Extramural Loan Repayment Program for Clinical Researchers (LRP)
RELEASE DATE: August 8, 2006
FUNDING OPPORTUNITY ANNOUNCEMENT: PA-06-517 (Reissued as PA-07-442)
National Institutes of Health (NIH) (www.lrp.nih.gov)
APPLICATION PERIOD: September 1, 2006 through December 1, 2006, 8 p.m. EST
THIS ANNOUNCMENT ADDRESSES THE FOLLOWING TOPICS:
PURPOSE OF THIS ANNOUNCEMENT
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announces the availability of educational loan repayment under the NIH Extramural Loan Repayment Program for Clinical Researchers (LRP-CR). The Loan Repayment Program for Clinical Researchers provides for the repayment of up to $35,000 of the principal and interest of the extant educational loans of such health professionals for each year of obligated service. Payments equal to 39 percent of total loan repayments are issued to the Internal Revenue Service on behalf of program participants to offset Federal tax liabilities incurred.
The purpose of the Loan Repayment Program for Clinical Researchers is the recruitment and retention of highly qualified health professionals as clinical investigators. Through this announcement, the NIH invites qualified health professionals who contractually agree to engage in clinical research for at least two years, and who agree to engage in such research for at least 50 percent of their work schedule (not less than 20 hours per week based on a 40-hour work week), to apply for participation in the NIH Loan Repayment Program for Clinical Researchers.
LRP-CR applications will be accepted September 1 through December 1, 2006. They must be submitted via the NIH Loan Repayment Website, www.lrp.nih.gov.
WHERE TO OBTAIN ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
The objective of the program is to recruit and retain highly qualified health professionals as clinical investigators.
NIH defines clinical research as “patient-oriented clinical 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, or epidemiological or behavioral studies, outcomes research or health services research, or developing new technologies, therapeutic interventions, or clinical trials."
The NIH intends to commit approximately $42 million in Fiscal Year 2007 to fund approximately 930 LRP-CR individuals.
Applications for the LRP-CR are evaluated against the following components as they relate to the likelihood that the applicant will continue in a clinical research career:
Renewal applications are competitive and are evaluated using the same criteria as new applications plus two additional criteria - an assessment of research accomplishments and development of an individual as an independent investigator.
Specific eligibility criteria with regard to participation in the Loan Repayment Program for Clinical Researchers include the following:
1. Applicants must be citizens, nationals, or permanent residents of the United States;
2. Applicants must have a M.D., Ph.D., Pharm. D., Psy.D., D.O., D.D.S., D.M.D., D.P.M., D.C., N.D., or equivalent doctoral degree from an accredited institution;
3. Applicants must have total qualifying educational loan debt equal to or in excess of 20 percent of their institutional base salary on the date of program eligibility (the effective date that a loan repayment contract has been executed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services or designee), expected to be between July and September, 2007. Institutional base salary is the annual amount that the organization pays for the participant’s appointment, whether the time is spent in research, teaching, patient care, or other activities. Institutional base salary excludes any income that a participant may earn outside the duties of the organization. Institutional base salary may not include or comprise any income (salary or wages) earned as a Federal employee;
4. Applicants must conduct qualifying research supported by a domestic non-profit foundation, non-profit professional association, or other non-profit institution, or a U.S. or other government agency (Federal, State, or local). A domestic foundation, professional association, or institution is considered to be non-profit if exempt from Federal tax under the provisions of Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 501);
5. Applicants must engage in qualified clinical research. Clinical research is defined as patient-oriented clinical 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, or epidemiologic or behavioral studies, outcomes research or health services research, or developing new technologies, therapeutic interventions, or clinical trials;
6. Applicants must engage in qualified clinical research that represents 50 percent of their level of effort and consumes an average of at least 20 hours per week during each quarterly service period. That is, during each contract quarter, participants must conduct the required research for a minimum of 240 hours (based on a 12-week quarter) or 260 hours (based on a 13-week quarter);
7. Part-time Federal employees working 20 hours per week or less who are (a) not conducting research as a Federal employee, and (b) whose funding source is from a domestic non-profit source as defined in number 4 of this section, are eligible to apply for loan repayment if they meet all other eligibility requirements.
8. Applicants must agree to conduct research for which funding is not prohibited by Federal law, regulation, or HHS/NIH policy. Recipients who receive LRP awards must conduct their research in accordance with applicable Federal, State and local law (e.g., applicable human subject protection regulations);
9. Applicants will not be excluded from consideration under the Loan Repayment Program for Clinical Researchers on the basis of age, race, culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or other non-merit factors; and
10. No individual may submit more than one LRP application to the NIH in any fiscal year. Individuals who have applied previously for the LRP-CR but did not receive an award are eligible to submit a new application if they meet all of the above eligibility criteria.
11. Recipients of a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) support from an individual postdoctoral fellowship (F32) or an institutional research training grant (T32) will be eligible for loan repayment during the second year of NRSA support if a formal extension of the NRSA service payback is granted. (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-06-468.html). Concurrent repayment of LRP and NRSA service obligations is prohibited.
The following individuals are ineligible for participation in the Loan Repayment Program for Clinical Researchers:
1. Persons who are not United States citizens, nationals, or permanent residents;
2. Any individual who has a Federal judgment lien against his/her property arising from a Federal debt is barred from receiving Federal funds until the judgment is paid in full or satisfied;
3. 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 Extramural Loan Repayment Program service obligation. The following are examples of programs with service obligations that disqualify an applicant from consideration, unless a deferral for the length of participation in the Loan Repayment Program for Clinical Researchers is obtained:
4. Individuals who are employed by the Federal Government with work schedules of more than 20 hours per week;
5. Current recipients of NIH Intramural Research Training Awards (IRTA) or Cancer Research Training Awards (CRTA);
6. 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); and
7. Individuals with ineligible loans, which include loans that have been consolidated with a loan of another individual (including spouses or children), or loans that are not educational, such as home equity loans.
