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U. S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Research and Development
National Center for Environmental Research
Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Program

Closed - for reference purposes only

Fall 2005 Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Undergraduate Student Fellowships

Sorting Codes: See sorting codes list
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s): 66.513

Solicitation Opening Date: August 23, 2004
Solicitation Closing Date: November 23, 2004
Application receipt deadline date: November 23, 2004, 4:00 p.m. E.S.T.

Table of Contents:
SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS
  Synopsis of Program
  Award Information
  Eligibility Information
  Contact Person
  Deadline/Target Date
FUNDING OPPORTUNITY DESCRIPTION
  Introduction
  Background
  Special Requirements
AWARD INFORMATION
AUTHORITY AND REGULATION
ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION
  Eligible Applicants
  Cost Sharing
APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION
  Application Package
  Content and Format for Pre-applications
  Letters of Recommendation
  Submission Dates and Time
SAMPLE PRE-APPLICATION
  Student’s Check-Off list
APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION
  Criteria
  Evaluation and Selection Process
AWARD ADMINISTRATION
  Award Notices
  Administrative and National Policy Requirements
  Final Progress Requirements
AGENCY CONTACTS

SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

Synopsis of Program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is offering Greater Research Opportunities Undergraduate Fellowships for bachelor level students in environmentally related fields of study. The deadline for receipt of pre-applications is November 23, 2004. Subject to availability of funding, the Agency plans to award approximately 15 new fellowships by July 21, 2005. Eligible students will receive support for their junior and senior years of undergraduate study and for an internship at an EPA facility during the summer between their junior and senior years. The fellowship provides up to $17,000 per year of academic support and up to $7,500 of internship support for the three-month summer period.

Award Information
Anticipated Type of Award: Fellowship
Estimated Number of Awards: 15
Anticipated Funding Amount: $450,000 from this announcement
Potential Funding per Fellow: $41,500

Letter of Intent Due Date(s): None
Pre-Application Proposal Due Date(s): November 23, 2004

Eligibility Information
Applicants must be citizens of the United States or its territories or possessions, or be lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence. Resident aliens must include their green card number in their pre-application. EPA may choose to verify this number with the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Applicants must be attending a U.S. institution that receives less than $50 million in Federal Research and Development expenditures. For purposes of this solicitation, EPA will use the data found in the National Science Foundation’s report “Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions: Fiscal Year 2001,” Table B-15 (http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/srs/nsf03326/start.htm). See full announcement for more details.

Deadline/Target Date: November 23, 2004, 4:00 p.m. E.S.T.

Contact Person: Georgette Boddie
Phone: 703-347-8049, e-mail: boddie.georgette@epa.gov

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY DESCRIPTION

Introduction

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under the auspices of the National Center for Environmental Research is offering Greater Research Opportunities Undergraduate Fellowships for bachelor level students in environmentally related fields of study. The deadline for receipt of pre-applications is November 23, 2004. Subject to availability of funding, the Agency plans to award approximately 15 new fellowships by July 21, 2005. Eligible students will receive support for their junior and senior years of undergraduate study and for an internship at an EPA facility during the summer between their junior and senior years. The fellowship provides up to $17,000 per year of support. This amount covers a stipend of $500 per month for up to nine months or $4,500 total, $2,500 for authorized expenses, and up to $10,000 for tuition and fees. The summer internship provides $7,500 of support for three months. This amount includes a three-month stipend totaling $6,000, $1000 for travel to and from the summer internship site, and $500 for travel while at the site, if needed.

The EPA invites pre-applications for undergraduate GRO fellowships in academic disciplines relating to environmental research including environmental science, physical science, biological science, chemistry, environmental health, computer science, social science, mathematics, and engineering. A pre-application provides the information needed for a merit review. Following a merit review, the most scientifically meritorious applicants will be required to submit a brief formal application.

