American Heart Association’s Strategically Focused Children’s Research Network: Request for Applications

Funding Agency:
American Heart Association

A Strategically Focused Research Network (SFRN) is a mechanism that provides AHA an opportunity to address key strategic issues as determined by the AHA Board of Directors. This specific SFRN will focus on the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of children’s health. Three to four (3-4) Research Centers will make up the Network (diagrammed in Figure 1 for illustrative purposes) and will be supported for a period of four (4) years. These Centers will constitute the Network and will be awarded a total of $12-15 million over that period (including costs for Network oversight and administration). The desired characteristics of these Centers, the general requirements of the application, and the peer review criteria are described in this Request for Applications (RFA). 

Specifically, this RFA seeks to have basic, clinical and/or population/behavioral health teams join together and submit proposals which address the topic of children’s health via their individual areas of expertise. A Center may be sited at one or at multiple U.S. institutions under the leadership of one. Each Center applies for funding individually and is peer reviewed by the AHA. The most meritorious Center applications and their research projects will be combined by the AHA to form the AHA Strategically Focused Children’s Research Network. Broad collaborations for expertise are highly encouraged. A Center’s application can consist of three (3) proposals from their one (1) institution; or they can reach out and bring in other projects from other institutions. For example: a basic project could come from laboratory X in Delaware; a clinical project from hospital Y in Texas and a population/ translational project from University Z in California, with the primary applicant being any of these institutions. 

It should be noted that the increased availability of consumer-oriented health tools and social media, among others, has created new opportunities for natural experiments and novel interventions that could inform the development of effective health behavior change strategies that might improve disparities in risk factor control or enhance patient recovery. Multidisciplinary research that takes advantage of such innovative tools could also fall within the scope of this RFA. Furthermore, collaboration is encouraged with social and behavioral scientists, health policy experts, community-facing organizations and other experts to identify programs that effectively aid individuals in beneficial lifestyle modifications or engage clinical interventions in a fashion that unequivocally reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke or improves outcomes after an event.

The Network will include:

  • Three–four (3–4) Centers working together to advance the field of children’s research.
  • One (1) Oversight Advisory Committee (see pg. 16)
  • Nine–twelve (9–12) post-doctoral fellows over the course of four years, three at each Center.
  • Nine–twelve (9–12) research projects: Each Center must have three (3) research projects in at least two (2) of these disciplines: basic, clinical, population. All will focus on children’s health related to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and stroke and the topics of interest.

Only one Center proposal, including multiple research project proposals, may be submitted from an institution. Each Center application should have only one (1) Center Director.


  • Duke Internal Deadline: November 16, 2016
  • Letter of Intent Deadline: December 9, 2016
  • Full Application Deadline: February 21, 2017

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Awards are limited to non-profit institutions in the United States, such as universities and colleges, public and voluntary hospitals, laboratories, research institutes, and other non-profit institutions that can demonstrate the ability to conduct projects and organize a center. 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, with the exception of Veterans Administration employees. 

Broad collaborations for expertise are highly encouraged. A Center’s application can consist of three (3) proposals from their one (1) institution; or they can reach out and bring in other projects from other institutions. For example: the basic project could come from laboratory X in Delaware; the clinical project from hospital Y in Texas and the population/ translational project from University Z in California. 

The Centers are not transferable to other institutions. AN INSTITUTION MAY SUBMIT ONLY ONE AHA STRATEGICALLY FOCUSED RESEARCH NETWORK APPLICATION FOR THIS COMPETITION. Individuals at the applicant institution who are not participating in their institution’s center application (and/or its three project applications) may participate in another separate institution’s center application. Individuals participating in their institution’s center application, other than the Center Director may participate in a separate institution’s center application. The application may include individuals and/or projects at more than one institution provided there is evidence for a successful close personal and geographical interaction among research and training personnel.

It is the responsibility of the submitting institution to ensure that only one proposal is submitted for the institution or to coordinate across several institutions to create a single application. The Center Director’s institution will maintain fiscal responsibility for the entire award. The appropriate Institutional Officer should sign off on the proposal in AHA’s online grants management system, Grants@Heart.



Amount Description

The AHA is committed to an investment of $12-15 million to establish this Children’s Network which will provide almost $4 million per Center. 

Funding Type





Curriculum Development
Environmental & Life Sciences
Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Clinical Science
Medical - Translational
Social Sciences

Internal Nomination

Owing to the sponsor's restriction on the number of applications that may be submitted from Duke, anyone wishing to pursue nomination should submit the following materials as one PDF.

* A letter of support from dean or chair - 1 to 1.5 pages
* Project summary - 2 to 4 pages
* CV or Biosketch of project leader

Applicants will need to submit internal materials through My Research Proposal.(Code ILN)

Instructions for setting up your account and uploading internal applications can be found here: Instructions_FINAL.pdf

Internal Deadline

November 16, 2016

External Deadline

February 21, 2017