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Application Process

Home > About the Programs > AIB Extramural > Application Process

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Application Process


The application process for the Extramural Loan Repayment Programs is conducted electronically. The application materials are located at the NIH Loan Repayment website ( and must be completed online (see Figure 1). In order to access and complete the forms located at our website (, you must have Netscape version 4.7 or higher, or Internet Explorer version 5.0 or higher.

All forms to be completed in support of your application by individuals you have identified, including Research Supervisors, Mentors, Recommenders, and Institutional Contacts, are also located at the NIH Loan Repayment website, These individuals are contacted electronically using e-mail addresses supplied by you and must complete their forms online.

You must select the Loan Repayment Program (Pediatric Research, Clinical Research, Contraception and Infertility Research, Health Disparities Research, or Clinical Research LRP for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds) you are applying for at the start of the application process. Only one loan repayment program can be selected since this selection will guide the processing of the application during the review process.

The NIH Institutes and Centers approve or disapprove applications for participation in an Extramural Loan Repayment Program.
  • Applications submitted to the Division of Loan Repayment are first examined to determine if the basic eligibility requirements are satisfied. If these requirements are met, the application is forwarded to the NIH Center for Scientific Review for a determination regarding which NIH Institute or Center the application will be assigned to for review, scoring, and ranking.
  • Applications for the Health Disparities Research or the Clinical Researchers from Disadvantaged Backgrounds Loan Repayment Programs are forwarded to the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities Research (NIMHD) (Click here for more information on the NIMHD ).
  • Applications for the Contraception and Infertility Research Loan Repayment Program are assigned to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) (Click here for more information on the NICHD).

The Loan Repayment Process

Chart of the The Loan Repayment Process

Application Forms

The following information is furnished by the applicant or others on behalf of the applicant (forms are completed electronically at the NIH LRP Web-site).

Applicants complete the online application by the specified deadline. They are responsible for providing the following to the NIH Division of Loan Repayment:
  • Applicant Information Statement with their NIH Biosketch.
  • Funding Information identifying their nonprofit funding sources.
  • Personal Statement, which includes a discussion of career goals and academic objectives.
  • Print, sign and fax in the Online Certification.
  • Provide proof of U.S. Citizenship or Permanent Residency. The application provides the list of valid documents.
  • Description of Research Activities, which describes the current or proposed research project including the specific responsibilities and role of the applicant in conducting the research. The research supervisor or mentor will be asked to concur in the research project description provided by the applicant (as a result, it is important that the description of Research Activities form be completed and submitted by the applicant as early as possible in the application process).
  • Identification of Recommenders. Recommenders need to be colleagues that can speak to the applicant's research capability.
  • Identification of Institutional Contact. The official providing this information should be someone authorized to reply for the organization. Please check with your institute to see who to name.
  • Loan Information for all qualifying loans. If recommended for funding you will be asked to fax us a current account statement(s), and promissory note(s) or disclosure statement(s), obtained from lending institution(s).
Research supervisors or mentors complete several online forms on behalf of the applicant:
  • Recommendation
  • An Assessment of the Research Activities form including review/concur with the Research Activities Statement submitted by the applicant, and;
    • Description of the Research Environment, which provides detailed information about the lab where the applicant is or will be conducting research, including funding, lab space, and major areas under investigation.
    • Training or Mentoring Plan, which includes a detailed discussion of the training or mentoring plan, including a discussion of the research methods and scientific techniques to be taught. This document is completed by the research supervisor or mentor and is submitted for all applicants.
    • NIH Biosketch of a laboratory staff member if involved in training or mentoring the applicant (optional).
    • Their NIH Biosketch.
Recommenders complete the online Recommendation form which includes their assessment of the applicants research capabilities and likelihood to become an independent researcher. A total of 3 Recommendations are required. The recommenders are asked to rate the applicant on several criteria and to provide text responses to 3 questions: Strengths, Weaknesses, and Overall Comments.

Institutional Contacts complete the online Institutional Information form. This form includes a certification that: (a) assures the applicant will be provided the necessary time and resources to engage in the research project for two years from the date a Loan Repayment Program Contract is executed; (b) assures that the applicant is or will be engaged in qualifying research for at least 50 percent or more of their total level of effort for an average of at least 20 hours per week during each quarterly service period. That is, during each contract quarter, participants must conduct the required research for a minimum of 240 hours (based on a 12-week quarter) or 260 hours (based on a 13-week quarter). (c) certifies that the institution is a domestic nonprofit (exempt from tax under 26 USC 501), and (d) provides the applicant's institutional base salary.

