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Home > About the Programs > Intramural LRPs > Introduction

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AIDS Research Loan Repayment Program

In November 1988, Public Law (P.L.) 100-607 introduced Section 487A of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act (42 USC 288-1), authorizing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish a program of educational loan repayment to attract additional health professionals into Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) research. The mission of the NIH AIDS Research Loan Repayment Program (AIDS-LRP) is to attract highly qualified physicians, nurses, and scientists to HIV/AIDS research by countering the growing economic disincentives to embark on biomedical research careers, using loan repayment as an incentive.

General Research Loan Repayment Program

In June 1993, P.L. 103-43 authorized Section 487C (42 USC 288-3), which established a program of educational loan repayment to attract highly qualified health professionals, particularly physicians, to conduct research at the NIH. The mission of the General Research Loan Repayment Program (General LRP) is to attract talented researchers to public service as employees of the NIH using loan repayment as an economic incentive to embark on biomedical research careers, using loan repayment as an incentive. Generally, those at a tenure track or above level are given priority for funding of LRP awards.

General Research Loan Repayment Program for ACGME Fellows

A pilot initiative of $17,000 per year in loan repayment is currently available to fellows offered employment by the NIH in subspecialty and residency training programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Qualifying fellows must hold a three-year appointment at the NIH beginning in the fiscal year in which they are applying. Note the following differences from the General Research LRP described above:
  • loan repayment is $17,000 per year;
  • there is an expedited review process following receipt of a complete application package; and
  • upon notification to the DLR that a formal offer has been made to a fellow to train in an ACGME-accredited program, LRP application forms will be sent to the fellow automatically.
ACGME Application Processing Cut-Off Dates:
August 15 – October 15, no ACGME applications will be processed during this period; however applications will be accepted.

Clinical Research Loan Repayment Program for Individuals from Disadvantaged Background

P.L. 103-43 also added Section 487E (42 USC 288-5), which established a program of educational loan repayment to attract physicians or dentists from disadvantaged backgrounds to conduct clinical research. Clinical research is patient-oriented research that is conducted with human subjects, or research on the causes and consequences of disease in human populations involving material of human origin 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, or epidemiologic or behavioral studies, outcomes research or health services research, or developing new technologies, therapeutic interventions, or clinical trials. The NIH Clinical Research Loan Repayment Program's (CR-LRP) mission is to recruit highly qualified health professionals from disadvantaged backgrounds to serve as clinical researchers, using loan repayment as an economic incentive.


The LRPs may repay a maximum of $35,000 a year towards each participant's outstanding eligible educational debts. In return, participants must sign a contract agreeing to conduct appropriately qualified research activities as NIH employees for a minimum of 2 years for the AIDS and CR-LRPs, or 3 years for the General LRP. Participants may apply for additional one year renewal contracts and, if approved by the Loan Repayment Committee, continue to receive loan repayment benefits. Actual loan repayments are based on the proportion of a participant's qualifying debt relative to his/her beginning NIH salary. Loan repayment benefits represent taxable income for participants and are paid in addition to DHHS/NIH salaries and benefits.

The LRPs make payments, equal to 39 percent of total loan repayments, for direct credit to participants' Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Federal tax accounts.

Individuals who wish to apply for these LRPs are encouraged to read the remainder of this bulletin and apply online by clicking on the “apply here” link at the top of the page.

The National Institutes of Health

The NIH is the world's largest biomedical research institution and is the lead Federal agency responsible for basic and clinical research and research training. The NIH has its own hospital and more than 1,100 laboratories on its campus located in suburban Washington, D.C. The NIH is comprised of separate institutes and centers staffed by almost 4,500 researchers and health professionals holding doctoral and professional level degrees, including the Ph.D., M.D., D.O., D.D.S., D.M.D., D.V.M., Pharm.D., and A.D.N. /B.S.N. The NIH offers a variety of accredited clinical and basic research fellowships for physicians and other postdoctorates, as well as tenure-track and other employment opportunities.

The NIH Clinical Center is a 14-story, 350-bed research hospital designed with laboratories on each floor. Patient-care facilities are located adjacent to related laboratories to provide optimal resources for research while ensuring the highest possible level of clinical care.

Because studies are being conducted in almost every major field of biomedical and behavioral science, the NIH provides a unique environment for the conduct of interdisciplinary AIDS and multidisciplinary basic and clinical research activities. NIH’s AIDS effort encompasses work on the etiological agent, pathogenesis, therapeutics, vaccine development, behavioral intervention, and the epidemiology and natural history of HIV infection. Multidisciplinary research activities include studies in molecular biology and biochemistry, genetics, neurobiology, cell biology, immunology, and structural biology, among others. Clinical research activities include biomedical and behavioral studies of the etiology, epidemiology, prevention (and prevention strategies), diagnosis, or treatment of diseases, disorders or conditions, including but not limited to clinical trials.


Applicants for NIH’s LRPs must be NIH employees or must have a firm commitment of employment. 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.

Postdoctoral scientists at the earlier stages of their research careers who are interested in the LRPs may seek employment under one of NIH's postdoctoral fellowship programs, which offer time-limited appointments as Clinical or Research Associates, or Research Fellows (including Pharmacology Research Associates (PRAT) and Epidemiology Fellows). Scientists selected for NIH's Tenure-Track Program may also participate, as may scientists and health professionals (e.g., physicians, registered nurses) appointed in other temporary or permanent positions. Note: The length of the appointment must equal or exceed the LRP contract length.

The NIH Office of Education (OE) coordinates the recruitment, education, and training of physicians and scientists entering NIH residency/subspecialty training programs and postdoctoral fellowships, and also serves as a central contact point for scientists interested in tenure-track and other NIH employment opportunities (see the OE Internet site at The site also provides listings and descriptions of current NIH postdoctoral training opportunities and fellowship positions as well as tenure-track openings. Individuals without Internet access may obtain further information by calling 1-800-445-8283. Tenure-track and tenured positions are also advertised nationally in appropriate scientific publications, as well as posted on the Internet site. Some of the opportunities and positions announced through these various methods qualify for the AIDS, CR-LRP, or the General LRP.

Program Administration

The Division of Loan Repayment (DLR), located in the Office of Extramural Research, Office of the Director (OD), administers the AIDS, General and Clinical Research LRPs in accordance with Sections 487A, 487C and 487E of the PHS Act. Title 42, Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 68, 68a, and 68b, when adopted, will govern these programs. Should any provision of Parts 68, 68a, and 68b be inconsistent with the Loan Repayment Program Contract (NIH Form 2674-12), the regulatory provisions will be controlling.

Date Last Updated: May 29, 2015

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