Current Research Participants
The information below should help current research participants with questions about their appointments. Each topic provides a broad overview for that process or area.
Nature of the Appointment
Description of ORISE internship/research participation appointments at DoD.
An ORISE research participant at DoD is not an employee of ORISE, ORAU, DoD, the host facility, or any other office or agency. Instead, the participant has a guest appointment at the DoD-designated facility and is affiliated with ORISE for the administration of the appointment through the ORISE appointment letter and Terms of Appointment.
When accepting the Terms of Appointment, a participant agrees that the receipt of stipend payments from ORAU shall not be construed as an employment relationship and acknowledges there are no employment-related benefits (such as paid vacations, sick pay, maternity leave, unemployment compensation, worker’s compensation, etc.) associated with this appointment.
As a guest at a DoD facility, a participant is expected to devote full time and effort in pursuing the activities of the research program, publishing research results, participating and presenting at appropriate scientific conferences and meetings, and participating in technical activities at the DoD facility.
Policies/Regulations of the Hosting Facility
Description of participant obligations when assigned to a DoD host facility.
Participants in the ORISE Research Programs at DoD have guest appointments at their respective facility and must follow all DoD policies and procedures.
- Participants must complete all hosting facility requirements to gain access to the hosting facility prior to the start date of their appointment, which may include a background check, security clearance, etc.
- Participants must adhere to the existing policies, regulations, and procedures of the hosting facility. Please contact your DoD program coordinator for specific policies and procedures.
- DoD facility guidelines and procedures for publications, copyrights, and patents related to the research project must be discussed with the mentor and followed. Additionally there is a DOE/ORISE acknowledgement that must be included on published reports, journal articles, and professional presentations that result from activities during your appointment. Please see the FAQ section of this website for the required wording.
- Participants must follow the policies of the hosting facility regarding intellectual property rights and dissemination of research information.
Every participant is required to have health insurance on the first day of the appointment and throughout the duration of the appointment. Participants may not be present at DoD facilities if their insurance coverage lapses.
Individual, individual plus one, or family insurance coverage may be purchased through ORISE. Alternatively, participants may obtain outside insurance coverage from the company of their choice. More information on the insurance coverage offered by ORISE may be found at the ORAU Health Insurance site.
Participants who enroll in the ORAU/ORISE health insurance plan will have the full cost of the monthly premium deducted from their stipend payment.
Guidelines for Non-U.S. Citizens
Important information for non-U.S. citizens participating in ORISE research programs.
Start of Appointment
Learn about the steps that occur before the candidate can begin the appointment.
Prior to the mentor selecting the candidate, the candidate must complete an application in Zintellect which includes the following items:
- Current resume
- Official transcript showing most recent degree
- At least one reference from a person familiar with the candidate’s educational qualifications (a reference from a current or past faculty member is preferred)
Once the mentor selects the candidate for a project, the mentor can coordinate a potential start date with the candidate. However, the appointment may not begin until an official appointment offer from ORISE is received and accepted. Here are the steps in the process:
- The candidate will receive an official appointment letter and other relevant documents through Zintellect. The appointment letter will outline any contingencies that must be met prior to starting the appointment.
- To accept the offer, the candidate completes and returns all requested materials.
- Selected candidates who are U.S. citizens must verify their citizenship before starting the appointment.
- Selected candidates who are not U.S. citizens must consult with ORISE immigration staff upon acceptance of the appointment to ensure they have the authorizations necessary for participation. Selected candidates cannot start their appointment until the ORISE immigration staff have provided notification that they are cleared to start. See Guidelines for Non-U.S. Citizens for clarification on the types of authorizations acceptable for the program.
- All participants are required to have health insurance in place on the first day of the appointment and must maintain health insurance throughout the duration of the appointment. Health insurance is available through ORISE.
Note: A delay in any of the items listed above may delay the start date of the appointment and/or the stipend payment.
Duration of Appointment
Explanation of length of appointments.
Postgraduate appointments are normally conferred for one year and may be renewed for a total of five years of full-time participation, upon mentor and program coordinator approval. Renewal of the appointment is contingent upon project needs, funding availability, and the continued educational benefit to the participant.
Student appointments normally occur for 10-12 weeks during the summer but can be extended based on program funding and participant availability. Appointments during the academic year are also feasible. A student may be re-appointed during each subsequent summer, as he or she matriculates toward a degree. Students must provide ORISE with proof of enrollment each semester. Once a degree is earned, the student may become eligible for a postgraduate appointment (see above).
