Become a Fellow: Policy on Ethics

Congressional Science and Engineering Fellowships® Ethics Policy

The AAAS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellows® program (STPF) has built an exceptional reputation for producing high quality fellows who make valuable contributions to the congressional offices in which they serve. Maintaining the program’s reputation, integrity, and educational purpose is the responsibility of AAAS, sponsoring partner societies, fellows, and congressional offices.

To this end, fellows are required to be free agents who make their own choices of the congressional offices in which they serve and the topics they work on, subject to the agreement of the office and the ethics committee rulings of that Chamber. Fellows may not provide special considerations of any kind to their sponsoring societies, AAAS, its affiliated organizations, or any entity contributing to the fellow’s compensation or support. To maintain the integrity of the program and to underscore the fact that the fellowship is a learning experience, fellows’ sole responsibility is to the congressional office in which they work and the ethics rules guiding that office. It is important that fellows adhere to this principle and avoid any conflict of interest or even the appearance of a conflict of interest.

It is the responsibility of AAAS, a fellow, a fellow’s sponsoring society, its affiliated organizations, or any entity contributing to a fellow’s compensation or support to avoid creating conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflicts of interest with respect to the fellows, in accordance with House and Senate Ethics Committee rules.

Governance and Policy Committee Positions

Fellows serving in board or policy committee positions with any organizations that conduct outreach or advocacy to policymakers may be required to discontinue such involvement for the duration of the fellowship.

Federally-Funded Grants and other Research Collaborations or Appointments

Fellows may not be party to any federally-funded grant applications, either as a PI, co-PI, or subcontractor. If a fellow is already on a federally-funded grant, he/she must stop work on the grant for the duration of the fellowship and may not receive funding from the grant during that time.

Fellows involved in other research collaborations or any appointments from which they receive additional remuneration must receive approval from their host office/appropriate House or Senate Ethics Committee to continue. If the activity is not approved, the fellow must take a hiatus from such involvement for the duration of the fellowship.

Fellows may not apply for or put their name on new grants during the fellowship year; however, they may remain on already existing grants as long as they transfer it over to a colleague during the fellowship year and not participate in any way on the project. Fellows can go back to their grant work after the fellowship. However, all decisions about prior and current grants will be based on the office/committees, and the work the fellow will be doing there. Thus, ethics committees usually will not answer any questions regarding grants until a fellow is placed and has his/her portfolio.

Speaking Engagements & Publishing

Fellows invited to give presentations must receive approval from their office to give the presentation and for the time off for the event. Fellows who publish on work involved in their fellowship or who identify themselves in publications as affiliated with any congressional office, committee, or government agency must receive prior permission from their host office/appropriate Ethics Committee.

Honoraria

Fellows offered honoraria for speaking engagements, service on committees, editorial review boards, and such activities must receive clearance from their office/ appropriate House or Senate Ethics Committee to accept the payment.

Employment after the Fellowship

Fellows interviewing for their next professional opportunity must inform their office and disqualify themselves from taking action that would affect the interests of a prospective employer anytime they are engaged in negotiations in which there is active interest on both sides. This is to ensure that the fellow is not assigned to any projects that might present a real or perceived conflict of interest with a possible future employer. Also, fellows considering jobs with lobbying/advocacy entities may be prohibited from contact with staff from their fellowships assignment for a period of time following their departure from the Hill. Before accepting or negotiating a position, all fellows should contact the appropriate Chamber’s Ethics Committee regarding the opportunity up to one year after the fellowship.

Additional Resources

More information about ethical conduct can be found in these manuals available from the House Committee on Ethics and the Senate Select Committee on Ethics:

Executive Branch Fellowship Ethics Policy

The AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship® program (STPF) has built an exceptional reputation for producing high quality fellows who make valuable contributions to the agencies and offices in which they serve. Maintaining the program’s reputation, integrity, and educational purpose is the responsibility of AAAS, its partner sponsoring societies, the fellows, and the agencies and offices in which they are assigned.

To this end, fellows are required to be free agents who make their own choices of the offices in which they serve, subject to the agreement of the office and the ethics committee rulings of the host agency. Fellows may not provide special considerations of any kind to their sponsoring societies, AAAS, its affiliated organizations, or any entity contributing to the fellow’s stipend or support. To maintain the integrity of the STPF, as well as to underscore that the fellowship is a learning experience, the fellow’s responsibility is to the office in which they are assigned and the ethics rules guiding that agency. It is important that fellows adhere to this principle and avoid any conflict of interest or even the appearance of a conflict of interest.

It is the responsibility of AAAS, sponsoring societies, affiliated organizations, and any entity contributing to the fellow’s stipend or support to avoid creating conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflicts of interest with respect to the fellows, in accordance with the hosting agency’s ethics rules.

Governance and Policy Committee Positions

Fellows in board or policy committee positions with any organizations that conduct outreach or advocacy to policy makers should receive clearance from their host office/agency to continue that involvement. If the activity is not approved, the fellow must discontinue such involvement for the duration of the fellowship.

Research Collaborations or Appointments

Fellows involved in research collaborations or any appointments, with or without government support or remuneration of any kind, must receive approval from their host office/agency to continue that involvement. If the activity is not approved, the fellow must take a hiatus from such involvement for the duration of the fellowship.

Speaking Engagements & Publishing

Fellows invited to give presentations must receive approval from their office to give the presentation and for the time off for the event. Fellows who publish on work involved in their fellowship or who identify themselves in publications as affiliated with any government agency must receive prior permission from their host office/agency ethics office.

Honoraria

Fellows offered honoraria for speaking engagements, service on committees, editorial review boards, and such activities must receive clearance from their host office/agency to accept the payment.

Additional Resources

More information is available from the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.