Information for Potential Sponsors

In order to establish a proposal under the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Strategic Partnership Projects (SPP) program, the prospective sponsor will work with ORISE management to submit the proposal statement of work (SOW). The SOW defines scope, deliverables, and provides cost estimates. In addition, the SOW identifies the academic levels of candidates permitted to participate in the SPP program. While the sponsors may intend only to host a specific level (postdocs, for example) in the their collective programs, the full suite of academic levels is included in their SOW. The sponsor is under no obligation to actually appoint participants of every level defined in the SOW; the SOW only defines what is permissible.

DOE expects that the sponsor will designate a Program Coordinator who will serve as the single point of contact with whom DOE will later correspond.

The ORISE SPP office will submit the draft proposal to DOE’s ORNL Site Office (OSO).

Once DOE approves the proposal, the Program Coordinator will be notified by letter that the proposal is approved and provided detailed administrative instructions that contain specific DOE requirements applicable to interagency agreement and how the funding is transferred from the sponsor to the DOE Strategic Partnership Projects Contracting Officer. All financial activities for interagency acquisition (IA) work performed by DOE for other federal agencies will be recorded through the Intragovernmental Payment and Collection (IPAC) system.

The sponsor must submit an interagency agreement in order for ORISE to work on the program, accept applications, or appoint applicants who have been selected for an appointment.

Once the sponsor sends DOE funding using an interagency agreement and funding is approved by DOE, ORISE will begin program administration.

Frequently asked questions for potential sponsors

  • Project assignments should be STEM focused and provide the participant with opportunities to receive hands-on experience that complements his/her educational and professional background and helps the participant gain knowledge in areas related to the Sponsor’s mission. The program is not intended to provide workers to augment your organization’s staffing. Therefore, project activities should be appropriate for an education and training program. Participants should not supervise or mentor federal employees or federal contractor staff; have budget, program management or signature authority; carry an official job title; or function in any way as a representative of the federal government.

  • ORISE programs offer a competitive stipend and may offer (depending on the program) on-station travel, facility inbound/outbound reimbursement, relocation/moving allowance, housing allowance, and health insurance.

    Stipend payments

    Participants will receive a stipend to defray their living and other expenses during this educational experience. Stipends are not considered compensation for services rendered by participants—there are no salaries or fringe benefits paid. The Sponsor determines and provides funding amounts for participants. ORISE handles the logistical administration of stipends.

    Travel costs

    Most sponsors provide some amount of money as a travel budget to each participant based on the academic level and project assignment. ORISE handles participant travel arrangements and payments.

    Health insurance

    All participants are required to have health insurance while appointed, and must provide proof of health insurance. Participants have the option to obtain health insurance offered through ORISE.

    The Sponsor may also elect to confer a health insurance supplement to the participant’s stipend to defray the cost of health insurance.

  • In cases where assignments require a security clearance, the Sponsor is responsible for obtaining clearances for participants. Participants who are not U.S. citizens but are selected by the Sponsor should anticipate possible delays in their appointments.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy has extended the use of the ORISE contract to its strategic partners, including more than 20 federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Defense, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency. 

  • A Secondary Sponsor who is affiliated with the primary sponsor can fund participants by citing the same DOE agreement that the primary sponsor does, so long as the Primary Sponsor provides written approval to ORISE, and as long as the secondary sponsor assigns a Program Coordinator to supervise appointments at the Secondary Sponsor’s location.

    If the Secondary Sponsor’s use of the program grew to a large number of participants, then ORISE may suggest that the Secondary User establish its own DOE project.

  • The sponsor defines the mechanism for approval at their end. Most ORISE agreements are approved by the Chief Scientist, by the Director of the facility at which the research is conducted, or by the Program Coordinator who initiated the program with ORISE.

  • ORISE provides strategy and expertise in the design of the program. ORISE coordinates directly with the Sponsor to establish the program; administer the program in accordance with the approved guidance from the Sponsor; publish the program’s policies and procedures; report on program activities; and review program objectives and operating procedures.

  • ORISE publicizes the availability of opportunities in the program and recruits participants for the program.

  • It is the Sponsor’s responsibility to identify mentors for their program. Mentors must be full-time employees of the Sponsor research facility, university, or host facility. 

    It is the responsibility of the Sponsor to ensure that all mentors have completed the required ORISE training.

  • Foreign citizen participation is up to the sponsor. Sponsors should consult with their legal office as to whether the program will permit foreign citizens to participate (many agencies do permit foreign citizens participation, and ORISE becomes the J-1 sponsor for those participants). 

  • High school students may participate. If the student is under the age of 18, all legal guardians must provide written permission. ORISE has specific appointment processes for students under the age of 18.

  • All appointments are contingent on the availability of funds of the Sponsor. Participation may be defined either as full-time or part-time. The duration of the appointment may be defined in weeks, months, years, or academic terms or semesters.