University faculty appointments normally occur for 10-12 weeks during the summer. Appointments during the academic year are also feasible. A university faculty member may be re-appointed each summer, with no time limit, as long as he or she maintains status as a full-time faculty member at a U.S. college or university.
Renewal of Appointment
Extending or renewing a research appointment.
Appointment renewal is based on the recommendation of the mentor and approval of the DoD program coordinator, and is contingent upon project needs and funding availability. Once ORISE has received the renewal request from the program coordinator, ORISE will process the paperwork and then send the participant a renewal letter for signature.
End of Appointment
Concluding a research appointment at DoD.
The duration of the research appointment is specified in the appointment letter (and any subsequent renewal letters) that a participant receives from ORISE. Appointment end dates may not be changed without the appropriate communication from ORISE.
Leaving an Appointment Early
Should a participant need to leave the program before the scheduled end of their appointment, the participant should directly inform ORISE by email and copy the DoD mentor and program coordinator. Non-U.S. citizens should also copy the ORISE immigration office. A minimum of two weeks of notice is requested. Providing insufficient notice or failure to communicate directly with ORISE, could result in unnecessary complications with final stipend payments.
Information on stipends and tax information for research participants.
Stipends are Not Wages
Because ORISE Participants are not employees, stipend payments are not considered wages and should not be reported as such. Stipend payments are payments made in order to help defray living expenses while the participant is engaged in a research participation program.
Stipends are Taxable Benefits for Education
All stipend payments paid by Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) directly to the ORISE Participant are considered taxable by the U.S. federal government, and it is the participant’s responsibility to report these payments to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Taxability of Stipends
For information on tax liabilities and how to file federal tax forms, please contact a licensed tax professional in your jurisdiction. We recommend that you provide your tax preparer with a copy of your ORISE Terms of Appointment.
Statement of Payments
ORISE Participants who have no tax withheld from their stipend payment can expect to receive an annual Statement of Payments letter from ORAU. Designed to help with tax preparation, this statement will be made available electronically by February 15 and will include the total amount of payments made by ORAU during the previous calendar year.
Information for participant travel and reimbursement during research appointments
ORISE will process participants’ travel costs for conferences, training events, field work, site visits, and other travel that supports the educational goals of the appointment, contingent on mentor and program coordinator approval. Participants can find more information about requesting travel approval at ORAU Travel Central.
Non-Travel Reimbursements and Pre-Payments
Downloadable forms for reimbursement of mileage, parking, conference fees, training, tuition, books, and other supported reimbursable items.
ORISE will process other participant costs for conference registration, training, tuition, books, mileage, parking and other activities that support the educational goals of the appointment, contingent on mentor and program coordinator approval. The participant will submit the appropriate form (see below) and all receipts to ORISE. For reimbursement to be approved, funds must be available on the date of the purchase, as documented on the receipt. For advance pay to be approved, funds must be available and the appointment active on the date that the cost will be incurred.
Private Vehicle Mileage and Parking
Request for Payment
Form to request reimbursement of registration fees, tuition, books, or other miscellaneous (non-travel-related) costs:
Request for Payment (PDF)
Note: If you have a trip planned that has conference registration fees, please follow the directions in the Travel Section as the fees can be paid using the Pre-approval Form; The Request for Payment form is only used when you do not have a trip associated with it.
ORISE participants are encouraged to register in ORCID to help showcase their scientific accomplishments and to more accurately represent the impact of the program and ORISE in the research community.
Advancing Yourself Professionally
ORISE has been helping young STEM professionals on their career paths since 1946. Current participants have access to resources to help with professional development.
Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to the questions most commonly asked by ORISE participants.
My mentor has told me that I have been selected for an appointment. When will I receive notification from ORISE? ORISE must await DoD program coordinator approval before the appointment process through ORISE can begin. Once approvals and funding are in place, ORISE is able to generate the appointment offer package. See start of appointment for more information.
Can I relocate before I receive my appointment letter?
We do not advise you to do this. Only ORISE is authorized to offer you an appointment via an appointment letter. Additionally, if your program is able to provide financial assistance for relocation, it is important that you work with ORISE to ensure that the moving expenses you incur will be reimbursable.
Can I start before I receive my appointment letter?
No, participants are not permitted to start their appointments until they have satisfied all ORISE and DoD Program requirements. Once all ORISE requirements have been met, the participant will receive an email from Zintellect stating so.
Can I change the start date of my appointment?
You may delay your start date with approval from your mentor and program coordinator. Please immediately notify ORISE if your expected start date is later than what is specified in your appointment letter. You may not begin an appointment any earlier than the date specified in your appointment letter without an amendment from ORISE.
I need to end my appointment early. What should I do?
