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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Research and Development
National Center for Environmental Research
P3 Award Program

CLOSED - FOR REFERENCES PURPOSES ONLY

5th Annual P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet

This is the initial announcement of this funding opportunity.

Funding Opportunity Number:

  • EPA-G2008-P3-Z1 Agriculture
  • EPA-G2008-P3-Z2 Materials and Chemistry
  • EPA-G2008-P3-Z3 Energy
  • EPA-G2008-P3-Z4 Information Technology
  • EPA-G2008-P3-Z5 Water
  • EPA-G2008-P3-Z6 Built Environment

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 66.516

Solicitation Opening Date: August 31, 2007
Solicitation Closing Date: December 20, 2007; 4:00 pm Eastern Time

Eligibility Contact: Tom Barnwell (barnwell.thomas@epa.gov); phone: 202-343-9862
Electronic Submissions: Thomas O'Farrell (O'Farrell.Thomas@epa.gov); phone: 703-347-8085
Technical Contact: Cynthia L. Nolt-Helms (nolt-helms.cynthia@epa.gov); phone: 703-347-8102

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more about PDF, and for a link to the free Acrobat Reader.

Table of Contents:
SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS
Synopsis of Program
Award Information
Eligibility Information
Application Materials
Agency Contacts
I. FUNDING OPPORTUNITY DESCRIPTION
A. Introduction
B. Background
C. Authorities and Regulations
1. Statutory Authorities
2. Applicable Regulations
D. Specific Areas of Interest/Expected Outputs and Outcomes
E. References
F. Special Requirements
II. AWARD INFORMATION
III. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION
A. Eligible Applicants
B. Cost Sharing
C. Other
IV. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION
A. Internet Address to Request a Application Package
B. Content and Form of Application Submission
1. Standard Form 424
2. Key Contacts
3. Table of Contents
4. Abstract
5. Research Plan and References
6. Budget and Budget Justification
7. Resumes
8. Current and Pending Support
9. Guidelines, Limitations, and Additional Requirements
C. Submission Dates and Times
D. Funding Restrictions
E. Submission Instructions and Other Submission Requirements
1. Submission Instructions for Paper Applications
2. Submission Instructions for Electronic Applications
3. Submission Instructions for Phase II Proposals
V. APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION
A. Review Process for Phase I Applications
1. External Peer Review
2. Criteria for Phase I Awards
3. Internal Programmatic Review
B. Review Process for Phase II Applications
1. External Panel of Judges
2. Criteria for Phase II Awards
C. Funding Decisions
VI. AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION
A. Award Notices
B. Disputes
C. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
1. National Sustainable Design Expo
2. Approval or Changes after Award
3. Human Subjects
4. Animal Welfare
5. Data Access and Information Release
6. Reporting
7. Acknowledgement of EPA Support
8. Exchange Network
VII. AGENCY CONTACTS

Access Standard Application Forms (http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms/)

View research awarded under previous solicitations (http://www.epa.gov/P3)

SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

Synopsis of Program
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of the P3 Award Program, is seeking applications proposing to research, develop, and design solutions to real world challenges involving sustainability. The P3 competition highlights people, prosperity, and the planet – the three pillars of sustainability. The P3 Awards program is a partnership between the public and private sectors to foster progress toward sustainability by achieving the mutual goals of economic prosperity, protection of the planet, and improved quality of life for its people. The EPA offers the P3 competition in order to respond to the technical needs of the developed and developing world while moving towards the goal of sustainability. Please see the P3 website (http://www.epa.gov/ncer/P3) for more details about this program.

Award Information:
Anticipated Type of Award: Grant
Estimated Number of Awards: Approximately 55 awards for Phase I; Approximately 6 awards for Phase II
Anticipated Funding Amount: Approximately $1,000,000 total for all awards
Potential Funding per Award: Up to $10,000 per Phase I grant for one year including direct and indirect costs. Proposals for Phase I grants with budgets exceeding $10,000 will not be considered. Upon the successful completion of Phase I, Phase I grant recipients will have the opportunity to apply for Phase II funding of up to $75,000 for two additional years including direct and indirect costs (see Background section for more information). Proposals for Phase II grants with budgets exceeding $75,000 will not be considered. Cost-sharing is not required for either Phase I or Phase II grants.

Eligibility Information:
Public nonprofit institutions/organizations (limited to public institutions of higher education) and private nonprofit institutions/organizations (limited to private institutions of higher education) located in the U.S. are eligible to apply. See full announcement for more details.

Application Materials:
You may submit either a paper application or an electronic application (but not both) for this announcement. The necessary forms for submitting a P3 application will be found on the National Center for Environmental Research (NCER) web site, http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms/. To apply electronically, you must use the application package available at Grants.gov (see “Submission Instructions for Electronic Applications” in Section IV). If your organization is not currently registered with Grants.gov, you need to allow approximately one week to complete the registration process to apply electronically. This registration, and electronic submission of your application, must be performed by an authorized representative of your organization.

Agency Contacts:
Eligibility Contact: Tom Barnwell (barnwell.thomas@epa.gov); phone: 202-343-9862
Electronic Submissions: Thomas O'Farrell (O'Farrell.Thomas@epa.gov); phone: 703-347-8085
Technical Contact: Cynthia L. Nolt-Helms (nolt-helms.cynthia@epa.gov); phone: 703-347-8102

I. FUNDING OPPORTUNITY DESCRIPTION

A. Introduction
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under the auspices of the Office of Research and Development (ORD), National Center for Environmental Research (NCER), and its partners (see http://www.epa.gov/ncer/P3 for specific names) invite submissions to the 5th Annual P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability. P3 focuses on the three components of sustainability: People, Prosperity and the Planet. The P3 Program is intended to support designs that benefit people by improving their quality of life; promote prosperity by developing local economies or creating small businesses; and protect the planet by conserving resources and minimizing pollution.

