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May 13, 2002
EPA's Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Grant Program Excels, According to National Academy of Sciences Report
NCER Staff Writer
WASHINGTON (NCER) - The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) recently released a press release and a report entitled "The Measure of STAR" in which they evaluated Science to Achieve Results (STAR), a research grant and fellowship program in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. According to their report entitled "A Measure of STAR," the program is outstanding when compared to other similar programs. NAS says that the STAR program fills a unique niche by supporting "important research that is not conducted or funded by other agencies" and is "directly relevant" to the mission of EPA. In addition, NAS states that STAR research results have already improved the scientific foundation for decision making even though the program is young and many of the projects have not yet been completed.
The NAS report indicates that "STAR is funding many scientists with outstanding credentials" who "have impressive research track records and are leaders in their fields." In addition, the STAR grant program has made commendable efforts to leverage funds by establishing research partnerships with other agencies. NAS believes that the recently reinstated STAR fellowship program is helping to build a stronger scientific foundation for the Nation's environmental research and management efforts.
The NAS review of STAR began about two years ago at the request of the EPA's National Center for Environmental Research (NCER), the office that manages the STAR program. NAS was asked to evaluate the overall effectiveness of the program and give measures to gauge both the quality of the research and whether it is impacting and influencing decisions made in other parts of the EPA (a standard practice for any scientific organization).
The NAS committee chose several specific research areas that were considered "ready" for review including particulate matter and ecological indicators. They also reviewed the STAR fellowship program. As part of the review process, NAS held several public meetings, interviewed STAR grantees and fellows, and asked questions of other federal agencies affiliated with the program.
EPA's STAR program is a competitive, peer-reviewed, extramural research grant and fellowship program created to encourage interagency collaboration and increase EPA's access to the nation's best scientists and engineers in academic and nonprofit research institutions. STAR supports research in a numerous fields relevant to EPA's mission, ranging from human health protection to environmental preservation.
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research. Using the authority granted to it by Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters.
To learn more about EPA's STAR grant and fellowship programs, visit: www.epa.gov/ncer. Copies of "The Measure of STAR: Review of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Science To Achieve Results (STAR) Research Grants Program" are available from the National Academies Press; tel. (202) 334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242 or on the Internet at http://www.nap.edu.