680.10 Definitions; cross-references to employee ethical conduct standards and financial disclosure regulations.

680.11 Staff involvement with NSF proposals and awards.

680.12 One-year NSF post-employment restrictions.

680.13 Purposes foe "substitute" requirements.

680.10 Definitions; Cross-references to employee ethical conduct standards and financial disclosure regulations.

(a) Definitions. Under this subpart, unless a provision plainly indicates otherwise:

(1) Award means any grant, contract, cooperative agreement, loan, or other arrangement made by the Government.

(2) Employee includes, in addition to any individual defined in 5 CFR 2635.102(h), any individual working at NSF under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act. It includes any part-time or intermittent employee, temporary consultant; but not a special Government employee, as defined in 18 U.S.C. 202(a).

(3) Institution means any university, college, business firm, research institute, professional society, or other organization. It includes all parts of a university or college, including all institutions in a multi-institution State or city system. It includes any university consortium or joint corporation; but not the universities that belong to such a consortium. Those universities shall be considered separate institutions for purposes of this part.

(4) Proposal means an application for an award and includes a bid.

(b) Cross-references to employee ethical conduct standards and financial disclosure regulations. Members of the National Science Board and other employees of the National Science Foundation (NSF), including special Government employees, should refer to the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch at 5 CFR part 2635, the National Science Foundation's regulations at 5 CFR part 5301 which supplement the executive branch Standards, and the executive branch financial disclosure regulations at 5 CFR part 2634.

680.11 Staff involvement with NSF proposals and awards.

(a)(1) Many scientists, engineers, and educators interrupt active research and teaching careers to spend a year or two at NSF and then return to research and teaching, usually at the same institution from which they came. Many such visiting scientists, engineers, and educators (and a few permanent employees) who have been principal investigators under NSF awards before coming to NSF, retain some interest or association with the work. If an individual is a principal investigator under an NSF award, the individual is not precluded from retaining ties to the work after becoming an NSF employee. The employee may stay in contact with those who are continuing the work in the employee's laboratory or on his or her project. The employee may continue to supervise graduate students. And the employee may visit and work in the laboratory on his or her own time for these and related purposes.

(2) Before a prospective employee comes to NSF, the prospective employee and the grantee institution must designate, subject to NSF approval, a "substitute principal investigator" -- i.e., another scientist who will be responsible for the work and equipment and will represent the institution in any dealings with NSF officials while the prospective employee is at NSF.

(3) Appointment of a substitute principal investigator is unnecessary if all work under an award is to be completely suspended while the employee is at NSF. If the work is to be suspended, the employee and the grantee institution must inform the NSF in writing before the employee's employment begins. Work under the award may be resumed when the employee completes his or her NSF employment, and its term may be extended to account for the time lost during the employee's NSF employment.

(b)(1) NSF will entertain no proposal on which a current NSF employee would be a senior investigator or equivalent, unless it is a proposal for continuation or extension of support for work on which the employee served in that capacity before coming to NSF. Any proposal for continuation of NSF support at essentially the same level (with reasonable allowance for inflation) will normally be considered a proposal for continuation or extension if it would support the work of the same investigator and his or her laboratory or group (if any) in the same general field of science, engineering, or education, notwithstanding that the focus of the work may change in response to research opportunities or educational needs.

(2) Someone other than the current NSF employee must submit any such proposal for continuation or extension of work NSF previously supported and handle all negotiations with NSF, but the capacity in which the current NSF employee will serve should be clearly spelled out in the proposal.

(c) In accordance with 5 CFR 5301.103(a)(1), an NSF employee may not receive, directly or indirectly, any salary, consulting fee, honorarium, or other form of compensation for services, or reimbursement of expenses, from an NSF award.

680.12 One-year NSF post-employment restrictions.

(a) For one year after leaving NSF employment, a former NSF employee, including a special Government employee who has performed work for NSF on more than 60 days in the previous twelve months, shall not represent himself, herself, or any other person in dealings with any NSF official on any proposal, project, or other particular matter.

(b) The one-year restriction contained in paragraph (a) of this section is in addition to any post-employment restriction imposed by statute, including 18 U.S.C. 207 and 41 U.S.C. 423. To the extent that any disqualification required by paragraph (a) of this section is not also required by statute, written exceptions may be granted by the NSF's General Counsel, whose decisions shall be final. Exceptions will be rare and will be granted only where strict application of the rules would result in undue hardship for former short-term employees or for other former employees, and when granting an exception would not result in an unfair advantage to the former employee.

(c)(1) Paragraph (a) of this section applies to particular matters involving specific parties, such as grants, contracts, or other agreements; applications for permits, licenses, or the like; requests for rulings or similar official determinations; claims; investigations or audits; charges or accusations against individuals or firms; adjudicatory hearings; and court cases.

(2) For former employees, other than special Government employees, paragraph (a) of this section also applies to particular matters that do not involve specific parties, such as:

(i) Determinations to establish or dis-establish a particular program or set its budget level for a particular fiscal year;

(ii) Decisions to undertake or terminate a particular project;

(iii) Decisions to open or not open a contract to competitive bidding;

(iv) General policy or rulemaking -- including, for example, decisions on particular NSF rules or formal policy, such as adoption or amendment of a resolution by the National Science Board, promulgation or amendment of an NSF regulation or circular, amendment of standard grant or contract terms, or changes to NSF manuals or policy documents; and

(v) Agency positions on particular legislative or regulatory proposals.

(d) Paragraph (a) of this section does not apply to:

(1) Any expression of a former employee's views on policy issues where the circumstances make it obvious that the former employee is only speaking as an informed and interested citizen, not representing any financial or other interests of his or her own or of any other person or institution with which he or she is associated;

(2) Any appearance or communication concerning matters of a personal or individual nature, such as the former employee's taxes, salary, benefits, possible Federal employment, rights as a former employee, or the application of conflict-of-interest rules to something the former employee proposes to do;

(3) Any appearance on the former employee's own behalf in any litigation or administrative proceeding; or

(4) Any presentation of scientific or technical information (at a site visit, for example) or any other communication of scientific or technical information on work being proposed or conducted.

(e) As soon as his or her NSF employment ceases, a former NSF employee (including any former special Government employee described in [paragraph]???? (a)) may again be listed as principal investigator on an NSF award, may be listed as principal investigator in any proposal or award, and may sign a proposal as principal investigator. However, the former employee and the grantee institution shall formally designate, subject to NSF approval, a "substitute negotiator" who, though not principally responsible for the work, will represent the former employee and the institution in dealings with NSF officials on any proposal or project for as long as the former employee would be barred from representational contacts with NSF by paragraph (a) of this section or by statute.

680.13 Purposes for "substitute" requirements.

Appointment of a "substitute principal investigator" or "substitute negotiator" ensures against unthinking violation of the restrictions on dealings with NSF officials. It serves this purpose by flagging proposals or awards affected by the restrictions and by identifying someone else with whom NSF officials can properly discuss them or negotiate over them. Designation of a substitute principal investigator while an employee is at NSF has two additional functions: it identifies another person to be responsible for the work and equipment, and it reminds all concerned that during an employee's NSF service his or her attentions should focus on NSF duties.