2020 Merit Award Letter of Intent Instructions

Applicants are required to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) for the AHA Merit Award on or before Thursday, July 11, 2019, at 5 p.m. CT. Letters of Intent must be submitted via ProposalCentral.

Please note: Only applicants who submit a LOI and are INVITED to apply may submit a full application. AHA will contact applicants in early December regarding their status after LOI review.

Before beginning the LOI, it is very important to review the program description, noting especially the sections describing the purpose, target/eligibility, peer review criteria, and important conditions. LOI review will focus on adherence to the program description and these instructions.

  1. Log on to ProposalCentral and navigate as follows:
    Application Administration > Create New Application
    1. In the “Select a Funding Component” drop down list, select “Association Wide”
    2. In the “Select Program” drop down list, choose the "2020 Merit Award" option.
  2. Complete the Pre-Submission Questionnaire (10 questions)
    These questions help determine your eligibility to apply for this award.
    1. If your eligibility is confirmed with the answers you provide, you will be granted immediate access to complete a LOI.
    2. If you miss a question, you will receive a message that you provided an unacceptable response (or responses) to the questionnaire. You will be asked to clarify response(s), which will be monitored by an AHA staff member. AHA will contact you regarding the explanation you provided for the incorrect response. If the explanation is acceptable, you will be allowed to continue with the LOI.
  3. Advanced Profile
    In this section of the application, you will provide information about yourself, your academic career, professional time, citizenship, location of work for the research project and college degrees. Save each section as you complete it.
  4. Project Summary
    1. Enter the percent effort you will devote to this project
    2. Enter a Project Title
    3. Complete the Project Summary
      Write a concise description or abstract describing the work proposed. This should be as brief as possible, since you also will be required to upload a separate LOI document. Note: This field will not accept any special characters or keystrokes (e.g., β, π, etc.).
  5. Science Classifications and Research Classification
    These classifications are independent of each other and will not affect the peer review of your application
    1. Research Classification Type: Select the Research Type that best fits the research being conducted in your lab (basic, clinical, or population).
      1. Indicate whether your research is translational in nature
    2. Major Science Classification: Choose BOTH a Major Class 1 and a Major Class 2.
      1. For each major classification, you may select up to six sub-classifications to identify the appropriate scientific expertise.
      2. Current science classifications are listed on the AHA website.
  6. Personnel
    1. Enter supervisor’s and department head’s information.
    2. Select the Grants Officer and Fiscal Officer from your Sponsoring Institution
      The Grants Officer and Fiscal Officer must be selected from the list of registered users. Contact your institution’s grants office if you are unsure of which person to select from the list. It is important to select the correct Grants Officer as he or she is responsible for the final submission of your LOI to the AHA.
  7. Lay Summary (1 page)
    Enter a description of your project that is written to be understood by non-scientists. This information may be reviewed by people who do not have scientific or medical backgrounds. Please be clear and avoid technical and scientific terms, when possible. When formulating your lay summary, it might help to imagine that you are explaining your work to a new acquaintance who does not work in the science field.

    NOTE: It is incumbent upon the applicant to make a clear link between the project and the mission of the AHA. The lay summary will be assessed in terms of potential impact on the AHA mission; this will be factored into the overall priority score as noted in the peer review criteria.
  8. Funds Available
    Enter details for active and pending research support that is available to you
  9. Science/Evaluation Information
    1. Upload your LOI as a pdf document. See LOI Guidelines below. (limited to 3 pages)
    2. Upload a list of your 15 best most impactful and/or foundational publications that are relevant to the proposed research focus or this program as a pdf document. When selecting, consider those which are foundational papers that support your research program; those that are most cited; and for more recent publications, those in the most high-impact journals or that you predict will elicit the most citations. (limited to 2 pages)
    3. Submit your biosketch (limited to 5 pages)
  10. Submit to Grants Officer
    The LOI Application must be submitted to your institution’s Grants Officer. Allow your Grants Officer enough time to review and submit it to the AHA by the stated deadline.

No reference letters are to be supplied with the initial LOI. Two references will be required from those selected to submit a full application.

LOI Guidelines

A Letter of Intent (LOI), limited to three pages, is required. The LOI should briefly address the following points.

  • Describe why the AHA should invest in your proposed vision for the future in terms of:
    • Likelihood of transforming and advancing the future of CV and stroke science.
    • Potential to move your research into emerging and/or difficult areas of inquiry, being consistently at its forefront.
    • Ability to develop new tools and methods that support creative experimental approaches to questions, encompassing concepts or techniques from other disciplines.
    • Capacity to forge links between disparate disciplines.
    • Strong track record of collaboration with other distinguished scientists across disciplines.
    • Evidence of great promise for future original and innovative contributions.
    • Demonstrated commitment to the mission of the American Heart Association and to advancing the ideals and guiding principles through volunteer service.
Format/Type Requirements

You must comply exactly with the AHA's format/type requirements and page limits. Failure to comply will result in the administrative withdrawal (disqualification) of the application.

  • Only Portable Document Format (PDF) files will be accepted.
  • LOI must be single-spaced.
  • No more than 15 characters per inch (cpi) or an average of no more than 15 cpi (cpi includes symbols, punctuation and spaces).
  • No less than ¾" margins allowed.
  • Sixty lines per page are the maximum allowed. The average number of lines per page using the font and point size below will be approximately 50-55 lines.
    • Windows users: Arial Font style, 12 point font size
    • Macintosh users: Helvetica Font style, 12 point font size
  • Figures, charts, tables, graphics and legends may be smaller in size but must be clear and legible.
  • Three-page limit, after converting your document to a pdf.
Note: the ProposalCentral electronic system will reject a document that exceeds the page limit.

Users of other Word-processing programs must adjust settings appropriately and should measure text after saving and printing as a PDF. Type requirements should be checked using a standard measuring device (such as a ruler), rather than relying on the font selected for a particular word processing/printer combination. Type size specifications must be observed in the text of your research plan or the application will not be reviewed and will be withdrawn. Adherence to font and margin requirements is necessary. No applicant should have an advantage over other applicants by providing more content in his/her application by using smaller, denser type. The AHA has the responsibility to make the final determination of conformance to format requirements and the authority to withdraw applications. This decision is final and not subject to appeal.

Internet Web site addresses (URLs) may not be used to provide information necessary to the review. Reviewers are under no obligation to view the Internet sites. Moreover, reviewers are cautioned not to directly access an Internet site, as it could compromise their anonymity.

The only place a URL may be used is in the biographical sketch as described in the instructions for that form. Provide a URL to a full list of your published work as found in a publicly available digital database such as SciENcv or My Bibliography, which are maintained by the US National Library of Medicine.

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