1. PURPOSE AND SCOPE This document provides the guidelines, including eligibility criteria and benefits, procedures, and general guidance for applying to and participating in the Centers for Disease Control / Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (CDC/ATSDR) Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Research Participation Program. These guidelines are applicable to all organizations within CDC and are intended for all CDC Centers that utilize the ORISE Program. 2. BACKGROUND The ORISE Research Participation Program at CDC is a training and succession planning mechanism designed to provide students, postgraduates, and university faculty opportunities to participate in project-specific CDC research, current public health research, and developmental activities. It is an educational and developmental program formed in partnership with Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) through an Interagency Agreement. CDC ORISE participants do not perform work in place of federal employees nor are they considered to be CDC employees. The CDC ORISE program is considered a valuable human capital tool which provides educational experiences and training in public health as a means to introduce highly motivated participants to potential public health careers. The goal of these guidelines is to: provide a system and framework of information that ensures, to the greatest extent possible, applicable policies, regulations, laws, and agreements related to ORISE are observed; foster effective stewardship of government resources through the adoption of effective, consistent, and efficient business practices; and create and maintain successful mentoring relationships, encourage education, and support the public health mission of CDC. 3. POLICY A. CRITERIA: 1) The participant must be enrolled in an accredited college or university working toward a degree in an appropriate field (see 3.A.3), received a college degree within 5 years prior to the initial ORISE appointment date, or serve as a full time faculty member at an accredited college or university. The only acceptable proof of education is an official transcript from the degree-granting or current institution (copies of official transcripts are acceptable). 2) The participant may be a non-US citizen but must comply with all applicable immigration laws and requirements authorizing employment within the U.S. 3) The participant must have obtained, or be currently enrolled in applicable courses toward a degree in a professional science or engineering discipline, or a related public health discipline such as economics or health communications; and must be involved in a public health project that clearly requires this educational background. 4) The project must be well defined and supportive of the scientific/public health educational and developmental aspects of this program. 5) Due to security requirements, the initial ORISE appointment can be approved for no longer than one year in duration, with subsequent extensions in one year intervals. Participation is limited to a total of four (4) years. NOTE: The 4-year maximum will be calculated from the original appointment date inclusive of breaks in service. 6) The participant is not considered to be performing a job or providing consulting or expert advice, and may not perform any inherently governmental functions, e.g., supervising federal employees, approving expenditures of funds, etc. 7) The CDC mentor is responsible for the daily guidance or leadership of the participants, including performance appraisals, disciplinary actions, and establishing schedules (days and hours). The mentor should not be another ORISE participant. 8) All early terminations must be approved by the Office of the Chief Operating Officer / Human Capital Management Office (OCOO/HCMO) and ORISE. 9) The participant must be located in a CDC facility with the assigned mentor, i.e., “flexi- place” is not permitted except for very short periods as required by the project. This includes telework as stated in the CDC-HR-2003-03 Telework Policy for Civilian Employees. Faculty appointments are an exception, as these may not be at a CDC facility. 10) An overseas project location for ORISE participants is not authorized. Short-term international travel, not to exceed 30 days, may be authorized by the Management Official (MO) when critical for project completion, upon coordination with the Center for Global Health (CGH), Office of General Counsel (OGC), and the Deputy Chief Operating Officer (DCOO), and in accordance with pertinent federal/Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)/CDC travel regulations and project requirements. B. STIPEND DETERMINATION: Note: The following does not apply to a faculty ORISE appointment. Separate determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis for academic faculty. 1) The initial stipend is determined primarily in consideration of the educational level obtained. CDC will not “match” private or public sector compensation due to the temporary and educational nature of the ORISE appointment. Only degrees obtained within the 5-year requirement can be utilized to determine the participant’s stipend level. 2) Initial stipend determination: Less than a four year degree= equivalent to GS-5 step 1 Four year degree= equivalent to GS-7 step 1 Master’s degree= equivalent to GS-9 step 1 MD/PhD/equivalent= equivalent to GS-11 step 1 To ensure compensation equity in initial pay setting, the above stipend setting parameters are mandatory and without exception. MD/PhD/equivalent with at least two years of related post graduate work has a maximum stipend equivalent to GS-12 step 1. Additional steps at this degree level may be added for related post graduate work experience up to a maximum of the equivalent of GS-12 step 5. 3) The monthly stipend of a full time participant may not at any time exceed the equivalent of a GS-12 step 5 on the appropriate locality pay table, except for faculty participants. College and university faculty participants receive a monthly stipend based on their current academic salaries (proof of college or university salary is required). For any faculty participant that is less than full time, their stipend will be calculated as the percentage of full-time (40 hours per week) that they will be on appointment at CDC. Stipends may not exceed the equivalent of a GS-15 step 1 for faculty participants. To ensure compensation equity in initial pay setting, the above stipend setting parameters are mandatory and without exception. 