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Updated 8 February, 2004

Environmental Protection Agency

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To fulfill its statutory mandates, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is involved in a broad range of environmental science activities. EPA's R&D program provides the scientific and technical basis for the Agency's decisionmaking, and complements the more fundamental research supported by agencies such as NIEHS and NSF.

Types of Environment and Natural Resources Research Supported

  • Risk Assessment: EPA develops risk assessment methodologies for both human health and ecological systems, as well as the complex data needed to reduce scientific uncertainties for decisions. The human health research programs provide critical support needed to develop more refined assessments of pollutant effects on human health and more realistic exposure estimates. The focus of EPA's ecological risk assessment program is to reduce uncertainty at the watershed, regional, and national scales through monitoring, modeling, and assessment activities.

  • Ecology: EPA is developing place-based ecosystem protection approaches for more effective management of ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest, the Great Lakes, and South Florida; is developing methodologies for both ecological and biodiversity risk assessment; and conducts research to develop ecological indicators of resource condition.

  • Monitoring and Data Management: The Agency develops, evaluates, and demonstrates a variety of new field instrumentation for monitoring and sampling of pollutants and environmental conditions in the atmosphere, surface waters, sub-surface, biota, and human microenvironments. EPA has developed and manages the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) - an on-line database used world-wide for human health risk assessment information. EPA focuses on user-friendly distribution of data to the state and local governments and other industrial and community groups.

  • Environmental Technology: In addition to applied R&D to support specific environmental programs, EPA's Technology Research, Development, and Demonstration Program, which includes both engineering and policy studies, is shifting its emphasis to pollution prevention. This research addresses all media and includes the full range of prevention, monitoring, control, and remediation technologies and approaches.

  • Socioeconomic Research: The Agency has increased its emphasis on socioeconomic R&D directed at accurate valuation methods, integrated assessment tools, and data and methods for addressing environmental justice issues. These efforts emphasize information on consequences of changes in environmental regulations to the size, structure, and performance of economic markets and impacts on individual behavior. Another research focus is the continued development and appropriate use of such methods (e.g., contingent valuation) for ascribing value to environmental services.

Research Funding Opportunities

EPA has made a major commitment to include the best scientists from this country's universities, colleges, and research institutions in its research program. The EPA Office of Research and Development (ORD) has made major changes during the past 2 years, and as part of those changes has started the Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Program, consisting of the following three components:

  1. Focused Requests for Applications (RFAs) are targeted at specific research topics defined by the ORD Strategic Plan that address the science needs of the EPA program offices and regions. This component supports investigators from universities and other not-for-profit research institutions who complement the expertise in ORD laboratories. A portion of the program is conducted jointly with other Federal agencies.

  2. The Exploratory Research Grants Program provides support for (i) investigator-initiated grants in broad areas such as environmental chemistry and physics, and health and ecological effects of pollution that are not covered by the RFAs; and (ii) Early Career Research Awards, which recognize outstanding scientists and engineers at the onset of their careers.

  3. The Graduate Fellowship Program provides support for masters and doctoral students in environmental sciences and engineering. This program supports development of the Nation's environment and technology base that will provide the expertise needed to address environmental concerns in the future. This program is announced nationally and provides broad opportunities to apply. Applicants are judged by external peer reviewers and are selected based on their record and potential for the future.

Applicants for STAR grants must propose relevant research based on excellent science, as determined through external peer review by experts drawn from throughout the national scientific community. Information on STAR competitive research grants is available from the EPA at the following address:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
National Center for Environmental Research and Quality Assurance (8703)
401 M Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20460
202.260.3837 (voice)
202.260.2039 (fax)
http://www.epa.gov /select"grants" (WWW)

FY96 Opportunities

In FY96, subject to the availability of funds, EPA will award STAR grants in research categories of special interest to the EPA mission. Some of the opportunities listed below had closing dates that have already past, but are included to provide a description of the Agency's areas of interest and contact points for those areas. It is likely that many of these will be ongoing and may have additional solicitations in the future:

