Cooperative Institute for Climate & Satellites - Maryland

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FAQ

FAQ Categories

Personnel Matters

Offices and Facilities

Information Technology

Travel

Proposals and Budgets

ITAR Compliance

Questions & Answers

Personnel Matters

Where can I get information about benefits?

Rosalie Jones handles all personnel, payroll and benefit issues, which includes:

  • Adding a new CICS employee to the payroll system;
  • Updating health insurance, such as to add a family member; and
  • Solving payroll, health application or timesheet issues.

Talk to Rosalie by email at rjones@essic.umd.edu, by phone at (301) 405-8291, or in person at the M-Square Research Park Building, Room 4007.

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What do I need to do to use my Leave days?

The amount of leave time that you receive annually and the rate at which it accrues is defined in your signed Employment Agreement. It is divided into Annual, Sick, and Personal Leave. You can check how much leave time is available by going to the Payroll & Human Resources Systemand clicking the box at the bottom of your timesheet. Leave accrued is listed in hours. After you take leave, note it in your timesheet. Personal days must be used within one year, Sick Leave can be carried over indefinitely, and Annual Leave up to 400 hours can be carried over more than one year. If you have questions, talk to Rosalie Jones by email at rjones@essic.umd.edu, by phone at (301) 405-8291, or in person at the M-Square Research Park Building, Room 4007.

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How can I get the information I need from my employer for immigration issues?

Linda Carter can provide assistance with documentation for visas and other immigration paperwork. She also troubleshoots visa processing problems. Talk to Linda by email at lcarter@essic.umd.edu, by phone at (301) 405-5599, or in person at the M-Square Research Park Building, Room 4099.

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How are salary increases and promotions determined?

Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) and the merit pool for raises are determined by the State of Maryland on an annual basis. Merit salary increases are decided at ESSIC based on your Faculty Activities Report (FAR) and any additional information that you may have provided. Please check with your supervisor for promotion requirements. Your ESSIC/CICS-MD supervisor may be asked for input in the process of determining salary increase or promotion. Your NOAA supervisor/funder determines whether to renew or fund a new CICS proposal but cannot set your salary in the new funding year. Guidelines and expectations for Research Associate and Early Career Research Scientist as well as Criteria for Appointment and Promotion to Faculty Ranks in Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences (CMNS) are explained on the ESSIC Business Office’s Policies and Procedures Webpage. Post-Docs should refer to the University of Maryland Post Doc Manual.

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Can I telecommute?

The University of Maryland—College Park (UMCP) does not have a formal policy on telecommuting. Arrangements for telecommuting can be worked out with your ESSIC/CICS-MD supervisor. For those CICS employees working at the NOAA building, a telecommuting arrangement must also be approved by your NOAA supervisor.

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To whom does a CICS-MD member speak when a workplace environment issue arises?

Workplace environmental issues involving a CICS-MD employee should be brought to the attention of the CICS-MD Director for a first assessment and initial mediation. If the issue is not resolved at this level, he will elevate it to the CICS Executive Director and the ESSIC Administration. The University has grievance procedures that are available on the web. See http://www.president.umd.edu/policies/docs/II-400(A).pdf and http://www.umd.edu/ombuds/faculty/.

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Is there a standard way of incorporating professional development activities into the work plans of CICS-MD employees?

We do not have a “standard” or formal way of incorporating professional development into CICS or ESSIC employees’ work plans, but we do support individual efforts to develop their skills and encourage both formal and informal planning on their part. It is expected to occur as a side-effect of the research, and professional development is certainly encouraged although in the end is the responsibility of the individual. We encourage relevant training, as well as less formal activities such as conference participation and individual visits to other institutions.  Note that we do not formalize this to the degree contractors or federal employees do, and decisions on the mix of activities are left to the scientists in consultation with their sponsors and mentors.

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Offices and Facilities

How is office space at the M Square Research Park Building assigned?

