Updates to Outside Professional Activities Policy AC80

Office for Research Protections     |     Outside Professional Activities       


Sun.png What are Your Plans for the Summer?

Conducting research outside of Penn State? Starting a company related to your expertise? These “Outside Professional Activities” require prior approval per Penn State policy AC80. This policy governs faculty’s engagement with activities outside the scope of their employment with Penn State. Policy AC80 was revised in December 2021, so be sure to review this article to see what the changes were and how they might impact you. 



Does AC80 Apply to Me?

  • If you are a full-time faculty member, AC80 applies to you. Some Outside Professional Activities require prior approval even outside of the Appointment Period. 
  • All Outside Professional Activities, even those that occur outside of the Appointment Period, must be disclosed within 30 days of starting the activity. 
  • NOTE: Each college and campus maintains its own guidance related to AC80.

What are Outside Professional Activities?

  • Paid or unpaid services that are in your general area of expertise and beyond the scope of your employment at Penn State.
  •  Scholarly activities (as defined by AC80) do not require disclosure or prior approval. Click here for examples.
  •  The University encourages you to engage in outside activities when such activities enhance the mission of the University, do not compete with the University, and do not conflict or materially interfere with your appointment with the University.



Outside Professional Activities Requiring Prior Approval

Any of the Outside Professional Activities listed below require prior approval even if they are conducted during the summer (i.e., outside of the Appointment Period). 

  1. *Exceeding the Monthly or Annual time limits during the Appointment Period
  2. Involving students or University staff in the activity
  3. Starting a company
  4. **Outside Teaching during the Appointment Period
  5. Transferring ownership of trademarks, copyrights, patents, or other intellectual property 
  6. Compensated research
  7. Uncompensated research with a contract
  8. Chairing a Masters or Doctoral committee at another university
  9. Holding an appointment at another university
  10. Running a lab, institute, or program at another entity
  11. Taking part in a foreign government-sponsored program
  12. Becoming an employee or executive for a third-party entity

*Exceeding the Monthly Time limit only requires prior approval during your Appointment Period.

**Teaching at another institution only requires prior approval during your Appointment Period. 



Time Limits

You may engage in Outside Professional Activities up to forty (40) hours per month during your Appointment Period. 

  • 36-week appointment: max 360 hours
  • 48-week appointment: max 480 hours
  • Monthly time limits apply



How Do I Disclose or Obtain Prior Approval?

Please review the Outside Professional Activities page on the Office for Research Protections’ website to find out how to disclose activities, request prior approval, and more. If you have questions after exploring these resources, email OBAadmin@psu.edu.