of the original eight awards will be funded for an additional year based on a competitive renewal.

Note: If an awardee desires to contend for a third year award, they will need to notify the WSA Research Committee Chair or AHA research staff on or before February 20, 2014. In the Spring of 2014, each awardee desiring a third year of funding will be given the opportunity to present to the WSA Research Committee on their research progress. At that time the principal investigator will be asked to summarize the original proposal and then report on the progress made.
Award Duration:  Two years, with a competitive, conditional third year, based on progress in the first year and half.
  Principal Investigator Salary/Fringe:  maximum of $20,000 per year.  Collaborating investigators or others with faculty appointments may not receive salary from these funds.
  Indirect Costs: Limited to 10% of the total direct cost amount.  The 10% allowed for indirect costs is included in the annual amount of $200,000.
Project Support:  Project-related expenses, such as salaries of essential technical personnel, supplies, equipment, travel, volunteer subject costs, publication costs; PI salary, consistent with percent effort and dollar cap.  Support toward salaries of professional and nonprofessional personnel with or without doctoral degrees may be budgeted.  Special consultative services from individuals may be requested, provided the costs and circumstances are fully described in the application.  The purpose of this grant is not primarily to obtain new equipment. 

Travel:  Limited to $3,000 per year.

Abbreviated Proposal

The Innovative Science Award's abbreviated proposal format is not the same as those used for traditional grants-in-aid.  The text for the proposal is limited to five pages (does not include literature/references cited).  The application must include a section on the proposed milestones (included within the five-page limit). This will be used during the peer review process for the competitive, conditional third year award described above.

Peer Review Criteria

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. Innovation: Assessment of project's innovative nature should account for 25 percent of the overall score. Is the project original and innovative? For example: Does the project challenge existing paradigms and present an innovative hypothesis or address a critical barrier to progress in the field? Does the project develop or employ novel concepts, approaches, methodologies, tools, or technologies for this area?

  2. Significance: Assessment of project's significance to the field of cardiovascular or stroke research should account for 25 percent of the overall score.Does this study address an important problem directly related to cardiovascular disease or stroke?  If the aims of the application are achieved, will scientific knowledge or clinical practice be significantly impacted?  Will there be an effect on the concepts, methods, and technologies that drive this field?

  3. Approach: Assessment of project's approach should account for 20 percent of the overall score. Are the conceptual framework, design, methods and analyses adequately developed, well integrated, well reasoned and appropriate to the aims of the project? Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative tactics?

  4. Investigator: Assessment of principal investigator should account for 20 percent of the overall score. Is the investigator appropriately trained and well suited to carry out this work? Does the investigative team bring complementary and integrated expertise to the project (if applicable)?

  5. Environment: Assessment of scientific environment should account for 10 percent of the overall score.
    Does the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success?  Does the proposal demonstrate that resources will be available to complete the project?  Do the proposed studies benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, or subject populations, or employ useful collaborative arrangements?

Applicants should never contact reviewers regarding their applications.  Discussing scientific content of an application or attempting to influence review outcome will constitute a conflict of interest in the review.  Reviewers must notify the AHA if an applicant contacts them.



  • The award may be held concurrently with an Established Investigator Award or Grant-in-Aid.  
  • The Innovative Science Award is non-renewable.
  • Awards are not intended to supplement or duplicate currently funded work.
  • The project submitted can have no scientific or budgetary overlap with other funded work.
  • 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.
  • Postdoctoral fellows and others in research training positions are not eligible to apply.


Third Year Request for Funding Due Date February 20, 2014 (5:00 p.m. CT)
Third Year Award Funding July 1, 2014

Additional help documents.
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