The ESSIC Director makes all office assignments, which are implemented by Assistant Director, Andy Negri. Offices at the M Square Research Park Building are available only to CICS-MD employees whose grants have an on-campus indirect rate. For on-campus employees, offices are assigned by job title and availability on the 3rd Floor. We do have temporary (< 1 week) space for visiting scientists who have their own laptop and we can arrange Wi-Fi for them. You can talk to Andy by email at anegri@essic.umd.edu, by phone at (301) 405-5384, or in person at the M-Square Research Park Building, Room 4095.

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How do I obtain office supplies?

Basic office supplies are kept in locked storage on the 3rdFloor and more extensive supplies can be retrieved from locked storage on the 4thfloor. Once a month, atypical supplies are ordered from outside vendors. Basic supply costs are covered under your on-campus indirect costs.  To obtain office supplies, talk to Deb Baker by email at dbaker@essic.umd.edu, by phone at (301) 405-5397, or in person at the M-Square Research Park Building, Room 3036.

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What is provided in the kitchen?

We try to keep the 3d Floor kitchens stocked with coffee for the espresso and coffee machines. There are also sugar, nondairy creamer, and Lipton tea bags in the cabinets above the sink. We also provide dish soap (in a sponge brush) and paper towels for clean-up. However, any food or item in the refrigerator is OFF LIMITS to anyone except the person who put it there.  The microwave and bottled water dispenser (hot & cold spouts) are available for your use. The kitchen supplies are donated by ESSIC since no on-site food or beverages may be charged to a CICS grant.  If there is a problem in the kitchen, talk to Deb Baker by email at dbaker@essic.umd.edu, by phone at (301) 405-5397, or in person at the M-Square Research Park Building, Room 3036.

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How do I reserve a meeting room?

There are large and small conference rooms and a classroom on the 4thFloor and another classroom on the 3rdfloor. Each is equipped with a computer and projector—these are all Windows-based machine so assume that Apple laptops are incompatible. The 3rd floor classroom is equipped with an integrated projector with a walk-up VGA cable for personal computers. To reserve a room, talk to Deb Baker by email at dbaker@essic.umd.edu, by phone at (301) 405-5397, or in person at the M-Square Research Park Building, Room 3036.

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Information Technology

What is the ESSIC computer fee?

The computer fee is a direct cost associated with all on-site proposals, in support of the Center's information technology infrastructure. The annual charge includes salary and fringe benefit support for technical staff, as well as the following Center infrastructure costs: hardware maintenance, software licensing, printing, networking (data & voice), Helpdesk support and administration, technical procurement, Center web and communications support, general IT supplies and accessories. The base cost is prorated by the number of senior personnel and the monthly commitment.

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What computer resources are available to me?

If you are an on-campus CICS employee, you can have a desktop computer set up in your office.  We have a Linux-Based Network and all PCs are loaded with Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010. Basic computer maintenance is covered by the computer fee in your CICS Task Budget. If you require additional computer resources, software, or network access, you must request it from the ESSIC IT Department. Talk to Michael Maddox by email at mmaddox@essic.umd.edu, by phone at (301) 314-2627, or in person at the M-Square Research Park Building, Room 4061.

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What about printers, photocopiers, scanners, and faxes?

When your computer is set up, IT will install networked printers. There are two on the 3d Floor: “mpcics” is in the intern room (3029) and “cphaser” is in the kitchen. If a printer is out of ink or needs service, the IT Department is automatically notified. On the 4thFloor are another printer (“xeress”) and the Xerox WorkCentre photocopier/scanner/fax machine. No code is required—these costs are covered in your computer fee and on-campus indirect costs. To receive a fax, the number is (301) 405-8468. There is also a fax machine in the 3d floor kitchen and the receiving number is (301) 314-1876. A special poster printer is in Room 4045. For help, talk to Michael Maddox by email at mmaddox@essic.umd.edu, by phone at (301) 314-2627, or in person at the M-Square Research Park Building, Room 4061.

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Who do I contact for telephone issues?

