Obligations of the Appointment

The standard appointment period for an NPP Fellowship award is one (1) year. In most cases, appointments may be renewed for up to a total of three (3) years; however, not all NASA facilities renew appointments for a third year. Renewals are contingent on available funding and the continued relevance of the research to NASA’s goals and missions. The renewal of the appointment requires the Fellow to continue his or her existing research or research management program and is not for the purpose of undertaking a new research or research management program (unless the Fellow is transitioning from a Research Fellowship to a Management Fellowship).

The Fellow should begin discussions with the NPP advisor about renewing the appointment well in advance of the appointment end date. The renewal of the appointment is based on available funding, evaluation of the Fellow’s performance to date, the status of his/her program, and its continued relevance to NASA’s research goals.

An appointment renewal requires the submission of an application for renewal form, the advisor evaluation of Fellow form, and written approval by the NPP advisor and the NPP Center representative, as well as authorization of funding from NASA. Additional information about renewals is available on the Frequently Asked Questions page. ORAU will remind Fellows of the appointment end date and provide guidance on the appointment renewal process.

Since Fellows are not employees, they do not accumulate annual leave or sick leave. The Fellow’s NPP research activities and milestones should be planned to allow for brief or prolonged absence(s) from the appointment.

A Fellow may be excused from NPP research activities for brief periods due to illness, personal emergencies, or other unforeseen circumstances. The Fellow should communicate with the NPP advisor and NPP Center representative during these absences to discuss the impact, if any, on the NPP research activities and milestones. The monthly stipend will not be impacted and the Fellow’s appointment will not be extended by the period of absence.

A Fellow may also take brief breaks from NPP research activities for vacation. The Fellow’s NPP research activities and milestones should be planned to allow for such breaks. The Fellow should communicate these plans with the NPP advisor and NPP Center representative. The monthly stipend will not be impacted and the Fellow’s appointment will not be extended by the period of absence. 

A Fellow may take a prolonged break from NPP research activities for up to 12 weeks during the appointment period for a serious health condition, birth or adoption of a child, parental care, or other similar circumstances. Prior to the absence or as soon as possible thereafter, the Fellow should notify the NPP advisor, NPP Center representative, and ORAU of the absence. The Fellow and NPP advisor must assess the impact on the NPP research activities and milestones, if any. 

Other types of special or prestigious opportunities may create the potential for a prolonged, unpaid break from NPP, i.e., greater than, less than, or equal to 12 weeks. In such special circumstances, the Fellow must request a break-in-tenure waiver and receive approval from the NPP advisor, Center representative, and the funding source at NASA Headquarters before pursuing the break.

Option A: The Fellow may continue the monthly stipend during this prolonged absence. In this case, the Fellow’s appointment will not be extended by the period of absence. 

Option B: The Fellow may choose to suspend their stipend during this prolonged absence. In such cases, the appointment period will be extended by the period of absence. NASA will continue to pay its share of the health insurance, if the Fellow is already enrolled in the insurance through ORAU. The Fellow, however, must continue to pay their out-of-pocket portion of the premium during the unpaid absence. Premium payments may be deducted from stipend payments.

A Fellow who is called for jury duty during the appointment will continue to receive a stipend during the period of absence. Thus, a Fellow may receive from the courts only reasonable incidental expenses, such as those covering transportation and meals.

If the Fellow decides to terminate the appointment before the official end date, the Fellow must immediately inform the NPP advisor, the NPP Center representative, and ORAU. This notification must be submitted in writing, preferably at least 30 days before the early termination date. The final stipend payment will be calculated and pro-rated through the last day the Fellow will be physically at the appointment facility.

If the Fellow chooses to terminate the initial appointment with less than twelve (12) months of participation, the Fellow must repay in full any relocation reimbursements and any stipend advances. The Fellow must also provide a final report (see Required Reporting by Fellows on the Policies & Procedures page). The final report and repayments must be received by ORAU before the final stipend payment can be released.

J-1 Exchange Visitors

ORAU is required to notify the U.S. Department of State when an exchange visitor leaves the program earlier than 30 days before the ending date on the current DS-2019 form.