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Mentor/AHA Mentee

Application Deadline: Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Award Activation: July 1, 2017

Applications must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. CDT on the deadline date. The system will shut down at 5:00 p.m. CDT. Early submission is encouraged. Your institutional Grants Officer (GO) has the final responsibility of submitting your completed application to the American Heart Association. It is important that you check with your GO for his/her internal deadline.

Program Description, Eligibility and Peer Review Criteria

Success Rates


To provide enhanced mentoring opportunities for early-career faculty from experts within fields of study important to their career development. Some mentoring may be accomplished face-to-face, but this funding mechanism is designed to include virtual channels (teleconferences, virtual rooms, etc.) and also should include journal clubs, discussions, etc. Creativity is encouraged, and mentoring of researchers from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in science, or from smaller universities and academic institutions, or working in a particularly difficult or emerging area of science will be particularly encouraged.
  • To provide protected time for mentoring activities for investigators who have an established record of accomplishments in mentoring.

    • Mentor candidates must have a demonstrated commitment to cardiovascular or cerebrovascular science, as indicated by publication history and scientific accomplishments.
  • To support early-career AHA funded investigators by providing supportive mentoring relationships which, in addition to supporting the pursuit of the research in question, also facilitate expansion of investigator skills.

    • Mentees must be current awardees of the AHA Scientist Development Grant (SDG) program, and will be identified as potential candidates by AHA if they are from an underrepresented racial and ethnic groups or an institution that is included in the NIH AREA definition, or if the scientific area they are pursuing does not have sufficient mentoring at their own institution.

Awarded mentors will be "matched" by AHA, to be paired with two or three current SDG or BGIA awardees.

Method of Application

Mentor candidates apply to the AHA, and must be willing to either:
  1. Mentor a current SDG awardee who is working in a particularly difficult or emerging area of science, a new area of inquiry, or an area for which it would be helpful to have additional mentoring from outside the awardee’s institution; or  
  2. Mentor current SDG awardees from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in science (Hispanic/Latino, Black or African-American, Native American/Native Alaskan, or Pacific Islander); or
  3. Mentor a current SDG awardee who is conducting research at an institution eligible for NIH AREA program grants (or a similar institution)

Target Audience

At time of application, applicants must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Independent investigator holding a faculty/staff appointment equivalent to Associate or full Professor.
  • Independent investigator holding a faculty/staff appointment equivalent to Associate or full Professor.
  • M.D., Ph.D., D.O. or equivalent doctoral degree.
  • Current national-level funding as principal investigator on an R01 grant or its equivalent (e.g. VA Merit Award, NSF Grant, or PI on Program Project Grant from NIH). NIH “K” series awards are not considered equivalent to an R01. Current or past AHA research funding as a principal investigator is a plus.
  • AHA Professional Member.
  • U.S. citizen or foreign national holding a permanent residence visa (e.g., in possession of an alien registration receipt card), or foreign national who has applied for permanent residency (form I-485 on file with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) and who has received authorization to legally remain in the U.S. (having filed an Application for Employment form I-765), an exchange visitor (J-1), temporary worker in a specialty occupation (H-1, H-1B, E-3), Canadian or Mexican citizen engaging in professional activities (TC, TN) or temporary worker with extraordinary ability in the sciences (O-1) visa, family member of employee of international organizations and NATO (G4). Student visas are not acceptable. Awardee must meet American Heart Association citizenship criteria throughout the duration of the award.

Location of Work

American Heart Association research awards are limited to 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. 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 applicants to the AHA’s Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine, and applications from Veterans Administration employees.

Funding is prohibited for awards at non-U.S. institutions.

Peer Review Criteria

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.

The following describes principal factors that enter into the peer review committee’s evaluation of applications. Generally, the candidate, innovativeness of the science, and techniques proposed to effectively mentor from a distance are being evaluated. The following criteria are given consideration, but the relative weight given to each may differ from case to case.

  1. Investigator: Is the applicant an independent investigator (minimum Associate Professor) with a strong track record of mentoring productive prior fellows and other trainees? Does the mentor have the required experience to provide the proposed research training, as evidenced by experience, career evolution, productivity, extramural funding, publication record, and productive prior trainees? Does the applicant have demonstrated excellence/national recognition in his/her field?
  2. Demonstrated commitment to cardiovascular or cerebrovascular diseases: Has the research program of the mentor candidate focused on basic, clinical, or population science related to cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease? Does the applicant provide demonstrated commitment to cardiovascular / cerebrovascular research in his/her current and past studies? Do the proposed studies continue to illustrate this commitment to cardiovascular or cerebrovascular science?
  3. Prior or current independent national-level awards: Does the candidate’s track record regarding funding provide evidence for independence, excellence, and potential for future success? Has the candidate held independent national awards, such as an NIH R01 and/or the equivalent?
  4. Mentoring Plan and Approach: Does the mentor provide a comprehensive mentoring plan which details how he/she will facilitate the development of mentees? What will be the impact of the proposed mentoring plan? How often will the mentor meet with the mentee? Routine teleconferences?
  5. Environment: Does the mentor candidate’s scientific environment contribute to the probability of success? Does the proposed mentoring benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, or subject populations, or employ useful collaborative arrangements? Is there evidence of institutional support?

Award Amount:

Two mentees: $15,000 per year for three years, totaling $45,000 per award.
Three mentees: $20,000 per year for three years, totaling $60,000 per award.
Funds may be used to cover a portion of the mentor’s salary and fringe benefits, and/or to cover travel costs for the mentee to visit the mentor’s lab for a specific purpose (e.g., learning a new experimental technique, etc.).
Duration: Three years.

Interim Reporting: Assessment of annual progress reports filed jointly by the mentor and designated mentee(s).

Evaluation: Feedback from the mentee on the results of this relationship/contact with the mentor; mentee’s publications, citations by others, ability to attract ongoing research funding, faculty advancement and/or other evidence of career progression, contribution of Association support to career advancement