Background

The GRO program, like its predecessor (the Minority Academic Institution or MAI program), is intended to strengthen the environmental research capacity of institutions of higher education that receive limited funding to build such capacity, including in particular institutions with substantial minority enrollment. The program supports quality environmental education to undergraduate students, thereby encouraging them to pursue careers in environmentally related fields and to continue their education beyond the baccalaureate level. This goal is consistent with the mission of EPA, which is to provide leadership in the nation’s environmental science, research, education, assessment, restoration, and preservation efforts. This mission will benefit both the public and private sectors that will need a steady stream of well-trained and culturally diverse environmental specialists if our society is to meet the environmental challenges of the future. These fellowships are intended to help defray costs associated with environmentally oriented study leading to a bachelor's degree.

Special Requirements

Annual Conference – Fellows are expected to attend a technical/scientific conference each year they are members of the GRO program. Resources to support this travel are to be taken from the expense allowance.

Summer Internship – The fellow must agree in writing to participate (if requested) for up to 12 weeks at an EPA facility as a summer intern in the EPA GRO Summer Intern Program after the first year of EPA-supported academic training. Each intern must complete a summer project that is designed to complement and enhance the training received under the fellowship program. EPA will provide support for temporary relocation and provide a living stipend during the summer internship. Fellows will be contacted during their first year to arrange for this internship.

AWARD INFORMATION

The fellowship provides up to $17,000 per year of academic support and $7,500 for internship support for a combined total of up to $41,500 over the life of the fellowship. A more detailed breakout of the funding which covers stipend, tuition, and expense is as follows:

1. Stipends: During the nine-month academic year, a $500 stipend will be paid to the fellow each month, for a total annual stipend of $4,500. Stipends are paid directly to the Fellow. Each fellowship institution may choose to supplement a Fellow's stipend from institutional funds in accordance with the supplementation policy of the institution.

2. Tuition and Academic Fees: Up to $10,000 per year will be paid directly to the institution for allowable tuition and fees. For the purposes of this fellowship, health insurance is not considered to be an academic fee even if it is required by the institution. Health insurance costs may, however, be paid from the expense allowance.

3. Expense Allowance: Up to $2,500 will be provided to pay for items and activities for the direct benefit of the student's education, such as for health insurance, books, supplies, equipment, and travel to technical and scientific meetings. Specific instructions regarding the disbursement and management of the expense allowance will be provided during the award process.

4. Internship Allowance: During the summer internship, the fellow will receive a total of $7,500 for the three-month period. This amount includes $1,000 for travel to and from the summer internship site, $500 for travel while at the site, and a stipend of $6,000 for living expenses.

AUTHORITY AND REGULATION
The authority for this RFA and resulting awards is contained in the following:

Clean Air Act, Section 103, as amended, Public Law 95-95, 42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.; Clean Water Act, Section 104, as amended, Public Law 95-217, 33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.; Solid Waste Disposal Act, Section 8001, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 6981; Safe Drinking Water Act, Section 1442, as amended, Public Law 93- 523, Toxic Substances Control Act, Section 10, as amended 15 U.S.C. 2609; Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, Section 20, as amended 7 U.S.C. 136r; Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, Section 311, 42 U.S.C. 96604.

ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

Eligible Applicants

Applicants must be citizens of the United States or its territories or possessions, or be lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence. Resident aliens must include their green card number in their pre-application. EPA may choose to verify this number with the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Students must attend fully accredited four-year U.S. institutions of higher education that are not highly funded for development of environmental research capacity. For purposes of this solicitation, EPA will use the data found in the National Science Foundation’s report “Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions: Fiscal Year 2001,” Table B-15 (http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/srs/nsf03326/start.htm exit EPA). Students at institutions receiving $50 million or less in annual federal research and development funding, as designated in column 2 of Table B-15, are eligible. (The full NSF report can be found at http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/srs/nsf03326/start.htm exit EPA.)

