PART 1. Purpose and scope of the HFA Grants programme
Purpose of the programme
1.1 The HFA Grants programme enable medical and science graduates, who have completed the major part of their cardiology training but have not yet obtained a permanent status, to undertake specialised heart failure research or training in an ESC Member Country, outside their own country.
1.2 Applicants are advised to seek out a centre in one of the countries of the National Heart Failure Societies & Working Groups which not only offers good research or training opportunities but is also the most appropriate for the particular subject in which they wish to undertake research or training. The track records or expertise of the host department should be in line with the topic of the application.
The application and the project proposal are to be prepared in collaboration with the proposed host centre. The host centre has to nominate a supervisor who will take the main responsibility in preparing and supervising the project, if a grant is awarded.
Period of support
1.3 The project may be undertaken for any period from three to 12 months as requested by the applicant.
1.4 The HFA Grants programme provides financial support up to 25,000 Euros to the grant recipient, for a 12-month period, in addition to the agreement to be arranged with the selected centre (host institution). The granted amount will be calculated pro rata, according to the length of the project.
A fixed term contract of employment is usually signed between the institution and the grant recipient. The host institution should confirm its agreement on this process and a copy of the contract has to be provided to the HFA (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Grant recipients are urged to discuss the cost of their proposed programme of work with the host department so as to ensure that the department is in a position to meet any expenditure exceeding this amount. Thus, the head of the department will be expected to confirm this on the template to be completed.
Payment: 45% of the grant amount will be paid 2 weeks before the starting date, the other 45% will be paid six months after the starting date and the remaining 10% of the grant amount will be provided to the awardee once the training report has been provided to the HFA.
1.5 Without prejudice to the ESC's other rights and remedies, the HFA may withhold or suspend payment of any grant funding due to the Grant recipient and/or require the Grant Recipient to repay all or part of the grant in case the grant period ends before the planned date, whatever the reason for such termination.
In case the grant period ends before the planned date, the host Institution and the Grant Recipient will inform the HFA without undue delay. Failure to inform the HFA in due time may result in the exclusion of the host institution and Grant Recipient from all future grant offers that may be organised by the HFA.
PART 2. Method of application
2.1 Applicants must be under 40 years old at the day of application deadline (no exceptional circumstances, such as maternity leave, will be permitted).
2.2 Applicants must be a member of the HFA.
2.3 Applicants must hold a MD and be able to demonstrate expertise in Heart Failure through examination, practice, scientific publication in a relevant journal or abstract presentation at a national or international meeting; OR hold a PhD, DPhil degree or equivalent, or have submitted a thesis before starting the research period relating to the grant.
Submitting a formal application
2.4 Application is to be made exclusively online through a My ESC account. The closing date to submit the online applications for the Grant is 31 January (Basic & Translational Research) and 31 September (Clinical Training). The HFA Grants programme application form is visible and accessible only during the application period and if the applicant fulfils the eligibility criteria.
2.5 Applications are considered by an HFA composed Task Force within 5 weeks.
2.6 The project may be held in a suitable university department or similar institution in an ESC Member Country. Applicants are expected to make their own arrangements for acceptance in the host institution.
Obtaining signed approval by the host institution representatives is the key task for the candidate before submitting an application to the HFA.
2.7 The ESC will not provide assistance with transfer or household removal expenses incurred by grant recipients on taking up an award.
Subject of research or training
2.8 Proposals must result from discussions between the applicant and the chosen supervisor, but the applicant should submit personally composed proposals for specialised heart failure research or training in a basic/translational or clinical topic.
The application form has been designed to make it clear that the head of the proposed department is willing to receive the candidate and provide the necessary facilities.
Conditions for application
2.9 Applications for the Grants are made on the understanding that the host institution, as well as the supervisor and the Grant recipient all agree to accept the regulations relating to the programme. The HFA intends for the programme to be operated with flexibility and reserves the right to deal as it sees fit with any application of unusual nature. Furthermore, the HFA reserves the right to waive any rule, subject to the need to ensure that training funds are properly expended.
