- Proposals must be received no later than 3 p.m. Central Time on the deadline date. Early submission is encouraged.
- Before beginning an application, review the eligibility and requirements that apply to all AHA research awards at AHA Application Resources page.
- All proposals must be submitted electronically via ProposalCentral. The system will open eight weeks prior to the application deadline to complete your proposal and upload documents. You can begin to create your documents now; please refer to the AHA Application Instructions (PDF). All submissions require a signature from a designated institutional representative.
- Applicants must be AHA Professional Members at the time of application. This must be done online. Join or begin the membership process well before the deadline.
Proposal deadline: December 6, 2023
ProposalCentral will open for submissions by October 2, 2023
This grant supports highly promising healthcare and academic professionals, in the early years of one’s first professional appointment, to explore innovative questions or pilot studies that will provide preliminary data and training necessary to assure the applicant’s future success as a research scientist.
The award will develop the research skills to support and greatly enhance the awardee’s chances to obtain and retain a high-quality career position.
At the time of application, the applicant must hold an MD, PhD, DO, DVM, DDS, or equivalent post-baccalaureate doctoral degree.
- Postdoctoral fellows are eligible to apply but must have attained faculty appointment by the time of award activation.
- Investigators who have been awarded NIH K99/R00 or R01 grants are not eligible to apply.
- The AHA will permit a Career Development Awardee to concurrently hold an NIH K award (other than K99/R00) if there is no budgetary overlap.
- The awardee must devote at least 10% effort to the Career Development Award.
At the time of award activation:
- An awardee must hold a faculty/staff position up to and including the rank of assistant professor (or equivalent).
- No more than six years may have elapsed since the first faculty/staff appointment (after receipt of doctoral degree) at the assistant professor level or equivalent (including, but not limited to, instructor, research assistant professor, research scientist, staff scientist, etc.). If the candidate held the title of instructor during postdoctoral fellowship or residency years due to clinical or teaching responsibilities, that period of time does not count against the eligibility period for applying for the Career Development Award. The AHA will consider interruptions of work experience due to extenuating circumstances and clinical training.
- The applicant must demonstrate that adequate time will be devoted to ensuring the successful completion of the project.
Mentoring Team: The award requires, at a minimum, a primary mentor and a secondary mentor who will provide counsel and direction and scholarship oversight. Up to two additional mentors may be named to the mentoring team. A mentoring team approach with a committed lead mentor is an essential piece. Applicants should clearly define each person’s role as part of the mentoring team.
The primary and secondary mentors should have, most importantly, prior history of successfully mentoring early career investigators to independence, track records of high-quality investigation, academic accomplishment, and should be invested in the career progress of the early career scientist. The mentors’ primary function is to work with the applicant to develop the application and training plan, make necessary arrangements with the institution to conduct the proposed research work, enforce the appropriate timelines for accomplishing the work, and guide the awardee toward a productive career in his/her chosen field.
- One individual must be identified as the primary mentor who will assist in the coordination of the candidate’s research. The primary mentor should be an active investigator in the area of the proposed research and be committed both to the applicant’s career development and the applicant’s research. The mentors must document the availability of dedicated sufficient research support (e.g., time and effort) and facilities for high-quality research.
- At least one mentor must be from outside of the applicant’s department, division or institution.
- One mentor should be committed to guiding the applicant’s future grant writing endeavors (such as, how to write an R01 or equivalent).
- Please note: Only letters of support required from members of the mentoring team will be accepted. No other reference reports/letters are required or accepted.
Career Development Plan (3 pages maximum): The applicant is required to submit a comprehensive career development plan that includes:
- Primary career intention – AHA does not require this to be a traditional academic research or health profession track. For example, an applicant might wish to pursue a career in industry, technology, teaching, or public health, etc.
- Long-term professional goals (such as positions desired or other specific professional goals, such as ‘write a book’).
- Explicit short-term goals that contribute to long-term interests and the most important anticipated challenges that must be mitigated/overcome to reach these goals.
- Timeline and 2-3 metrics that will define success in reaching each goal.
- Describe training or experiences you will develop to contribute to and ensure that long term goals are achieved.
- Which aspects of your current work/job will be delegated to others in order to accomplish the early career training and tasks necessary to achieve your goals?
- Identify additional skills, knowledge or experience you will need to acquire that may directly or indirectly help you in your current job or future positions, and how you plan to ensure that this occurs.
- Specifically delineate when and how progress assessments/checkpoints will occur, particularly with each member of your mentoring team (e.g., memos, phone calls, meetings) and what developmental activities will be completed or discussed at these times.