The concept of sustainable development became widely promoted following publication of G. Bruntland’s Our Common Future in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development. That document defined sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (Oxford University Press, 1987). Although the definitions of sustainability have varied during the past 20 years, a useful definition for engineers was set forth by Mihelcic et al. (2003) as the “design of human and industrial systems to ensure that humankind’s use of natural resources and cycles do not lead to diminished quality of life due either to losses in future economic opportunities or to adverse impacts on social conditions, human health and the environment.” Fundamentally, sustainability requires the balancing of economic prosperity, environmental responsibility, and social fairness.

P3 Awards will be given to the winners of the second phase of this national, intercollegiate design competition among interdisciplinary student teams for their research, development, and design of solutions to the scientific, technical, and policy challenges confronting sustainability.

The purpose of this Request for Applications (RFA) is to solicit innovative design proposals to compete for a grant in the first phase of the P3 competition. The P3 Award is a subsequent award for further development and demonstration (also known as a Phase II grant). The competitors for the P3 Awards will be limited to those selected to receive support as a result of the competition under this RFA (Phase I). Additional instructions for the Phase II proposals can be found below in the section entitled “Instructions for Phase II proposals”.

This RFA represents the fifth National P3 Awards competition. The projects funded through the first four competitions can be viewed at http://www.epa.gov/ncer/P3.

B. Background
Among the critical components of promoting a systematic shift towards more environmentally benign and sustainable products, processes, and systems is increased awareness and training. It is essential that all involved in the design, discovery, demonstration, and implementation of sustainable innovations understand the fundamental methodologies, techniques, and principles that underlie sustainability. In addition, it is imperative to recognize that scientific, engineering, and policy innovation play a key role in addressing the persistent challenge of under-development in the world. Fundamental to the success of sustainable designs is recognizing the needs, available resources, and boundaries of the intended user.

This announcement, which addresses the first phase (Phase I) of the competition for a P3 Award, requests innovative design proposals from eligible institutions in order to obtain support for a student team to compete for one of EPA’s P3 Awards. In Phase I, the EPA will fund approximately 55 student design projects from around the country during the 2008-2009 academic year to research and develop their sustainable designs.

Phase II will begin in the Spring of 2009, when the student teams and their faculty advisor (the Principal Investigator on the grant) will be invited to submit their completed Phase I design to compete for one of EPA’s P3 Awards. (Recipients of Phase I grants may submit a proposal to EPA requesting additional funds from EPA for Phase II as described in the “Instructions for Phase II proposals” section below.) The Phase I design and the proposal for Phase II submitted in the Spring of 2009 will be considered in the evaluation for the selection of winners at the P3 Awards competition, along with a demonstration event at the National Sustainable Design Expo held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. A panel of qualified experts will be convened to judge the competition for the P3 Awards. (More information about the Expo is available at the P3 website.)

Partnerships with industry or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are strongly encouraged, particularly in Phase II. These partners are expected to help further develop the design, demonstrate the project in the field, and/or move the design to the marketplace. Matching contributions are not required in either the Phase I or the Phase II competition; however, anticipated partnerships should be identified.

Sustainability in both the developed and developing world requires scientific and technical innovation to create designs that enable the earth and its inhabitants to prosper. The EPA is conducting the competition for the P3 Awards in order to demonstrate to the nation and the world the possibilities of innovative, inherently benign, integrated, and interdisciplinary designs that simultaneously benefit people, promote prosperity, and protect and preserve the planet.

The specific Strategic Goal and Objective from EPA’s Strategic Plan that relate to this solicitation are: Goal 5: Compliance and Environmental Stewardship, Objective 5.4: Enhance Science and Research. The EPA’s Strategic Plan can be found at http://www.epa.gov/ocfo/plan/2006/entire_report.pdf (PDF) (184 pp, 11.56 MB, about PDF).

C. Authorities and Regulations

  1. Statutory Authorities
    The authorities for this RFA and resulting awards are contained in the Clean Air Act (CAA), Section 103, 42 U.S.C. 7403; Clean Water Act (CWA), Section 104, 33 U.S.C.; the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), Section 1442, 42 U.S.C. 300j-1; the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), Section 20, 7 U.S.C. 136r; the Solid Waste Disposal Act (SWDA), Section 8001, 42 U.S.C. 6981; and the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), Section 10, 15 U.S.C. 2609. For research with an international aspect, the above statutes are supplemented, as appropriate, by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Section 102(2)(F). Specific descriptions of the areas of research that are authorized by each statute are described below:

    CAA: Clean Air Act--Section 103
    Section 103 of the Clean Air Act authorizes the EPA to make grants to institutions for research, investigations, experiments, demonstrations, surveys and studies relating to the causes, effects (including health and welfare effects), extent, prevention and control of air pollution.

    CWA: Clean Water Act--Section 104 (freshwater ecosystems)
    Section 104 of the Clean Water Act authorizes the EPA to make grants to colleges and universities to conduct basic research into the structure and function of freshwater aquatic ecosystems and to improve understanding of the ecological characteristics necessary to the maintenance of the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of these systems.

    CWA: Clean Water Act--Section 104
    Section 104 of the Clean Water Act authorizes the EPA to make grants to institutions for research, investigations, experiments, training, demonstrations, surveys and studies relating to the causes, effects, extent, prevention, reduction, and elimination of water pollution.

    SDWA: Safe Drinking Water Act--Section 1442
    Section 1442 of the Safe Drinking Water Act authorizes the EPA to make grants for research, training, studies, and demonstrations relating to the causes, diagnosis, treatment, control, and prevention of physical and mental diseases and other impairments of man resulting directly or indirectly from contaminants in water, or to the provision of a dependably safe supply of drinking water, including (A) improved methods: (i) to identify and measure the existence of contaminants in drinking water (including methods which may be used by State and local health and water officials), and (ii) to identify the source of such contaminants; (B) improved methods to identify and measure the health effects of contaminants in drinking water; (C) new methods of treating raw water to prepare it for drinking, so as to improve the efficiency of water treatment and to remove contaminants from water; (D) improved methods for providing a dependably safe supply of drinking water, including improvements in water purification and distribution, and methods of assessing the health related hazards of drinking water; and (E) improved methods of protecting underground water sources of public water systems from contamination.

