Intramural Loan Repayment Program for Clinical Researchers from Disadvantaged Backgrounds (CR-LRP)
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

December 1, 2022

Related Announcements


Issued by

Office of The Director, National Institutes of Health (OD)


This notice provides program-specific information for the Intramural Loan Repayment Program for Clinical Researchers from Disadvantaged Backgrounds (CR-LRP). 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. Additional detailed information about each LRP is provided at and

Applicants to the Intramural Disadvantaged Backgrounds LRP must hold, as a minimum, a two-year research appointment at the NIH. The repayment amount is equal to one-quarter of the eligible educational debt per year (up to $50,000). To receive the maximum repayment of $100,000 for a two-year new award, an applicant must have at least $200,000 in eligible educational debt at the contract start date.

Intramural LRP applications will be accepted from January 3 until March 15, 2023. All LRP applications must be submitted electronically using the Application Submission System & Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST),

CR-LRP Objective

The objective of the CR-LRP is to recruit and retain highly qualified NIH clinical investigators coming from an environment that inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skill, and ability required to enroll in, and graduate from, a health professional school, or a family with an annual income below low-income thresholds.

An individual from a disadvantaged background is defined as an individual who comes from (1) an environment that inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skill, and ability required to enroll in and graduate from a health professions school; or (2) comes from a family with an annual income below a level based on low-income thresholds according to family size published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index, and adjusted by the Secretary of Health and Human Services for use in all health professions programs. The Secretary periodically publishes these income levels in the Federal Register. An applicant must demonstrate his/her disadvantaged background status under the above definition by submitting: (a) a written statement from the individual's former health professions school(s) that indicates that he/she qualified for Federal disadvantaged assistance during attendance; or (b) documentation that he/she received any of the following financial aid: Health Professions Student Loans (HPSL) or Loans for Disadvantaged Student Program; or (c) documentation that he/she received scholarships from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) under the Scholarship for Individuals with Exceptional Financial Need.

Eligible Applicants

No applicant will be excluded from consideration on the basis of age, race, culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or other non-merit factors. Individuals from diverse backgrounds, including underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and women are always encouraged to apply for NIH support. See, Notice of NIH's Interest in Diversity, NOT-OD-20-031.

Eligibility criteria to participate in the Intramural LRP:

  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or permanent residents of the U.S.
  • Applicants must possess an M.D., Ph.D., D.O., D.D.S., D.M.D., D.P.M., D.V.M., A.D.N., B.S.N., or equivalent doctoral degree from an accredited institution; or hold the position of Physician Assistant.
  • Applicants must have total qualifying educational debt equal to or in excess of 20 percent of their institutional annual base salary at the time of the award. Institutional annual base salary is the annual amount the organization pays for the individual's appointment, whether the time is spent on research, teaching, patient care, or other activities. Institutional annual base salary excludes any income that an applicant may earn outside of the duties of the organization. This criterion is not applicable to applicants for a renewal award.
  • Applicants must be an NIH employee in the NIH Intramural Research Program or have a firm commitment of employment from an authorized official of the NIH. Appointments are made under the broad authority of the Federal Civil Service (Title V or Title 42) or the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service. Responsibility for obtaining qualifying employment rests with the LRP applicant.
  • Applicants must agree to conduct only research that is not prohibited by Federal law, regulations, or policies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or NIH. Applicants who receive LRP awards must conduct their research in accordance with applicable Federal, State, and local law (e.g., applicable human subject protection regulations) for the entire award period.
  • No individual may submit more than one LRP application to the NIH in any fiscal year. Individuals who have applied previously for the LRP, but did not receive an award, are eligible to apply for a new award if they meet all the above eligibility criteria.

The following individuals are ineligible for participation in the Intramural LRP:

  • Persons who are not U.S. citizens, nationals, or permanent residents.
  • Any individual who has or had a federal judgment lien against his/her property arising from a federal debt is barred from receiving federal funds even if the judgment is paid in full or satisfied.
  • Any individual who owes an obligation of health professional service to the federal government, a State, or other entity, unless deferrals or extensions are granted for the length of their Intramural LRP service obligation. The following list provides examples of programs with service obligations that disqualify an LRP applicant from consideration, unless a deferral for the length of the LRP award is obtained:
    • Armed Forces (Army, Navy, or Air Force) Professions Scholarship Program
    • Exceptional Financial Need (EFN) Scholarship Program
    • Financial Assistance for Disadvantaged Health Professions Students (FADHPS)
    • Indian Health Service (IHS) Scholarship Program
    • National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Scholarship Program
    • National Institutes of Health Undergraduate Scholarship Program (UGSP)
    • Physicians Shortage Area Scholarship Program
    • Primary Care Loan (PCL) Program
    • Public Health Service (PHS) Scholarship Program
    • National Research Service Award (NRSA) Program
  • Current recipients of NIH Intramural Research Training Awards (IRTA) or Cancer Research Training Awards (CRTA).
  • Individuals conducting research for which funding is precluded by federal law, regulations, or HHS/NIH policy, or that does not comply with applicable federal, state, and local law regarding the conduct of the research (e.g., applicable human subject protection regulations).

