Outside Activities

An Outside Activity is just what the name implies . . . "Outside." It is outside of, or not related to, your current official work. It is done outside of your NIH work area, using your own or the outside entity's resources, not Government resources. Outside Activities are governed by the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch (5 CFR 2635), by the HHS Supplemental Standards of Ethical Conduct (5 CFR 5501, 5502), and NIH policies and procedures.

The decision whether a request from an outside entity should be carried out in a personal capacity or as part of your official duties depends on:

Invitations based on any of these criteria would likely be done as part of your official duties. See the Official Duty Activities summary.

Outside Activities involving professional work require advance approval from your Deputy Ethics Counselor or designee. Professional generally means that some level of advanced education or training is necessary to engage in the activity, such as licensure or certification (e.g., physician, nurse, ancillary health care, legal practice) or advanced education (e.g., teach college course; peer review manuscripts; consulting in your area of expertise). Activities may be a one-time event (or short duration) or be expected to continue for multiple years. Regardless of the expected length, approval is granted for only one year at a time, and renewal is required prior to the end of the currently approved time frame. In addition, all Outside Activities must be reported annually. Some activities, though professional, do not require advance approval because they are not related to the medical and scientific research of the NIH.

Specific Information About Outside Activities

Forms and Instructions

Original Request: HHS-520 Request for Approval of Outside Activity (1/06)
Submit your request as soon as possible, but no later than 8 weeks prior to the proposed start date. NIH policy states that employees will submit the HHS-520 electronically, using the NIH Enterprise Ethics System (NEES). The following links are provided to the form and instructions to assist the employee, to permit viewing the format and arrangement of the form, and assistance in developing appropriate responses.
Annual Report of Outside Activities, HHS-521 (1/06)
Each year, every employee with an approved Outside Activity must submit the Annual Report of Outside Activities, form HHS-521, due no later than February 28th. The report covers all Outside Activities which occurred during any portion of the previous calendar year, i.e., may have started in a previous year but continued into the reporting period. This is a report only, it does not seek nor convey approval to continue an activity, even if you indicate that you intend to continue a particular activity.
 
NIH policy states that employees will submit the HHS-521electronically, using the NIH Enterprise Ethics System (NEES). The following links are provided to the form and instructions to assist the employee, to permit viewing the format and arrangement of the form, and assistance in developing appropriate responses.

Updated: 8/26/13