    FIFRA: Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act--Section 20
    Section 20 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act authorizes the EPA to make grants for pesticide-related research, development, monitoring, public education, training, demonstrations, and studies.

    SWDA: Solid Waste Disposal Act--Section 8001
    Section 8001 of the Solid Waste Disposal Act authorizes the EPA to make grants for research, investigations, experiments, training, demonstrations, surveys, public education programs and studies relating to: (1) adverse health and welfare effects from solid waste; (2) solid waste management programs; (3) resource recovery and conservation, and hazardous waste management systems; (4) production of usable forms of recovered resources; (5) waste reduction; (6) improved solid waste collection and disposal methods; (7) identification of solid waste components; (8) small scale and low technology solid waste management systems; (9) methods to improve performance of recovered solid waste; (10) improvements in land disposal practices; (11) methods for sound disposal of resources, including sludge and coal slurry; (12) methods of hazardous waste management; and (13) air quality impacts from the burning of solid waste.

    TSCA: Toxic Substance Control Act--Section 10
    Section 10 of the Toxic Substance Control Act authorizes the EPA to make grants for research, development, monitoring, public education, training, demonstrations and studies directed toward the development of the fundamental scientific basis of screening and monitoring techniques used to detect toxic chemical substances and quantify the effects of toxic chemical substances and mixtures in the environment.

    NEPA: National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)--Section 102(2)(F)
    For research with an international aspect, the above statutes are supplemented, as appropriate, by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Section 102(2)(F) which authorizes support to foreign recipients and international work/travel by domestic recipients.

  2. Applicable Regulations
    Applicable regulations include: 40 CFR Part 30 (Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Non-Profit Organizations) and 40 CFR Part 40 (Research and Demonstration Grants). Applicable OMB Circulars include: OMB Circular A-21 (Cost Principles for Educational Institutions) relocated to 2 CFR Part 220, OMB Circular A-110 (Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Other Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals and Other Non-Profit Organizations) relocated to 2 CFR Part 215, and OMB Circular A-122, (Cost Principles for Non-Profit Organizations) relocated to 2 CFR Part 230.

D. Specific Areas of Interest/Expected Outputs and Outcomes
Note to applicant: The term “output” means an environmental activity or effort, and associated work products, related to a specific environmental goal(s), (e.g., testing a new methodology), that will be produced or developed over a period of time under the agreement. The term “outcome” means the result, effect, or consequence that will occur from the above activit(ies) that is related to an environmental, behavioral, or health-related objective.

The P3 program aims to generate research outputs in the form of innovative, inherently benign, integrated, and interdisciplinary designs that will advance the scientific, technical, and policy knowledge necessary to further the goals of sustainability. The desired outcomes of the P3 research are to minimize the use and generation of hazardous substances, utilize resources and energy effectively and efficiently and simultaneously advance economic competitiveness and maintain or improve human health.

This Phase I competition is purposely designed to provide flexibility for creativity, allowing the interdisciplinary teams of students to: (1) define a technical challenge to sustainability; (2) discuss the relationship of the challenge to people, prosperity, and the planet; and (3) develop a design approach to address the challenge.

Challenges from a wide range of categories will be considered. Proposals can include, but are not limited to, the technical challenges listed as examples in the category descriptions below. All projects, regardless of category, should be student led with faculty involvement, as appropriate and necessary. All projects must be research as authorized by one or more of the statutes described in Section C.1. above. (NEPA is a secondary supporting statute and can not be the sole supporting statute for a proposed project.)

Categories include:

  • agriculture (e.g., irrigation practices, reduction or elimination of pesticides)
  • materials and chemicals (e.g., materials conservation; renewable, bio-based feedstocks; inherently benign materials and chemicals through green engineering and green chemistry; biotechnology; recovery and reuse of materials through product, process, or system design)
  • energy (e.g., reduction in air emissions through innovative strategies for energy production and energy distribution; energy conservation; inherently benign energy through green chemistry, green engineering; biotechnology)
  • information technology (e.g., delivery of and access to environmental performance, technical, educational, or public health information related environmental decision-making)
  • water (e.g., water quality, quantity, conservation, availability, and access)
  • built environment (e.g., environmental benefits through innovative green buildings, transportation and mobility strategies, and smart growth as it results in reduced vehicle miles traveled or reduces storm water runoff)

Challenges related to population growth and medical care, while important, are not included in this competition (other than the delivery or distribution systems of knowledge, goods, and supplies).

E. References

  1. Bruntland, G. (Ed.) (1987) Our common future: The world commission on environment and Development. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  2. Mihelcic, J.R., Crittendan, J.C., Small, M.J., Shonnard, D.R., Hokanson, D.R., Zhang, Q. Sustainability science and engineering: The emergence of a new metadiscipline. Environmental Science and Technology, 37, 5314-5324 (2003).

F. Special Requirements
Agency policy prevents EPA technical staff and managers from providing individual applicants information that may create an unfair competitive advantage. Consequently, EPA employees will not review, comment, advise, and/or provide technical assistance to applicants preparing applications in response to EPA RFAs, nor will they endorse an application or discuss in any manner how the Agency will apply the published evaluation criteria for this competition.

Groups of two or more eligible applicants may choose to form a consortium and submit a single application for this assistance agreement. The application must identify which organization will be the recipient of the assistance agreement and which organization(s) will be subawardees of the recipient.