2.10 Applications must be supported in each case by:
- The head or supervisor of the department or establishment in which the candidate is currently working. The applicant will share these regulations with the head of department of the hosting institution and make sure that the latter is aware of the closing date; the present head or supervisor of the department or establishment should then complete the required template and send it to the applicant who will upload it to the application.
- A document describing the proposed project will be prepared jointly with the proposed supervisor.
- The head or supervisor of the proposed host department, who should complete the required template and return it directly to the applicant
- An independent referee of the applicant's choice, who is familiar with his/her work but not attached to the current or proposed host department has a template to complete and give back to the applicant.
2.11 Applicants are responsible for ensuring that all the documents required are returned attached to the application to the HFA by those concerned, and in time for the normal closing date for application.
2.12 Applicants are required to clarify with the head or supervisor of the proposed host centre the language requirements needed for the project.
PART 3. Standard regulations
Status of grant recipients
3.1 An award under these regulations will normally be administered through the medium of a fixed-term contract of employment for the period of the award, entered into by the grant recipient and the host institution, and co-signed by both parties.
3.2 Additional grants may be received but should take into account the amount offered by the HFA (maximum 25,000 Euros for a 12-month period).
Insurance and tax
3.3 The applicant is responsible for the set-up of his own personal and professional insurance and for compliance with taxation rules according to the local fiscal regulations.
Other awards and employments
3.4 Grants are awarded for full-time research or training and the HFA approval must be sought before any other work is carried out within normal working hours. As it will generally be necessary to make a reduction of the grant corresponding to any additional income so derived, grant recipients MUST notify the HFA of any earnings from such work and of any honoraria or awards received.
This does not apply however to remuneration received from up to 6 hours a week spent with the supervisor's approval on teaching, clinical sessions or demonstrating, the payment for which may be retained in full if this is in accordance with the host institution's conditions.
3.5 It will be a condition of any grant that recipients do not engage in private practice for personal gain.
3.6 Grant recipients may take holidays in accordance with the conditions of service of the host institution up to a maximum of six weeks during a complete year. The date and duration of any holiday proposed beyond this period should be reported to the HFA.
3.7 Grant recipients will be subject to the normal conditions of service of the host institution so far as sick leave is concerned, but the HFA should be notified if a grant recipient is likely to be away through illness for more than a month.
3.8 Grant recipients are obliged to have a health insurance either provided by the employing institution or at the grant recipient's own discretion.
Honorary clinical contracts
3.9 Grant recipients who undertake, as part of their Grant programme, work concerned with the care of patients are reminded that they should be in possession of an honorary clinical contract from the appropriate health authority.
3.10 Responsibility for seeking such a contract will lie with the head of the department in which the grant recipient is working, following the usual practice of the local Medical School. Should any difficulty be encountered, the HFA should be informed. A copy of the contract is to be provided to the HFA.
Change of project or supervisor
3.11 Any changes in a grant recipient's programme or supervisor from those originally approved by the HFA will require prior consent from the HFA.
3.12 Grant recipients will be subject to the terms of employment of their host institution.
Final report and subsequent post
3.13 Grant recipients are required to submit a report on the work undertaken at the end of the project period and to inform the HFA of the appointment he or she proposes to undertake. Grant recipients are encouraged to take this opportunity of putting forward any comments they may have on the Grant Programme.
Grant recipients are encouraged to submit an abstract for the HFA Annual Congress following the end of the project period and may be given the opportunity to present their project on the HFA Stage together with their supervisor.
3.14 The results of a grant recipient's project may be published in the usual way at the discretion of the supervisor or head of department and submission to an HFA journal is encouraged. The HFA expects that the award will be acknowledged in any publication pertaining to the work carried out during the tenure of the HFA Grant with the following sentence: "The author acknowledges funding received from the Heart Failure Association of the ESC in form of an HFA Research/Training Grant". One off-print of each publication should be provided to the HFA.