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Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program U.S. National Institutes of Health National Cancer Institute

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Outside Activities


Explanations and Policy References for Outside Activities of Non-FTE Persons

**All references to "employees" apply to CPFP Fellows, unless otherwise specified**

During their time at the CPFP, fellows may encounter activities that involve organizations and institutions outside the NCI:

  • "Outside Activities"are approved activities or work for an outside organization, with or without pay or other compensation, carried out by employees separate from their officially assigned Government responsibilities. These activities involve the employee's general scientific or professional expertise or matters that had been assigned before the previous 12-month period and have been publicly disclosed. (Excerpted from the official NIH policy website on Outside Activities).

"Non-FTE" (non-full-time employee) is an individual who serves in some capacity while engaged in research and science related programs or activities for or at the NIH, but who is not appointed to duty. CPFP Fellows are considered Non-FTE persons.

How can CPFP Fellows learn more about "Official Duty Assignments" and "Outside Activities"?

  • CPFP Fellows may engage in Outside Activities that require the use of professional qualifications readily identified with his/her NIH position, provided his/her work does not create a real or an apparent conflict of interest or interfere with regularly assigned duties. Refer to the NIH Ethics Program web site for more information (NIH Ethics Program—Outside Activities).
  • "Official Duty Activities" are approved (between the CPFP Director and the Deputy Ethics Counselor on an Official Duties Memo), non-compensated activities with an outside organization carried out by an employee as part of his/her official Government duties and responsibilities. Typically, official duty activities involve ongoing or announced policies, programs, or operations of NIH or DHHS, and/or matters that are or have been assigned within the last 12-month period (and may or may not have been publicly disclosed), rather than the general scientific or professional expertise of the employee.
  • "Outside Organization:" For a civilian employee an outside organization is any non-DHHS organization such as: a non-profit organization including a professional association or society; a university, hospital, or medical center; state or local governments; non-DHHS Federal agencies; and, for profit organizations such as biotechnology firms, pharmaceutical companies, law firms and other industry. Commissioned Officers may not have outside organizations with any Federal agency. Some outside organizations may be prohibited sources for which outside work may not be authorized. For example, Commissioned Officers may not participate for pay in any activity with a Federal agency or organization which pays fees or salaries from Federal funds.

The information contained on these web sites will help in making this decision:

How can CPFP Fellows (non-FTE) find out if they can accept an invitation from an "Outside Organization" to present at a conference?

The following question and answer document will help in making this determination:

Before CPFP Fellows can accept Outside Activities Assignments or Non-FTE Sponsored Travel, the following must be accomplished:

  • Read information about these activities below and on the referenced web sites Seek approval from the CPFP Program Director by filing the appropriate paperwork (explained below and in the pages following this document)
  • Observe the prescribed lead time of 16 weeks from the time the paperwork has been filed with the Program Director
  • Receive approval from the Program Director, who will forward the request to the appropriate NCI/NIH authorities, including the NCI Ethics Officer where warranted.
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Conflicts of Interests

Information on conflicts of interests is available on the NIH Office of Ethics web site:

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Important Information for Requesting Approval to Perform an Outside Activity and for Completing the Paperwork

  • Lead-time: 16 weeks from the time the paperwork is filed with the Program Director

Visit the NIH Ethics Program web site for information on preparing online approval requests. PDF and Word Documents are also available for fellows currently off-site.

Submission of Manuscripts

The NCI Deputy Ethics Counselor advises the following: "Essentially, when doing an outside writing activity, it must be clear that the employee is not writing in an NCI capacity. This is accomplished in one of two ways — no reference to title or a reference to title with a disclaimer that indicates that the material is being prepared in a personal capacity and does not necessarily represent the position of the NCI, nor does it construe an endorsement of the publication by the NCI."

Other Important Information about Submitting an HHS-520

  • There is no dollar limit on the amount of income that can be received from one or more outside organizations and there is no limit on the amount of time devoted to compensated activities performed outside of official duty time. For Outside Activities performed during official duty time, annual leave must be taken. An employee can hold a copyright and receive unlimited royalties for materials prepared on an Outside Activity.
  • Employment negotiations do not require an HHS-520 since they are considered personal activities. However, if an employee is negotiating with an organization that does business with the NIH a recusal or disqualification should be filed for the duration of negotiations.

CPFP Fellows may contact Ms. Shari Wahlert at the NCI Ethics Office at 6116 Executive Blvd., Bethesda, MD 20892-8334, 301-496-1148 (phone) for information regarding Outside Activities or further information can be found on the following web site: http://ethics.od.nih.gov/topics.htm.

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