These awards may involve the collection of “Geospatial Information,” which includes information that identifies the geographic location and characteristics of natural or constructed features or boundaries on the Earth or applications, tools, and hardware associated with the generation, maintenance, or distribution of such information. This information may be derived from, among other things, a Geographic Positioning System (GPS), remote sensing, mapping, charting, and surveying technologies, or statistical data.

II. AWARD INFORMATION

It is anticipated that a total of approximately $550,000 will be awarded under this announcement for Phase I, depending on the availability of funds and quality of applications received. The EPA anticipates funding approximately 55 grants for Phase I under this RFA. The projected EPA award amount for each Phase I grant is up to $10,000 for one year. Requests for amounts in excess of a total of $10,000, including direct and indirect costs, will not be considered. The total project period for an application submitted in response to this RFA may not exceed one year.

Based on the completed Phase I design, the proposal for additional funding under Phase II, and recommendations from the judging panel, EPA will select approximately six P3 Award winners from among recipients of Phase I funding, depending on the availability of funds. These P3 Award winners will be eligible to receive additional Phase II funding of up to $75,000 each from EPA, bringing the total funding under this solicitation for Phase I and Phase II to approximately $1,000,000. Proposals for Phase II grants with budgets exceeding $75,000 will not be considered.

The EPA reserves the right to reject all applications and make no awards, or make more or fewer awards than anticipated, under this RFA. The EPA reserves the right to make additional awards under this announcement, consistent with Agency policy, if additional funding becomes available after the original selections are made. Any additional selections for awards will be made no later than four months after the original selection decisions.

EPA intends to award only grants under this announcement. Under a grant, EPA scientists and engineers are not permitted to be substantially involved in the execution of the research. However, EPA encourages interaction between its own laboratory scientists and grant Principal Investigators or P3 team members after the award of an EPA grant for the sole purpose of exchanging information in research areas of common interest that may add value to their respective research activities. This interaction must be incidental to achieving the goals of the research under a grant. Interaction that is “incidental” does not involve resource commitments.

III. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

A. Eligible Applicants
Public nonprofit institutions/organizations (limited to public institutions of higher education) and private nonprofit institutions/organizations (limited to private institutions of higher education) located in the U.S. are eligible to apply to be the recipient of a grant to support teams of undergraduate and/or graduate students. The students on the teams supported by the institution receiving the grant must be enrolled in the college, university, or post-secondary educational institution they will be representing at the time the proposal is submitted. Institutions are allowed to submit more than one proposal where each proposal represents a unique design concept and student team. For the purposes of grant administration, the team's faculty advisor will be designated the Principal Investigator throughout the P3 grant award and competition process. In addition to the Principal Investigator, each team selected for award will also be asked to provide contact information for a student lead.

Universities and educational institutions must be subject to OMB Circular A-21. Profit-making firms are not eligible to receive grants from the EPA under this program. Eligible nonprofit organizations include research institutes, corporations, or foundations that are part of a U.S. institution of higher education. However, nonprofit organizations described in Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code that lobby are not eligible to apply.

National laboratories funded by Federal Agencies (Federally-Funded Research and Development Centers, “FFRDCs”) may not apply. FFRDC employees may cooperate or collaborate with eligible applicants within the limits imposed by applicable legislation and regulations. They may participate in planning, conducting, and analyzing the research directed by the applicant, but may not direct projects on behalf of the applicant organization. The institution, organization, or governance receiving the award may provide funds through its assistance agreement from the EPA to an FFRDC for research personnel, supplies, equipment, and other expenses directly related to the research. However, salaries for permanent FFRDC employees may not be provided through this mechanism.

Federal Agencies may not apply. Federal employees are not eligible to serve in a principal leadership role on an assistance agreement, and may not receive salaries or augment their Agency’s appropriations in other ways through awards made under this program.

The applicant institution may enter into an agreement with a Federal Agency to purchase or utilize unique supplies or services unavailable in the private sector. Examples are purchase of satellite data, census data tapes, chemical reference standards, analyses, or use of instrumentation or other facilities not available elsewhere. A written justification for federal involvement must be included in the application. In addition, an appropriate form of assurance that documents the commitment, such as a letter of intent from the Federal Agency involved, should be included.

Interdisciplinary teams, including representatives from multiple engineering departments and/or departments of chemistry, architecture, industrial design, business, economics, policy, social science, and others, are strongly encouraged to submit an application through their institution.

Collaboration with colleges and universities outside the United States is permitted, but only U.S. institutions will be eligible for awards. Up to 40% of the total grant may be sub-contracted to another educational institution (domestic or foreign) as described in instructions for submitting to this RFA. If foreign work is performed, in the process of funding the grant, EPA’s Office of Research and Development is required to obtain clearance from EPA’s Office of International Activities and the U.S. Department of State.

Potential applicants who are uncertain of their eligibility should contact Tom Barnwell (barnwell.thomas@epa.gov) in NCER, phone 202-343-9862.

B. Cost-Sharing
Institutional cost-sharing is not required for Phase I or Phase II. However, if partners are providing contributions (funding and/or in-kind), this information should be included on the budget forms and should be described, as requested below, in the research plan. In addition, a brief statement concerning cost-sharing should be added to the budget justification.

C. Other
Applications must substantially comply with the application submission instructions and requirements set forth in Section IV of this announcement or they will be rejected. In addition, where a page limitation is expressed in Section IV with respect to parts of the application, pages in excess of the page limit will not be reviewed. Applications must be received by the EPA, or Grants.gov, on or before the solicitation closing date and time in Section IV of this announcement or they will be returned to the sender without further consideration. Also, applications exceeding the funding limits or project period term described herein will be returned without review. Further, applications that fail to demonstrate a public purpose of support or stimulation (e.g., by proposing research which primarily benefits a Federal program or provides a service for a Federal agency) will not be funded.