You can check the status of your application on-line at, including the status of materials submitted on your behalf from Recommenders, Research Supervisors, Mentors, and Institutional Contacts.

Please call the LRP Helpline at 866-849-4047 if you have questions regarding the Loan Repayment Program application process

Institute and Center Review, Scoring, and Ranking

The NIH Institutes and Centers approve or disapprove applications for participation in the Extramural Loan Repayment Programs. Award funding is highly competitive. Areas of research priority may be established by the Institutes and Centers, and may vary from year to year. Applications that are on time, complete and eligible will be referred to the appropriate NIH Institute for peer review by the NIH Center for Scientific Review (CSR). In evaluating the application, reviewers will be directed to consider the following components as they relate to the likelihood that the applicant will continue in a research career:

Applicant’s potential to pursue a career in research, including:
  • Appropriateness of the applicant’s previous training and experience to prepare for a research career
  • Appropriateness of the proposed research activities during the LRP contract period to foster a career in research.
  • Commitment to a research career, as reflected by the personal statement of long-term career goals and plan to achieve those goals
  • Strength of the letters of recommendations attesting to the applicant’s potential for a successful career in research
Quality of the overall environment to prepare the applicant for a research career, including:
  • Quality and availability of appropriate scientific mentors and colleagues to help achieve or enhance the applicant’s research independence, including the mentors’ record in mentoring researchers, funding history and research productivity.
  • Quality and appropriateness of institutional resources and facilities.
For renewal applications (also known as type 2 applications), progress under the previous project period is an additional evaluation criterion.

When an Institute or Center approves an application, the NIH Division of Loan Repayment notifies individuals of their award amount, provides a repayment schedule that covers the period of participation, and a Loan Repayment Program Contract is executed by an authorized representative of the Secretary, DHHS. If the approved research assignment changes, or if the employing research institution changes, the participant must have their continued eligibility re-certified by the Institute or Center which approved their application.

During the contract period the LRP awards are portable and can be transferred across institutions and research projects. However, the portability of the awards is subject to a review of continuing eligibility by the NIH Institute or Center (IC) that funded the award. In their review of continuing eligibility, the funding IC will assess the appropriateness of the research project, research environment, and mentoring plan, as well as reconfirm that basic eligibility conditions will be satisfied, e.g., that the research is supported by a domestic nonprofit funding and will occupy at least 50 percent or more of your total level of effort for an average of at least 20 hours per week during each quarterly service period.

You should notify the NIH LRP of any changes to your research assignment and/or institution during the contract period, and we will provide you with instructions on requesting NIH approval for the changes to your institution or research project. It is recommended that you advise us of these changes 2 months prior to their effective date, to allow sufficient processing time within the NIH. Contact the NIH at 866-849-4047 for further guidance.

Application Dates and Deadlines

To apply for loan repayment support under the Clinical Research LRP, Pediatric Research LRP, Contraception and Infertility Research LRP, Health Disparities Research LRP, or Clinical Research LRP for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds your entire application (including research activities, educational loan information, and other required information) must be submitted, via the NIH Loan Repayment Program online application system, by the applicant deadline. Your colleagues are allowed additional time after this deadline to complete their forms on your behalf.

Applications that are incomplete, including applications that are missing supplemental information, such as recommendations and institutional certification, as of the applicable deadline date WILL NOT be considered. It is strongly recommended that applications be submitted and the required documents be faxed as soon as possible and that applicants follow-up with their colleagues to insure that their forms are completed prior to the colleague deadline.

LRP contracts are expected to become effective on or about July 1 the following year. LRP contracts are not retroactive to any earlier date.

System Requirements

In order to access and complete the forms located at our website (, you must have Netscape version 4.7 or higher, or Internet Explorer version 5.0 or higher. We recommend that applicants alert others who will be asked to provide information on their behalf, such as Research Supervisors, Mentors, Recommenders and Institutional Officials about these system requirements.

Date Last Updated: May 29, 2015

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