Funds Available

The NIH intends to commit approximately $5 million annually to fund Intramural LRP awards.

Annual Receipt, Peer Review, and Award ScheduleUpon receipt, applications will be reviewed for eligibility and completeness. Incomplete or ineligible applications will not be considered. Applications that are complete and eligible will be forwarded for processing.

  • Application Receipt Period: January 3 through March 15, 11:59 p.m. EST
  • Annual Peer Review Period: April – June
  • Annual Anticipated Award Period: July – September

Application Materials: The following information is furnished by applicants or others on behalf of applicants using the Application Submission System & Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST),, and must be submitted from January 3 through March 15, 11:59 p.m. EST

Following the instructions in the LRP Application Instruction Guide [], applicants submit the following:

  • Applicant information
  • Applicant's NIH Biosketch
  • Applicant's NIH eRA Commons ID
  • Personal statement, which includes a discussion of career goals and academic objectives
  • Funding Information: source(s) of applicant's research funding
  • 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.
  • Description of 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/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 learned
  • Mentor's/supervisor’s NIH Biosketch
  • An additional NIH Biosketch (optional) if there is another laboratory staff member involved in the applicant's Training/Mentoring Program
  • For new applicants, identification of at least three, but not more than five, referees/recommenders (one of whom is identified as the applicant's research mentor). For renewal applicants, only one letter is required from the applicant’s supervisor/mentor
  • Identification of an IC Coordinator
  • For New Award Applicants: Loan information obtained from lending institution(s), including current account statement(s), and promissory note(s) or disclosure statement(s)
  • For Renewal Award Applicants: Description of Research Accomplishments and updated loan payoff amounts
  • Applicants certify disadvantaged background status by submitting at least one of the following documents at the time of application: 1) A written statement from the applicant's health professions school(s) indicating qualification for federal disadvantaged assistance during matriculation; 2) Documentation of Health Professions Student Loans or Loans for Disadvantaged Students; or 3) Documentation of a scholarship from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Scholarship for Individuals with Exceptional Financial Need. Current financial need is not sufficient to be classified as an individual from a disadvantaged background.

Research mentors submit the following:

  • Reference Letter
  • Concurrence with Research Forms submitted by the Applicant (Research Activities, Research Environment, and Training/Mentoring Plan)

Referees/Recommenders submit the following:

Information is obtained from individuals who can comment on the research skills and abilities of the applicant. Reference letters are 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
  • Overall recommendation

IC Coordinators submit a certification that:

  1. The applicant is or will be a full-time employee of the NIH Intramural Research Program or NIH Clinical Fellowship, as of the start date of the LRP contract
  2. The applicant’s start date of NIH full-time employment can be supported and verified by the NIH SF-50 and/or SF-52 form
  3. The applicant’s 2-year FTE appointment at the NIH can be supported and verified by the NIH SF-50 and/or SF-52 form
  4. The applicant’s annual income or compensation is accurate
  5. The applicant will engage in ILRP-approved research for the duration of the LRP contract, as specified by the start and end dates provided on this certification

Renewal Award Applications

Loan repayment awardees who wish to apply for a renewal award should do so no earlier than the year before their current award ends. Intramural LRP renewal awards are available for one-year periods and are based upon the same criteria applied to an application for a new award plus two additional criteria: an assessment of research accomplishments and development of the applicant as an independent investigator. A detailed explanation or description of research accomplishments during the most recent award period is required. Progress toward development as an independent investigator is a major factor in granting a renewal award. LRP policy allows a thirty-seven-month period (starting the day after the last day of the most recent LRP award) for a renewal award application. After thirty-seven months, the Division of Loan Repayment views a submission of any application as an application for a new award, regardless of whether an unsuccessful application was submitted during the thirty-seven month period. Renewal awards are competitive and submission of an application for a renewal award does not assure the applicant of a renewal award.

Evaluation Criteria

Applications for the Intramural LRP are evaluated against the following criteria:

1. Applicant's Credentials

  • Based on the applicant’s publications, recommendations, awards, honors, research experiences, and professional training, assess the potential for a career as an independent investigator (clinical research) or a productive researcher within their stated career pathway, e.g., Staff Clinician, Clinical or Academic Researcher.

2. Research Training Environment

  • Focus on the Research Project for Senior Investigators, Investigators, Staff Scientists, Staff Clinicians, and Research Fellows; the applicant’s designated specific role or roles in the research project; their contribution in the design, implementation, and analysis of the research; and their central role in the research.
  • Focus on the training plan for Clinical Fellows, Postdoctoral Fellows, and others with less than 5 years of research experience; their contribution or specific role or roles in the design, implementation and analysis of the research project or protocol; and their identified central role in the research.