Students at schools that have substantial minority enrollment are particularly encouraged to apply. Examples of such schools are those that the U.S. Department of Education lists as “Accredited Postsecondary Minority Institutions” consistent with Executive Orders 13125 (Increasing Participation of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders), 13230 (Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans), 13256 (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), and 13270 (Tribal Colleges and Universities), which encourage building the capacity of minority serving institutions to provide high quality education, and other measures to improve minority education. Note however, that not all of these schools receive less then $50 million. Consult the NSF Report specified above.

Regarding applicants who are attending community colleges, note that only those that are either four-year baccalaureate-granting institutions with degree programs in one or more eligible academic fields, or two year institutions that grant associate degrees and participate in Articulation Agreements with four-year institutions, are eligible to participate in this fellowship program. An Articulation Agreement is a signed contract between a community or technical college and a four-year college or university that guarantees that a student who earns an associate degree at a participating two-year institution can transfer all of the general education core credits to the four-year institution toward the completion of baccalaureate degree requirements.)

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the school is eligible before submitting a pre-application.

Students must be pursuing a bachelor's degree in an environmentally related field of specialization. Students must have two (2) years remaining as of fall 2005 before receiving a bachelor's degree. Students must have at least a "B" average overall.

Acceptance of this fellowship does not necessarily preclude acceptance of other scholarship, fellowship, traineeship or grant aid. However, this fellowship may not be awarded to anyone who will simultaneously be receiving other federal assistance. If the source of the other fellowship is not federal, a student may accept both awards.

The term of the undergraduate fellowship is negotiated with the student and covers a period of nine months for each fellowship year. Students seeking a bachelor’s degree may be supported for a maximum of two years.

Cost-Sharing

Cost-sharing is not required and therefore does not have to be considered for this fellowship.

APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

Application Package

The application package for a GRO Undergraduate Fellowship consists of two major parts: 1) the pre-application and 2) three (3) current letters of recommendation. The pre-application provides the reviewers with information about you and your proposed research and the letters provide support for your pre-application. In the discussion below, we will provide you with all the information you need to ensure that you submit a complete and administratively correct application. Please read it carefully and follow the instructions exactly.

Content and Format for Pre-applications

All pre-applications must be submitted exactly as described and illustrated in this solicitation. If you fail to comply with any of the instructions regarding format or content, your pre-application will not be reviewed. All pre-applications must be written in English.

The pre-application part of your package consists of twelve (12) items. The pre-application must be single spaced and completed using a 12-point or equivalent typeface on 8-1/2 x 11-inch paper with one-inch margins all around. Page limitations for individual components of the pre-application are specified below. Do not exceed these limits or the proposal will be ineligible. Do not submit materials permanently bound or in ring binders. You must submit the original and six (6) copies of all required materials.

ITEMS 1-9 COMBINED MUST NOT EXCEED ONE PAGE (PLEASE NUMBER ALL PAGES)

Item 1 PERSONAL DATA -- Provide your full name (last name first), current address, permanent address (complete address including zip code), and home and work telephone numbers. Please include an e-mail address to which NCER can send an acknowledgment that your application has been received. If you do not receive an acknowledgment within 30 days of the submission deadline, then immediately call 1-800-490-9194. (Optional -- for statistical reporting purposes only, we ask you to include your gender and race, e.g., African-American, white, Hispanic, Native American, Asian or Pacific Islander).

Item 2 CITIZENSHIP STATUS -- State whether you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If you are a citizen, give the city of your birth. If you are a resident alien, provide your green card number. EPA may choose to verify this information.

Item 3 DEGREE SOUGHT -- State type of bachelor’s degrees (e.g., BS, BA). Include the month and year you expect the degree to be awarded.

Item 4 STATE YOUR CURRENT LEVEL OF EDUCATION -- State the academic year you are in (e.g., entering sophomore) or how many credits you have toward your degree and how many total credits you need for your degree.

Item 5 SORTING CODE AND TITLE -- Select a single Sorting Code and Title for your application. It is important that you select the most appropriate Sorting Code and Title from the list shown below because your pre-application will be reviewed by experts from the field you select. Select only one Sorting Code and Title. This code must also appear in the address for delivery of your pre-application, as specified below.