In addition, to be eligible for funding consideration, a project’s focus must consist of activities within the statutory terms of EPA’s financial assistance authorities; specifically, the statutes listed in I.C. above. Generally, a project must address the causes, effects, extent, prevention, reduction, and elimination of air pollution, water pollution, solid/hazardous waste pollution, toxic substances control, or pesticide control depending on which statute(s) is listed in I.C. above. These activities should relate to the gathering or transferring of information or advancing the state of knowledge. Proposals should emphasize this “learning” concept, as opposed to “fixing” an environmental problem via a well-established method. For example, a proposal to plant some trees in an economically depressed area, in order to prevent erosion, would probably not, in itself, fall within the statutory terms “research, studies” etc., nor would a proposal to start a routine recycling program. The statutory term “demonstration” can encompass the first instance of the application of a pollution control technique, or an innovative application of a previously used method. Similarly, the application of established practices may qualify when they are part of a broader project which qualifies under the term “research”. However, EPA cannot fund demonstration projects year after year for an indefinite period of time. Proposals relating to other topics which are sometimes included within the term “environment” such as recreation, conservation, restoration, protection of wildlife habitats, etc., must describe the relationship of these topics to the statutorily required purpose of pollution prevention and/or control.

As mentioned above, the competitors for the P3 Awards and the subsequent award for further development and demonstration (Phase II) will be limited to those selected to receive support as a result of the competition under this RFA (Phase I).

Applications deemed ineligible for funding consideration will be notified within fifteen calendar days of the ineligibility determination.

IV. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

You may submit either a paper application or an electronic application (but not both) for this announcement. Instructions for both types of submission follow in Section E. If not otherwise marked, instructions apply to both types of submissions.

A. Internet Address to Request Application Package
For paper applications, forms and instructions can be found on the NCER web site: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms/.

For electronic applications, use the application package available at Grants.gov (see “Submission Instructions for Electronic Applications” in Section E). Note: With the exception of the budget form and the current and pending support form (available at http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms), all necessary forms are included in the electronic application package.

For both paper and electronic applications, an email will be sent by NCER to the Principal Investigator and the Administrative Contact (see below) to acknowledge receipt of the application and transmit other important information. The email will be sent from receipt.application@epa.gov; emails to this address will not be accepted. If you do not receive an email acknowledgment within 30 days of the submission closing date, immediately inform the Eligibility Contact shown in this solicitation. Failure to do so may result in your application not being reviewed. See “Submission Instructions for Electronic Applications” for additional information regarding acknowledgment of receipt of electronically submitted applications. Please note: Due to often-lengthy delays in delivery, it is especially important that you monitor NCER’s confirmation of receipt of your application when using regular mail.

B. Content and Form of Application Submission
The application is made by submitting the materials described below. Applications must contain all information requested and be submitted in the formats described.

  1. Standard Form 424
    The applicant must complete Standard Form 424. This form will be the first page(s) of the application. Instructions for completion of the SF424 are included with the form. The form must contain the original (or electronic) signature of an authorized representative of the applying institution.

    Applicants are required to provide a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number when applying for federal grants or cooperative agreements. Organizations may receive a DUNS number by calling 1-866-705-5711 or by visiting the web site at http://www.dnb.com exit EPA.

    Executive Order 12372, Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs, applies to most EPA programs and assistance agreements, unless the program or assistance agreement supports tribal, training/fellowships (other than Wastewater and Small Water Systems Operator training programs), and research and development (with some exceptions). The SF424 refers to this Executive Order requirement. National research programs are generally exempt from review unless the proposals (a) require an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), or (b) do not require an EIS but will be newly initiated at a particular site and require unusual measures to limit the possibility of adverse exposure or hazard to the general public, or (c) have a unique geographic focus and are directly relevant to the governmental responsibilities of a State or local government within that geographic area. To determine whether their state participates in this process, and how to comply, applicants should consult http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants/spoc.html.

  2. Key Contacts
    The applicant must complete the Key Contacts form as the second page of the application: a Key Contacts continuation page is also available at http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms. The Key Contacts form should also be completed for major sub-agreements (i.e., primary co-investigators). Please make certain that all contact information is accurate.
  3. Table of Contents
    Provide a list of the major subdivisions of the application indicating the page number on which each section begins.
  4. Abstract (1 page)
    The abstract is a very important document in the review process. Therefore, it is critical that the abstract accurately describes the research being proposed and conveys all the essential elements of the research. Also, the abstracts of applications that receive funding will be posted on the NCER web site.

    The abstract should include the information described below (a-j). Examples of abstracts for previous P3 grants may be found on the P3 web site.

    1. Research Category and Funding Opportunity Number: Enter the full name of the solicitation (P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet) and one of the six funding opportunity numbers that appear at the beginning of this announcement. The funding opportunity number selected should be the one that reflects the challenge area that best represents the proposed project.
    2. Title: Use the exact title of your project as it appears in the application. The title must be brief yet represent the major thrust of the project. Because the title will be used by those not familiar with the project, strike a balance between highly technical words and phrases and more commonly understood terminology. Do not use general phrases such as research on.
    3. Faculty Advisor: List the faculty advisor, then the names and affiliations of each co-advisor who will significantly contribute to the project. Provide a web site URL or an e-mail contact address for additional information. The faculty advisor will serve as the Principal Investigator for the purposes of the award.
    4. Institution: In the same order as the list of advisors, list the name, city and state of each participating university or other applicant institution. The lead institution applying for assistance must be clearly identified.
    5. Student Represented Departments and Institutions: List the departments and institutions that will be represented by the students participating on the team.
    6. Project Period: The Phase I project will begin on or about August 4, 2008 and end on or about April 1, 2009.
    7. Project Amount: Show the total dollars requested from the EPA for the entire project period such that the budget total does not exceed $10,000, including direct and indirect costs.
    8. Total Project Amount: Show the total dollar amount, including total dollar request from EPA and an estimate of the total contribution (funding and/or in-kind) that will be provided by partners (such as educational institutions, industry, NGOs), if applicable.
    9. Project Summary: Cover the following: (1) Definition of a technical challenge to sustainability; (2) Development of an innovative design approach with technical merit to address the challenge; (3) Discussion of how the challenge and proposed design relate to sustainability including people, prosperity, and the planet; (4) Description of strategy for measuring results, evaluation and demonstration; and (5) Description of how P3 concepts will be used as an educational tool at the university, such as by incorporation into the community and/or the institutions curriculum.
    10. Supplemental Keywords: Without duplicating terms already used in the text of the abstract, list keywords to assist database searchers in finding your research. A complete set of keywords is very important. A list of suggested keywords may be found at: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms.
    11. The Funding Opportunity Number (see IV.B.9.b.) must be placed in the upper right side of the header of the Abstract page.
  5. Research Plan and References
    1. Research Plan (10 pages)

