FAQs

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APPLYING TO THE PROGRAM

AWARD DETAILS

  • How long is an IC Postdoc appointment?
    Appointments are for 24 months.
    The Program has the discretion to fund a third year, if outlined in the original submitted proposal. All extensions are based on available funding, the status of the Postdoc’s research, and its continued relevance to the Program’s research goals.
  • How is my stipend determined?
    Postdocs receive an annual stipend of $70,000, plus a $5,000 stipend supplement to off-set the cost of health insurance, whether obtained through the Program or another source.
    Depending on location of the research facility, the Postdoc may receive a locality supplement of up to $4,000 based on the most recent OPM Locality Pay Tables.
  • Does the Program reimburse relocation expenses?
    If a Postdoc resides more than 50 miles from the assigned research facility, limited reimbursement of expenses for relocating from the Postdoc's original residence address to the area of the assigned facility will be provided. Reimbursement for allowable expenses is applied to the first year travel allowance and must adhere to the Federal Travel Regulations.
    Postdocs should contact ORISE before any relocation plans are made. ORISE staff will provide the Postdoc with information regarding the policy and guidelines for the reimbursement of allowable expenses for inbound travel from the current address to the appointment location. Postdoc travel must be in accordance with the ORAU Travel Manual.

DURING THE FELLOWSHIP

  • Can a Postdoc receive a monetary award or some other tangible award for professional recognition?
    The Postdoc may accept awards, prizes, review panel honoraria, scholarships, Veterans Administration benefits, and similar payments provided these payments do not represent dual payment for the research being supported by the IC Postdoc Program.
    Postdocs can receive a plaque or certificate of appreciation or recognition, but may not accept monetary awards in any form for research being supported by the IC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program, including monetary awards conferred by the host facility for “research activities.”
    Postdocs are not allowed to supplement their stipends through simultaneous employment, grants, or other sources of income that compete with the Fellowship activities. The Program requires that the Postdoc to be fully involved in the research opportunity addressed in the original proposal. During the appointment, the Postdoc may not provide services for compensation to a third party.
  • When will I receive my stipend payment?
    Stipend payments are issued on the last business day of each month.
  • What happens to my stipend if I participate in the Program only part of a month?
    If the Postdoc’s appointment begins after the first day of the month or terminates before the final day of the month, the stipend award and insurance supplement for that month will be prorated based on the number of days of participation in that month.
  • Does ORAU withhold federal and state income taxes for Postdocs?
    This section is provided for information purposes only. It is not intended as legal or tax advice, or a definitive interpretation of the law.
    All stipend payments paid by ORAU directly to the Postdoc are considered taxable by the U.S. federal government and should be reported annually.
    Awards paid to Postdocs will be reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by ORAU as Miscellaneous Income-Prizes and Awards, as defined in IRS Code Section 74. To be consistent with ORAU reporting, all payments by ORAU should be reported on the Federal income tax return, Form 1040, as “Other Income” and be identified as a “Fellowship Award.”
    Since Postdocs are not employees and they receive awards (not wages), ORAU does not withhold state or Federal taxes, Social Security, worker’s compensation, or Medicare taxes from award payments. Postdocs are not self-employed, and therefore do not pay self-employment taxes. ORAU also does not withhold state income tax for any Postdoc.
    Please Note: The insurance supplement is part of the Fellowship award and, therefore, is taxable. Travel and relocation expense reimbursements, however, are not taxable and therefore are not reported to the IRS by ORAU.
  • Does a Postdoc earn vacation or sick leave during the appointment?
    Postdocs do not “earn” medical leave or personal leave, although the host facility may permit occasional absences (e.g., sick days and days for personal business) without reduction of the stipend payment or termination of the appointment. The Research Advisor must approve all absences in advance. It is imperative that ORISE be immediately notified of any change to a Postdoc's schedule that would require an adjustment to the stipend award that is conferred in a given month . Postdocs receive a stipend for federal holidays. For non-federal holidays or local emergency closings, they follow the same schedule as the host research facility.
  • Are Postdocs considered employees of ORISE, ODNI, or the host facility?
    A Postdoc is not an employee of ORISE, ORAU, the ODNI, the host facility, or any other office or agency. Instead, the individual has a “guest appointment” at the designated host facility and is affiliated with ORISE for the administration of the appointment through the ORISE Offer letter and Terms of Appointment. By accepting the Terms of Appointment, the individual agrees that the receipt of stipend payments from ORISE shall not be construed as an employment relationship and acknowledges there are no employment-related benefits (such as paid vacations, sick pay, FMLA family leave, unemployment compensation, or worker's compensation) associated with this appointment.
  • How can I use my travel funds?
    Postdocs receive an annual travel allowance of $6,000 per appointment year. If the entire allowance is not used during the first year, the balance may be carried over from the previous year, but all travel funded by the program must be completed prior to the end of the appointment.
    Travel outside the United States is NOT authorized using Program funds.
    The travel allowance may be used for relocating to the research facility or in support of the fellowship.
  • What reports must Postdocs submit?