F05-GRO-P1 Natural and Life Sciences
   
F05-GRO-P2 Environmental Sciences
   
F05-GRO-P3 Engineering
   
F05-GRO-P4 Social Sciences
   
F05-GRO-Q1 Physical Sciences
   
F05-GRO-Q2 Mathematics and Computer Sciences
   
F05-GRO-Q3 Economics

Item 6 AREA OF RESEARCH INTEREST -- Provide a brief description for your research area of interest, even if you have not yet selected a specific topic (1 - 2 paragraphs).

Item 7 COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY, SCHOOL AND DEPARTMENT -- Provide the name and location of your current university, school, and department from which your degree will be obtained.

Item 8 CERTIFICATION OF INSTITUTION ELIGIBILITY -- Indicate whether your school receives less than $50 million as specific in the NSF report. If you are attending community college, indicate that your school has an articulation agreement with an eligible four-year institution.

Item 9 NAME AND ADDRESS OF UNDERGRADUATE ADVISOR -- If you have an advisor, give his or her name, address, and telecommunications data, including phone, fax, and e-mail, if available. If you do not yet have an advisor, write "N/A."

ITEM 10 MUST NOT EXCEED ONE PAGE

Item 10 STATEMENT OF OBJECTIVES -- This item will be of paramount importance in evaluating your request for a fellowship. Your answer, therefore, should be well thought out and expressed in a clear and concise manner. Please give enough details so you may be adequately evaluated, noting the one-page limit. The statement should be in the following format:

A. Introduction: Include any background information you believe is pertinent and provides insight into why you have chosen the goals you are pursuing.

B. Personal Statement: Explain your academic and career goals and how your proposed course of study or research will help you achieve these goals. Include any background information you believe is relevant and that indicates why you have chosen the goals you are pursuing. You will be evaluated on your dedication to your studies and to an environmentally oriented career. This statement will also provide insight into your organizational, analytical, and written communication skills.

C. Previous Environmentally Related Experience: Describe how work/volunteer and academic experience gained will relate to your career goals.

D. Conclusion Statement: Explain what scientific or other benefits are expected from your academic and career goals.

ITEM 11 MUST NOT EXCEED ONE PAGE

Item 11 EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE -- List the academic degrees you have received or expect to receive in the near future, the dates, and the institutions. Include your current grade point average (GPA). Also list relevant experience, including paid employment, research assistantship, internships, special studies, volunteer work, etc. Give dates and a short description of your duties in each position, listing most recent first. Give names and addresses of employers. List only relevant experience.

ITEM 12 MAY USE AS MANY PAGES AS NECESSARY

Item 12 TRANSCRIPT INFORMATION -- Provide, in tabular form, the following information from your transcripts: the institutions at which the credits were earned; dates, names, and catalog numbers of courses taken; credit hours; grades received; and cumulative GPA for each degree level. If possible, course titles should not exceed the space available. Abbreviations are allowed. Note if courses were audited or not completed. Do not submit narrative grades. If any institution you attended had a grading system different from the traditional "A, B, C" system, explain the system in a succinct footnote to Item 12. Do not leave anything out. Include data from your entire college career. DO NOT INCLUDE COPIES OF YOUR TRANSCRIPTS. Top-ranked applicants will be required to submit official copies of transcripts for validation prior to the award of the fellowship.

Letters of Recommendation

Each application package MUST include three (3) current reference letters, written in English, from individuals who have knowledge of your academic record. If you have a sponsor or advisor in the program, one of these letters should come from that individual. Letters of recommendation are critical components of the pre-application. Select your references carefully and urge them to write unique letters specifically about you. Do not write the letters yourself. Letters that appear to be mass produced will not be ranked highly by reviewers. At a minimum, the letters should address your academic performance and potential, enthusiasm, thoughtfulness, and motivation in your chosen field. It is always useful if the writer also conveys a sense of who you are as an individual. EPA is bound by regulation to require three (3) letters. If the pre-application does not include three letters, it will not be reviewed. The original and six (6) copies of each required letter must be contained in one (1) envelope sealed by the writer and included in the pre-application package. We will not accept reference letters sent separately.

