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Frequently Asked Questions

Check here for your most frequently asked questions.

What training is required by the university for postdoc appointments?

Postdocs should complete the responsible conduct of research (RCR) training. There will be training required for specific kinds of research and they should discuss with their faculty mentor as well as explore the offices relavant to their research (e.g. IRB, Biosafety, etc).

How long is the typical postdoc appointment?

Postdocs can be appointed for one year at a time and for up to five years, depending on prior experience. Information on appointments can be reviewed in the postdoctoral policy.

How can I get started on a research project that involves community members?

The Community Engagement Research Core (part of ITMAT) is a resource at Penn that offers “consultation on community engagement, training in participatory research methods, and assistance with community translation activities”.

Does work being conducted in the United States ever count as a foreign component?

Generally, no.

I am collaborating with a colleague abroad and would like to send some data to my collaborator. What should I do?

Depending on the nature of the data and the related technology, exchange of data with foreign collaborators may require a license. Please contact the Office of Export Compliance who can review the data and the country of the collaborator to determine whether there are any restrictions, or if a license is required.
A Data Use Agreement may also be needed to facilitate the transfer of data to a collaborator. Please reach out to the Office of Research Services for additional assistance with Data Use Agreements.

I have been invited to present at an international conference in a country that is on the U.S. sanctions list. Can I do this?

Presenting at an international conference in a U.S. sanctioned country may be viewed as providing a prohibited “service” under U.S. sanctions regulations. You should consult with the Office of Export Compliance prior to presenting to determine if a license is required (please note a license is required even when giving a virtual presentation).
Generally, any presentation to an international audience should be limited to the following:
• information that is already published;
• information already in the public domain; and/or
• information consistent with that conveyed by instruction in catalog courses and associated teaching laboratories at U.S. institutions of higher education.
Please visit Engaging with Sanctioned and Embargoed Countries for more information.

How do I transfer equipment out of the United States?

An export license may be required to ship or hand-carry items or equipment out of the U.S. The need for a license is dependent upon the nature of the equipment, as well as the end-use, recipient, and destination of the equipment. Additionally, even temporary export of equipment to some locations may incur customs tax obligations. Due to complexities of the requirements you should consult the Office of Export Compliance for assistance regarding shipping or traveling with equipment internationally.

I have a collaborator from another country who will work in my NIH-funded laboratory on my NIH project but receive no salary from my NIH grant. Is this considered a foreign component?

No, a “Foreign Component” exists only if the research activities occur outside of the United States.

Do all federal agencies have defined foreign components?

No, the concept of “Foreign Component” is specific to NIH.

What is the NIH definition of a foreign institution?

NIH defines a foreign institution as an organization located in a country other than the United States and its territories that is subject to the laws of that country, regardless of the citizenship of the proposed Program Director/Principal Investigator.

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