    The Postdoc must submit an annual research report each September that summarizes the research accomplishments during the appointment. The report should describe publications, papers presented, conference participation, and other aspects of the appointment. If a Postdoc begins work after October in the year they receive the award, then a final report update will be required at the conclusion of the appointment as well. The release of the final stipend payment is contingent upon receipt of the final annual research report update by ORISE.
  • What are the guidelines regarding copyrights and patents?
    Neither ORAU nor the Government of the United States asserts any claim to copyrights or patents that result from the research funded by the Program.
    By accepting the appointment, a Postdoc must agree to provide the Program, in written form, any and all technical data produced or generated during the course of the appointment in whatever form it may be recorded.
    If not recorded or written, the Postdoc shall provide the Program a written report of any technical data whatsoever generated by the Postdoc during the course of his or her appointment. The host facility and/or the Government of the United States shall have the right to use, duplicate or disclose such technical data, in whole or in part, in any manner and for any purpose whatsoever and to permit others to do so.
    "Technical data" means recorded information, regardless of form or characteristic, of a scientific or technical nature. Technical data does not include financial reports, costs analyses, or other information incidental to contract administration. Examples of technical data include research and engineering data, engineering drawings and associated lists, specifications, standards, process sheets, manuals, technical reports, catalog item identification, and related information.
  • Can I perform my research somewhere other than the location of my designated Research Advisor?
    Each appointment is tied to a specific host facility, which must also be the location of the designated Research Advisor. Postdocs must relocate to the Research Advisor's facility. The Program understands there may be brief periods where research may involve field work or visiting other laboratories to use specialized equipment. Short periods of absence from the host facility are permissible under those circumstances.
  • I am a current IC Postdoc and I have been informed that my Research Advisor will be leaving/retiring. Is it possible to replace my Research Advisor, or must my appointment end?
    In the event a Research Advisor can no longer serve in that role, the Research Advisor and/or Postdoc must notify ORISE immediately.
    The Postdoc may identify a replacement who is located at the facility in a role similar to that of the original Advisor. The new Research Advisor will need to complete and submit the "Research Advisor Confirmation of Commitment Form" as well as a résumé/CV to ORISE for Program approval. The Postdoc will need to provide ORISE the date on which the transition will occur.
    If a replacement Research Advisor is not identified, the appointment will be terminated.
    ORISE will notify the Postdoc, the original Research Advisor, and the replacement Research Advisor in writing to confirm this change.
  • What is the procedure for terminating my appointment early? What impact does that have on my Research Advisor?
    If the Postdoc decides to terminate the appointment before the official end date, they must immediately inform their Research Advisor, the IC Advisor, and ORISE. This notification must be submitted in writing, preferably at least 30 days before the anticipated termination date. The Postdoc’s final stipend payment will be calculated through the last day he or she will be performing program-related research at the appointment facility.
    If the Postdoc chooses to terminate the appointment with less than twelve (12) months of participation, he/she must repay in full any relocation expenses for which the Postdoc was reimbursed or that were paid on the Postdoc's behalf.
    If the appointment of the Postdoc terminates, then the agreement with the Research Advisor and host facility terminates, as well.
  • Can unused travel funds from the previous year carry over when the appointment is renewed?
    Yes, travel funds may be carried over from the previous year, but all IC Postdoc Program travel must be completed prior to the end of the appointment.
  • Are Postdocs authorized to use the IC Postdoc logo on posters, presentations, or business cards?
    Postdocs may receive permission in writing from ORISE to use the Program logo.  The logo may be used in certain situations, such as posters or presentations, but requests to use the logo must be submitted in writing prior to use.  Distorting the logo (colors, etc.) is not permitted.
  • Can a Postdoc receive a monetary award or some other tangible award for professional recognition?
    Postdocs can receive a plaque or certificate of appreciation or recognition, but may not accept monetary awards in any form for research being supported by the IC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program, including monetary awards conferred by the host facility for “research activities.”  Postdocs are not allowed to supplement their stipends through simultaneous employment, grants, or other sources of income that compete with the Fellowship activities.  The Program requires that the Postdoc to be fully involved in the research opportunity addressed in the original proposal. During the appointment, the Postdoc may not provide services for compensation to a third party.
    The Postdoc may accept awards, prizes, review panel honoraria, scholarships, Veterans Administration benefits, and similar payments provided these payments do not represent dual payment for the research being supported by the IC Postdoc Program.
  • I was an IC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program participant a few years ago.  May I apply for the Program again?
    No, you may only receive one award from the IC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program.  The Program does not permit a second award no matter how long ago the first award was conferred.
  • Can I apply before I receive the Ph.D.?
    You may apply for an award before you complete the Ph.D., but you must complete all requirements for a Ph.D. or an equivalent doctorate degree and provide proof of that qualification before beginning your appointment.
  • I will have had my Ph.D. for five years and one month prior to the application deadline.  Can I still apply?
    No, you will not be eligible for an award.