Application Resources


General Guidelines

Do I have to be an AHA Professional Member to apply for research funding?

Each applicant must be an AHA Professional Member before submitting a full proposal. (Membership is not required to submit a pre-proposal/letter of intent.) Join or renew when preparing an application in ProposalCentral, online, or by phone at 301-223-2307. Membership processing may take 3-5 days; do not wait until the application deadline to renew or join.

What types of research does the AHA fund?

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. See the definitions of many types of research.

Is my institution eligible for AHA funding?

American Heart Association 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, except for applications specifically related to the AHA’s Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine. An investigator may be allowed to request approval to conduct work outside the United States temporarily.

Applications will not be accepted for work with funding to be administered through any federal institution or work to be performed by a federal employee, except for Veterans Administration employees.

What if my lab or department is not a primarily cardiovascular or neurology discipline?

The extent to which the focus of the project is related to cardiovascular and/or cerebrovascular diseases and/or brain health is an important factor that will be considered, though an applicant is not required to be a part of a cardiovascular/cerebrovascular-oriented laboratory, clinic or department.

Which visa types does the AHA accept?

Awardees must have one of the following designations, depending on career stage an each individual’s situation. Please consult with your institution’s grant officer.

  • U.S. citizen
  • Permanent resident
  • Pending permanent resident
    (must have filed Form I-485 for permanent resident status and obtained an I-797C Notice of Action that the application has been received by USCIS and case is pending)
  • E-3 Visa - specialty occupation worker
  • F-1 Visa – student (predoctoral and postdoctoral fellows only)
  • G-4 Visa - family member of an international organization employee
  • H1-B Visa - temporary worker in a specialty occupation
  • J-1 Visa - exchange visitor (except for pre- and postdoctoral fellowships, awardees must obtain an H-1B or equivalent by the award activation date)
  • O-1 Visa - temporary worker with extraordinary abilities in the sciences
  • TN Visa - NAFTA Professional
  • DACA - Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Which academic disciplines do AHA awards cover?

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

Am I required to submit a pre-proposal?

Some programs follow a two-part application process that requires a pre-proposal (letter of intent). Part one is the submission of a pre-proposal (required letter of intent), applicant’s biosketch, and other preliminary documents, as requested. Part two is an invitation from the AHA to submit a full proposal.

A pre-proposal requirement will be included on each Request for Proposals and on the funding opportunities page.

May I hold more than one AHA award at the same time?

An individual may hold more than one AHA award concurrently but may only hold one career development/recognition award (Career Development Award, Established Investigator Award, Merit Award) at a time. Strategically Focused Research Network personnel may also hold individual AHA awards.

What percent of effort is required?

Unless specified in the Request for Proposals (RFP), no minimum percent effort is required; however, the Principal Investigator must demonstrate that adequate time will be devoted to ensuring successful completion of the project.

What are my chances of being funded?

The AHA publishes its most recent application success rates, which are the percent of the total number of full applications submitted that received funding. Past success rates should not be used to anticipate future funding rates.

Tell me about AHA’s diversity and inclusion efforts.

The AHA believes diversity and inclusion is an essential component to driving its mission and strongly encourages applications by women, underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in the sciences, military veterans, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and those who have experienced varied and non-traditional career trajectories.

Are there best practices for the use of race and ethnicity and other population descriptors in genomics research?

The AHA strongly recommends those working in genomic research to rethink and justify how and why they use race, ethnicity, and ancestry labels in their work, based on the recommendations provided by the National Academies Use of Race, Ethnicity, and Ancestry as Population Descriptors in Genomics Research Genomics Research.

Application Preparation

Is there a set of AHA application instructions?

How do I begin a proposal in ProposalCentral?

Please see this instructional tutorial: How to Create an Application in ProposalCentral (PDF).

Is there help for preparing my summary for non-scientists?

Non-scientist (lay) reviewers are a part of most peer review committees. They rely on the Summary for Non-scientists to judge how a proposal relates to the AHA’s mission. Avoid technical and scientific terms. Refer to section 10 of the Application Instructions (PDF) for help with completing this section.

Describe the major health problem you are addressing, the specific questions you wish to answer, how your proposal addresses this problem, the overall impact of the proposed work, and how the proposal supports the AHA mission to be a relentless force for a world of longer healthier lives.

