Merit Award

Funding Agency:
American Heart Association

To fund highly promising investigators with stellar track records of accomplishment, demonstrated by federal or equivalent funding [NIH, AHRQ, HRSA, etc.] from multiple sources and excellent publication records with accelerating impact, who have the potential to move a field of science forward with creative approaches that are aligned with the mission of the American Heart Association.

This award will support individual scientists with a trajectory of success, who propose novel approaches to major research challenges in the areas of CV and stroke that have the potential to produce unusually high impact.  This competition will enable AHA to further develop and strengthen the community of CV and stroke researchers and bring innovative approaches to basic, clinical, population and translational studies through funding a variety of disciplines.  Applications are encouraged from all basic disciplines as well as epidemiological, behavioral, community and clinical investigations that bear on cardiovascular and stroke problems, and must describe the capacity of the investigator’s work to transform public health policy.

Awarded investigators are expected to demonstrate a combination of the following attributes that distinguish them from other highly competent scientists in their field:

  • Likelihood of transforming and advancing the future of CV and stroke science.
  • Potential to move their research into emerging and/or difficult areas of inquiry, being consistently at its forefront.
  • Ability to develop new tools and methods that support creative experimental approaches to questions, encompassing concepts or techniques from other disciplines.
  • Capacity to forge links between disparate disciplines.
  • Strong track record of collaboration with other distinguished scientists across disciplines.
  • Evidence of great promise for future original and innovative contributions.
  • Demonstrated commitment to the mission of the American Heart Association and to advancing the ideals and guiding principles through volunteer service.

AHA seeks and strongly encourages applications from women and members of minority groups that are under-represented in biomedical sciences.

Letter of Intent (required) - Oct. 1, 2020

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

It is anticipated this award will be given to applicants with the following or equivalent credentials:

  • Have a Ph.D. and/or M.D. (or the equivalent).
  • Hold a tenured or tenure-track position as associate professor or higher academic rank at an eligible nonprofit U.S. institution or, if at an eligible institution that has no tenure track, hold an appointment that reflects a significant institutional commitment at the time of the application deadline.
  • Federal government employees are not eligible.
  • Be the principal investigator on multiple active, national peer-reviewed research awards of at least three years’ duration, such as an NIH R01 grant, at the time of application. Mentored awards, career development and training grants do not qualify.



Amount Description

  • Awards are for a five-year period
  • $200,000 annually for 5 years = $1,000,000 per award
  • Budget can cover costs such as PI salary/fringe; salaries/fringe of lab personnel; other expenses such as laboratory costs; animal costs; human subject recruitment/reimbursement; travel; publication costs, etc.

Funding Type



Women and minorities encouraged


Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Clinical Science
Medical - Translational

External Deadline

October 1, 2020