      The description of the research plan must provide the following information:

      1. P3 Project Description: Address the peer review criteria (see Section V, Application Review Information). Structure the description using the peer review criteria as subheadings:
        • Challenge Definition;
        • Innovation and Technical Merit;
        • Relationship of Challenge to Sustainability;
        • Measurable Results (outputs/outcomes), Evaluation Method, and Demonstration Strategy; and
        • Integration of P3 Concepts as an Educational Tool.
      2. Project Schedule. Show significant steps and milestones for the project. Clearly depict the projects duration, and include key milestones and project tasks from research to design to development to demonstration. Indicate anticipated role and tasks of each team member or department represented. Also, indicate anticipated interactions with any and all partners (see b. below), if applicable.

        This description must not exceed ten (10) consecutively numbered (bottom center), 8.5x11-inch pages of single-spaced, standard 12-point type with 1-inch margins. While these guidelines establish the minimum type size requirements, applicants are advised that readability is of paramount importance and should take precedence in selection of an appropriate font for use in the proposal.

    2. Partnerships (if applicable): [Note: This description does not count toward the ten (10) page limit for the Research Plan.]

      Partnerships are strongly encouraged and will be particularly important for the demonstration strategies. While formal partnerships need not be established prior to submitting the proposal, indicate any and all anticipated partnerships including the type of partner (educational institution, industry and/or NGOs), matching contributions (funding and/or in-kind) provided by the partner, and the nature of the partnership. Formal letters of understanding or commitment from any and all partners should be submitted in support of the application, when available and appropriate and will be considered letters of intent/support as described in Section IV.B.5.d.(1) below.

    3. References [Note: These do not count toward the ten (10) page limit for the Research Plan.]
    4. Important Attachments:
      1. Please see Section IV.B.9.a. on letters of intent/letters of support for more details on these attachments. Any letters exceeding one brief paragraph are considered part of the Research Plan and therefore contribute to the 10-page limit for the Research Plan.
      2. Appendices, including drawings or preliminary data, may be included but must remain within the 10-page limit for the Research Plan.
  6. Budget and Budget Justification
    1. Budget

      Prepare a budget table using the guidance and form found at http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms. The budget categories are also indicated in the following Budget Justification section (IV.B.6.b.) Note: For electronic submissions, the budget table should be attached to the Project Narrative Attachment Form electronic file [see Section IV.E.2.c.(4)]. Any project containing subawards or subcontracts that constitute more than 40% of the total direct cost of the application will be subject to special review. Additional justification for use of these must be provided, discussing the need for the subaward/subcontract to accomplish the objectives of the research project.

      Please note that institutional cost-sharing is not required. However, if cost-sharing is proposed, a brief statement concerning cost-sharing should be added to the budget justification, and estimated dollar amounts must be included in the appropriate categories in the budget table.

      Please note that when formulating budgets for proposals/applications, applicants must not include management fees or similar charges in excess of the direct costs and indirect costs at the rate approved by the applicants cognizant audit agency, or at the rate provided for by the terms of the agreement negotiated with EPA. The term "management fees or similar charges" refers to expenses added to the direct costs in order to accumulate and reserve funds for ongoing business expenses, unforeseen liabilities, or for other similar costs that are not allowable under EPA assistance agreements. Management fees or similar charges may not be used to improve or expand the project funded under this agreement, except to the extent authorized as a direct cost of carrying out the scope of work.

    2. Budget Justification [2 pages in addition to the 10-page limit for the Research Plan described in IV.B.5. above, and not including additions under Nos. (6) and (7) below to support contracts and subawards.]

      Describe the basis for calculating travel, equipment, supplies, contractual support, and other costs identified in the itemized budget. The budget justification should not exceed two consecutively numbered (bottom center), 8.5x11-inch pages of single-spaced, standard 12-point type with 1-inch margins.

      Budget information should be supported at the level of detail described below. (Note: Please pay attention to the distinctions itemized below. If your submitted budget is not consistent with the parameters detailed below, the processing of an award may be delayed until a new budget is requested and submitted.)

