FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Applicant FAQ Section
Associate FAQ Section
APPLICANT FAQ SECTION
Am I eligible for an Associateship award?
Eligibility varies by sponsoring laboratory and some laboratories have citizenship restrictions. To determine your eligibility, you must check two different sections of the website. First, look at general eligibility criteria, which are criteria that pertain to every Associateship opportunity. If you are eligible under the general eligibility criteria, check on the specific research opportunity you are interested in for opportunity-specific eligibility requirements.
Are NRC Associateship awards only for postdocs?
The NRC supports research opportunities for both postdoctoral and senior researchers. There are a limited number of programs for students enrolled in Masters and PhD programs. There are also opportunities to combine teaching with research at a federal laboratory.
What are the deadline dates for each review?
| Online Application Open || Application Deadline ||Support Documents Deadline ||Review Complete |
|December 1 ||February 1 ||February 15 ||March 10, 2015 |
|March 1 ||May 1 ||May 15 ||June 19, 2015 |
|June 1 ||August 1 ||August 15 ||September 18, 2015 |
|September 1 ||November 1 ||November 15 ||January 5, 2015 |
Must I have my degree to apply?
You can apply before receiving your degree but you MUST have completed all degree requirements before beginning tenure.
Which Agencies accept Foreign Nationals?
To view Agencies which accept Foreign Nationals, click on the Eligibility Chart in the Program Exceptions box on the "Getting Started" screen.
Terms of an Associateship Award
What are the terms of an Associateship award?
An NRC Associate receives a stipend, health insurance, and a travel and relocation allowance. The stipend will vary by sponsor and can be found on the Research Opportunity pages.
What is the length of an NRC Associateship award?
Most awards are for one year, renewable for up to three years. Some awards initially are two years. Applicants should check specific agency details on this website to determine the initial term of the award.
Can an Associateship award pay for research done at my current institution?
Associateships are awarded to individuals to do research on-site only at sponsoring laboratories and affiliated institutions participating in our program.
Is my Associateship award categorized as employment? Who is considered to be my employer?
Associateship awards to Postdoctoral and Senior researchers under the NRC Research Associateship Program are characterized as non-compensatory grants. Since you are conducting independent research at a host laboratory, you are not considered an employee of the National Research Council or the federal laboratory.
Applying for an Associateship Award
What do I need to do before applying?
Prior to applying, you must identify a prospective Adviser and a Research Opportunity. You must contact the Adviser before applying to assure mutual interest in hosting you as a postdoc/visiting scientist.
How do I apply for an Associateship award?
The application is completed online in the NRC WebRap system. Prior to accessing WebRAP, prospective applicants should read all pages of the Research Associateships website. Follow the instructions on Getting Started and proceed to How to Apply.
During the application process, you will need to enter information and upload certain documents. Uploads include a Statement of Previous Research, an abstract of the PhD dissertation (for postdoctoral applicants), a List of Publications, and a Research Proposal. Applicants are also responsible for providing Support Documents (Reference Reports and Transcripts, when applicable)
What are the guidelines for uploads?
Documents to be uploaded must be in PDF format in a standard typeface no smaller than 12-point font, 1” margin and double-spaced.
PhD Dissertation Abstract (Postdocs only) – maximum 1 page
Previous and Current Research – maximum 4 pages
List of Publications – maximum 2 pages
Research Proposal – maximum 10 pages
What are Supporting Documents?
Supporting Documents consist of Transcripts (not required for Senior applications), immigration documents, and Reference Reports. It is the responsibility of the applicant to contact their reference writers.
Will I be notified when my application is complete?
You may check the status of your application online to verify that all documents have been received.
How are applications reviewed?
Applications are reviewed by panels of experts in the discipline area of your proposal. Reviewers include leading researchers in science, engineering and technology from academia, government and industry.
What criteria are applied to the review?
The criteria that are applied to the review can be found here.
How do I get feedback on the review of my application?
You may check the status of your application online. You will be able to see your scores and comments approximately 1 week after the Review Complete date. If your application was not reviewed, you will be able to see why.
What happens after the review is completed?
If you passed the review, you are then eligible for an award. Eligibility means that the agency can select you if funding is available. Agency decisions are based on your relative rank among other applicants and additional factors including importance of your proposed work to the mission of the agency.
How long does the award decision process take?
This varies by agency. In some cases it could be very soon after the review but more typically it will be 4-8 weeks after the review is finalized. Decisions where funding is in question may take longer.
Who notifies me if I am selected to receive an award?
In most cases, you will be notified by the NRC regarding an award offer. For applicants to NIST Research Opportunities, notification will come directly from NIST.
If I do not receive an award when can I reapply?
Applicants who pass the review but are not offered an award may reapply during the next review cycle or any time thereafter. Applicants who do not pass the review must wait one year to reapply. Applicants are encouraged to read the comments of reviewers in their application module to improve their application prior to reapplying.
Can I use Support Documents from a previous review?
Our Panels allow References to be used for one year.
Transcripts can be carried over without any restrictions if there are no changes.
Is the Laboratory Center Review (LCR) form for the Methane Hydrate application considered a Support Document?
No, the LCR form (completed by the Adviser) must be sent in with the Methane Hydrate application. NRC staff will obtain the required signatures from the Agency.