Submission Dates and Times

Pre-applications MUST be received at EPA no later than 4:00 p.m. EST on November 23, 2004. Because of security concerns, applications cannot be personally delivered. They must be sent through regular mail, express mail or a major courier. Due to uncertainties associated with timely delivery of regular mail, it is especially important to provide an e-mail address to which an acknowledgment of receipt notification can be sent (see item 1 of content and format for pre-applications).

If sending by regular mail, send the original AND SIX (6) COPIES of all required materials to:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Peer Review Division (8725F)
Sorting Code: F05-GRO-XX (replace with the appropriate sorting code; see list provided)
Ariel Rios Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20460

For express mail or couriers, send the original AND SIX (6) COPIES of all required materials to:

U. S. Environmental Protection Agency
Peer Review Division (8725F)
Sorting Code: F05-GRO-XX (replace with the appropriate sorting code; see list provided)
Woodies Building
Room 3500
1025 F Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20004
Phone: (202) 233-0686 (for express mail applications)

NOTIFICATION AND AWARD DATE: If you comply with the requirement to include an e-mail address with your pre-application, you will be notified when we receive your package. Subject to the availability of funding, awards should be made by July 21, 2005 for the fall term.

SAMPLE PRE-APPLICATION

The pages that follow constitute a sample pre-application for undergraduate fellowships. The purpose of this sample is to demonstrate format, not content.

Pre-application for GRO Undergraduate Fellowship

Page 1

  1. Personal Data:
    Name: Williams, Nigel Dupree
    Current Address: University Parkway, Hampton, VA 20023
    Permanent Address: c/o Moses Williams, 27 Market St., Richmond, VA 22307
    Home Phone: 804-555-1234
    Work Phone: 804-555-1111
    Fax: 804-555-1010
    E-mail: xxxxx@yyy.com
    Gender: Male
    Race: African-American
  2. Citizenship Status: U.S. Citizen, born in Richmond, Virginia (Note: if this student were a permanent resident alien, he would indicate his green card number here.)
  3. Degree Sought: Undergraduate degree (BS, BA, etc.), expected 6/07
  4. State your current level of education: Continuing Undergraduate, entering sophomore year
  5. Sorting Code and Title: F05-GRO-Q2-Mathematics and Computer Science
  6. Area of Research Interest: Provide a brief description for your research area of interest, if a specific topic has not yet been selected (1-2 paragraphs).
  7. College/University, School and Department: Hampton University, Department of Physics
  8. Certification of Institute Eligibility: Hampton University is a certified GRO institution according to the NSF listing. It is a four-year accredited university.
  9. Name and Address of Undergraduate Advisor (Sponsor):
    G. K. Leonard, Chairman
    Department of Physics
    Hampton University, Hampton, VA 23000
    Office Phone: 804-555-1235 Fax: 804-555-4321
    E-mail: xxxxxxx@hampton.edu

Page 2

10. Statement of Objectives: This is a written account of your academic and environmental career goals in which you relate your past accomplishments and future plans, and describe how your proposed plan of study or research will tie these together. The quality of this section is a key criterion for review, so be as articulate and thorough as possible.

Page 3

11. Education and Experience:

8/02 to Present: Enrolled in BS Program at Hampton University - Current GPA: 3.77

6/02 to 8/02: Intern, Water Resources Division, Department of Interior, Raleigh, North Carolina
A. C. Oats 919-111-0001

6/01 to 8/01: Clerk, Water Quality Monitoring, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Richmond, VA
R. L. Cooper 804-123-4567