RECEIPT, PEER REVIEW, AND REVIEW SCHEDULE
Upon receipt, applications for both initial and renewal awards will be reviewed for eligibility and completeness by the NIH Loan Repayment Program. Incomplete or ineligible applications will not be considered. Applications that are complete and eligible will be forwarded to the NIH Center for Scientific Review (CSR), which will assign the application to an NIH Institute or Center for peer review.
Application Receipt Date: September 1, 2006 - December 1, 2006, 8 P.M. EST
Peer Review Date: March-May, 2007
Anticipated Award Date: July - September, 2007
APPLICATION MATERIALS (New and Renewal Applicants)
The following information is furnished by applicants or others on behalf of applicants (forms are completed electronically at the NIH LRP Web-site at www.lrp.nih.gov), and must be submitted from September 1, 2006, through December 1, 2006, 8 PM EST:
Applicants electronically transmit the following to the NIH Division of Loan Repayment:
Research supervisors or mentors electronically transmit the following to the NIH Division of Loan Repayment:
Recommenders electronically transmit recommendation forms to the NIH Division of Loan Repayment.
Institutional contacts electronically transmit a certification to the NIH Division of Loan Repayment that:
Recipients who wish to extend their NIH loan repayment should re-apply during the 2007 application cycle if the term of their current LRP contract will end in 2007 or their previous contract has ended.
LRP renewal contracts are available for one- and two-year periods and are based upon the same criteria as the initial application plus two additional criteria - an assessment of research accomplishments and development of an individual as an independent investigator. An explanation of research accomplishments during the initial award period is required. Progress toward development as an independent investigator is a major factor in awarding renewal of loan repayment support. Renewal LRP awards are competitive and submission of a renewal application does not assure the award of loan repayment.
PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION AND DETAILS
Under the Loan Repayment Program for Clinical Researchers, 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. Individuals must have total qualified educational debt that equals or exceeds 20 percent of their institutional base salary on the date of program eligibility. This is called the debt threshold. The formula used to calculate the potential annual loan repayment amount is total educational debt less the participant obligation (an amount equal to 10 percent of institutional base salary), which yields the total repayable debt; the total repayable debt is divided by 25 percent, which yields the potential annual repayment amount (up to $35,000).
Failure to fulfill the terms of the LRP contract will result in termination of the LRP, or could be considered a breach of contract. The penalty for a breach of contract is $7500 for every month of unfulfilled service or a minimum of $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.
Following is an example of loan repayment calculations: An applicant has a loan debt of $100,000 and a university base salary of $40,000. Since the loan debt exceeds the debt threshold (20 percent of university base salary = $8,000), the applicant has sufficient debt for loan repayment consideration. The participant obligation is 10 percent of the institutional base salary, in this case $4,000. Thus, repayment of the $4,000 debt is the applicant’s responsibility. The remaining amount, in this example $96,000 (total repayable debt) will be considered for repayment on a graduated basis. In this case, the maximum to be repaid in the initial two-year contract is $48,000 or $24,000 per year, plus tax reimbursement benefits.
Repayable Debt is not a fixed dollar amount. Throughout the LRP contract period, the repayable debt changes each time a participant’s loan balance or interest rate is updated. The repayable debt will be paid at the rate of one-quarter per year, subject to a statutory limit of $35,000 per year, for each year of obligated service. Individuals are required to initially engage in 2 years of qualified clinical research.
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 participants for the following:
Repayments are made directly to lenders, following receipt of (1) the Principal Investigator, Program Director, or Research Supervisor's verification of completion of the prior period of research, and (2) lender verification of the crediting of prior loan repayments, including the resulting account balances and current account status. The NIH will repay loans in the following order, unless the Secretary determines that significant savings would result from a different order of priority:
The following loans are NOT repayable under the Loan Repayment Program for Clinical Researchers:
Before the commencement of loan repayment, or during lapses in loan repayments, due to NIH administrative complications, Leave Without Pay (LWOP), or a break in service, LRP participants are wholly responsible for making payments or other arrangements that maintain loans current, such that increases in either principal or interest do not occur. The LRP contract period will not be modified or extended as a result of an LWOP period or a break in service. Penalties assessed participants as a result of NIH administrative complications to maintain a current payment status may not be considered for reimbursement.
LRP payments are NOT retroactive. Loan repayment for Fiscal Year 2007 will commence after a loan repayment contract has been executed, which is expected to be no earlier than July 2007.
CITATIONS OF FEDERAL AUTHORITY
Awards are made pursuant to the Public Health Improvement Act of November 2000 (Public Law 106-505), also known as the Clinical Research Enhancement Act, which added Section 487F of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act (42 U.S.C. 288-5a) . The Federal Debt Collection Procedures Act of 1990, contained in Public Law 101-647, requires that an individual that has a judgment lien against his/her property for a debt to the United States shall not be eligible to receive funds directly from the Federal government in any program, except funds to which the debtor is entitled as a beneficiary, until the judgment is paid in full or otherwise satisfied (28 USC 3201). The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance number for the LRP for Clinical Researchers is 93.280.
 So in law. There are two sections 487F. Section 205 of Public Law 106-505 (114 Stat. 2329), inserted section 487F after section 487E. Previously, section 1002(b) of Public Law 106-310 (114 Stat. 1129), which relates to a Pediatric Research Loan Repayment Program, inserted section 487F after section 487E.
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