New to NCI: Information for New Trainees and Fellows

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Welcome to NCI - we're excited that you are here. These materials support your NCI fellowship orientation.

Trainee Orientations

To welcome you to the NIH, trainee orientations are held monthly on both the Bethesda and Frederick campuses, usually once per quarter. 

To register, ask your Administrator Officer (AO) to sign you up for the orientation. Administrative information is required on the registration site. You will receive a confirmation email with logistical information the week before the orientation.

The general orientation session presents an overview of the NCI organizational structure/policies and NCI computer services. Orientation for fellows whose lab is on the Bethesda campus (Bethesda Fellows) is held in conjunction with the general NCI Orientation. Orientation for fellows whose lab is on the Frederick campus (Frederick Fellows) addresses fellow-specific topics and includes an FYI Committee presentation.                          

Each orientation will provide you with information on Fellowship awards (including stipends, taxes, and benefits), non-FTE policies, NIH/NCI training resources and services, and information about the CCR Fellows and Young Investigators (FYI) Committee members activities/training opportunities.

Training Plan

To assist you along your career path, you are required to complete a training plan. In this document, you will discuss your project plans and goals, mentor expectations, career goals, and career/professional development trainings. You are expected to discuss this information with your PI prior to submission.

Please see NIH guidelines for more details.

Stipend and Tax Information

Fellows are paid monthly through the Fellowship Payment System (FPS), always on the first business day of the month. Stipends are set in accordance with the stipend categories, which can be found in Appendix 1 of the Cancer Research Training Award (CRTA) manual.

Federal and state taxes are not withheld from your stipends; you are required to file quarterly estimated tax payments to the IRS and to the specific state in which you reside while you are working at NIH. The procedures for filing quarterly estimated Federal taxes can be found using Publication 505 (2018), Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax. A 1099G tax form will be distributed to you by late January/early February. To assist you with filing your taxes, CRTA Tax Seminars are held on both the Bethesda and Frederick campuses. A tax consultant will be available to offer guidance on the filing process.

For Visiting Fellows, Federal taxes are withheld unless your home country is exempted by a tax treaty with the US. However, state taxes are not withheld from your stipends, so you are required to file quarterly estimated tax payments to the state. A 1042S tax form will be distributed to you by mid-March. 

Rules and Regulations

Most fellows who come to NIH are familiar with working in a university setting. However, working for the federal government is different in many ways, and oftentimes, fellows may not realize that all government employees, including non-FTE trainees, are required to abide by ethical guidelines regarding leave, awards, travel, and outside activities. Please see the current Cancer Research Training Award (CRTA) manual for more information, including stipends.

  • Vacation/Sick Leave: CRTA Fellows are not employees and so they do not earn annual or sick leave. However, at the discretion of the mentor, a CRTA Fellow may be excused for the following: 1) Federal holidays, 2) illness, 3) personal emergencies, and 4) vacations when awards are for more than 90 days.  CRTA Fellows should receive a minimum of two weeks excused absence annually for vacations.
  • Travel: Payment of travel to attend scientific meetings or to train at a remote site is at the discretion of the NCI and is subject to availability of funds.  This process generally takes several months of advance planning and requires approval by your advisor.
  • Maternity Leave: CRTA Fellows will be granted eight weeks of paid, full time, excused absence for the birth or adoption of a child, with flexibility being determined by the mentor.
  • External Funding: As a federal research institute, we are bound by regulations that may restrict the acceptance of external funds. While the CCR has pre-vetted funding sources to alleviate some of these issues, but in some situations, we cannot be fully aware of all the terms and conditions until the award is negotiated.

To ensure the necessary CCR approval, we have developed a simple, 3-step process:

  1. Inquiry and Preliminary Review – The Pre-Approved Organization contacts the CCR OD, who then provides a CCR Submission Package to your PI.
  2. CCR Extramural Funding Package Submission – Your PI sends the completed package to the CCR OD, who reviews and either approves or rejects the package.
  3. NCI Approval May Require Negotiation of Contract Terms and Conditions

Learn more about NCI’s process for gaining funding through external agencies on the CCR Collaborations, Partnerships, and Funding Opportunities website (note: requires NIH credentials).

Information and documentation required for awards and outside activities can be found in the ethics guidelines for non-FTE trainees.

Links to Additional Resources

  • Posted: May 25, 2018

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