  • Ecological Assessment supports research leading to the development of scientific understanding and techniques required for effective ecological risk assessment and ecosystem protection at a regional ecosystem scale, and for addressing regional scale vulnerabilities in the United States to global climate change.
    Contacts:
    Robert Menzer
    202.260.5779 (voice)
    menzer.robert@epamail.epa.gov

    Barbara Levinson
    202.260.5983 (voice)
    levinson.barbara@epamail.epa.gov

  • Exposure of Children to Pesticides research support is intended to stimulate studies on children's cumulative exposure to pesticide classes such as, but not limited to, pyrethroids, cholinesterase inhibitors, and triazine herbicides, including assessment of multiple pathways and routes of exposure, evaluation of exposure from various sources, and assessment of cumulative exposures to specific classes of pesticides.
    Closing Date: March 1, 1996
    Contact:
    Chris Saint
    202.260.1093 (voice)
    saint.chris@epamail.epa.gov

  • Air Quality research will generate new scientific knowledge on tropospheric ozone and air toxics to help EPA meet its statutory responsibilities under the Clean Air Act to establish and periodically revise, as appropriate, criteria and National Ambient Air Quality Standards for pollutants, and to control toxic air pollutant emissions from sources.
    Contact:

    Deran Pashayan
    202.260.2606 (voice)
    pashayan.deran@epamail.epa.gov

  • Analytical and Monitoring Methods program is intended to stimulate research on significantly new approaches (rather than stepwise improvement to existing methodologies) for environmental monitoring -- to meet a critical need for techniques that are inexpensive to purchase, operate, and maintain, and that use little or no toxic chemicals and generate little or no hazardous waste.
    Contact:
    David Friedman
    202.260.3535 (voice)
    friedman.david@epamail.epa.gov

  • Drinking Water research will foster better methods for detection, measurement, and control of microbial pathogens in drinking water systems, and will identify drinking water disinfection by-products and develop a better understanding of their effects on human health. Applied in the risk assessment framework, this research will help identify the level of disinfection that will destroy the greatest number of pathogenic microbial organisms while creating the least residual level of chemical that is likely to cause other effects.
    Contact:
    Sheila Rosenthal
    202.260.7334 (voice)
    rosenthal.sheila@epamail.epa.gov

  • Environmental Fate and Treatment of Toxics and Hazardous Waste research competition will support studies on the fate and mobility of contaminants in soils and groundwater, and the assessment of risks of contaminated soils and treatment residuals, with the purpose of advancing new risk assessment techniques and new site characterization and remediation techniques that will help in the development of more realistic risk assessments and more cost-effective cleanups.
    Contact:

    William Stelz
    202.260.5798 (voice)
    stelz.william@epamail.epa.gov

  • Environmental Statistics solicits proposals to establish (by means of a 5-year cooperative agreement) a National Research Center on Statistics and the Environment that will provide a national capability to identify and perform cutting-edge research in environmental statistics, thereby furthering the application of statistics to the environmental sciences and facilitating the professional development of future environmental statisticians.
    Contact:
    Chris Saint
    202.260.1093 (voice)
    saint.chris@epamail.epa.gov

  • High Performance Computing research is aimed at developing high performance computing technologies for use in environmental assessment and management, with particular attention to proposals that target research on problemsolving environments, parallel algorithms, and data access and analysis techniques.
    Contact:
    Chris Saint
    202.260.1093 (voice)
    saint.chris@epamail.epa.gov

  • General Solicitation invites applications for 1) exploratory research in areas of biology, chemistry, physics, human health, socioeconomics, and engineering that are not covered in the other RFAs, with a focus on aspects of pollution identification, characterization, abatement, or control of the effects of pollutants on human and biological systems; and 2) Early Career Research Awards to support outstanding scientists and engineers at the onset of their careers in U.S. colleges, universities, and not-for-profit institutions.
    Contact:
    Clyde Bishop
    202.260.5727 (voice)
    bishop.clyde@epamail.epa.gov