4) Upon receipt of a higher level degree and submission of the required documentation, ORISE participants will be eligible to receive the next higher level stipend rate available based upon their new degree. Participants are not eligible to skip grade levels without serving a minimum of 52 calendar weeks at each grade level. Following the initial stipend increase due to the receipt of a higher degree, stipend increases may not be awarded more often than once during each 52 calendar week period. For example, a participant receiving a stipend at the GS-5 step 1 level who earns their Bachelor’s degree may receive a stipend at the GS-7 step 1 level. However, a participant receiving a stipend at the GS-5 step 1 level who earns their PhD must first receive a stipend at the GS-7 step 1 level for 52 calendar weeks, then they may receive an increase to a stipend at the GS-9 step 1 level for 52 calendar weeks, then they may receive an increase to a stipend at the GS-11 step 1 level. 5) The stipend must be documented on the Form 410 along with the number of hours per week. The stipend must be calculated per month unless the appointment has intermittent hours. The stipend is the amount considered when determining relative General Schedule grade comparability and equity, but does not include the amount of funding for health insurance, travel, transportation or training costs. 6) The stipend may be increased annually on the anniversary date up to a maximum of 6% based on satisfactory performance of the project requirements. 7) The payment of an “incentive award”, in the form of an additional stipend, is not authorized. C. HEALTH INSURANCE: The Fellow must have health insurance to be appointed under ORISE but it is management’s discretion whether to pay all or part of the health insurance premium. In either case, the maximum amount permitted equates to no more than the current ORISE premium cost for “self only” or a maximum of 70% of the “family” policy, whichever is appropriate, whether through ORISE or another provider. Fellows will only receive medical and prescription coverage through ORISE, not dental or vision. The health insurance funding is added to the stipend to determine the funding needed and must be annotated separately on the Form 410 as such. The participant must provide proof to the Center within 30 days of receipt that the additional stipend for non-ORISE health insurance was used for that purpose. D. ABSENCES: 1) A participant does not earn annual or sick leave. 2) A participant with a one year appointment is allowed no more than 10 personal days a year for absence without a reduction of their stipend. The number of personal days allowed under shorter appointments or for less than a full time appointment is prorated. 3) Participants are paid for federal holidays. Federal holidays are not included in the 10 personal days. 4) All absences must be approved in advance by the mentor. 5) Any absence exceeding the 10 personal days per year requires notification to the ORISE Project Manager and subsequent designation of “unpaid absence”. 6) Emergency time off for serious family illnesses, emergencies, etc. will be handled on a case by case basis, in consideration of the project requirements, must comply with paragraph 5d, and must have higher level management approval. E. PROCEDURES: 1) Each Center and Staff Office should have a designated CDC ORISE action officer responsible for reviewing and authorizing all ORISE requests within these guidelines. This action officer is the point of contact for the OCOO/HCMO. 2) Funding for ORISE Research Participation appointments is provided via interagency agreement with the U.S. DOE. Funding must be fully obligated before appointments can be offered. All funding is coordinated by the Center directly with the ORISE Project Manager at the DOE. 3) The approved package will be transmitted by the Center action officer to OCOO/HCMO for review prior to the ORISE appointment date. 4) OCOO/HCMO will finalize the processing and notify the ORISE Project Manager, the mentor, and Center action officer of the appointment dates, stipend, hours, etc. The official appointment offer is made by ORISE. 5) The Center action officer must ensure that adequate processing time is provided prior to the tentative start or extension date. The approval of “back pay” by the OCOO/HCMO will be on a case-by-case basis and only under rare circumstances, not to include OCOO/HCMO receipt of documentation after the expiration of the appointment. 6) Centers wishing to split a participant’s time with another Center must seek approval from OCOO/HCMO prior to the conversion. All “shared” participants must split their time 50-50 between each Center, and any increases in their stipend must be requested by the Center that originated their application. 7) Centers wishing to transfer a participant to another Center must first seek approval from OCOO/HCMO. Participants wishing to transfer to another Center must first consult their Center, and then seek final approval from OCOO/HCMO. F. Any exception to these guidelines must be approved by the CDC DCOO or designee. 4. RESPONSIBILITIES A. The Office of the Chief Operating Officer (OCOO) / Human Capital Management Office (HCMO) OCOO/HCMO retains overall responsibility for this policy. The designated OCOO/HCMO official will receive and review all ORISE applications, and is the final approving authority for all ORISE appointments and related requests. B. National Centers, OD Staff, and Staff Service Offices The Centers are responsible for working with their Center action officer to ensure that all ORISE applications and appointments are compliant with this policy. C. Supervisors Supervisors are responsible for designating ORISE action officers to coordinate and be the liaison for all ORISE applications and appointments in their center/office. They are to ensure, to the greatest extent possible, the compliance of employees under their control with this policy and take appropriate action as necessary to address issues with non-compliance. Supervisors must also ensure that they, or an authorized approving official, approve all Interagency Agreements with DOE and all ORISE applications before the application is submitted to OCOO/HCMO. 5. Any exception to these guidelines must be approved by the OCOO/HCMO/HCPB or designee.