- Provide letters of support from each mentoring team member that indicate they understand their roles and commitment to you as the early career investigator.
Resources: While AHA does not endorse a particular resource, the following are offered for applicants’ reference:
$77,000 per year, including 10% institutional indirect costs.
The award may be used for salary and fringe benefits of the principal investigator, collaborating investigator(s), mentoring team members, and other participants with faculty appointments, consistent with percent effort, and for project-related expenses, such as salaries of technical personnel essential to the conduct of the project, supplies, equipment, computers/electronics, travel (including international travel), volunteer subject costs, data management, and publication costs, etc.
Award Duration: Three years. non-renewable
Total Award Amount: $231,000
- The applicant may submit only one Career Development Award application per deadline.
- The applicant may not be a current or prior recipient of an AHA Career Development Award or AHA Scientist Development Grant (affiliate or association-wide).
- The applicant may submit 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.
- A Career Development Award applicant holding a J-1 Visa (exchange visitor) at the time of application must obtain an H-1B or equivalent by the award activation date.
- Strategically Focused Research Network personnel may hold individual AHA awards.
- In limited cases, a delay of the award start date may be allowable up to six months.
- A Career Development awardee may also hold an AHA Collaborative Sciences Award, Innovative Project Award, Transformational Project Award, and may be the program director or sponsor on an AHA Institutional Award for Undergraduate Training.
- The American Heart Association permits the use of a large language model (LLM – e.g. ChatGPT) or an artificial intelligence tool to generate and/or edit content in research proposals submitted for funding. This information must be disclosed at the time of submission. Disclosure of this information does not impact peer review. Should this information not be disclosed accurately, and use of these tools is identified, the proposal may be administratively withdrawn.
Updates for New Research Proposals
For ALL research programs – including fellowships – applicants are not required to reside in the United States for any period before applying for AHA funding. However, AHA research awards are limited to U.S.-based 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. Acceptable visa types and additional information may be found here.
Use of Large Language Models & Generative AI in Proposals & Peer Review
The AHA permits the use of a large language model (LLM – e.g. ChatGPT) or a generative artificial intelligence tool to create and/or edit content in research proposals submitted for funding. This information must be disclosed at the time of submission. Disclosure of this information does not impact peer review. Should this information not be disclosed accurately, and use of these tools is identified, the proposal may be administratively withdrawn.
The AHA DOES NOT permit the use of a large language model (LLM – e.g. ChatGPT) or an artificial intelligence tool to generate and/or edit content in peer review critiques. Uploading any portion of a research proposal into a large language model (LLM – e.g. ChatGPT) or an artificial intelligence tool to assist in writing a critique of the proposal is explicitly prohibited as it is a violation of the AHA’s Peer Reviewer Certification Statement (to include confidentiality, non-disclosure, and conflict of interest)
Biosketch Addition: Inclusive, safe, diverse environment
All applicants (excluding fellows) are to include a statement in the Personal Statement section of their biographical sketch that explicitly states how they contribute to a safe, inclusive, and diverse work environment. In addition, mentors on Fellowships, Career Development Awards, and Diversity Supplements should complete recognized training specific to sexual and gender-based harassment.
Open Data Policy Change
For awards beginning in FY 23-24, the AHA has modified its Open Data Policy to align with the NIH’s new timeline for data sharing, effective for proposals submitted to the AHA after July 1, 2023. More on AHA Open Science Policies can be found here.
Revised AHA Open Data Policy: The AHA requires certain applicants to include a data sharing plan with the proposal. Any factual data that is needed for independent verification of research results must be made freely and publicly available in an AHA-approved repository as soon as possible, and no later than the time of an associated publication or the end of the award period (and any no-cost extension), whichever comes first.
* Existing awards are subject to the policy in place when the award agreement was signed. If a new award agreement is required (e.g., change of PI, change of institution) award is subject to policies in place at the time the agreement is signed.
Supporting Rheumatic Heart Disease Research
The AHA is helping to support a broader approach to research funding focused on Rheumatic Heart Disease. To that effect, the AHA is committing to funding research in this specific area across all scientific disciplines (basic, clinical, and population) within any current AHA programs. No additional pre-proposal or proposal materials are necessary outside of individual AHA program criteria; awardees will be designated from the existing applicant pool within each program.
Application Resources to help complete your RFP
Found the RFP that would be perfect to fund your research, but don't know how to begin the application process? Find all your questions, answered in one convenient place and applicable resources at the touch of a click.
