NHFP Host Institution Employment Policy Change
We are grateful to the members of the community who responded to the open letter, written by the Director of STScI, Ken Sembach, asking for comments on a proposed change to the NASA Hubble Fellowship (NHFP) employment policy.
Due to the overwhelmingly positive feedback from the community, we announce that:
Starting with the academic year 2022-2023, in order to host new NHFP Fellows, host institutions must offer their NHFP Fellows the opportunity to be employees. Employee status is being required to afford NHFP Fellows the same leave, vacation, retirement and health benefits (as applicable) given by these institutions to their postdoctoral fellows hired on grants or contracts as employees. Host institutions are also encouraged, but not required, to offer NHFP Fellows the option to be stipendiary fellows rather than employees.
We offer more detail in a set of Frequently Asked Questions.
We are writing the Departmental Chairs and Authorizing Officials of present and potential future NHFP host institutions1 to inform them of this change, and to let them know that, starting with the academic year 2022-2023, we will need a written letter from their Authorizing Official stating that they will be able to comply with these requirements. This letter will not be due until May 1, 2021; however, if an institution will be able to fulfill these requirements and would like to participate, we would encourage the Authorizing Official to send us a letter stating this as soon as possible. Please send a signed PDF on institutional letterhead to firstname.lastname@example.org. Example text is provided below.
We will be publishing an online list of institutions that have acknowledged compliance, so that applicants may confidently specify those institutions as preferred hosts. The list will be updated each year, and as frequently as needed during the application season, starting in 2021. However, to reduce the burden on all parties, the NHFP will assume that confirmed compliance will continue for each institution in future years.
To insure the widest possible availability of host institutions, the Announcement of Opportunity will inform prospective fellows that if their preferred host is not on the list, they should contact that institution and ask them to send us a letter indicating their ability to comply with the policy. As soon as we have that letter, the institution’s name will be added to the public list. We hope that all eligible institutions will participate; however, if an institution tells us that they cannot or prefer not to participate, we will post that information for prospective fellows as well.
Again, we encourage all potential host institutions to send us a letter at their earliest convenience stating their ability to comply with the policy, and if they can comply to let us know whether they will be able to also offer NHFP Fellows stipendiary status. Since the policy first goes into effect for the NHFP class of 2022, we will want to post the list of known eligible institutions, and whether they also offer stipendiary status, well before the relevant NHFP Call for applications, which will be issued in early September 2021. We therefore ask that host institutions send us their letter no later than May 1, 2021.
With Best Wishes and Our Thanks,
Andy Fruchter, NHFP Hubble Lead, STScI
Dawn Gelino, NHFP Sagan Lead, NExScI
Paul Green, NHFP Einstein Lead, Chandra X-ray Center
1 Institutions that may qualify as a host for an NHFP Fellow include any U.S. academic or research institution that offers its scientific staff a career advancement process that can lead to long-term/permanent contracts or to tenure.