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Collaborative Sciences Award

Letter of Intent Due:  Nov. 3, 2016
Full Application Due*:  Feb. 9, 2017

Award Activation: July 1, 2017

* Please note: only those applicants who submit a Letter of Intent and are invited to apply may submit a full application. The AHA anticipates funding up to eight Collaborative Sciences Awards in 2017.

Applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. CDT on the deadline date.  The system will shut down at 5 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 foster innovative, new collaborative approaches to research projects which propose novel pairings of investigators from at least two broad disciplines. The proposal must focus on the collaborative  relationship, such that the scientific objectives could not be achieved without the efforts of at least two co- principal investigators and their respective disciplines. The combination and integration of studies may be inclusive of basic, clinical, population and/or translational research.

Applications by existing collaborators are permitted, provided that the proposal is for a new idea or new approach that has not been funded before.

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

Target Audience

An application must be submitted jointly by at least two co-principal investigators.

  • Co-PIs must each hold faculty/staff appointments of any rank (or equivalent).
  • Co-PIs must be independent researchers. (This award is not intended for individuals in research training or fellowship positions.)
  • Co-PIs must have received independent funding and be experts in their respective fields, as evidenced by relevant publications.
  • Co-PIs may be from the same institution, or from different institutions.
  • Co-PIs must be from different disciplines. For example: A partnership between a clinician and a basic scientist or other collaboration that would not arise otherwise (organically). The applicants
    should adequately convey the uniqueness of the collaboration for the benefit of the study section.
  • Co-PIs must hold a M.D., Ph.D., D.O., D.V.M. or equivalent post-baccalaureate terminal degree.
  • One of the Co-PIs’ institution must be designated as the institution of record, agreeing to accept award payments and ensuring that annual progress reports and expenditure reports are submitted to AHA.

Percent Effort

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


At the time of application, each co-PI 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.

Location of Work

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.


Salary/Fringe: Up to $125,000 per year for salary and fringe of the co-principal investigators, collaborating investigator(s), and others with faculty appointments.

Indirect: Up to 10 percent per year ($22,727)

Project Support: Project-related expenses, such as salaries of technical personnel, consultative services, supplies, equipment, travel, volunteer subject costs, publication costs, within the following limits:

  • Minimum:  $102,273 per year
  • Travel:  Up to $3,000 annually, per Co-PI

Maximum Annual Award Amount: $250,000

Award Duration: Three years

Total Award Amount: $750,000

Letter of Intent

A letter of intent is required to ensure responsiveness to the collaborative nature of this program. AHA will contact the applicants with permission to submit the full application. Only invited applicants will submit a full application.

Letter of Intent Deadline: Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016 by 5 p.m. Central Time.

Required documents:

  • A letter (five pages maximum) describing a proposed new innovative, collaborative approach to research which incorporates a novel grouping of investigators from at least two broad disciplines. The written summary must focus on the collaborative relationship, such that the scientific objectives cannot be achieved without the efforts of at least two co-principal investigators and  their respective disciplines. The combination and integration of studies may be inclusive of basic, clinical, population and/or translational research. View the Letter of Intent Instructions.

  • A biosketch from each of the proposed Co-Principal Investigators.

The Letter of Intent and supporting documents must be submitted via the AHA Grants@Heart system before the posted deadline. Each Co-Principal Investigator must join the application and complete their Advanced Profile section of the application. An applicant may be a Co-Principal Investigator on ONLY one CSA application. Visit Grants@Heart to begin your application. 

Peer Review Criteria (for invited applicants)

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. Collaboration: It is incumbent upon the applicants to convey the innovative and unique nature of the relationship. How does the proposed collaborative relationship strengthen or weaken the proposal? Does the proposal focus on the collaborative relationship, such that the scientific objectives could not be reached without the efforts of both principal investigators and both disciplines?
  2. 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?
  3. 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?
  4. 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?
  5. Investigators: Are the investigators appropriately trained and well suited to carry out this work? Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience levels of the principal investigators and other researchers? Does the investigative team bring complementary and integrated expertise to the project?
  6. 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?
  7. 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?


  1. Neither investigator may hold more than one AHA award concurrently.
    1. An investigator may hold two AHA grants (affiliate and national) 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.
    2. An investigator may be a Co-PI on the Collaborative Science Award and hold the Innovative Research Grant simultaneously.
    3. A Fellow-to-Faculty Transition Award recipient may apply for and receive a Collaborative Science Award during the faculty phase. The awardee may request only project support from the Collaborative Science Award, since the Fellow-to-Faculty Transition Award provides significant salary support.
  2. 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. Minor variations from existing research projects are not sufficient to constitute independent and distinct project.