How many Agencies can I apply to in each review?
You can apply to a maximum of three different Agencies (i.e. AFRL, NRL, EPA) in each review.
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ASSOCIATE FAQ SECTION
How do I initiate my relocation to the lab?
You should submit your Request for Movement of Household Goods form to your PC at least three weeks prior to your proposed move date. Your request will be sent to our contracted moving company, Azar Storage, and they will contact you directly to arrange your move.
An Azar Storage representative will contact you. If you do not hear within a reasonable time, please contact your PC or Nancy Diener, 202-334-2731, our program’s relocation liaison.
If I don’t have a place by the time of the move, can goods be stored?
The NRC does not cover storage as part of relocation.
Can I move pianos? Cars?
No. These are not covered but you can negotiate with the mover to move the piano and pay directly when your other goods are moved. We will not authorize cars however—the insurance risk is too great.
What if my goods are damaged?
This is an issue between you and your mover. We do not get involved in resolving these problems. We suggest being very careful about inspecting things before the move and, after the move, as soon as possible contacting your movers. They usually have a window of time to respond to problems.
Can I use another company?
Yes, but you will have to have to pay “up front” and reimbursement will be based on the allowable costs established by the NRC. Also, we have carefully negotiated our contract with our movers so that they are very familiar with our program and its rules and regulations regarding moving so that you would not be in any jeopardy having things moved that were not allowed. Also, they have competed for our contract, so they are quite reasonable.
Can I move myself?
Yes—be sure to keep all documentation and receipts, which we will need to reimburse you.
Insurance and Stipend Payments
When will my stipend begin?
Your stipend will begin when the NRC receives a signed Start Date form. Stipends are paid at the end of the month and your first payment will be for the number of days you were on tenure during that month.
Why did I receive my first check as a check and not direct deposit?
As with most payroll systems, a test must be done to make sure the routing and account numbers are verified through the ACH Bank Transit system. If a direct deposit fails, a check will be issued after a 14-day waiting period.
When can I expect my health insurance identification card?
The NRC will process your health insurance application once your Starting Date form has been received from the laboratory confirming that you have officially started tenure. The NRC will send your application to Aetna with the current address listed on the Starting Date form. You will receive your health ID card directly from Aetna within 1-2 weeks.
I will be traveling abroad this month and I was wondering what to do about health insurance. Does the Aetna plan cover me while I am overseas?
As long as you are on professional or programmatic travel for the NRC you are covered by health insurance. If medical costs are incurred while on travel, you will have to pay out of pocket and submit a claim to Aetna when you return home.
Am I required to use the NRC Travel Agency to book my travel?
All airline travel must be booked through Omega Word Travel to ensure that federal regulations are met. Costs of travel not booked through Omega may not be reimbursed.
If I want to request a travel advance when should I send my Travel Authorization to the NRC?
Travel Authorizations need to be received no later than 30 days before the departure date.
Will my travel reimbursement be issued via check or direct deposit?
For U.S. citizens/permanent residents, reimbursements will be issued through direct deposit if this is how your stipend is paid.
For nonresident aliens, mid-month reimbursements will be issued via check. Month-end reimbursements will be issued through direct deposit if this is how your stipend is paid.
Where can I find a list of the current per diem rates?
The per diem rates are set by the Federal government. Domestic per diem rates can be found at www.gsa.gov
; international per diem rates are found at www.state.gov
Are rental cars allowable for professional/programmatic travel?
Due to federal regulations, rental car approvals are issued on a case by case basis. A justification for the rental car must be provided on the travel authorization form.
Can personal travel be combined with professional/programmatic travel?
Yes. However, personal travel must be approved on the Travel Authorization Form and any increase in airfare as a result of including personal travel will be the Associate’s financial responsibility.
Are fax transmittals allowable?
You can send the Travel Authorization Form via fax. However, we do request that all Travel Expense Reports be mailed with original receipts.
My taxes are due soon and I haven’t received a 1099-MISC or W-2. What does this mean?
As an associate with the RAP program, you will not receive a 1099-MISC or W-2 from the NRC. If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you will receive a Statement of Stipends Paid Memorandum through email in mid-February. This memo will state your stipend, travel, and health insurance amounts for the tax year. If you are a nonresident alien, you will receive a Form 1042-S in mid-April.
Do I need to pay social security tax?
No. Fellowship awards to postdoctoral researchers under the NRC Research Associateship Program are classified as non-compensatory grants. Since you do not perform services in return for your award, you are not considered an employee and do not pay social security tax.
When is my tax return due?
Your filing deadline is dependent on your residency for tax purposes. If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, your filing date will be April 15th. If you are a nonresident alien, your due date will generally be June 15th. However, if you meet the Substantial Presence Test, you are considered to be a resident for tax purposes and must file by April 15th. Guidance on the Substantial Presence Test can be found on the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov
I’m a nonresident alien. Why did you withhold tax on my work-related travel expenses?
The National Academies is required to withhold at 14% on all payments made to you, or on your behalf. All travel expenses are considered a benefit of the award and are taxable. Taxable travel includes reimbursements made to you and any direct-billed expenses booked through our travel agency or moving company.