Office of Science Quality and Integrity

USGS Emeritus Program

The USGS Emeritus Program allows retired USGS employees, as well as scientists from other Federal agencies, to volunteer their expertise, intellect, and creativity in efforts that allow them to remain active in the scientific community, enhance the programmatic activities of the USGS, and serve the public. 

The Emeritus Program has been an important component of the USGS since its inception in 1986 as part of the USGS Volunteer for Science Program. It currently is coordinated in the USGS Office of Science Quality and Integrity. The Emeritus Program is open to all USGS employees who have contributed to the goals of the USGS during a productive career.  In addition, scientists from other Federal agencies are now able to become Scientists Emeriti within the USGS Emeritus Program.  Those who don’t qualify for the Emeritus Program, should consider becoming part of the USGS Volunteer for Science Program.

Emeriti can contribute to the USGS in many ways:

  • Continue scientific investigations and complete products
  • Start new areas of research that are of importance to the USGS and the Nation
  • Provide support for USGS programs, science centers/branches, and projects
  • Provide seasoned counsel to USGS managers and supervisors
  • Mentor current or new employees and students
  • Provide an institutional memory within the Federal Government
  • Contribute to professional societies
  • Serve on advisory committees
  • Provide outreach to community groups about USGS activities and topics related to the Emeritus’ expertise

There are three categories of Emeritus at the USGS:

Active Scientist Emeritus – Includes those in scientific series, such as research scientists, operational scientists, computer scientists, science technicians. Volunteers at least 100 hours a year at a USGS facility or from an off-site location on a regular basis. Must have an up-to-date online OF301a volunteer form (see How To Become a USGS Emeritus section) with defined activities and/or products. Keeps track of volunteer hours and adds them to their online OF301a form on a quarterly basis or when requested.  Provides sufficient contributions/accomplishments to the USGS to satisfy the needs of his/her supervisor. Annual renewal is dependent upon mutual agreement between the Scientist Emeritus and his/her Supervisor, Center Director, Branch Chief, etc. May be provided a USGS badge, retains a USGS email address, and has access to a USGS computer (preferably a laptop that can be used both at a USGS facility and at home), and the USGS Library system. At the discretion of the supervisor, may have an office, project funds, and use of laboratory space and equipment.

Honorary Scientist Emeritus – Includes those in scientific series, such as research scientists, operational scientists, computer scientists, science technicians. Volunteers less than 100 hours a year and/or is less involved in USGS science activities. Has access to resources at the discretion of the Supervisor/Center Director.  This may or may not include office space, a USGS badge, and being in Active Directory. Must have an online OF301a volunteer form (see How To Become a USGS Emeritus section) with a general description of activities and products. Annual renewal is dependent upon mutual agreement between the Honorary Scientist Emeritus and his/her Supervisor, Center Director, Branch Chief, etc.

Administrative Emeritus – For employees not in a scientific field or without a scientific background. Volunteers at least 100 hours a year at a USGS facility or from an off-site location on a regular basis. Must have an up-to-date online OF301a volunteer form (see How To Become a USGS Emeritus section) with defined activities and/or products. Keeps track of volunteer hours and adds them to their online OF3091a form on a quarterly basis or when requested. Provides sufficient contributions/accomplishments to the USGS to satisfy the needs of his/her supervisor. Annual renewal is dependent upon mutual agreement between the Administrative Emeritus and his/her Supervisor, Center Director, Branch Chief, etc. May be provided a USGS badge, retains a USGS email address, and has access to a USGS computer (preferably a laptop that can be used both at a USGS facility and at home), and the USGS Library system.  At the discretion of the supervisor, may have an office and be provided project funds.

Participation in the USGS Emeritus Program

The USGS Emeritus Program is administered at the Science Center, Branch, etc. Retiring or retired USGS employees who have contributed to the goals of the USGS during a productive career and are interested in becoming Emeriti should discuss their plans with their immediate supervisor and Science Center Director, Branch Chief, etc.  For those scientists from other Federal agencies, who are interested in becoming Active Scientists Emeriti at the USGS, they also need to contact a supervisor within the USGS to discuss efforts that will benefit both the USGS and the scientist.  Only when there is agreement between the potential Emeritus and a USGS Supervisor, Science Center Director, Branch Chief, etc. on what activities the Emeritus will pursue that benefit the USGS, can the process begin to become a USGS Emeritus.

Step-by-step instructions for becoming a USGS Emeritus are given in the How To Become a USGS Emeritus section.

All USGS Emeriti must have a current online OF301a Volunteer Services Agreement form in place in accordance with the procedures and standards described in the USGS Volunteer for Science Handbook. Refer to the How To Become a USGS Emeritus section for detailed information on how to fill out the OF301a form.

As a condition of appointment and continuation in the Emeritus Program, participants must abide by the USGS Ethics Rules in Chapter 3, Ethics, in the Volunteer for Science Handbook. Additional information can be found in the Ethics Rules for USGS Emeriti section. The Ethics Office may be contacted at EthicsOffice@usgs.gov.

Work plans should be reviewed and agreed upon by the Emeritus and their Supervisor each year, and the Emeritus’ online and paper OF301a volunteer form should be updated as needed to reflect any changes.

Each USGS Emeritus should have only one online OF301a volunteer form. Any changes in science center, supervisor, address, etc. also can be made on the original OF301a form.

Funding

The USGS routinely provides Emeriti with office space, a computer, and a telephone. Emeritus funding may come from different sources depending upon the work being completed by the Emeritus. Emeriti may receive support from their Science Center or ongoing projects or, if Emeritus activities are outside the Center/project level, from Regions or Programs. It is possible that an Emeritus may receive funding from several sources. Funding and other resource needs should be evaluated on a yearly basis.

USGS Emeriti are encouraged to talk to Project Chiefs, Science Center Directors, Branch Chiefs, and Program Coordinators for continued funding of their work. Most successful funding tends to be through ongoing scientific projects. Science Center Directors are encouraged to provide $2,000-$3,000 annually to all those Emeriti at their center that would use this funding in useful support of their USGS efforts.

USGS Emeritus Profile Pages

Each USGS Emeritus is expected to maintain a USGS profile page, which is linked to their name on the USGS Emeritus website. It is an excellent way to share information about your USGS career as an employee and as an Emeritus. In addition, information provided in the “Expertise” section can be found through use of the USGS “Search” box. This can be useful to management when in need of someone with a specific expertise to assist in USGS efforts. As soon as a prospective USGS Emeritus has an online OF301a form, and doesn’t have an existing profile page, one will be created for the Emeritus with entries for all required fields and a template for additional information. For those who have an RSR/DSR, a simple way to add information is to copy and paste information from this document. Detailed information on how to find your profile page and add information can be found on Appendix B in How To Become a USGS Emeritus.

Contacts

Laurel M Bybell

Micropaleontologist
Office of Science Quality and Integrity
Phone: 703-648-5281

Wilma B Aleman Gonzalez

Staff Scientist
Office of Science Quality and Integrity
Phone: 703-648-6932

USGS Emeritus Program Mailbox