2023 Merit Award Invited Applicant Instructions


Deadline for invited, full applications: Thursday, November 17, 2022, 3 pm Central
Award start date: April 1, 2023
Applications must be submitted via ProposalCentral by the institution’s Grants Officer.

Submit the application your institution’s Grants Officer in enough time to allow them to review and submit it to the AHA by the deadline.

Log on to ProposalCentral and navigate as follows:
HOME: Proposals Due -- Your Merit Award application will be listed on the screen.
Click the Proposal ID number to complete all required sections

Uploads Required for Invited Applicants

Upload Attachments

Applications will be reviewed by scientists and lay stakeholders. Content should be written so that it is understandable to non-scientists, as well as to scientists who may not have specific expertise within the proposed topic area. The research does not need to be described in the detail that would be expected in an NIH R01, since the track record and promise of the investigator are the primary award criteria.

The application must include the following documents:

1. A summary of the applicant’s major research achievements. This should be written so that a non-scientist reviewer can readily understand the summary. (Not more than one page)

2. A summary of the applicant’s ongoing and planned research program and a statement of why the AHA should support the applicant’s vision. (Not more than eight pages; up to one page of figures is permitted and counts toward the eight-page limit.)

This section should build upon the letter of intent by focusing on how the applicant’s past accomplishments and future vision would:

  • Transform and advance the future of approaches to cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease.
  • Move into emerging and/or difficult areas of inquiry, being consistently at its forefront.
  • Support creative approaches to questions, encompassing concepts from other disciplines.
  • Forge links between disparate disciplines.
  • Allow for collaboration with other distinguished scientists across disciplines.
  • Consistent with AHA’s commitment to fostering growth of new and developing investigators, all applicants MUST incorporate the naming of at least one full-time fellow (predoctoral or postdoctoral) for the duration of the award term.  Additionally, applicants must name at least one early-career faculty member (up to and including assistant professor) whose career should  be meaningfully enhanced by their substantive inclusion in the proposed studies.
  • Generate original and innovative contributions.
  • Assist the AHA in becoming a catalyst to achieving maximum impact in equitable health and well-being.

3.  Literature Cited (4-page limit)

4. Summary of the applicant’s past efforts in support of AHA programs and initiatives and plan for future service as an ambassador in support of the AHA mission, if selected as a Merit Awardee. (Not more than one page)

5. Two references are required from those selected to submit full applications. (see below)

6. Top 15 Bibliography (optional replacement) - You may leave the Top 15 Bibliography that you submitted for your Letter of Intent. If you wish to replace this document, please email a pdf of your revised list with your application ID number to[email protected].

Supporting Documentation Section

Reference Letters (4 page limit for each)
Two references are required from those selected to submit a full application. Create two separate uploads. Each letter is limited to four pages.
Reference letters are due by 3 p.m. CST on the proposal deadline date.

Third Party Personnel
(if identified in proposal)

Format/Type Requirements

Most required documents may be prepared prior to creating the application in ProposalCentral. Adherence is mandatory to the page limits and format requirements below. No applicant should have an advantage over other applicants by providing more content in his/her application by using smaller, denser type.

Applications may be administratively withdrawn by AHA if the proposal does not comply with format requirements (type size/characters per inch, lines per page, and page limitations).

  • Document 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” page margins on all four sides.
  • Maximum of 50 lines per page.
  • Arial Font style, 12-point font size for Windows users; Helvetica Font style, 12-point font size for Macintosh users.
  • Only Portable Document Format (pdf) files are accepted.

It is not necessary to number your pages or to put your name on every page.

Internet Web site addresses (URLs) may not be used to provide information necessary to the review because reviewers are under no obligation to view the Internet sites. Moreover, AHA 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.

The AHA has the responsibility to make final determination of conformance to format requirements and the authority to withdraw applications. This decision is final and not subject to appeal.

Required documents for each program can be found on the Required Application Documents page. Content cannot be modified or changed once an application is submitted to AHA. Only the required documents for submission will be accepted. Additional or supplemental documents will not be accepted.

Peer Review Criteria

Since this award mechanism is intended to fund individuals rather than specific projects, peer review criteria focus primarily on the investigator, his/her record of accomplishments, and his/her potential to transform and advance the future of cardiovascular and/or cerebrovascular disciplines that support the mission and strategic values of the AHA.

Impact on AHA Mission
How effectively does the applicant describe for an audience without a science background how this proposal will impact the AHA’s mission to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives? Do past involvement and future plans support the applicant’s description? Is the proposed research of high impact to the mission of AHA? How will the applicant assist the American Heart Association in becoming a catalyst to achieving maximum impact in equitable health and wellbeing?

Consider the AHA’s Strategic Value Proposition that includes addressing overall health and wellbeing, anchored in cardiovascular and cerebrovascular health. This might encompass; focusing on breakthrough science and technology; changes in systems and policy; and engaging with individuals to transform communities. Evaluation of this criterion will be influenced by the lay summary section of the application.

Innovation and collaboration
Is the research direction described by the candidate likely to lead to the development of innovative approaches and significant contributions? Does the applicant’s vision challenge existing paradigms or critical barriers to progress in the field? Does the candidate propose new approaches to major challenges in the fields of cardiovascular and/or cerebrovascular diseases that have the potential to produce an unusually high impact? Does the applicant describe the ability to develop new tools and methods that support creative approaches to questions, encompassing concepts from other disciplines? Does the investigator have the capacity to forge links between disparate disciplines?

Investigator
Does the candidate have a history of volunteer service and commitment to the American Heart Association, across the breadth of volunteer opportunities? Is the candidate established as an accomplished investigator in the fields of cardiovascular and/or cerebrovascular science? How does his/her record of accomplishment (including funding and publications) demonstrate the future ability to transform the field? Does the candidate have a strong track record of collaboration with other distinguished scientists across disciplines?


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.

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