You should immediately notify your mentor, DoD program coordinator, and ORISE point of contact of your new end date. ORISE will notify you of any paperwork that needs to be completed before your final stipend payment will be released. See end of appointment for more information.
Whom should I contact when there’s a change to my appointment?
All changes to your appointment, such as changes to appointment start or end dates, participation level, and absences, should be directly communicated to your ORISE point of contact. See ORISE contact information for a list of ORISE email addresses.
When will I receive my first stipend?
You will receive your first stipend payment via direct deposit on the last business day of the month your appointment begins, unless your start date is in the last week of the month or your contingencies have not been met. For more information on participant stipends, please see Stipend Information.
Is participation in the ORISE program considered employment?
The ORISE Programs at DoD provide educational experiences, not employment experiences. Participant stipends are not a representation of payment for services rendered but are issued to help offset living expenses and accommodations while engaged in a learning experience. For more information, please see Nature of Appointment.
May I work remotely/telework?
Participating from a remote location is not permitted. So that you gain the most from the appointment, ORISE requires an onsite, hands-on learning experience that engages the participant in the tools and resources provided by the DoD sponsor and mentor.
Can I go back to school?
Yes, you may be enrolled in school and still participate in your ORISE opportunity. Contact your mentor and DoD program coordinator to discuss their policy about student participation.
What should I do to change my banking information?
You will need to fill out a new Authorization Agreement for electronic funds transfer (EFT) form and submit it to your designated Program Specialist. If you began your appointment in the spring of 2019 or later and received your onboarding materials through Zintellect, you have the ability to change your banking information by accessing your Zintellect dashboard.
Can I defer payments on my student loans while I am a participant in the ORISE program?
You may be able to defer your student loan payments, since the ORISE DoD program is an educational/training program. Please contact your lender to obtain the necessary forms, and send them to your ORISE point of contact. We will verify your appointment for the lender.
Do I qualify for student loan forgiveness?
This determination will be made by your loan provider. We suggest that you provide them with copies of your appointment letter and terms of appointment, so that they can understand the nature of the ORISE program and whether it falls under their guidelines for loan forgiveness.
How many days of leave do I have?
Participants are not employees and do not earn annual or medical leave. However, your facility may allow some personal days off for each appointment year without a reduction in stipend. Contact your DoD program coordinator for more information. All absences must be approved in advance by the mentor. Participants should not be present on DoD holidays. These do not count against personal days, nor will they result in a decrease in stipend.
Absences in excess of the allowed personal days may be permitted on a case-by-case basis as unpaid absences. Extended absences for serious illness, emergencies, etc., will be unpaid and will require DoD management approval. You must notify ORISE in advance of any unpaid absences.
What is ORISE’s inclement weather policy?
You should not report to DoD when your facility is closed for holidays, inclement weather, emergencies, etc. Such closures will not affect your stipend. Please contact your DoD point of contact if you are not sure if you should report to your facility.
As an ORISE participant, will I receive a W-2 or 1099?
Since ORISE participants are not employees or contractors (and receive stipends instead of wages), they do not receive W-2 or 1099 forms. We do send a statement of payments that you may use in preparing your tax return. Some foreign nationals, depending upon their tax treaty status, will receive 1042-S forms from ORAU. For more information on the tax implications of stipends, please see Stipend Information.
Please be sure to inform ORISE of any changes to your mailing address, even after your appointment has ended, so that you will receive this information in a timely fashion.
Can you tell me how much funding is left in my travel budget?
Upon request, ORISE can let you know how much you have already spent on travel. All travel expenditures, regardless of budgeted amounts, must be approved by your mentor and DoD program coordinator.
What acknowledgement do I need to put on my posters and publications?
All published reports, journal articles, or professional presentations that rely on the activities conducted during your participation should carry an acknowledgement such as: “This project was supported in part by an appointment to the Research Participation Program at the [Office/Center Name], U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education through an interagency agreement between the U.S. Department of Energy and DoD.”
Can ORISE provide me with business cards?
No, we cannot pay for or reimburse you for the cost of business cards. Since ORISE research participants are not employees of ORISE or DoD, any personal cards that you have printed must reflect your accurate status at DoD; you should always list your title on this or any other literature as “ORISE Research Participant.”
What is my official title during my appointment?
Once you begin your appointment, you will be referred to as an ORISE Participant. You may use the program name as an additional identifier (e.g., Army Public Health Center ORISE Participant) but your title cannot represent or imply a direct affiliation to the DoD or DoD sponsor.
What should my signature line look like?
Jane Doe John Doe
DoD ORISE Research Participant ORISE Research Participant