      1. Personnel:
        • Personnel costs are not eligible under this solicitation.
      2. Fringe Benefits:
        • Fringe benefits are not eligible under this solicitation.
      3. Travel:
        • Specify the estimated number of trips, locations, and associated costs for each trip.Explain the need for any travel, paying particular attention to travel outside the United States.
        • Be certain to include travel costs for an estimated number of faculty advisors and students to participate in the National Sustainable Design Expo featuring the EPAs P3 Award which will be held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in spring of 2009.
      4. Equipment:
        • Identify all tangible, non-expendable personal property to be purchased that has an estimated cost of $5,000 or more per unit and a useful life of more than one year.
        • Any personal property items with a unit cost of less than $5,000 should be entered in the Supplies category.
      5. Supplies:
        • Supplies means tangible property other than equipment.
        • Identify categories of supplies to be procured (e.g., laboratory supplies or office supplies). Specifically identify computers to be purchased or upgraded.
      6. Contractual:
        • Identify each proposed contract for services/analyses or consultants and specify its purpose and estimated cost.
        • Contracts must have a separate itemized budget and budget justification, not to exceed one additional page each, included as part of the application.
        • Personnel costs are allowable for essential specialized consultant fees.
      7. Other:
        • List each item in sufficient detail for the EPA to determine the reasonableness of its cost relative to the research to be undertaken.
        • Note that subawards, such as those with other universities for members of the research team, are included in this category.
        • Subawards must have a separate itemized budget and budget justification, not to exceed one additional page each, included as part of the application.
      8. Indirect Costs:
        • If indirect costs are included in the budget, indicate the approved rate and base with an explanation of how the indirect costs were calculated.
  7. Resumes
    Provide resumes for each faculty advisor and student team leader. The resume for each individual must not exceed two consecutively numbered (bottom center), 8.5x11-inch pages of single-spaced, standard 12-point type with 1-inch margins.
  8. Current and Pending Support
    Complete a current and pending support form (provided at http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms) for each faculty advisor, showing financial resources intended to support research related to the proposal or that would consume the investigators time. Include all current and pending research regardless of source.
  9. Guidelines, Limitations, and Additional Requirements
    1. Letters of Intent/Letters of Support
      Letters of intent to provide resources for the proposed research or to document intended interactions are limited to one brief paragraph committing the availability of a resource (e.g., use of a person's time or equipment) or intended interaction (e.g., sharing of data, as-needed consultation) that is described in the Research Plan. Letters of intent are to be included as an addition to the budget justification documents.

      All letters that do not commit a resource vital to success of the proposal are considered letters of support.

      Letters of support, and letters of intent that exceed one brief paragraph, are considered part of the Research Plan and are included in the 10-page Research Plan limit.

      Note: Letters of intent or support must be part of the application; letters submitted separately will not be accepted. Any transactions between the successful applicant and parties providing letters of support or intent financed with EPA grant funds are subject to the funding restrictions described in Section IV. D.

    2. Funding Opportunity Number(s) (FON)
      At various places in the application, applicants are asked to identify the FON. The number must be placed at the top of the abstract. For paper submissions, the number must also be placed in the address on the package that is sent to the EPA (see below).

      Applicants must select the FON corresponding to their proposed research topic area. It is the responsibility of the applicant to identify the proper FON based on the nature of the proposed research. If the proposed research fits under more than one FON, the applicant should choose the most appropriate one. For electronic submissions, use the appropriate electronic application package for the chosen FON (see Submission Instructions for Electronic Applications). Each application must be submitted using a single FON.

      The Funding Opportunity Numbers for this RFA: 5th Annual P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet are:

      • EPA-G2008-P3-Z1 Agriculture
      • EPA-G2008-P3-Z2 Materials and Chemistry
      • EPA-G2008-P3-Z3 Energy
      • EPA-G2008-P3-Z4 Information Technology
      • EPA-G2008-P3-Z5 Water
      • EPA-G2008-P3-Z6 Built Environment
    3. Confidentiality By submitting an application in response to this solicitation, the applicant grants the EPA permission to make limited disclosures of the application to technical reviewers both within and outside the Agency for the express purpose of assisting the Agency with evaluating the application. Information from a pending or unsuccessful application will be kept confidential to the fullest extent allowed under law; information from a successful application may be publicly disclosed to the extent permitted by law.

      In accordance with 40 CFR 2.203, applicants may claim all or a portion of the application as confidential business information (for example, hypotheses or methodologies contained in the research narrative that the applicant wishes to protect from possible public disclosure). EPA will evaluate confidentiality claims in accordance with 40 CFR Part 2. Applicants must clearly mark applications or portions of applications they claim as confidential. If no claim of confidentiality is made, the EPA is not required to make an inquiry to the applicant as otherwise required by 40 CFR 2.204(c) (2) prior to disclosure.

C. Submission Dates and Times
For paper copy submissions, the original and two (2) copies of the complete application (3 in all) must be received by NCER no later than 4:00 pm Eastern Time on the solicitation closing date. Electronic applications must be transferred to Grants.gov no later than 4:00 pm Eastern Time on the solicitation closing date. Applications received after the closing date and time will be returned to the sender without further consideration.

It should be noted that this schedule may be changed without prior notification because of factors not anticipated at the time of announcement. In the case of a change in the solicitation closing date, a new date will be posted on the NCER web site (http://www.epa.gov/ncer/), the P3 website (http://www.epa.gov/ncer/p3/), and a modification posted on www.grants.gov.

Solicitation Closing Date: December 20, 2007, 4:00 pm Eastern Time for both paper and electronic submissions. Earliest Anticipated Start Date: August 4, 2008

NOTE: Customarily, applicants are notified about evaluation decisions within six months of the solicitation closing date. Awards are generally made 9-12 months after the solicitation closing date.

D. Funding Restrictions
The funding mechanism for all awards issued under STAR solicitations will consist of assistance agreements from the EPA. All award decisions are subject to the availability of funds. In accordance with the Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act, 31 U.S.C. 6301 et seq., the primary purpose of an assistance agreement is to accomplish a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by federal statute, rather than acquisition for the direct benefit or use of the Agency. In issuing a grant, the EPA anticipates that there will be no substantial EPA involvement in the design, implementation, or conduct of the research. If you wish to submit applications for more than one P3 funding opportunity you must ensure that the research proposed in each application is significantly different from any other that has been submitted to the EPA or from any other financial assistance you are currently receiving from the EPA or other federal government agency.

Collaborative applications involving more than one institution must be submitted as a single administrative package from one of the institutions involved.

EPA awards funds to one eligible applicant as the “recipient” even if other eligible applicants are named as “partners” or “co-applicants” or members of a “coalition” or “consortium”. The recipient is accountable to EPA for the proper expenditure of funds.

