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Minneapolis VA Health Care System Research Service

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Onboarding Without Compensation (WOC) Employees

How do I obtain a research Without Compensation (WOC) appointment?

The onboarding process for research WOC employees is outlined below. Prior to initiating an onboarding action, the PI and prospective WOC should review and prepare all required documents and forms. For questions regarding this process, PI should contact the Research Administrative Officer (AO).

WOC appointments

WOC appointees are not paid by VA, but are still considered to be Federal employees. As such, all prospective WOC employees must be a U.S. citizen eligible to work, and must pass a background check. A WOC can be an unpaid volunteer, or a paid employee of the VA NPC, academic affiliate, or other non-VA entity. A position description is not required for a WOC appointment, however specific duties in the employee Scope of Practice may require verification of credentials and/or licensure.

WOC appointments are for up to three years and are renewable. The PI is responsible for requesting renewals. Our program may choose not to renew appoinments for WOCs who do not maintain current VA-required training, or may refuse to onboard WOCs for PIs who do not maintain adequate responsibility for their WOCs.

WOC appointments can be terminated by the PI, or by the Research Service, at any time without advance notice.

We recommend that all new WOCs review the information presented in the New Staff Orientation.

Applicable policy and guidance:

Required Documents

To initiate a WOC appointment, the following documentation and all necessary completed forms must be sent to the Research Office. Onboarding timeline is generally 3-6 weeks from the time that documents are provided. As a reminder, no personnel can be engaged in research at the VA until after their VA appointment is finalized. New WOCs expected to assist with a research project must also be added to all applicable research protocol(s) before any research activities are initiated.

Applicant Documentation
  • Current CV/Resume for applicant
  • Two forms of government-issued identification (driver’s license, U.S. passport, military ID card, birth certificate, Social Security card)
  • Transcripts showing degree(s) awarded and or any licenses or certifications
Federal Forms
VA Forms
Research Service Forms
Occupational Health Forms
All WOCs will need to bring the following to their occupational health appointment:

Training Requirements

Prior to beginning work on a research project, new WOCs must complete VA and topic-specific training. The completed Scope of Practice form is used by our office to determine applicable training.

VA-specific training is delivered through the VA Talent Management System (TMS). This system is accessible from outside of the VA network, however some specific locally-developed TMS modules may require VA network access. When registering yourself in TMS, it is critical that you use an email address that is checked regularly as training reminders will be sent to the address provided. For assistance, refer to the TMS registration instructions. TMS modules indicated below must be completed before your VA network account is activated.

Topic-specific training for personnel engaged in human or animal subjects research, or research that involves access to the secure research wings of our building, is managed through the CITI program. If you have an existing CITI account, you can add an affiliation with the Minneapolis VA. If you do not have an account, you should refer to the CITI program registration instructions. As with TMS, it is critical that you use an email address that is checked regularly when registering in CITI, as training reminders will be sent to the address provided. All CITI courses pertinent to your role in research must be completed before you are added to applicable research protocols.

For work involving safety hazards, you must complete training specifically addressing the hazards present in your lead investigator's laboratory.

TMS Training Requirements
  • VA Privacy and Information Security Awareness and Rules of Behavior (TMS# 10176)
  • Privacy and HIPAA Training (TMS# 10203)
CITI Training Requirements
  • Human Subjects Research: "VA Human Subjects Protection"
  • Animal Research: "Working with the IACUC" and species-specific training ("Working with [name of species] in Research Settings")
  • Work in secure laboratory areas: "VA ORD Biosecurity Training"
  • Work involving shipment of samples: "Shipping Regulated Biological Materials"
Laboratory Requirements
  • Hazards in the Research Service(TMS# 4637138)*Must be completed on the VA Network*
  • Read and sign Hazards in the Research Service
  • Complete Safety Training Checklist with your PI. Contact SRS Coordinator, Julie Furne, for the current checklist.