2020 AHA Institutional Research Enhancement Award (AIREA)

General Application Information

  • Supporting Documents lists the required uploads for each program.
  • View the detailed Applications Instructions (PDF).
  • Each applicant must be an AHA Professional Member.
    Join or renew when preparing an application, online, or by phone at 301-223-2307 or 800-787-8984. Membership processing takes 3-5 days; do not wait until the application deadline to renew or join.
  • ProposalCentral will open for submission approximately two months prior to each program’s deadline.

This RFA will be updated for 2021 approximately four months prior to the application deadline.

Program Description and Eligibility

Statement of Purpose

To support small-scale research projects related to cardiovascular diseases and stroke at educational institutions that provide baccalaureate or advanced degrees but that have not been major recipients of NIH support.

The award supports any part of the full range of research and development from very basic to clinical.

The goals of the program are to:

  1. Support meritorious research.
  2. Expose students to research.
  3. Strengthen the research environment of the institution.

Science Focus

The AHA funds basic, clinical, behavioral, translational and population research, bioengineering/ biotechnology and public health problems broadly related to fulfilling our mission to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives.


AHA awards are open to the array of academic and health professionals. This includes but is not limited to all academic disciplines (biology, chemistry, mathematics, technology, physics, etc.) and all health-related professions (physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physical and occupational therapists, statisticians, nutritionists, etc.).

Clinical, translational, population, and basic scientists are encouraged to apply. AHA maintains dedicated Peer Review Committees by science type and subject. The applicant will be required to select the desired review group (AHA Science Classifications).

AHA strongly encourages applications by women, underrepresented minorities in the sciences, and those who have experienced varied and non-traditional career trajectories.


Institutional Eligibility

The AHA applies the same institutional eligibility criteria to this award as the NIH uses for it’s AREA (R15) award. Institutions ineligible for the NIH Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) are also ineligible for this AHA Award. A signed letter will be required from the Provost or similar official with institution-wide responsibility verifying the eligibility of the applicant institution at the time of application submission. Applicants must provide the letter as part of their applications. This letter is limited to one page in length.

For undergraduate schools, the following eligibility criteria apply:

  • The applicant institution must be an accredited public or non-profit private school that grants baccalaureate degrees in biomedical sciences.
  • At the time of application submission, all the non-health professional components of the institution together have not received support from the NIH totaling more than $6 million per year (in both direct and F&A/indirect costs; i.e., the Total Federal Award Amount cited on a Notice of Award) in 4 of the last 7 years. A year is defined as a federal fiscal year: from October 1 through September 30. Note that all activity codes are included in this calculation except the following: C06, S10, and all activity codes starting with a G.
  • Qualifying academic component (school, college, center, or institute) within an institution (e.g. School of Arts and Sciences) has an undergraduate student enrollment that is greater than graduate student enrollment.

For Health professional schools and graduate schools, the following eligibility criteria will apply:

  • The applicant organization must be an accredited public or non-profit private school that grants baccalaureate or advanced degrees in health professions or advanced degrees in biomedical and behavioral sciences.
  • The applicant organization may not receive research support from the NIH totaling more than $6 million per year (in both direct and F&A/indirect costs) in 4 of the last 7 fiscal years. A year is defined as a federal fiscal year: from October 1 through September 30. Note that all activity codes are included in this calculation except the following: C06, S10, and all activity codes starting with a G.
  • Health professional schools are accredited institutions that provide education and training leading to a health professional degree, including but not limited to: BSN, MSN, DNP, MD, DDS, DO, PharmD, DVM, OD, DPT, DC, ND, DPM, MOT, OTD, DPT, BME, MSEE, MS-SLP, CScD, SLPD, AuD, MSPO, MSAT, and MPH. Eligible health professional schools/colleges may include schools or colleges of nursing, medicine, dentistry, osteopathy, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, public health, optometry, allied health, chiropractic, naturopathy, podiatry, rehabilitation medicine, physical therapy, orthotics & prosthetics, kinesiology, biomedical engineering, occupational therapy and psychology. Accreditation must be provided by a body approved for such purpose by the Secretary of Education.

