Rehabilitation Research & Development Service (RR&D)

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Rehabilitation Research & Development Service (RR&D) Career Development Program

The fundamental objective of the Career Development Program (CDP) is to attract, develop, and retain talented researchers at VA to conduct research in areas of high relevance to the VHA healthcare system in fulfillment of its primary mission of patient care.

Details regarding the types of awards, eligibility, application process, and evaluation criteria can be obtained from the Program Guide 1200.04 and the RFAs and Program Announcements web page (note: this is a VA ORD Intranet site). A table highlights differences among the CDA-1 and CDA-2, but applicants are advised to consult the RFAs for detailed information and instructions. Applicants interested in pursuing a CDEA are advised to contact RR&D for additional information.


The RR&D Research Career Development Program is an award series under which both clinically and non-clinically trained researchers may gain protected time for a mentored research experience intended to advance awardees toward independence as funded VA investigators. Applicants are highly encouraged to pursue research projects that are innovative, high impact, and clinically relevant with the potential to lead to significant advances in the health and well-being of Veterans with disabilities. It is expected that the applicant, with sufficient input from the mentor(s), will carefully choose a research project that is feasible and integrates the nominee's background and interests to form the foundation for a successful VA research career.


The RR&D purview includes a spectrum of pre-clinical, behavioral, technology development and evaluation, and clinical research including epidemiology and single-site or multi-site clinical trials dedicated to the well-being of Veterans with disabilities. The purview of RR&D can be found on the Office of Research & Development website under RR&D Scientific Review Groups , and a key feature of accepted research plans is the inclusion of functional outcomes as they relate to rehabilitation.

Letter of Intent

The application process for a Career Development Award (CDA) begins with a Letter of Intent (LOI). A full proposal may not be submitted without an approved LOI. The RR&D LOI submission process follows the VHA Research Career Development Program Handbook 1200.04 and the Office of Research & Development (ORD) LOI instructions. For access to the Research Career Development Program Handbook 1200.04, the electronic version of the VA Form required for the LOI, and the RRD LOI Instructions, please refer to the Resources section of the following web page: and use the document 'LOI Instructions'.

If the research outlined in the LOI received by RR&D is determined to be more appropriate for review and oversight by another ORD Service, the LOI may be transferred to that ORD Service to ensure adequate peer review and oversight. RR&D will notify the applicant and VA research office of the referral, but the LOI and research proposal must be reviewed in accordance with procedures applicable to the reviewing ORD Service.

LOI deadlines for RR&D are May 1 (Summer review cycle) and November 1 (Winter review cycle). An LOI is required each review cycle, including resubmissions, and must be submitted electronically in a single PDF to the RR&D mailbox: