See Extramural Loan Repayment Program for Clinical Researchers (LRP-CR) guide notice in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts for program and policy guidance.
Past program announcements for all Extramural LRPs, including the Privacy Act notice, are available for reference.
Clinical Research - Patient-oriented research conducted with human subjects, or research on the causes and consequences of disease in human populations involving material of human origin (such as tissue specimens and cognitive phenomena) for which an investigator or colleague directly interacts with human subjects in an outpatient or inpatient setting to clarify a problem in human physiology, pathophysiology or disease, epidemiologic or behavioral studies, outcomes or health services research, or developing new technologies, therapeutic interventions, or clinical trials.
Please note: The definition of Clinical Research for the LRPs is derived from LRP-related legislation and may differ from other published Clinical Research definitions.
See Eligibility on the Eligibility & Programs page.
Application Review Process
DLR reviews each application to ensure it is complete and meets all general eligibility requirements. Applications that are incomplete – including those missing supplemental information, such as recommendations and institutional certification – as of the applicable deadline will not be considered for further review.
NIH Institute or Center Assignment
Applications are forwarded to the NIH Center for Scientific Review (CSR).
- CSR will then assign applications for the Clinical Research and Pediatric Research LRPs to the most appropriate NIH Institute or Center (IC) for review. The IC assignment can be viewed in the LRP Online Application System once CSR makes the assignment, which typically takes place by the end of January. Applicants who wish to have a different IC review their application must submit a request to email@example.com. IC reassignment is not guaranteed.
- Applications for the Minority Health and Health Disparities Research LRP and Clinical Research for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds go to the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) for review, and applications to the Contraception and Infertility Research LRP go to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute on Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) for review.
NIH Institute or Center/Peer Review
IC staff review each application for responsiveness. Applications determined to be responsive are assigned for peer review and evaluated according to the following criteria:
- Applicant’s potential to pursue a career in research, including the following:
- Appropriateness of the applicant’s previous training and experience to prepare for a research career;
- Appropriateness of the proposed research activities during the LRP award and how it will foster a career in research;
- Commitment to a research career, reflected by things such as the personal statement of long-term career goals and the plan to achieve those goals; and
- 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:
- Appropriateness and availability of equipment, patient care and services, and location to conduct the proposed research; and
- Availability of colleagues, or collaborators if needed, to conduct the proposed research.
Select applicants will be emailed on a rolling basis to request submission of loan documentation. Loan balance and eligibility must be established to be considered for repayment. Loan documentation can take several months to acquire from lenders. DLR encourages all applicants to contact their lenders as soon as the LRP application is submitted. LRP applicants should carefully review the Loan Detail Page for more information.
All Extramural LRP new awards are two years. Repayments for a new award are calculated using the eligible educational debt at the contract start date. The repayment amount is equal to one-quarter of the total eligible educational debt, up to $35,000, for each year of the award. To receive the maximum amount of $70,000 for a two-year award, an applicant must have at least $140,000 in eligible educational debt at the contract start date.
Payments are made on a quarterly basis, starting with the highest priority loan per NIH guidelines. If a loan is paid-in-full before the end of the contract, subsequent quarterly payments will be directed to the loan with the next highest priority. See a full list of the loan priority order.
Use the repayment calculator to estimate the amount of an LRP new award.
A new LRP award is a two-year contract that starts on July 1 in the year after the application deadline. Awardees are expected to meet the terms and conditions of the LRP award for the entire contract period.
Applicants must conduct two years of qualified research for the duration of an LRP award, and an authorized official (Institutional Business Official) at the applicant's institution must certify that there will be paid, protected research time for the applicant to devote to these activities during the two year award.
Qualified research is not retroactive. Any research performed prior to the start date of an LRP award will not count toward the service obligation required by the award.
Change of Institution
It is the responsibility of award recipients to notify LRP immediately if there is a pending change in employment. LRP awardees must submit a Change of Institution (COI) application to be considered for continuation in the Program. A COI applicant must meet all LRP eligibility criteria, and COI requests are subject to final approval by the NIH Institute or Center that funded the LRP award. Approval of COIs is not guaranteed.
Family leave can include maternity, paternity, parental, and adoption leaves. Paid family leave may be used during an LRP award. Any unpaid leave, even if covered under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), may result in a reduced quarterly payment. Awardees must make payments to lenders on their own behalf for periods of Leave Without Pay (LWOP).
Breach of Contract
Failure to complete the terms of an LRP contract, including the research service requirement, is considered a breach of contract. The penalty for breaching the LRP contract is $7,500 for each month the contract terms are not met, with the minimum penalty set at $31,000. Please read the LRP contract in its entirety before applying to the LRP.
Online Application Period
Supporting Documentation Period
IC & Peer Review Period
Financial Review Period
Individuals should determine whether to apply as an independent researcher or a mentored research scientist (e.g., mentored scientists are generally funded by another investigator's grant). Since the Institutes and Centers (ICs) apply varying criteria to these categories, applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the most appropriate LRP IC Liaison(s) for guidance before beginning the application. The list of LRP IC Liaisons can be found on the Contact & Engage page.
There are many attachments requested during the online application process. The table below lists the required attachments, organized by type of document, who needs to submit it, and researcher type (i.e., mentored research scientist or independent researcher).
