Innovative Project Award

Success Rates

Required Letter of Intent

View the Letter of Intent instructions.  

Invited Full Submission:

*Only those applicants who submit a Letter of Intent and are invited to apply may submit a full application.  

Applications must be received no later than 3 p.m. Central Time in ProposalCentral on the deadline date. Early submission is encouraged. 

Statement of Purpose

  • To support highly innovative, high-impact research that could ultimately lead to critical discoveries or major advancements that will accelerate the field of cardiovascular and/or cerebrovascular research.
  • Research deemed innovative may introduce a new paradigm, challenge current paradigms, look at existing problems from new perspectives, or exhibit other uniquely creative qualities.
  • The Innovative Project Award (IPA) promotes unexplored ideas; therefore, preliminary data is not required and not accepted as part of the proposal. However, a solid rationale for the work must be provided. If you provide preliminary data, the application will be disqualified.
  • If you include information about preliminary work, then the proposal is not innovative. You may refer to previous projects you have conducted to demonstrate that you possess a competency or technique that equips you to take on this new direction. Proposals may also refer to existing, unanalyzed datasets and the types of data they contain (e.g., geospatial, demographic, billing, molecular) that could be leveraged in conducting the proposed work, but there should be no preliminary descriptive summaries of the data itself.
  • Proposed work should not be the next logical step of previous work, but should have a high probability of revealing new avenues of investigation, if successful.
  • The principal investigator (PI) is responsible for clearly and explicitly articulating the project's innovation and the potential impact on cardiovascular and stroke research.
  • The idea proposed here should not have been submitted in whole or in part in a previous proposal for AHA support


At the time of award activation:

  • The candidate must hold a post-baccalaureate Ph.D. degree or equivalent, or a doctoral-level clinical degree, such as MD, DO, DVM, PharmD, or PhD in nursing, public health, or other clinical health science.
  • This program places no limit on eligibility based on career stage, academic rank or discipline. It requires only evidence of employment at a qualified institution, beyond the fellowship/training stage..
  • 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.


Annual Award Amount: $100,000, including 10 percent indirect costs

The award may be used for salary and fringe benefits of the principal investigator, collaborating investigator(s), and other participants with faculty appointments, 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, and publication costs, etc. The proposed budget must be justified in the application.

Award Duration: Two years.
Total Award Amount: $200,000

Abbreviated Proposal

The Innovative Project Award proposal is limited to five pages (does not include literature/references cited).


  • AHA does not permit resubmission of a previous Innovative Project Award application.
  • Resubmission of a prior application to the AHA Innovative Research Grant program for an Innovative Project Award will not be accepted.
  • An applicant may submit more than one Innovative Project Award application; each proposal to an AHA innovative program (Innovative Research Award and Transformational Research Award) must have clearly distinct aims.
  • In addition, applicants to this program may submit one Transformational Program Award application, and one investigator-based application (AHA Institutional Research Enhancement Award, Career Development Award, Established Investigator Award, or AHA Institutional Research Enhancement Award) per fiscal year.
  • The Innovative Project Award may be held concurrently with another Association award.
  • Innovative Project Awards are not renewable. The award may be held more than once by a single investigator provided the projects are separate in nature and concept.
  • Awards are not intended to supplement or duplicate currently funded work.
  • The project submitted may have no scientific or budgetary overlap with other funded work.
  • If you provide preliminary data, the proposal will be disqualified.
  • Postdoctoral fellows and others in research training positions at time of application must obtain a faculty appointment by the award activation date.

Peer Review

AHA reserves the right to an initial streamlining, whereby up to half of the submissions may be streamlined with no reviewer comments and no peer review score. Of the remaining applications that will be peer reviewed, up to half will be streamlined and will receive reviewer comments. An initial streamlining process will be based on the project summary only. Therefore, Innovation and Impact should be specifically addressed in the project summary, rather than the standard abstract style that focuses mainly on approach.

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. Innovation: Assessment of the proposal's innovative nature -- Is the proposal innovative for the investigator and not a logical next-step? Is the proposal original and have the potential to ultimately lead to critical discoveries or major advancements that will accelerate the field of cardiovascular and/or cerebrovascular research? For example: Does the proposal challenge existing paradigms and present an innovative hypothesis or address a critical barrier to progress in the field? Does the proposal develop or employ novel concepts, approaches, methodologies, tools, or technologies for this area?
  2. Impact: Does the proposal have a high probability of sustained and powerful influence on the research field(s) of study? How does this proposal relate to and support the mission of the American Heart Association: to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives?
  3. Significance:Does this proposal address an important problem broadly related to cardiovascular and/or cerebrovascular disease? If the aims of the application are achieved, will scientific knowledge or clinical practice be significantly impacted? Will there be an effect on the concepts, methods, and technologies that drive this field?
  4. Approach: Are the conceptual framework, design, methods and analyses adequately developed, integrated, well-reasoned and appropriate to the aims of the proposal? Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative tactics?
  5. Investigator: Is the principal investigator appropriately trained and suited to carry out this work, even if a new area of investigation? Does the investigative team bring complementary, appropriately qualified, and integrated expertise to the proposal (if applicable)?
  6. Environment: Does the environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Does the proposal demonstrate that resources will be available to complete the project? Does the proposaled benefit from specific unique features of the environment, or subject populations, or employ useful collaborative arrangements?
Access the AHA Precision Medicine Platform for your Application
The AHA Precision Medicine Platform is creating a community of cloud-based tools and resources for all cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease researchers. Learn more about the platform (video). AHA awardees can have complimentary access to the Precision Medicine Platform to perform data analyses during the length of their AHA awards. Explore the capabilities of the platform (video).

The Precision Medicine Platform adheres to HIPAA (PDF) policy and is FedRAMP (PDF) compliant. Only the applicant and collaborators, co-investigators, or lab members are permitted access. The applicant is responsible for ensuring that all individuals with access to the workspace have the appropriate data access approvals.

To qualify for a complimentary Precision Medicine Platform workspace during the award, applicants must use a secure complimentary trial workspace on the Precision Medicine Platform to link preliminary data analyses and provide a description of the tools to be used in the workspace to analyze and visualize data. The workspace will only be available until the deadline for this AHA application. Data in the trial workspace will not be saved after the application deadline.

Register to obtain a 30-day trial workspace to use during the application period. Once registered, go to the Search page, click Request Workspace, complete the form, and Submit. Note: While the request form mentions billing, but there is no charge for use of the Precision Medicine Platform during the trial period. View detailed instructions and helpful information (PDF).

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.


Third Party Personnel Established Investigator Award