A Collaborative National Center for Fusion & Plasma Research

Visiting Faculty Program (VFP) FAQ's

Q: When is the application deadline?

A: The application deadline for the 2015 VFP summer term for both faculty applicants and invited students participants is January 9, 2015 5:00 PM ET.

Q: How do I apply?

A: Please visit the Department of Energy Visiting Faculty Program website.

Q: May I invite graduate students to participate in the VFP project?

A: Yes. You can invite up to two students to participate in the VFP, one of which may be a graduate student. All student participants must meet the student eligibility requirements. Students must be from your home academic institution and can only be invited by you through the online application system. Invited students will need to apply online as instructed in the automated invitation and must complete and submit their online application by the application deadline. Student participation is subject to final approval by the collaborating DOE research staff member.

Q: For non-US citizens, can I apply if I or one of my invited student participants does not hold a Permanent Resident Alien card at the time of application, but will be obtained before the appointment starts?

A: No. Students must meet all the student eligibility requirements at the time of applying. Eligibility requires that participants be U.S. Citizens or Permanent Resident Aliens at the time of applying.

Q: I’m a faculty member at a community college. Am I eligible to apply?

A: Yes, if you meet all other faculty eligibility requirements.

Q: How many times am I allowed to apply and participate in the VFP program?

A: The maximum number of times a faculty member can participate in the VFP is three terms.

Q: Are VFP participants required to have health insurance coverage to apply or can they wait until the team is selected to acquire it?

A: All VFP participants must have proof of health insurance coverage in order to begin the VFP appointment. Participants need to plan ahead to ensure (and be able to verify) that they have or will have health insurance prior to beginning their appointment.

Q: What if I can only participate for a portion of the appointment period due to other commitments?

A: Participation requires a full time commitment for the duration of the appointment period (10 weeks) by the VFP participants. Participants should plan to be at the laboratory full-time and avoid obligations that will interrupt the laboratory research appointment.

Q: Is there any flexibility in start and end dates?

A: Appointments are for 10 weeks and although you must participate for the entire appointment period you may have flexibility at some laboratories for start and end dates. If you are extended an offer and you have restricted availability, check with the laboratory to see if it can accommodate you.

Q: Do I get any vacation during the appointment period?

A: The program does not include vacation or sick leave. You are not expected to be present on days that your laboratory is closed due to a holiday. Most laboratory research staff will help you design a schedule that is mutually agreeable.

Q: When do I get paid?

A:  You will receive 50% of your stipend a few weeks before the program begins and you will receive the other 50% a week before the program concludes. 

Q: Can I get direct deposit?

A: No. You are not a PPPL employee and therefore.

Q: Does the program pay for food?

A: The program will provide three meals a day during the first week ONLY. From the second week of the program until the conclusion, you are responsible for your meals.

Q: Is there a dress code?

A: The Lab is a fairly casual atmosphere; often jeans are the norm. If you are working in a lab you will need closed-toe shoes, this is a must. You can contact your mentor for suggestions specific to your work site. There is one public event (a poster session) for which you will need business attire (Gentlemen should plan to wear shirt & tie, slacks and dress shoes. Ladies should plan to wear skirt-suit or dress blouse and dress pants and dress shoes).

Q: Do I have to pay taxes on the educational stipend I receive while participating in a PPPL internship?

A: PPPL will NOT issue W9 form to undergraduate internship participants. PPPL is not allowed to give tax advice, please consult a tax professional.

Q: Do I need to arrange my own travel?

A: No, PPPL's travel department will arrange and pre-pay for flights/train/bus and reimburse for mileage (within Department of Energy Travel Guidelines).

Q: What are the DOE’s travel guidelines?

A: Travel Guidelines: UP TO $1,000, will be paid for coach airfare (within the United States) from Home or School to PPPL/Princeton, PPPL/Princeton to Research Site (if applicable) and from PPPL/Princeton to Home or School. DOE regulations require that we use the lowest available airfare. Travel by car will be paid at a rate of $0.51/mile, not to exceed the cost of equivalent airfare. 

Q: Do I need to arrange my own housing?

A: No. The Science Education Department Program Administrator will make all housing arrangements at PPPL (Princeton University dorms).

Q: Will I be allowed to park on-site?

A: Yes, parking permits will be issued to participants. Once you arrive on Princeton University's main campus and check-in, you will be issued a parking permit, if you chose to drive your personal vehicle. Conference Services will instruct you where you may park. If you traveled to Princeton in your own vehicle, you will notify security at the time of your badging and they will issue you a parking decal which allows you to park onsite.

Q: What is the mailing address at PPPL that I may use to receive my mail/packages?

A: You may have your mail sent to:


VFP (your name)


PO Box 451

Princeton, NJ 08543 


FED-Ex or UPS:

VFP (your name)


100 Stellarator Road

Science Education

Princeton, NJ 08543 

Q.  I need a letter of recommendation; can the Science Education staff write one for me?

A.  No. Letters of recommendation are to be written by the mentor or associate mentor, not the Science Education staff.

For more specific questions regarding the Visiting Faculty Program (VFP), please refer to the Department of Energy's FAQ's page.

All other inquiries should be made to Deedee Ortiz at dortiz@pppl.gov.

U.S. Department of Energy
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University.

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