In addition, applicants must have:
- An Institutional Business Official (IBO) to verify eligibility and employment;
- A minimum of three reference letters, but no more than five will be accepted. For mentored research scientists, one of the reference letters must be from the mentor.
|Document or Form||Mentored Research Scientist||Independent Researcher|
NIH Biosketch (Applicant)
|Instructions: Submit a Biosketch in a specified NIH format. It is not necessary to have a well-established career to apply to the LRP, but the Biosketch should include a list of significant honors and grants. An NIH Biosketch cannot exceed five (5) pages.|
NIH Biosketch (Mentor)
|Instructions: Submit a Biosketch in a specified NIH format. An NIH Biosketch cannot exceed five (5) pages.|
NIH Biosketch (Additional)
|Mentor on behalf of Additional Mentor||Not Applicable|
|Instructions: If another laboratory staff member will be involved in the mentoring program, this staff member’s Biosketch should be provided by the mentor. The Biosketch must be in a specified NIH format and cannot exceed five (5) pages. Only one additional Biosketch may be attached to an application.|
|Instructions: Use one (1) page to describe briefly your previous research training experience and short-term academic and research objectives.|
Career Development Plan
|Instructions: Use two (2) pages or less to describe your career development plan and explain how this plan will foster the development of your career in research. Specify the types of research methods and scientific techniques to be learned, membership in journal clubs or groups, and conferences and seminars to be attended.|
|Applicant, with approval from Mentor||Applicant|
|Instructions: Use eight (8) pages or less to describe the research activities you will pursue over the next two years and your specific role and responsibilities in the research project(s). Literature citations are included in the character count and should be listed on the last page. Include your name, employer, title of research project, and date in the document header.|
|Applicant, with approval from Mentor||Applicant|
|Instructions: Use one (1) page to describe the research to be conducted during the course of the LRP award and the facilities that will be available to execute the project. The description should include the branch/laboratory/section/department of the applicant and the appropriate scientific colleagues, institutional research, and facilities available. Include a brief description of the funding source for your research. Also, if this is a mentored application, a brief description of the mentor's research should be included.|
|Applicant, with approval from Mentor||Not Applicable|
|Instructions: Use two (2) pages or less to describe your research training program and mentoring plan. Specify the types of training interactions, training mechanisms to be used, research methods, and scientific techniques to be learned, involvement in activities such as journal clubs, professional groups, conferences, and seminars. Describe how your mentor will contribute to your training program and his/her prior experience as a mentor of other investigators. Additionally, the nature and extent of supervision should be discussed as they will occur during the award period. If another laboratory staff member will be involved in your mentoring program, provide his/her name and describe his/her degree of involvement.|
Certification for Online Application
|Instructions: Read all statements listed in the Certifications for Online Applications section and check the box next to each statement to signify your consent. You will enter your electronic signature in lieu of printing, signing, and returning the form to the NIH LRPs. You will also be required to type in the last four (4) digits of your SSN as a means to certify your consent and verification.|
|Instructions: Read the NIH Loan Repayment Programs Contract in its entirety and check the box next to the statement to signify your consent. You will enter your electronic signature in lieu of printing, signing, and mailing in a signed copy of the contract to the NIH LRPs. You will also be required to type in the last four (4) digits of your SSN as a means to certify your consent and verification.|
|Instructions: Note that it can take many months to obtain the LRP-required documentation from lenders and servicers, so LRP applicants are strongly advised to collect those documents well in advance. Provide specified documentation to demonstrate that educational loans listed in the application are eligible for loan repayment. Loans will be considered ineligible if appropriate documentation is not provided in a timely manner. See additional details about loan documents. Applicants will be notified by DLR when to submit those documents any time between May and August.|
Qualified lenders: Any U.S. government (Federal, State, or local) entity, accredited U.S. academic institution, and/or U.S. commercial educational lender that is subject to examination and supervision in their capacity as a lending institution by an agency of the United States or of the State in which the lender has its principal place of business.
Unqualified lenders: Entities that are not U.S. government (Federal, State, or local), U.S. academic, or U.S. commercial educational lenders. Loans from friends, relatives, or other individuals are also not qualified.
Most U.S.-based educational loans made by a qualified lender for educational purposes are eligible for repayment, including U.S.-based educational loans made for the following purposes:
- Undergraduate, graduate, and health professional school tuition and expenses;
- Other reasonable educational expenses required by the school(s) attended, including fees, books, supplies, educational equipment and materials, and laboratory expenses;
- Reasonable living expenses, including the cost of room and board, transportation and commuting costs, and other living expenses as determined by the Secretary of the Department of Health & Human Services.
A consolidated loan is eligible as long as all loans in the consolidation are eligible for repayment.
Existing principal and capitalized interest on eligible loans and related expenses, such as the required insurance premiums on the unpaid balances of some loans, from qualifying lenders are also eligible for repayment.
The following loans are not eligible for repayment through the LRPs:
- Consolidated loans that include at least one of the following loans are not eligible for repayment;
- Loans obtained from an unqualified lender;
- Loans obtained by the applicant for an individual other than the applicant, such as a spouse or child;
- Loans obtained by an individual other than the applicant, such as a spouse or parent;
- Non-educational loans, such as a home-equity loan;
- Loans for which eligibility documentation is not provided;
- Loans or portions of loans obtained for educational or living expenses which exceed a reasonable level as determined by the standard school budget for the year in which the loan was made;
- Loans, financial debts, or service obligations incurred under a program where an incurred service obligation converts to a loan upon failure to satisfy the service obligation;
- Loans that are delinquent, in default, or not current in their repayment schedule;
- Parent PLUS loans;
- Loans that are paid-in-full;
- Loans that are obtained after the start date of the initial NIH Loan Repayment Program Contract.
Additionally, late fees, penalty fees, additional interest charges, or collections costs will not be repaid by the LRP.