2.7 Contacting the Laboratory Program Representative
2.7.1 Contact the Laboratory Program Representative when you arrive at the laboratory. He or she may be of assistance with logistical arrangements.
2.8 Working with the Research Adviser
2.8.1 Maintain close contact with your Research Adviser. He or she will serve as a mentor and professional colleague. A Research Adviser will guide you in all aspects of your research activities and help you to acquire research support such as office space, a computer, equipment, etc.
2.9 Change of Research Adviser or Research Program
2.9.1 Approval by the Laboratory Program Representative and the Program Administrator is required to change your Research Adviser.
2.9.2 The Research Adviser, the Laboratory Program Representative, and the Program Administrator must approve a major change in an approved research program.
2.10 Status of an NRC Research Associate
2.10.1 As an NRC Research Associate, you are a guest investigator in the federal laboratory, affiliated center, or institute. You are not an employee of the laboratory or of the National Academy of Sciences and do not perform personal services for either organization.
2.10.2 In view of this special status, you are expected to devote your full effort to research, to publish in the open scientific literature, and to participate in all appropriate scientific meetings and technical activities of the sponsoring laboratory.
2.11 Residency and Full-Time Requirements
2.11.1 The NRC Research Associateship Programs require NRC Research Associates to conduct research in residence at the sponsoring federal laboratory or affiliated center. Extended periods away from the laboratory or other designated research facility for field work or other off-site research activities must be approved by the Research Adviser and the Laboratory Program Representative.
2.11.2 An NRC Research Associateship award provides you with an opportunity to perform research without distracting diversions or other duties. While on tenure, you are required to devote 100% of your working time and intellectual effort to your approved research program.
2. 11.3 Because you are not an employee, you are not entitled to “leave.” However, attention to personal matters may warrant a short-term absence from a research project. In all such cases, you must make arrangements in advance with your Research Adviser.
2.11.4 Periods of extended time away from the laboratory due to illness, maternity, or other family reasons must be authorized in writing by your Research Adviser and designated Lab Representative in advance, and a determination will be made whether an unpaid break in tenure is appropriate. NRC Research Associates who will be absent from the lab for an extended period of time, as described above, must notify the Program Coordinator using a Leave of Absence form, signed by the Research Adviser and the Laboratory Program Representative.
2.11.5 Failure to comply with the requirements in Sections 2.10 and 2.11 could result in termination of your award or a reduction in your stipend for unapproved absences from your assigned laboratory or other designated research facility.
2.12 Receiving Outside Compensation
2.12.1 You may not accept additional compensation for services from another appointment, including part-time teaching, research, consulting, or outside work. During your tenure, you may not hold fellowships or similar awards that provide any funds for personal (living) expenses.
2.12.2 Awards may be accepted if they meet the following criteria:
(a) An award or grant that is designated for support of research costs in the sponsoring laboratory or for professional travel.
(b) An award from a professional society that includes a monetary component, if the award was unsolicited (the organization selected the awardee and the awardee was nominated by others). The award must be from a recognized professional organization and must be an established award.
(c) A one-time monetary award from the federal sponsor given in accordance with agency awards policy (e.g., Special Act, Outstanding Performance).
2.12.3 If you are a university faculty member on sabbatical leave, you may receive sabbatical leave pay under the existing regulations of the university, but you may not participate in university grant or contract activities during your tenure as an NRC Research Associate. Consult the Program Administrator with any questions.
2.12.4 If you hold J-1 status, you must request written authorization from the NRC Research Associateship Programs Visa Officer before you undertake any outside consultation or give a talk for which you will be paid expenses. This requirement is based on federal J-1 regulations.
2.13 Conforming to Laboratory Policies
2.13.1 As a guest investigator, you are expected to conform to all established policies and procedures of the sponsoring laboratory as they pertain to professional guest investigators.
2.13.2 The Laboratory Program Representative and your Research Adviser will assist you with established guidelines for the safety and health of individuals working in the laboratory, including working hours for the conduct of research.
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3.1 Stipend Amount
The amount of your annual stipend is shown in your award letter. Stipend payments are issued at the end of each month.
3.2 Start Date Form
3.2.1 The Start Date Form certifies the date your tenure begins. Your start date must be confirmed by your Research Adviser on your first day of tenure before stipend payments can begin.
