Peer Review

woman reading on laptopMost of the AHA's research funding opportunities are evaluated using the peer review process. With thousands of proposals submitted each year, the AHA relies on volunteer researchers and leading experts to impartially review proposals for research funding. Ultimately, their assessments and discussion result in ranking the ideas most worthy of funding.

What is a Peer Reviewer?

A peer reviewer is an expert in the same science field as the work being proposed (peer). Their review of the submitted work is considered necessary to ensure academic scientific quality.

The AHA recruits reviewers who work on basic, clinical, and population research in the following areas:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Basic Cell - Cell Structure and Survival
  • Basic Cell - Genetics and Epigenetics
  • Basic Cell - Membranes and Subcellular Organelles
  • Basic Cell - Proteins and Crystallography
  • Basic Cell - Regenerative Cell Biology
  • Behavioral Science - Prevention, Management, and Intervention
  • Bioengineering and Biotechnology
  • Brain, Stroke, and Cerebrovascular Disorders
  • Cardiac Arrest and Resuscitation
  • Cardiac Biology and Regulation
  • Cardiac Electrophysiology and Arrhythmias
  • Cardiomyopathies
  • Cardiorenal Syndromes
  • Cardiovascular Development
  • Cell Transport and Metabolism
  • Data Science
  • Epidemiology and Population Sciences
  • Genomics and Translational Biology
  • Health Equities
  • Hypertension
  • Immunology and Virology
  • Lipoproteins - Lipid Metabolism and Nutrition
  • Machine Learning
  • Microbiology and Infectious Disease
  • Molecular Signaling
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Neural Networks
  • Pulmonary Respiration and Resuscitation
  • Quality and Outcomes Research
  • Radiology and Imaging
  • Social Determinants
  • Surgery and Anesthesia
  • Thrombosis
  • Vascular Biology - Angiogenesis
  • Vascular Biology and Blood Pressure Regulation
  • Vascular Endothelial Biology and Function
  • Vascular Wall Biology - Atherosclerosis
  • Vascular Wall Biology - Non-Atherosclerotic Disease

What is the Peer Review Process?

Chairpersons and reviewers receive training/orientation to the AHA review process and criteria.

Peer reviewers are grouped into committees according to the type of award being applied for and by science topic.

Reviewers read the abstracts of the applications to be considered by their committee and mark their familiarity with each proposal’s topic. Reviewers never see a proposal with which they are in conflict, such as a proposal from their institution or from a collaborator, co-author, or personal relationship. Every precaution is taken to avoid apparent or perceived bias.

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). 

Based on the rankings of abstracts, the committee chairperson assigns each proposal to three expert reviewers who each prepare a written critique. Each reviewer conducts in-depth reviews for 6-9 proposals. The reviewers summarize proposals’ strengths and areas for improvement and generate preliminary scores.

After their initial individual in-depth evaluations, the reviewers come together in their review committee, which might also include lay volunteers, to further discuss and score each proposal’s merit and potential impact on the AHA mission.

Why be an AHA Peer Reviewer?

  • Provides a substantial addition to curricula vitae to be noticed throughout the science community.
  • Serves as a key point for tenure track and other promotions within most institutions.
  • Reviewers are exposed to relevant scientific breakthroughs happening daily in their specialties.
  • Peer review meetings bring about camaraderie and become a springboard for networking to initiate collaborative projects.
  • Advances interaction with other AHA council members.

Who can be an AHA Peer Reviewer?

  • Scientists who are actively engaged in research or who have had appropriate research experience
  • Minimum Assistant Professor career level or equivalent. Those with non-academic appointments who possess significant expertise will be considered.
  • Nationally recognized competence in one or more fields of biomedical research.
  • Current or recent independent peer reviewed funding, typically at the national level or equivalent research funding for reviewers employed in industry or government.
  • Consistent record of peer reviewed publications within the past five years.
  • AHA professional membership is encouraged.
  • Unconscious bias training for all AHA peer reviewers is strongly encouraged but not required.

How are Peer Reviewers Selected?

Peer reviewers may be referred by fellow peer reviewers, AHA Research Committee members, and by registering through ProposalCentral. They are also recruited from among AHA awardees and AHA Professional Council members. Each committee chairperson reviews candidates and selects a team based on their specific area of science and the volume of proposals received.

Peer Review Advantage

Dr. Michael Criqui talks about how peer review service can enhance your career success.

2024 AHA Holidays
AHA offices will be closed on the following days.

Jan. 1  Sept 2
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May 27  Dec. 23-27
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