Are you a postdoctoral researcher with a passion for cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, or brain health research? The AHA Postdoctoral Fellowship might be your gateway to advancing your scientific career. In the following lines, let’s dive into what this fellowship entails and how it can propel you toward groundbreaking research opportunities.

AHA Postdoctoral Fellowship

What is the Purpose of the AHA Postdoctoral Fellowship

The primary objective of this program is to enhance the training of postdoctoral candidates who have not yet achieved independence in their research careers.

To achieve this, applicants are required to work within a suitable research group, benefiting from the guidance and support of a research mentor who provides relevant scientific direction.

Recognizing the unique challenges faced by clinicians in balancing research and clinical responsibilities, this award is designed to be flexible, allowing applicants to build their academic careers in research while fulfilling clinical service obligations.


What You Need to Know and Do

The trainee and mentor must jointly develop a well-thought-out and systematic research proposal aimed at addressing a specific research question in the fields of cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, or brain health research, with a strict page limit of five pages for the proposal.

The fellow is primarily responsible for preparing the application, although the mentor’s role in providing guidance is acknowledged. Since the fellow receives only a stipend from the award, additional financial support for the proposed research must come from the mentor’s laboratory.

Consequently, the proposal is often related to the mentor’s ongoing research. The mentor should clarify the applicant’s role in shaping the proposal, its connection to their laboratory’s current work, and how it contributes to the fellow’s training and career development.

New fellows may not have had sufficient time to generate preliminary data; therefore, they have the option to include preliminary data generated by their mentor. The evaluation of preliminary data, whether provided by the mentor or the applicant, should be considered in a way that encourages innovative ideas and risk-taking by early-stage investigators, rather than discouraging them.

It is strictly prohibited to submit an application to the AHA that contains identical or substantially similar content to an application submitted by another investigator. Additionally, submitting similar content in an application from a mentor to a grant program and their fellow to a fellowship program is also not allowed.

In such instances, both applications may be disqualified from consideration for funding. However, if a grant application is submitted by the mentor of a fellowship applicant, both applications may still be funded, provided there is no duplication of research aims.

Eligibility Requirement for AHA Postdoctoral Fellowship

1. To qualify for this award, the applicant must possess a post-baccalaureate PhD degree or its equivalent, or hold a doctoral-level clinical degree like MD, DO, DVM, PharmD, DDS, DPh, or a Ph.D in nursing, public health, or another clinical health science at the time of receiving the award.

2. The recipient must not be actively pursuing a doctoral degree when they receive the award.

3. At the time of receiving the award, the applicant should have no more than five years of research training or experience since earning their post-baccalaureate doctoral-level degree, excluding clinical training.

4. The awardee is expected to allocate a minimum of 80 percent of their full-time work to research or activities related to independent research, as opposed to administrative or clinical duties that aren’t an integral part of the research training program, or teaching responsibilities.

5. This award is not intended for individuals holding faculty positions. However, there are exceptions:

  • MD or MD/PhD recipients with clinical responsibilities who require an instructor or similar title to see patients, but who commit at least 80% of their full-time efforts to research training.
  • N./PhD recipients with a clinical appointment, who are expected to dedicate their time to research or activities directly linked to becoming an independent researcher, while still adhering to all other eligibility criteria.

6. Applicants do not need to reside in the United States for any specific period before applying for American Heart Association funding. Awardees must maintain an AHA-accepted visa throughout the duration of the award.

Required Application Documents

1. Necessary Documents: The Principal Investigator (PI) must furnish specific documents, which vary depending on the award program. Additionally, individuals known as Third Parties associated with the application will provide supporting documents. It is imperative that all required documents are uploaded onto ProposalCentral by the applicant before the proposal can be officially submitted to the AHA. The lists provided below are applicable only to award mechanisms with upcoming submission deadlines.

2. Biosketch Special Guidelines: The AHA mandates that all applicants supply information tailored to the requirements of each award mechanism. We strongly advise a thorough review of the updated Biosketch Instructions and the details needed in the Personal Statement Section.

3. Reference Reports/Letters: Several programs necessitate reference reports or letters as part of the application. Referees will upload these documents onto ProposalCentral using a link sent to them through a system-generated email message. It is crucial for referees to complete this step before the proposal can be submitted. Applicants should communicate both institutional and AHA deadlines to individuals providing reference letters.

4. Application Instructions: For items not hyperlinked below, detailed instructions can be found in the Application Instructions document (PDF).

5. ProposalCentral: Submission of proposals for AHA research funding is done entirely online, using ProposalCentral. Paper submissions are not accepted. Only the required documents can be submitted; there is no mechanism for supplemental materials.

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Application /Proposal  deadline

Thursday, September 7, 2024

Proposal Central will open for submissions by July 3, 2024

Note: Proposals must be received no later than 3 p.m. Central Time on the deadline date. Early submission is encouraged.



The AHA Postdoctoral Fellowship isn’t just a funding opportunity; it’s a springboard for emerging researchers like you to make a lasting impact in the realm of heart and brain health.

So, if you’re ready to embark on a transformative journey, seize this chance to drive innovation and contribute to a healthier future. Your breakthroughs in science could be just one fellowship away.

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