Our telephone system has Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP), so if the Internet Connection is down, your phone will not work. If you have questions about telephone features, you can check the online guide. For other phone problems, talk to Michael Maddox by email at mmaddox@essic.umd.edu, by phone at (301) 314-2627, or in person at the M-Square Research Park Building, Room 4061. Telephone charges are covered under your on-campus indirect costs. 

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How do I check email when I am out of the office?

You can check email from any web browser using Webmail. This provides access to all your email folders. However, be aware that it does not carry over your email address book. It does allow you to search a complete UMCP email list. For problems, talk to Michael Maddox by email at mmaddox@essic.umd.edu, by phone at (301) 314-2627, or in person at the M-Square Research Park Building, Room 4061.

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What if I need to purchase computer hardware or software for my project?

All IT-related hardware procurement requests must be routed through the ESSIC IT Admin and Planning Group for pre-purchase configuration approval if the hardware is to be directly managed by or used in association with the ESSIC/M-Square IT management structure (no exceptions). Systems and components being purchased for use outside of the "ESSIC" IT management structure may still be routed through the ESSIC IT office for appropriate cost and usage verification. All requests for UMD Site License Software products also must be routed through the ESSIC IT Admin and Planning Group to ensure the usage environment and system ownership/management meets the University software licensing standards and criteria. For more information, see the ESSIC Business Office’s Policies and Procedures Webpage

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Travel

Do I need approval before I schedule travel under a CICS Task grant?

If you are a Faculty Research Assistant or Post-Doctoral Fellow, you must have the approval of your Task Leader before filling out a travel request. Other scientists who are not the Task Leader should notify the Task Leader to confirm that budget money is available for the trip.

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What is the process for booking travel?

Your first step is to fill out a Travel Approval Request (TAR) form as soon as possible before your trip. The EBO Travel Website has links to sites that will help you estimate travel expenses and to check federal rates for your destination. If you arrange your flight through a University Travel Agent, the cost can be directly billed to your CICS account. Note that the agent will not issue your until they received an approved TAR trip number from the ESSIC Business Office. Supervisors who approve TARs should assign them to Cheryl Silter, who handles CICS accounts.  If you have any problems, talk to Cathy Jan by email at cjan@essic.umd.edu, by phone at (301) 405-7739, or in person at the M-Square Research Park Building, Room 4017.

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What kind of receipts or documentation is necessary for reimbursement?

Keep itemized receipts for air travel (including boarding passes), train, bus, car rental (including gas), tolls, hotel, taxi, shuttle, parking, telephone, and registration fee. If you use your own automobile, record the start and ending mileage.  Meals may be reimbursed by “per diem” rates. Tips for help with your baggage can also be reimbursed without a receipt.  Any other types of travel expense you want reimbursed must be documented and justified. If you are missing a receipt, request an additional copy if possible. You may also be able to use your credit card bill as a back-up receipt.

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How do I get my travel expenses reimbursed?

Complete a Travel Expense Statement (TES)and include receipts with written comments to link them to the TES (e.g., “Taxi from hotel to Denver Airport”). Any receipts smaller than 8½” x 11” should be taped to a letter-size blank sheet of paper.   Have your ESSIC Supervisor sign the TES then make a copy for your records. Give the TES and original receipts to the ESSIC Business Office. If you are on the University payroll, reimbursement will be issued with your paycheck.  If you are not on the University payroll, a check will be mailed to your home address.  For more information, see the EBO Travel Website. For specific questions, talk to Cathy Jan by email at cjan@essic.umd.edu, by phone at (301) 405-7739, or in person at the M-Square Research Park Building, Room 4017.

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Proposals and Budgets

What is the difference between a CICS task and a full competitive proposal?

The cooperative agreement between the University of Maryland and NOAA that establishes the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites (CICS) provides for a streamlined procedure for a NOAA entity to fund a project within the scope of the Institute’s approved activities. This process is called a CICS Task Proposal. However, CICS scientists can also apply for NOAA competitive awards, which require a longer and more detailed proposal, and then “associate” the proposal with the CICS cooperative agreement.  For more information, see NOAA’s Guidance on Competitive Awards Associated with a NOAA Cooperative Institute.