Page 4

12. Transcript Information

Institution Year Course # Title Credit Hrs Grade
Hampton 2002 CHE-100 Gen. Chemistry 1 Lab 1 B
Hampton 2002 CHE-101 General Chemistry 4 A
Hampton 2002 ENG-100 Intro to Comp. Applications 3 A
Hampton 2002 GED-100 Freshman Orientation 1 A
Hampton 2002 MTH-101 College Algebra 3 A
Hampton 2002 PED-101 Fund Fitness Life 1 A
Hampton 2003 CHE-100 Gen. Chemistry II Lab 1 A
Hampton 2003 CHE-102 General Chemistry II 4 A
Hampton 2003 CHE-100 Quantitative Analysis 3 A
Hampton 2003 MTH-102 College Algebra/Trig 3 B
Hampton 2003 CHE-101 Quantitative Analysis Lab I 1 B
Hampton 2003 CHE-201 Organic Chemistry Lab I 2 B
Hampton 2003 CHE-202 Organic Chemistry I 3 A
           
GPA = 3.77          

GREATER RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES (GRO)
UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT FELLOWSHIPS
STUDENT’S CHECK-OFF LIST

From Page 1

1. Personal Data

2. Citizenship Status

3. Degree Sought

4. Level of Education

5. Sorting Code and Title

6. Area of Research Interest

7. College/University, School or Department

8. Certification of Institution Eligibility

9. Name and Address of Undergraduate Advisor

From Page 2

10. Statement of Objectives

From Page 3

11. Education and Experience

From Page 4 (as many pages as needed)

12. Transcript Information

Letters of Recommendation (3)

APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION

Criteria

Each student will be evaluated on his or her potential for success in an undergraduate study program, based on the information provided in the pre-application as described above under "Content and Format for Pre-Applications." The reviewers will consider academic records, career goals, objectives, and letters of recommendation. The reviewers will use this information to judge the merit of all applicants as well as their ability to organize their thoughts and the clarity of their writing.

Evaluation and Selection Process

The pre-applications will be reviewed by non-EPA experts from the appropriate fields of study. Reviewers are recruited based on the specialty fields identified in the pre-applications.

Reviewers will identify the most scientifically meritorious applicants. Finalists will be selected for award of a fellowship based on the availability of funds, reviewers' evaluations, and program goals, such as distribution of awards across disciplines, institutions and geography, and other possible indicators of program balance. Awards should be made by July 21, 2005. Only finalists will be required to submit the following:

1. EPA Form 5770-2, "Fellowship Application*"
2. EPA Form 5700-49, "Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, and Other Responsibility Matters*" and
3. Sealed official transcripts from all institutions (if so instructed by EPA).

* Forms are available on the NCER web page (http://www.epa.gov/ncer/fellow/)

AWARD ADMINISTRATION

Award Notices

If you comply with the requirement to include an e-mail address, you will be notified when we receive your package. If selected to receive a fellowship you will be contacted no later than May 30, 2005, and those persons should subsequently receive their awards by July 21, 2005, for the fall term. Please note that this schedule may be change without notification due to factors that were not anticipated at the time of announcement.

Administrative and Policy Requirements

This fellowship is administered as an EPA grant, and as such recipients will need to adhere to certain terms and conditions. Terms and conditions associated with this fellowship can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/guidance.

Reporting

In order to retain their funding, fellowship recipients must provide their EPA project officer with an annual, written statement from their advisor stating that they are maintaining the same criteria under which they were selected (i.e., acceptable grade-point average, full-time student, and still in the same discipline). Fellows must also provide a final transcript that states that they have completed their studies. Fellows must agree to notify EPA about all employment for at least five years after graduation.

Agency Contacts

Further information, if needed, may be obtained from the EPA official indicated below. E-mail inquiries are preferred.

Georgette Boddie, phone: 703-347-8049, email: boddie.georgette@epa.gov

For additional information or assistance in preparing your pre-application, first consult the "Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQs) on the NCER home page (http://www.epa.gov/ncer). EPA also maintains a toll-free telephone number that allows individuals to leave a recorded message or question. Inquiries will be answered through a return telephone call. To access this service, dial 1-800-490-9194.

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