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NCCIH Research Blog

Updated: Apply for NIH Loan Repayment Programs September 1 through December 1

August 19, 2016


Ashlee Tipton, Ph.D.

Scientific Review Officer

Division of Extramural Activities

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

Education is the foundation of our Nation’s biomedical research enterprise. However, it goes without saying that a college education is expensive. Postgraduate education is even more expensive, with the average cost of medical, veterinary, and dental school totaling more than $200,000. In exchange for a commitment to conduct biomedical or behavioral research, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will repay up to $70,000 of student loan debt (over 2 years) per 2-year contract through NIH Loan Repayment Programs (LRPs). Want to know more? Here’s how the NIH LRPs can help.

The objective of the NIH Loan Repayment Programs is to recruit and retain highly qualified health professionals to careers in biomedical or biobehavioral research. If you are a qualified health professional who agrees to engage in NIH mission-relevant research for at least 20 hours per week at a nonprofit or Government institution, you may be eligible to apply to the LRP. Applicants who choose to submit their applications to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) must have a research project that is aligned to NCCIH’s mission, research priorities, and strategic plan. NCCIH supports research on mind and body interventions, practices, and disciplines; research on natural products; and studies of “real world” patterns and outcomes in the use of complementary and integrative approaches.

NCCIH encourages all eligible applicants with biomedical doctoral degrees to apply to the LRP, including those with either clinical doctoral degrees (i.e., Ph.D. and M.D.) or doctoral degrees in complementary health practice (i.e., Ph.D., N.D., D.A.O.M., D.C., D.O., D.N.P., etc.), or both. For the LRP program, NCCIH will only consider applications in clinical (patient-oriented research conducted with human subjects) and pediatrics (research directly related to diseases, disorders, and other conditions in children) extramural research.

Approximately 1,500 scientists benefit from the $70 million NIH invests each year through the extramural LRPs. On average, nearly 40 percent of all new LRP applications are funded, and these awards are competitively renewable (for a 1- or 2-year period) until all educational debt is repaid. The LRPs are unique programs, with tremendous benefit to young researchers, so we strongly encourage researchers who were not successful in getting their applications funded to apply again.

To qualify, applicants must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident, possess a doctoral-level degree, and have educational loan debt to or exceeding 20 percent of their annual institutional base salary.

Important LRP Application Updates!

Please plan accordingly.

  • NIH eRA Commons ID: All applications (new and renewals) are required to have an NIH eRA Commons ID to submit an LRP application. Please check with your grants administrator at your institution and visit the eRA Commons Web site.
  • One Application Submission Deadline: All application components (application, colleague and institutional support documentation, etc.) are due on November 15, 2016 December 1, 2016.
  • Redesigned Online LRP Application: There’s a newly designed online application that will make applying for an LRP easier and quicker.

Interested in Applying?

Here are some helpful resources:

Visit for more details and to apply. For general LRP questions, call or email the LRP Information Center at 866-849-4047 or, Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. ET. You can also follow the NIH Division of Loan Repayment on Twitter and Facebook for more information and cycle updates.

Get started on your application today!


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