  • Endocrine Disruptorsresearch will evaluate potential human health effects associated with pollutants that may interfere with reproductive and developmental processes in humans and wildlife, with a focus on refining methods to monitor exposure; developing and validating biomarkers; developing and validating test systems to screen for chemicals with specific mechanisms of action; developing physiologically based pharmacokinetic, physiologically based toxicokinetic, and biologically based dose-response models; and refining and validating methods and models that relate effects seen at subcellular levels to adverse impacts in individuals and populations.
    Closing Date: May 1, 1996
    Contact:
    Robert Menzer
    202.260.5779 (voice)
    menzer.robert@epamail.epa.gov

  • Role of Interindividual Variation in Human Susceptibility to Cancer supports research recommended by the National Academy of Sciences on identifying human genetic polymorphisms that can affect carcinogenic risk from environmental agents, exploring the quantitative relationship of these polymorphisms to the risk of cancer from environmental agents, and examining the distribution of such polymorphisms in the general environment.
    Closing Date: May 1, 1996
    Contact:
    David Reese
    202.260.7342 (voice)
    reese.david@epamail.epa.gov

  • Risk-Based Decisions for Contaminated Sediments supports research needed for effective assessment and management of complex risks to aquatic plants and animals from contaminated sediments, including studies to identify hazards to indigenous aquatic plants and animals from contaminated sediments, to improve the understanding of dose-response effects, to reduce uncertainties in exposure assessments, and to improve treatment of contaminated sediments.
    Closing Date:May 1, 1996
    Contact:
    David Reese
    202.260.7342 (voice)
    reese.david@epamail.epa.gov

In addition, in cooperation with NSF, DOE, and the Office of Naval Research of the U.S. Navy, ORD will issue a joint research grant on the following topic of mutual interest:

  • Bioremediation supports research to further the understanding of the processes and/or environmental effects involved in the release, movement, and assimilation of contaminants (with emphasis on mixtures of chemicals), in order to determine broadly applicable techniques for measuring the potential impacts of contaminants in complex matrices.
    Closing Date:
    May 1, 1996
    Contact:
    Robert Menzer
    202.260.5779 (voice)
    menzer.robert@epamail.epa.gov

Also under a partnership with NSF, ORD will issue a joint research grant on the following topics of mutual interest:

  • Water and Watershed emphasizes multidisciplinary, fundamental research on important scientific, engineering, and socioeconomic principles for understanding, protecting, and restoring water resources and watershed processes in the U.S. and other regions of the world. Investigators are encouraged to bring together formerly disparate, state-of-the-art approaches to address watershed-scale issues and explore new paradigms that draw widely from different disciplines.
    Closing Date: May 7, 1996
    Contact:
    Barbara Levinson
    202.260.5983 (voice)
    levinson.barbara@epamail.epa.gov

  • Technology for a Sustainable Environment seeks research in three areas: Chemistry, engineering, and measurement; assessment; and feedback techniques for pollution prevention. The goal of this RFA is to develop safer commercial substances and environmentally friendly chemicals, and to develop novel engineering approaches for preventing or reducing pollution. Also encouraged is research in physical sciences and engineering that will lead to the development of novel measurement and assessment techniques for pollution prevention.
    Closing Date: May 7, 1996
    Contact:
    Stephen Lingle
    202.260.5748 (voice)
    lingle.stephen@epamail.epa.gov

  • Decisionmaking and Valuation for Environmental Policy seeks to advance research to help develop practical approaches to estimate economic and social benefits and costs that are systematic and credible. This competition is intended to support research projects in four areas: (i) benefits of environmental policies and programs, (ii) costs of environmental policies and programs, (iii) ecosystem protection, and (iv) normative behaviors and environmental decisionmaking.
    Closing Date: May 7, 1996
    Contact:
    Gregory C. Ondich
    202.260.5753 (voice)
    ondich.greg@epamail.epa.gov

FY96 Funding Opportunities for the Graduate Fellowship Program

In FY96, subject to the availability of funds, EPA will award approximately 100 new fellowships. The program offers up to $34,000 per year to cover stipend, tuition, and expenses. Fellowships are for a period of 9-12 months for each fellowship year. Masters level students may receive support for up to 2 years, and doctoral students may be supported for a maximum of 3 years.


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