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How do I file a CICS Task Proposal?

The first step for a CICS task is to work out a project and determine available funding with a NOAA sponsor. CICS has NOAA sponsors at STAR, NCDC, GOESSPO, JPSSO, CPO, CPC, NCEP/NWS, and ARL, among others. Once you have a commitment, you need to prepare four documents (1) Cover Page, (2) Narrative, (3) Budget Justification, and (4) Budget (On-Campus or Off-Campus). Narratives are short but require 1½ pages per $100,000 in funding. For more information, contact Ann Legall by email at alegall@essic.umd.edu, by phone at (301) 405-5359, or in person at the M-Square Research Park Building, Room 4020.

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When are CICS Task Proposals due?

All CICS Task Proposals to begin on June 1 must be filed with NOAA by mid-April so we must receive them from you by April 1 to complete University of Maryland processing. All CICS Task Proposals to begin on July 1 must be filed with NOAA by mid-May so we must receive them from you by May 1. If you want to start a project earlier, assume a filing date at least three months in advance of the start date. However, no CICS proposal can be accepted after the mid-May NOAA deadline for that fiscal year, even if it has a later start date. If you need more information on CICS Task Proposal deadlines, talk to Deb Baker by email atdbaker@essic.umd.edu, by phone at (301) 405-5397, or in person at the M-Square Research Park Building, Room 3036.

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How do I initiate a full competitive proposal?

The ESSIC Business Office can also assist you with competitive NOAA proposals through grants.gov, NASA proposals through NSPIRES, and requests for proposals from other funders like the National Science Foundation or the Department of Energy. We recommend you begin planning your proposal two months in advance of the deadline, especially for a collaborative project. You should contact EBO and have your proposal package ready for them at least two weeks before the deadline so it has time to go through the University approval process.  For more information, see the ESSIC Business Office’s Policies and Procedures Webpage.

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If I win a competitive proposal associated with CICS, do I still needs to file a CICS Task Proposal?

Yes. All monies awarded to CICS must first go through the CICS Task Approval Process. This requirement also applies if the funder has asked you to fill out another form or budget for planning purposes. The ESSIC Business Office will only assign you an account number to charge costs after you have completed a task proposal package and it has been approved by NOAA. You do not have to wait for the usual task proposal timeline—you can file it as soon as you are notified of the award.

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ITAR Compliance

What is ITAR?

ITAR stands for the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. It limits the dissemination of export-controlled informationto foreign nationals or representatives of a foreign entity without first getting the approval from the State Department. The goal of ITAR is to protect the national security interests of the United States. Export-controlled information must be safeguarded and marked with a warning. Violations of ITAR can result in fines of $100,000 and imprisonment up to 2 years.

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Who is considered a “foreign national” under ITAR?

Most of the confusion in this definition arises in the case of a person who has a green card for permanent residence in the United States.  For the purpose of export control regulations, such an individual is a "U.S. person" and can be allowed access to export-controlled information without an export license. If the export controlled information is classified, however, the regulations for release of classified information apply. According to the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual, a permanent resident with a green card is still a foreign national and not a "U.S. person." Therefore, such an individual cannot have access to classified export-controlled information.

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Are CICS employees subject to ITAR requirements?

Yes. Even if you do not work on defense-related technology or research, publicly disclosing certain unclassified technical data may fall under the ITAR requirementsif its release could make a significant contribution to the military potential of another country. Satellite technology related to guidance, navigation, control, sensors, and lasers is included on the Militarily Critical Technology Listfor ITAR.

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How do I know if ITAR applies to the dissemination of my research?

ITAR is an incredibly complex legal framework so CICS recommends that you discuss any concerns with the University of Maryland’s Export Compliance Officer, Adam Grant. Talk to him by email atafgrant@umd.edu, by phone at (301) 405-2656, or in person at 1204 Marie Mount Hall on campus. For more information, see Key Concepts and Definitions under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

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