3.2.2 The Start Date Form may not be completed in advance of the actual start date.
3.3 Social Security Number (SSN)
3.3.1 Before any stipend payments are made, you must report a United States Social Security Number (SSN) to the Fellowships Office. If you do not have an assigned SSN, you must apply for one. This can be done in the United States at a local office of the Social Security Administration.
3.3.2 When you apply for an SSN from the Social Security Office, request a receipt and mail it to the Fellowships Office. This will permit the release of stipend payments. Please notify the Fellowships Office, in writing, when the SSN number is assigned.
3.4 Stipend Advance
3.4.1 You may request an advance on your stipend by the 15th of the month prior to the month of your start date.
3.4.2 A stipend advance is an interest-free loan of a portion of a stipend payment. Use the Response Form to apply for an advance. The Laboratory Program Representative or your Research Adviser will release this advance to you on the day on which tenure officially begins.
3.4.3 If you are a United States citizen or resident alien, you may request an advance of up to one month of your gross stipend.
3.4.4 If you hold a J-1 exchange visitor visa, you may request an advance of up to one month of your net stipend (gross stipend less 14% monthly income tax withholding).
3.5 Repaying a Stipend Advance
3.5.1 Advance stipend payments are repaid by equal monthly deductions from your stipend until the total advance is repaid. Note: the repayment period may not be longer than one month less than the total period of tenure.
3.6 Receiving Stipend Payments
3.6.1 You may request that your monthly stipend payment be deposited electronically, mailed to your home, or mailed to the laboratory, center, or institute address. We recommend that you arrange to have your stipend payment deposited electronically in order to avoid delays.
3.6.2 For electronic funds transfer (EFT) deposits to a bank, please read the EFT Memorandum and complete the Authorization Agreement for Automatic Deposit included in your award package. Processing of an electronic funds transfer takes approximately two months.
3.6.3 If you choose to have your stipend check mailed, it is recommended that your home address be used.
3.6.4 Your final stipend payment will be made only after you have submitted your Final Report and settled all outstanding travel expense reports. Further information concerning the Final Report may be found in Section 8.2.
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The NRC Research Associateship Programs sponsors J-1 exchange visitor visas, and accepts F-1, J-2, L-2 and immigrant (permanent resident) visas, as well as individuals in asylee and refugee status. Postdoctoral F-1 students must be authorized for optional practical training by their university and USCIS. No other visa classes may be held during tenure.
4.1 General Information
4.1.1 If you are not a United States citizen, you may begin tenure only when you have provided evidence to the Fellowships Office that you are in valid immigrant or nonimmigrant status.
4.1.2 The Fellowships Office can provide information regarding nonimmigrant visas. However, the Fellowships Office cannot apply for a visa or permanent residency on your behalf. All costs in connection with your passport or visa are your responsibility.
4.1.3 Resident aliens and nonresident aliens who move to a new home address must notify the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within ten (10) days on Form AR-11 to maintain legal status. Under Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) regulations, F-1 and J-1 visa holders may satisfy this requirement by notifying their visa sponsor (the NRC Research Associateship Programs Visa Officer) within 10 days.
4.2 J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa
Full information regarding J-1 visa requirements is available separately from the Fellowships Office. Following are general remarks.
4.2.1 An NRC Research Associateship awardee may apply for a J-1 exchange visitor visa under the sponsorship of the Fellowships Office, as designated by the U.S. Department of State. To be eligible for a J-1 research scholar visa,
(a) you must not have been in any J status during 6 out of the past 12 months (exception: short term scholars) and
(b) you must not have held J-1 or J-2 research scholar or professor status within the last 24 months.
4.2.2 Upon written request, a DS-2019 form (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor J-1 Status) will be issued by the Fellowships Office if all other outstanding contingencies have been met, including agency background checks and evidence of the doctorate.
4.2.3 If you reside outside the United States at the time of the award, you may apply for a J-1 visa at the nearest United States embassy or consulate.
4.2.4 If you reside in the United States on any other visa, you may apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a change of nonimmigrant status. You may begin tenure at the laboratory only after written USCIS approval has been received. F-1 students authorized for optional practical training may begin tenure in F-1 status while their change of status is being processed by USCIS.
4.2.5 If you reside in the United States on a J-1 research scholar visa under other sponsorship, you must transfer to NRC Research Associateship Programs sponsorship. Your research field must remain the same and you must obtain the agreement of your current J-1 sponsor. Once requested, the Fellowships Office and your current sponsor complete the transfer process electronically through SEVIS. When the transfer is effective, the Fellowships Office will issue a new DS-2019 form to you.