Click through to see criteria for which applications are evaluated
Important Items to Note
- An applicant is prohibited from contacting AHA peer reviewers. This is a form of scientific misconduct and will result in the removal of the application from funding consideration and institutional notification of misconduct.
- The AHA does not permit the use of a large language model (LLM – e.g., ChatGPT) or an artificial intelligence tool to generate and/or edit content in peer review critiques. Uploading of any portion of a research proposal into a large language model (LLM – e.g., ChatGPT) or an artificial intelligence tool to assist in writing a critique of the proposal is explicitly prohibited as it is a violation of the AHA’s Peer Reviewer Certification Statement (PDF) (to include confidentiality, non-disclosure, and conflict of interest).
- AHA reserves the right to an initial triage, whereby a minimum of half of the submissions may be triaged.
- No Letter of Intent is required nor accepted for Career Development Award applications.
- To judge the merit of the application, reviewers will comment on the following criteria. Please address these in your proposal. The AHA uses a 1–9 score scale and AHA Peer Review Guidance (PDF).
AHA Mission: To be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives.
- How well written is the Non-Scientist Summary in explaining to a non-scientist audience the research proposed and its importance?
- Does the Non-Scientist Summary adequately explain the major health problem being addressed by this study?
- Does it provide specific questions and how the projects will address them?
- Does it provide information on the overall impact of this work and the potential advances in the field?
- Does it relay how the proposal supports the mission of the AHA?
Mentorship and Career Development
- Do the mentors have the experience to direct the proposed research training, as evidenced by a track record regarding productivity, funding and prior trainees?
- Does the primary mentor demonstrate familiarity with the applicant’s career and developmental goals and provide a comprehensive training plan that supports the applicant's progress towards his/her career development plan?
- Is an appropriate level of time, effort, funding, and involvement proposed for the mentoring component?
- Is there a contingency plan for mentors, if they cannot fulfill their contract for mentorship to the early career investigator?
Career Development Plan
- Is the candidate’s career development plan, both during the award and afterward, of high quality and sufficient feasibility?
- Do the structured activities meet the applicant’s long- and short-term career goals?
- Are appropriate timelines and metrics of success planned for the candidate’s progress?
- Is there a mitigation plan if timelines and metrics are not fulfilled on time?
- Is there a satisfactory and appropriate relationship of the proposal to the career development goals and the candidate’s previous experience?
Investigator and Environment
Investigator (applicant): Is the investigator appropriately trained, productive, and well suited to carry out this work? Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level of the principal investigator (applicant) and other researchers? Does the investigative team bring complementary and integrated expertise to the project (if applicable)? Does the Investigator have a record of diligence, commitment, and productivity that warrant support as an early career investigator?
Environment: Does the environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Does the proposal benefit from unique features of the investigative environment, or subject populations, or employ useful collaborative arrangements? Is there evidence of institutional support as demonstrated in the department head letter? Does the mentoring team have experience and success mentoring early career investigators to independence?
(8 page limit)
Significance: Does this study address an important problem that is a barrier to a world of longer, healthier lives? Does the science accelerate the discovery, interpretation, and application of scientific knowledge to enhance and treat cardiovascular and brain health? 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? How will the acquisition and analysis of data during this early career award facilitate the successful transition to independence of the early career investigator toward successful future funding and independence?
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 proposal? The assessment of preliminary data should be put into perspective so that bold new ideas and risk-taking by beginning investigators are encouraged rather than stymied. Does the applicant acknowledge potential challenges and problem areas and consider alternative tactics and mitigation? Will the training and experience attained during this mentored project support and promote a pathway to becoming an independent investigator?
For all applications that include vertebrate animals or human subjects, applicants must explain how relevant biological variables, such as sex and age, 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 or a specific age group.
Innovation: Is the proposal original and innovative? For example: Does the proposal challenge existing paradigms and address an innovative hypothesis or critical barrier to progress in the field? Does the proposal develop or employ novel concepts, approaches, methodologies, tools, or technologies for this area?
Impact: How does the training and experience supported by this award ensure that the early career investigator will progress to success in funding and independence as a career research investigator?
|AHA offices will be closed on the following days:||Altum/Proposal Central offices will be closed on the following days:|
|Jan. 2||July 3 & 4||Jan. 2||Sept. 4|
|Jan. 16||Sept. 4||Jan. 16||Oct. 9|
|Mar. 31||Nov. 23 & 24||Feb. 20||Nov. 23 & 24|
|May 29||Dec. 26 - Jan. 2||May 29||Dec. 25 - 29|