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Research Supervisors / Mentors

Research Supervisor


A research supervisor is in a position of authority with the ability to verify that an LRP awardee is conducting research as described in the awardee’s research plan at the required level of effort.


A research supervisor will be asked to verify an awardee’s research service at the end of each quarter (13 weeks) throughout the length of an awardee’s LRP contract. At the end of each quarter, the research supervisor will receive an email from DLR with instructions regarding how to log into the Research Supervisor's Portal to complete the service verification process. The service verification serves to certify that:

  • An awardee is still employed to conduct research at the institution for an average of at least 20 hours per week each quarter (13 weeks);
  • An awardee’s research has not changed significantly; and
  • An awardee is not expected to leave the research institution before the end of the next quarter.



A mentor is an accomplished and trusted advisor who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced researcher.


A mentor will be asked to provide the following items in support of an application by the published deadline:

  • Reference letter (2 pages limit), which is expected to include the following information about the applicant:
    • Previous training and experience to prepare for a research career
    • Commitment to a career in research
    • Potential for a successful career in research
    • Research related strengths and weaknesses
    • Research accomplishments during the current/most recent LRP award period (renewal only)
    • Development as an independent investigator (renewal only)
    • Overall recommendation
  • Concurrence of the applicant’s research activities statement;
  • Concurrence of the applicant’s research environment statement;
  • Concurrence of the applicant’s research training and mentoring plan;
  • Concurrence of the applicant’s research accomplishments document (renewal applicants only).

Additionally, a mentor will be asked to provide a NIH formatted biosketch (5 page limit) to the applicant. The applicant will then upload the biosketch to his/her application on the mentor’s behalf.

Mentor's Portal

Mentors will receive a DLR email containing instructions regarding how to submit a reference letter (2 pages limit) and concur with research documents at the Mentor Letter Submission page. Mentors should contact the LRP Information Center at (866) 849-4047 if they need assistance.

About the NIH Loan Repayment Programs

The NIH Loan Repayment Programs (LRPs) are a set of programs established by Congress and designed to recruit and retain highly qualified health professionals into biomedical or biobehavioral research careers. The escalating costs of advanced education and training in medicine and clinical specialties are forcing some scientists to abandon their research careers for higher-paying private industry or private practice careers.

The LRPs counteract that financial pressure by repaying up to $50,000 annually of a researcher's qualified educational debt in return for a commitment to engage in NIH mission-relevant research. Since tomorrow's medical breakthroughs will be made by investigators starting in their research careers today, the LRPs represent an important investment by NIH in the future of health discovery and the wellbeing of the Nation.

Eligibility requirements for applicants include:

  • U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident;
  • Doctoral-level degree (except the Contraception and Infertility Research LRP);
  • Domestic, non-profit research funding (Extramural) or NIH employment (Intramural); and
  • Qualified research for an average of at least 20 hours per week during each quarterly (13 weeks) service period of the award.