Principal Investigator Eligibility

  • The PI must have a primary appointment at an AREA-eligible institution.
  • While no minimum percent effort is specified, the principal investigator must demonstrate that adequate time will be devoted to ensuring successful completion of the proposed project.


At the time of application, the Principal Investigator 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.


Award: $77,000 per year, including 10 percent indirect costs

Aside from the cap on indirect costs, there is no limit on budget categories. Funds may be used as the principal investigator deems necessary, in accordance with institutional and AHA policies.

Budget items may include:

  • salary and fringe of the principal investigator, any collaborating investigators, and other participants with faculty appointments
  • salaries of technical personnel essential to the conduct of the project
  • supplies
  • equipment
  • travel
  • volunteer subject costs
  • publication costs

No minimum effort requirement. Special consultative services from individuals may be requested, provided the circumstances are fully described in the application. International travel is permitted without prior AHA approval.

Duration: Two years
Total Award Amount: $154,000


  • An applicant may submit only one AIREA application per deadline.
  • The PI may not be the PI of an active NIH research grant at the time of award activation.
  • The applicant may submit only one AHA application per program type per deadline.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • An individual may hold more than on AHA award concurrently, but may only hold one career development/recognition award (Career Development Award, Established Investigator Award, Merit Award).
  • 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. Fully address these in your proposal.

  1. Impact: How effectively does the applicant describe for an audience without a science background how this proposal will impact the AHA’s mission? Consider the AHA’s Strategic Value Proposition that includes: addressing overall health and wellbeing, anchored in cardiovascular and brain health; focusing on breakthrough science and technology; changes in systems and policy; and engaging with individuals to transform communities. Does the science accelerate the discovery, interpretation and application of scientific knowledge to enhance and treat CVD and stroke? Evaluation of this criterion should be influenced by the lay summary section of the application and any lay reviewers’ impressions.

  2. Significance: Does this proposal address an important problem or barrier to progress that is 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 this proposal on the concepts, methods and technologies that drive this field? If funded, will the award have a substantial effect on the school/academic component in terms of strengthening the investigative environment and exposing students to research?

  3. Approach: Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the proposal? Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative tactics? Does the application provide evidence that the proposal can stimulate the interests of students so that they consider a career in the biomedical or behavioral investigation?

    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.

  4. 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?

  5. Investigator: Is the applicant appropriately trained and well suited to carry out this proposal? Does the investigative team bring complementary and integrated backgrounds to the proposal (if applicable)? Does the applicant(s) have suitable experience in supervising students in research?

  6. Environment: Does the proposal benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, or subject populations, or employ useful collaborative arrangements? Is there evidence of institutional support? Does the application demonstrate the likely availability of well-qualified students to participate in the project? Does the application provide sufficient evidence that students have in the past or are likely to pursue careers in the biomedical or behavioral investigation?

ProposalCentral is a web-based system for application preparation, submission, peer review, and awards management.

The Applicant (PI) is required to submit certain documents, which vary with each award program. In addition, other individuals (called Third Parties) associated with the application will provide supporting documents.

Toggle between the Applicant and Third Party Personnel tabs below to view a complete list. Instructions are contained in the Application Instructions (PDF) for items below that are not hyperlinked. All required documents must be uploaded to ProposalCentral by the applicant before the application can be submitted to the Grants Officer. The Grants Officer is responsible for sign-off and submitting the application to AHA.

AHA Institutional Research Enhancement Award (AIREA)


Third Party Personnel

  • Provost‘s Letter of Institutional Eligibility (1 page)

Optional third-party personnel:

Contact Us

For program questions / inquiries, call (214) 360-6107 (option 1) or 

AHA Research Accomplishments

Funding research is a cornerstone of the American Heart Association’s lifesaving mission - a pillar upon which the AHA was founded and a key to our future.