3. Research Progress (For Renewal Applicants only)

  • Assess research accomplishments including progress toward completion of the research plan; dissemination of research outcomes at scientific meetings; and publishing research findings.
  • Focus on the development of skills as an independent investigator or researcher within identified career pathways and skills, to enhance the progression of career and professional goals.

Program Administration Details

Under the LRP, the NIH will repay a portion of the extant qualified educational loan debt incurred to pay for the researcher's undergraduate, graduate, and/or health professional school educational expenses. It is the responsibility of the LRP awardee to notify the Division of Loan Repayment immediately if there is a pending change in employment, research focus, or extended leave. Failure to fulfill the terms of the LRP contract will result in the termination of the LRP award and could be considered a breach of contract. The penalty for a breach of contract is $7,500 for every month of unfulfilled service or $31,000, whichever is higher.

LRP service obligation and NRSA service payback cannot overlap, and permission to defer NRSA payback must be obtained prior to receipt of LRP funding.

The NIH will repay lenders for the extant principal, interest, and related expenses (such as the required insurance premiums on the unpaid balances of some loans) of educational loans from a U.S. government entity, academic institution, or a commercial or other chartered U.S. lending institution, such as banks, credit unions, savings and loan associations, not-for-profit organizations, insurance companies, and other financial or credit institutions which are subject to examination and supervision in their capacity as lending institutions by an agency of the United States or of the State in which the lender has its principal place of business, obtained by applicants for the following:

  • Undergraduate, graduate, and health professional school tuition 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

Loan repayments are made directly to lenders, following receipt of (1) the Research Supervisor's verification of completion of the prior period of research, (2) the IC coordinator’s verification of completeness of the prior period of service, and (3) lender verification of the crediting of prior loan repayments, including the resulting account balances and current account status. LRP award recipients will also be required to submit quarterly verification of continued employment and qualified research. The NIH will repay loans in the following order:

1. Loans guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

  • Health Education Assistance Loan (HEAL)
  • Health Professions Student Loan (HPSL)
  • Loans for Disadvantaged Students (LDS)
  • Nursing Student Loan Program (NSL)

2. Loans guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Education:

  • Direct Loans (Stafford, Consolidation, Perkins)
  • Federal Family Education Loans (Stafford, Consolidation)
  • PLUS Loans disbursed to graduate and professional students on or after July 1, 2006. Note: PLUS loans to parents do not qualify

3. Loans made or guaranteed by a State, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or a territory or possession of the United States

4. Loans made by academic institutions

5. Private (Alternative) Educational Loans:

  • Private (non-guaranteed) Consolidation Loans

The following loans are NOT repayable under this program:

1. Loans not obtained from a U.S. or other government entity, academic institution, or a commercial or other chartered U.S. lending institution such as loans from friends, relatives, or other individuals, and non-educational loans (e.g., home equity loans)

2. Loans for which eligibility documentation (current account statement, and promissory note or lender disclosure statement) is not provided

3. Consolidation loans that include a loan not eligible for repayment, such as loans obtained from an unqualified lender, loans obtained by the applicant for an individual other than the applicant (e.g., spouse or child), loans obtained by an individual other than the applicant (e.g., spouse or parent), or non-educational loans (e.g., home equity loan)

4. 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

5. 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

6. Loans that are delinquent, in default, or not current in their payment schedule

7. Parent PLUS loans

8. Loans that are paid-in-full

9. Loans obtained after the start date of the first NIH Loan Repayment Program award (e.g., a promissory note signed after the start date of an LRP award). This provision does not apply to qualifying loan consolidations.

Before the commencement of loan repayment, or during lapses in loan repayments, due to administrative complications, Leave Without Pay (LWOP), or a break in service, LRP awardees are wholly responsible for making payments or other arrangements that maintain their loans current, such that increases in either principal or interest do not occur. Penalties and/or fees assessed to awardees failing to maintain their current payment status may not be considered for reimbursement.

LRP payments are NOT retroactive. Loan repayment will commence after a loan repayment award begins, expected to be no earlier than October 1 and no later than September 30 annually.

Required Federal Citations

Awards are made pursuant to Section 2022 of the 21st Century Cures Act (Public Law 114-255), which amended Section 487A of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 288-1) to consolidate all NIH Intramural Loan Repayment Programs into a single Intramural Loan Repayment Program while retaining Clinical Research for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds as a subcategory.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Additional detailed information about the NIH Loan Repayment Programs is provided at Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss their career interests with their supervisor, their IC coordinator, and/or the Director of the Intramural Loan Repayment Program: The LRP Information Center is also available by phone at (866) 849-4047 or email at