Your summary’s grade level is automatically calculated in the ProposalCentral form, which uses the online editor readable.com. If your summary is written above the 12th-grade level, your proposal cannot be submitted. Yellow and red shading indicate passages that will benefit from editing. For editing assistance, you may use Readable or a similar online tool.

Image of Georgia Papavasiliou, PhD, on YouTube screen

 

VIDEO: How to Share Your AHA-Funded Research
Researcher Georgia Papavasiliou, PhD, shows you how to explain your research to non-scientists in a way that will get them excited about your work.

Where can I find help with preparing my Career Development Plan?

What should I know about submitting my biosketch?

For submission to the AHA, an applicant may use their current NIH biosketch. It is not necessary to reformat to AHA page specifications.

The AHA requires the additional statements below in the Personal Statement section:

  • AHA Predoctoral Fellowship and AHA Postdoctoral Fellowship applicants: The AHA requires a statement on career goals in “Section A. Personal Statement.”Career goals should reflect the applicant’s true plans and are not required by AHA to be traditional academic or clinical research work.
  • All applicants: If public sharing of your research outputs such as data, code, or material led to scientific advances by others, you are encouraged to detail this.

The National Institutes of Health offers the following biosketch tools:

Where can I find resources to help me write a stronger proposal?

Many online resources are available. Below are two examples from the National Institutes of Health.

Can applicants utilize 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?

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.

Evaluation and Funding

Which peer review study group will review my proposal?

AHA maintains dedicated Peer Review Committees by award type and science subject. Selecting the Science Keywords that best describe your proposed work is important for sorting your proposal to the most appropriate AHA review group. Refer to https://professional.heart.org/en/research-programs/peer-review for more details about AHA peer review.

VIDEO: NIH Peer Review: "Live" Mock Study Section

What is application triage?

The AHA reserves the right to an initial triage, whereby a minimum of half of the submissions may be triaged and not discussed in a peer review meeting. All proposals submitted will receive a written critique, unless otherwise noted.

Can I take my AHA award to a different institution?

AHA project awards are fully transferable to make the awardee a "free agent" who is empowered to move to another qualified institution while retaining the award.

May I rebudget my award money after my proposal is funded?

Unless specified, award budgets are unrestricted among allowable categories (salary/fringe of PI and essential personnel, supplies, equipment/computers, travel, human subjects, etc.), funds may be re-budgeted between categories without prior AHA approval.

How can I access the AHA Precision Medicine Platform?

Scientists whose projects involve coding and/or use large amounts of data are encouraged to apply for access to the AHA Precision Medicine Platform (PMP), a cloud-based solution for data analysis. Please see Precision Medicine Platform section below.

What is the AHA’s open science policy?

If you had a prior AHA Research award, your eligibility to receive additional funding might depend on demonstrated compliance with our open science policies. Please refer to the AHA’s compliance instructions (PDF) to ensure that previous awards are in good standing.

Can peer reviewers utilize a large language model (LLM – e.g. ChatGPT) or an artificial intelligence tool to generate and/or edit content in research critiques?

The American Heart Association 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 (to include confidentiality, non-disclosure, and conflict of interest).

Precision Medicine Platform

How do I get started on the AHA Precision Medicine Platform (PMP)?

Is there a cost to use the PMP?

No. The AHA will provide a complimentary workspace for you 60 days prior to your application deadline to use to compute preliminary data and link your Notebook to describe the analysis approach related to your research project. Information on linking your Notebook to your application can be found below.

The AHA will provide the use of cloud credits with all funded applications. 

How do I link the Notebook that I created using my preliminary data on the AHA PMP to my application?