4.2.6 If you reside in the United States on a J-1 student visa, you may hold tenure using postdoctoral academic training with the authorization of your university international office.
4.2.7 Under federal regulations, all J-1 exchange visitors are subject to certain requirements:
(a) strict legal limitations on the maximum period of stay in the United States: research scholars may stay up to 60 months; J-l short-term scholars may stay up to 6 months; and J-2 dependents’ stay is determined by their J-1 spouse sponsorship.
(b) the two-year home country physical presence requirement before changing to H, L, or permanent resident status because of
(1) the use of United States government funds for support of the NRC Research Associateship Programs awards and/or
(2) the research skills needed in the country of nationality or last legal residence (the Skills List).
(c) continuous enrollment in health insurance coverage for themselves and their families throughout the period they are in J-1 status. The NRC Research Associateship Programs provides this insurance. (See Section 5) J-2 family members may hold other health insurance, as long as it meets U.S. Department of State requirements for exchange visitors.
4.3 Immigrant Visa
4.3.1 If you are currently in the United States as a Permanent Resident (immigrant visa), and hold an alien registration number without restrictions on length of stay and employment, you may continue in that status.
4.3.2 If you have applied for and expect to receive an immigrant visa, you must provide the Fellowships Office with evidence of authorization for employment before you may begin tenure.
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For additional information on health and medical insurance, refer to the insurance booklet or check with the Fellowships Office.
5.1 Health and Medical Insurance
5.1.1 A group health insurance program, which provides coverage for major medical expenses, is available to you. The cost of this program is shared by you and the sponsoring agency.
5.1.2 Insurance for dependents is also available under the same basic program. If the Fellowships Office receives your insurance application within 30 days following the beginning of tenure, insurance coverage for dependents is provided without physical examination. Insurance applications received less than 30 days following the beginning of tenure are subject to review by the insurance company.
5.1.3 Report any changes in marital or dependent status to the Program Administrator or Program Coordinator immediately. This will allow for appropriate changes in insurance coverage.
5.1.4 Health and medical coverage begins on the official Start Date of tenure and ends on the last day of the month in which tenure officially ends, as shown on the Start Date Form.
5.1.5 A CareFirst Blue Cross/Blue Shield group health insurance booklet, a concise summary of medical coverage and premium costs, and an enrollment form are included with the award letter. The enrollment form indicating your insurance decision should be returned to the Fellowships Office on or before you first day at the host laboratory. Claim forms will be mailed to you with the letter that acknowledges receipt of your Start Date Form. Blue Cross/Blue Shield will send you an insurance identification card within a month.
5.1.6 Insurance Requirement for Exchange Visitors -- The U.S. Department of State requires exchange visitors and their dependent families to carry health insurance while they are in the United States. The Fellowships Office provides this insurance during tenure. (See Section 4.2.7[c])
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6.1 Tax Information for NRC Research Associates
NRC Research Associates are not employees of the Academies or the laboratories to which they are assigned. They are guest investigators residing in host laboratories and conduct research on issues of their own choice. Accordingly, fellowship awards to postdoctoral researchers under the NRC Research Associateship Programs are characterized as non-compensatory grants. We strongly suggest that you review your individual tax situation with your tax advisor or an IRS representative to determine the proper tax treatment for your specific award and any obligation for payment of quarterly estimated taxes. Additional tax information is provided in your Award Packet.
6.2 Federal Tax Liability for U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents
If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, the Fellowships Office will send you a Statement of Stipends Paid Memorandum by mid-February of the following year. This memo includes an end-of-year summary of stipend payments, contributions to health insurance made on your behalf, and all relocation and professional travel expenses. The amount of the fellowship award that is subject to tax reporting will include stipends, the sponsor paid portion of health insurance, and all travel and relocation expenses, including airfare and moving expenses paid directly by the Fellowships Office. The Fellowships Office will not report fellowship award payments made to U.S. citizens and permanent residents for tax purposes on IRS form 1099-MISC, as this is not required for non-compensatory scholarship or fellowship payments.
6.3 Federal Tax Liability of Nonresident Aliens
6.3.1 If you are a nonresident alien in J-1 or F-1 status, the Fellowships Office is required to withhold 14% from your monthly stipend and benefits and report this deduction to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at the end of each tax year. In addition to your stipend payment, the amount subject to reporting and income tax withholding includes payments made by the NRC Research Associateship Programs on your behalf for health insurance premiums, relocation expenses, and travel in connection with your fellowship award.
