Independent Grant Information & FAQs

The Children’s Heart Foundation’s Independent Grant Awards

The Children’s Heart Foundation’s Independent Grant Awards are intended to fund research that directly impacts patients living with congenital heart disease, over the course of their lifetime. We seek to support investigations in clinical cardiology, including surgical and interventional techniques, as well as translational research and population science. Our ultimate goal is to fund the most promising research that will advance the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of congenital heart defects (CHDs).

The Foundation’s primary focus is on funding research in patients born with structural congenital heart disease.  We also support research in fetuses/patients with congenital complete heart block, and investigations focused on the evaluation and treatment of cardiomyopathy and arrhythmias in patients with underlying CHD, and research on pediatric heart transplantation.  Traditionally, we have not funded research on acquired heart disease (e.g., Kawasaki disease, rheumatic fever) or preventive cardiology (e.g., hyperlipidemia or hypertension in children).


What are the primary areas of focus for research applications we receive?

The focus areas for CHD research include but are not limited to:

  • Genetics
  • Maternal environment and modifiable disease impact on fetuses with CHD
  • Fetal diagnosis and intervention
  • Pharmacology
  • Devices and procedural research (cardiac catheterization and cardiac surgery)
  • Neurodevelopmental and functional outcomes
  • Life-long care of adults with CHDs
  • Technological development and advancements
  • Quality improvement
  • Policy regarding delivery of care, coverage, and access
  • Health Disparities

What is the desired scope of the research impact?

The Foundation is highly interested in research that would impact a large number of CHD patients. If the proposed research project only has the potential to help relatively few patients, but has a transformational impact, that application may be favorably received.

Is The Children's Heart Foundation interested in funding traditional basic science research?

For the Independent Grant Awards, clinical and translational applications are typically received the most favorably.  Investigators seeking funding for basic science projects should consider applying to the joint The Children's Heart Foundation - American Heart Association grant mechanism.

Is salary support for investigators allowed in the budget?

In prior years, research awards from the Children's Heart Foundation did not allow for investigator salary support.  However, starting in 2021, up to 10% of the annual budget may be used for salary support for the principal investigator and/or co-investigators.  

Is there a limit to the number of applications submitted by a PI during a single grant cycle?

Yes. Only one application may be submitted, per PI, during each Independent Grant Award cycle.

May non-physician researchers apply for funding?

Yes. Researchers from other disciplines, including nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, anesthesiologists, PhDs, MPHs and clinicians and/or researchers from non-cardiac specialties, are encouraged to apply for the Children’s Heart Foundation Independent Grant Award.

Does The Children's Heart Foundation value research focusing on disparities in healthcare outcomes?

Yes. Important disparities exist in most areas of healthcare, including pediatric cardiac care.  The Children’s Heart Foundation welcomes research applications that focus on these issues.

We also encourage investigators from underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds to apply for an award.  The Foundation does not discriminate, and shall not, based on race/ethnicity, religion (creed), age, gender/gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, or military status, in any of the Foundation activities. The Foundation prohibits and does not allow unlawful discrimination or harassment.

The Children's Heart Foundation is proud to work with individual donors with great charitable intentions to create a Named Fund in their honor or memory of a loved one. Named fund donors, by law, do not direct the foundation in any way. Their funding adheres to the same meritorious research application, scoring, and selection process as all Children's Heart Foundation grant awards. There is a minimum to start one, and they are often the most effective way to get directly involved in great philanthropic efforts.