To link the notebook created in a workspace on the AHA Precision Medicine Platform to your application, the notebook should be in HTML format and can be generated from one of two ways: 

Jupyter Notebook (.ipynb) to HTML 

  1. Ensure that all work is saved on a Jupyter Notebook (.ipynb) file. In the ‘File’ menu, select ‘Save and Export Notebook As > HTML’. The `.ipynb` Jupyter Notebook will be converted to a `.html` format and downloaded to a temporary downloads folder in the workspace.
    Note: If using the classic Jupyter Notebook instead of JupyterLab, select ‘Download As > HTML (.html)’ in the ‘File’ menu instead.
  2. Re-upload the HTML file to the workspace by clicking the upload icon in JupyterLab or clicking the Upload button on the classic Jupyter Notebook Home tab. The file should be in Documents > Downloads.
  3. Save the HTML file in the ’/mnt/workspace/Export_Files’ directory. This will sync the HTML file with the workspace portal. 
    Note: It may take a few minutes for the file to sync and show up on the list of ‘Export Files’ on the portal. 
  4. Navigate to the PMP portal and find the HTML file within the ‘Export Files’ section on the workspace portal page. To the right of the listed HTML file, click the cloud icon to generate a static URL of your file. 
  5. You will be presented with a box titled ‘Publish Notebook’. Fill out the information requested (does not have to be comprehensive) and click on ‘Publish’. You should receive an email (see at the address your PMP account is linked to.  
  6. Copy and paste the provided URL link from the email into your application. 


R Markdown (.Rmd) to HTML 

  1. Ensure that all work is saved on an R Markdown (.Rmd) file. On the toolbar on the top-left pane of the screen, click on the dropdown arrow next to ‘Knit’ and select ‘Knit to HTML’. A new file with the .html extension will be created in the same folder as your original Rmd file. 
  2. Move the HTML file to the ‘/mnt/workspace/Export_Files directory. This will sync the HTML file with the workspace portal. 
    Note: It may take a few minutes for the file to sync and show up on the list of ‘Export Files’ on the portal. 
  3. Navigate to the PMP portal and find the HTML file within the ‘Export Files’ section on the workspace portal page. To the right of the listed HTML file, click the cloud icon to generate a static URL of your file. 
  4. You will be presented with a box titled ‘Publish Notebook’. Fill out the information requested (does not have to be comprehensive) and click on ‘Publish’. You should receive an email at the address your PMP account is linked to.
  5. Copy and paste the provided URL link from the email into your application.

I still have questions. Who can I contact?

Please reach out to us at [email protected]

Research Oversight

What are the AHA’s research goals?

Mission, Vision and the 12 Essential Elements that guide the AHA Research program

Does the AHA have standards to ensure funding of quality research?

The American Heart Association is committed to maintaining research programs of the highest quality. We've developed research program standards to ensure they remain at a uniformly high level. The most important of these written guides is our Standards for Research Programs, which contains policies, standards and guidelines to help ensure that our research programs are fairly and consistently conducted. 

What is the role of AHA research volunteers?

Science and medicine volunteers establish and direct the American Heart Association's research policies and programs. In partnership with the volunteers, AHA staff provide administrative and implementation support.

Webinars

Live Webinars on AHA
Research Funding

Overview of upcoming research award offerings, application tips, and understanding the peer review process. The last 10-minutes are for Q & A.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023
11 am Eastern/10 am Central/9 am Mountain/8 am Pacific
Click to register

Thursday, November 9, 2023
12 pm Eastern/11 am Central/10 am Mountain/9 am Pacific
Click to register

Watch the April 2023 presentation
Passcode: t&9Tatr3
View April 2023 presentation slides (PDF) 


Research Supplement to Promote Diversity in Science
Current AHA Research awardees may support a pre- or postdoctoral fellow from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group in science and medicine.

Watch the video presentation
Passcode: &Db=$8#C
View slides from 01/17/23 (PDF)


Speaker headshots for Funding Underrepresented Investigators webinar - Carlos J. Rodriguez, MD, MPH, FAHA, FACC, Yvonne Commodore-Mensah, PHD, MHS, RN  and William W. Ashley, Jr., MD, PhD, MBA, FAANS

Research Funding Webinar for Underrepresented Investigators
Carlos J. Rodriguez, MD, MPH, FAHA, FACC and Yvonne Commodore-Mensah, PHD, MHS, RN, FAHA present AHA research priorities to address health inequities and structural racism, AHA research award offerings, application tips, and the peer review process. With a special welcome from William W. Ashley, Jr., MD, PhD, MBA, FAANS.

Watch the recorded webinar from 10/20/22

2023 Holidays

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

    July 4