6.3.2 Taxes will be withheld at the 14% level regardless of any country tax treaties that may be in effect. Actual tax liability is determined when you file a federal income tax return. In the event the tax liability is less than the amount withheld, you will receive a tax refund directly from the IRS.
6.3.3 As a nonresident alien, you should file Form 1040-NR no later than the 15th day of June following the close of the tax (calendar) year. For other filing options, you should consult a tax professional and/or the IRS.
6.4 State Tax Liability
6.4.1 You may be liable for state income taxes and should file the appropriate tax return in compliance with the laws of the state in which you reside. You should consult a local government tax authority at the beginning of tenure for further details concerning this liability.
6.5 Tax Reporting Forms
6.5.1 For United States citizens and permanent residents, the Fellowships Office will provide you with a Statement of Stipends Paid memo in late January. This memo includes an end-of-year summary of stipend payments, contributions to health insurance, and relocation and professional travel reimbursements.
6.5.2 For nonresident aliens, Form 1042-S (Foreign Person’s United States Source Income Subject to Withholding) will be mailed to you in mid-March.
6.6 Social Security
6.6.1 Since you are a guest investigator, and not an employee of the Academies or the sponsoring laboratory, the Fellowships Office does not withhold Social Security taxes from your stipend payments. You should study the pertinent publications on Social Security taxes to determine whether you have incurred any tax obligation.
6.6.2 Although Social Security taxes are not withheld from stipend payments, you are still required to have an assigned Social Security Number, as explained in section 3.3.
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As part of the NRC Research Associateship Programs award, you may have a budget for professional and programmatic travel and you may be eligible for relocation. Use of travel and relocation funds is governed by both federal regulations (Federal Travel Regulations and Defense Travel Regulations) as well as Fellowships Office Travel Policy. Please refer to the NRC Research Associateship Programs Travel Guide for information about travel associated with your award. The Travel Guide describes these travel policies and processes in detail.
All professional, programmatic, and relocation travel undertaken during your tenure as an NRC Research Associate requires submission of a Travel Authorization form prior to travel. An approved Travel Authorization authorizes you to travel and incur necessary expenses in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. All expenses that are approved on the Travel Authorization and require reimbursement must adhere to program, institutional, and federal government policies, regulations, and laws.
Omega World Travel (OWT), a full-service travel agency, has been designated by the Fellowships Office to serve Associates’ travel needs. The Fellowships Office requires that you use Omega World Travel for both domestic and international travel. This will assure that your itinerary conforms to Federal Travel Regulations and will avoid the possibility of unallowable expenses.
All NRC Research Associateship Programs sponsored travel must be accounted for by submitting a Travel Expense Report, whether or not reimbursement is due to you. Government regulations require that all airline tickets and/or rental cars provided by Omega World Travel must be accounted for on a Travel Expense Report. Associates must submit a web-based Travel Expense Report as directed by Fellowships Office Travel staff. A Travel Expense Report must be submitted no later than 10 days following the completion of travel.
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8 Six-Month Progress Report and Final Report
8.1 Six-Month Progress Report
8.1.1 An interim report on the progress of your research is required six months following the start of your tenure. At the appropriate time, you will receive a reminder about completing a Six-Month Progress Report, requesting a summary of your research program.
8.2 Final Report
8.2.2 Submission of a final report is a requirement of the NRC Research Associateship Programs. You should submit your report to the Fellowships Office no later than 15 days before the date on which your tenure ends. A Certificate of Completion will be mailed when this report is received. Report forms may be found on the RAP website on the Associate Information and Forms page.
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9 Renewing/Extending an Associateship Award
NRC Research Associateship awards are made for one or two years depending on the policy of the federal laboratory. Awards may be renewed for a second and possibly a third year, upon mutual agreement of the Laboratory Program Representative, Research Adviser, and NRC Research Associate, and pending the availability of funds. Renewals are generally for 12 months, but in special cases can be granted for shorter periods, less than 12 months but at least 6 months. In some cases an extension may be requested to bring research to a logical conclusion of up to 3 months.
9.1 At least two months before the end of your tenure, you and your Research Adviser will receive notifications regarding the renewal of your Associateship Award.
9.2 Two forms are required to renew your award, both found on the Research Associateship Programs website on the Associate Information and Forms page:
(a) Application for Renewal/Extension of Award (to be completed by the NRC Research Associate and signed by the Research Adviser and Laboratory Program Representative.)
