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Application Deadline: Friday, February 17, 2017

Award Activation: July 1, 2017

The application must be submitted by 5 p.m. Central Time in Grants@Heart on the deadline date. The application will be submitted to the designated grant officer, who will submit it to the American Heart Association (AHA).

Program Description, Eligibility and Peer Review Criteria

Success Rates


To support independent investigators with innovative and advanced projects related to cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Science Focus

All basic, clinical, and population research broadly related to cardiovascular disease and stroke

Target Audience

At the time of award activation:

  • Hold a faculty or staff appointment and be conducting independent research.
  • Hold a M.D., Ph.D., D.O., D.V.M. or equivalent post-baccalaureate doctoral degree.

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:

  • United States citizen.
  • Permanent resident.
  • Pending permanent resident (any resident who has an approved I-765 form and has submitted an I-485 application with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services)
  • 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 – North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) professional.
  • G-4 Visa - family member of employee of international organizations.

The awardee must maintain one of the designations listed above throughout the duration of the award.

Location of Project

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 other institutions that can demonstrate the ability to conduct the proposed research. Applications proposed by federal institutions or employees will not be accepted, except for applications to the AHA’s Center for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine, and applications from Veterans Administration employees.

Funding is prohibited for projects conducted at institutions outside the United States.


Annual Award Amount: $77,000, including 10 percent indirect costs
Salary/Fringe: Up to 50 percent of annual project support may be used for salary and fringe of the principal investigator, any collaborating investigators, and other participants with faculty appointments. Amount paid to participants may not exceed percent effort invested by those participants.
Project Support: Salaries of technical personnel without faculty appointments essential to the conduct of the project, supplies, equipment, volunteer subject costs, and publication costs.

Travel: Up to $3,000 annually. International travel is permitted without prior AHA approval.
Duration: Two years
Total Award Amount: $154,000


  • The applicant may submit only one Grant-in-Aid application per deadline.
  • A Grant-in-Aid applicant may not apply for a Scientist Development Grant in the same cycle.
  • The applicant may resubmit the same or similar application three times (the original plus two resubmissions). The same or similar application submitted the fourth time will be administratively withdrawn.
  • Awards may not supplement or duplicate currently funded work. Submitted applications must describe projects that are clearly distinct from ongoing research activities in the applicant's laboratory. The awardee may not hold a comparable award as a source of supplementation.
  • At award activation, the awardee may not be extramurally funded at a level greater than $250,000 annually (excluding principal investigator salary and fringe and indirect costs).
  • Submission of a Grant-in-Aid application that contains content that is identical or significantly similar to that of any other application -- especially the mentee’s training application -- is prohibited. Both applications will be recommended for disapproval. However, both applications may be funded if aims are not duplicated.
  • The awardee may not hold more than one AHA award at the same time.


a) An investigator may hold two AHA grants 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 AHA award.

c) A Fellow-to-Faculty Transition Award recipient may hold a Grant-in-Aid, Innovative Research Grant, or Collaborative Sciences Award during the faculty phase. Only project support is allowed from the second AHA award during the faculty stage of the Fellow-to-Faculty Transition Award.

d) Strategically Focused Research Network personnel may hold individual AHA awards.

Peer Review Criteria

An applicant is prohibited from contacting AHA peer reviewers. This is a form of scientific misconduct and will result in removal of the application from funding consideration and institutional notification of misconduct.

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? For all applications that include vertebrate animals or human subjects, applicants must explain how relevant biological variables, such as sex, are factored into the research design, analysis and reporting. Furthermore, strong justification from the scientific literature, preliminary data, or other relevant considerations, must be provided for applications proposing to study only one sex.
  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
Awardee is required to submit an assessment of progress, including research findings, abstracts, publications, and names of trainees supported (if applicable).