(b) Evaluation of NRC Research Associate by Research Adviser (to be completed by the Research Adviser and signed by the Laboratory Program Representative.)
9.3 Both forms should be sent to the Laboratory Program Representative, who will sign and forward them to the Fellowships Office.
9.4 Renewal of tenure is not intended to initiate new research but to complete your originally approved research program.
9.5 Renewal is neither automatic nor guaranteed. The period of the requested renewal should be discussed with your Research Adviser.
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10 Resignation and Early Departure
If you decide to resign your award before your tenure officially ends, you must inform your Research Adviser, the Laboratory Program Representative, and the Fellowships Office in writing at least 30 days in advance. J-1 visa holders must inform the NRC Research Associateship Programs Visa Officer directly for the required SEVIS notification.
10.1.1 Resignation notification from the Associate must be routed through the Research Adviser, the Laboratory Program Representative, and the Program Administrator for concurrence.
10.1.2 If you resign early, the effective date of resignation will be the last day you were in residence at the laboratory.
10.1.3 Exchange Visitors -- The Fellowships Office is required to notify the U.S. Department of State through SEVIS when an exchange visitor leaves the program earlier than 30 days before the ending date on the current DS-2019 Form.
10.2.1 If early resignation results in tenure of less than six successive months, expenses previously reimbursed for initial relocation must be repaid.
10.2.2 All outstanding travel and stipend advances must be reconciled before the last day of tenure.
10.3 Final Report
See Section 8.2 for procedures regarding the Final Report.
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11 Publications, Copyrights, and Patents
Each sponsoring laboratory has specific policies regarding publications, copyright, and patents. The information provided here is general information, which is intended to provide an overview of intellectual property issues. This information may be superseded by laboratory policy. Therefore, it is important that a new Associate discuss laboratory guidelines and procedures for publications, copyrights, and patents with his or her Research Adviser at the start of tenure.
11.1.1 The NRC Research Associateship Programs and the sponsoring laboratory encourage you to publish all scientific results.
11.1.2 You must conform to the laboratory’s requirements for prior review and approval of all material, whether written or prepared for oral presentation.
11.1.3 All publications should include appropriate acknowledgment of the NRC Research Associateship Programs and the laboratory as follows:
This research was performed while the author held an NRC Research Associateship award at (laboratory name).
11.1.4 Publication charges are not a part of your NRC Research Associateship Programs award budget. Although the NRC Research Associateship Programs does not pay publication charges, many of the sponsor laboratories will pay these charges. You should discuss your laboratory’s publication policy with your Research Adviser and your Laboratory Program Representative.
11.2.1 If you assert copyright in the written works that arise from your research activities, the federal government and others acting on the government’s behalf will be granted a license to reproduce the copyrighted work, distribute copies, prepare derivative works, perform publicly the copyrighted work, and display publicly the copyrighted work.
11.2.2 The NRC Research Associate and the federal government will hold joint ownership.
11.2.3 In the case of copyright agreements for journal publications, you must conform to the laboratory’s procedures for review and approval.
11.3.1 You are required to report all inventions made as a consequence of research conducted during your tenure promptly to the director of the laboratory or its patent counsel and also to your Program Administrator. The notice to the NRC Research Associateship Programs must include the title of the invention, the assigned case number, if any, the name of any co-inventors, and the name of any patent counsel at the sponsoring laboratory.
11.3.2 Neither the Academies nor the NRC Research Associateship Programs will exercise any rights to inventions made during your tenure.
11.3.3 Your rights to retain title in any invention made during your tenure may depend on the provisions of the applicable contract or grant awarded by each sponsoring agency to the NRC Research Associateship Programs and/or the policies and procedures of that agency. The NRC Research Associateship Programs will not take a position on the relative intellectual property ownership rights between an NRC Research Associate and the sponsoring agency.
11.3.4 In cases where an invention is made jointly with a government employee, the sponsoring agency may ask you to assign ownership rights to the agency. In some cases, in consideration for your assignment of rights, you may be offered a share of any royalties that may result from use or licensing of the invention.
11.3.5 For each invention to which an Associate retains title, the federal Government will be granted, at a minimum, a nonexclusive, nontransferable, irrevocable, worldwide license to practice, or to have practiced for or on behalf of the United States.
11.3.6 This information will be superseded by any requirements for individual sponsoring agencies and will also be subject to applicable federal laws. It is important that you discuss the laboratory’s patent policies and procedures with the appropriate laboratory personnel before you begin research.
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