Funding may be used to provide subgrants or subawards of financial assistance to fund partnerships provided the recipient complies with applicable requirements for subawards or subgrants including those contained in 40 CFR Part 30, as appropriate. Successful applicants must complete contracts for services and products and conduct cost and price analyses to the extent required by the procurement provisions of these regulations. The regulations also contain limitations on consultant compensation. Applicants are not required to identify contractors or consultants in their proposal. Moreover, the fact that a successful applicant has named a specific contractor or consultant in the proposal EPA approves does not relieve it of its obligations to comply with competitive procurement requirements. Please note that applicants may not award sole source contracts to consulting, engineering or other firms assisting applicants with the proposal based solely on the firm's role in preparing the proposal.

Successful applicants cannot use subgrants or subawards to avoid requirements in EPA grant regulations for competitive procurement by using these instruments to acquire commercial services or products from for-profit organizations to carry out its assistance agreement. The nature of the transaction between the recipient and the subawardee or subgrantee must be consistent with the standards for distinguishing between vendor transactions and subrecipient assistance under Subpart B Section .210 of OMB Circular A-133, and the definitions of “subaward” at 40 CFR 30.2(ff) or “subgrant” at 40 CFR 31.3, as applicable. EPA will not be a party to these transactions.

Each proposed project must be able to be completed within the project period and with the initial award of funds. Applicants should request the entire amount of money needed to complete the project. Recipients should not anticipate additional funding beyond the initial award of funds for a specific project.

E. Submission Instructions and Other Submission Requirements
You may submit either a paper application or an electronic application (but not both) under this announcement.

  1. Submission Instructions for Paper Applications
    Three (3) copies of the application must be submitted: 1) an original, signed copy; 2) a single-sided copy on plain white paper for scanning (please label this copy); and 3) another photocopy for administrative purposes. Do not permanently bind or staple any of these copies; please use either binder or paper clips to secure them.

    Because of security concerns, paper applications cannot be personally delivered. They must be sent through regular mail, express mail, or a major courier. (Note: Regular mail deliveries are often delayed so regular mail is not a reliable method for a timed delivery.)

    The following address must be used for regular mail:

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Peer Review Division (8725F)
    Funding Opportunity Number: EPA-G2008-P3-ZX include associated descriptor
    (applicant: replace the X with the appropriate number and provide the associated research area descriptor)
    1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC 20460

    The following address must be used for express mail and couriers:

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Peer Review Division (8725F)
    Funding Opportunity Number: EPA-G2008-P3-ZX include associated descriptor (applicant: replace the X with the appropriate number and provide the associated research area descriptor)
    1025 F Street, NW (Room 3500)
    Washington, DC 20004
    Phone: (202) 233-0686
  2. Submission Instructions for Electronic Applications
    ATTENTION Microsoft Vista Users

    Please note that Grants.gov does not currently support the new Microsoft Vista Operating system. The PureEdge software used by Grants.gov for forms is not compatible with Vista. Grants.gov will be reviewing this new product to determine if it can be supported in the future.

    If you have any questions regarding this matter please email the Grants.gov Contact Center at support@grants.gov or call 1-800-518-4726.

    Please read this entire section before attempting an electronic submission through Grants.gov. Note: Submission instructions are updated on an as-needed basis. Please provide your AOR with a copy of the following instructions to avoid submission delays that may occur from the use of outdated instructions.

    1. Preparing for Submission
      The appropriate electronic application package available through the http://www.grants.gov site must be used for electronic submissions. Note: With the exception of the budget form and the current and spending support form (available at http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms), all necessary forms are included in the electronic application package. In order to view the application package, download the PureEdge viewer (click on Apply for Grants, then see Apply Step 1). The application package may be quickly accessed from https://apply.grants.gov/forms_apps_idx.html using the appropriate FON. Be sure to download the electronic application package for the appropriate FON. Please register for announcement change notification emails.

      The electronic submission of your application package must be made by an official representative of your institution who is registered with Grants.gov and authorized to sign for Federal assistance. For more information, go to http://www.grants.gov and click on Get Registered. Note that the registration process may take a week or longer to complete. If your organization is not currently registered with Grants.gov, please encourage your office to designate an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) and begin the registration process as soon as possible. Most submission problems can be avoided by communicating with the AOR well before the solicitation closing date and allowing sufficient time for following the guidance provided below.

    2. Acknowledgement of Receipt
      The complete application must be transferred to Grants.gov no later than 4:00 pm Eastern Time on the solicitation closing date (see Submission Dates and Times). Grants.gov provides acknowledgements of application receipt that include an on-screen notification of successful initial transfer as well as an e-mail notification of successful transfer from Grants.gov to EPA. While it is advisable to retain copies of these Grants.gov acknowledgements to document submission, the only official documentation that the application has been received by NCER is the e-mail acknowledgement sent by NCER to the Principal Investigator and the Administrative Contact. This email will be sent from receipt.application@epa.gov; emails to this address will not be accepted. If an email acknowledgment from NCER (not support@grants.gov) has not been received within 30 days of the solicitation closing date, immediately inform the Eligibility Contact shown in this solicitation. Failure to do so may result in your application not being reviewed.
    3. Application Package Preparation
      The application package consists of 1 though 4 below:
      1. On the initial electronic Grant Application Package page, complete the Application Filing Name field by entering the Principal Investigators name, starting with the last name. Note: Applicants do not need to complete the Competition ID field.
      2. Application for Federal Assistance (SF 424): Complete the form.
      3. EPA Key Contacts Form 5700-54: Complete the form. If additional pages are needed, see (4) below.
      4. Project Narrative Attachment Form (click on Add Mandatory Project Narrative): Attach a single electronic file labeled Application that contains the items described in Section IV.B.3. through IV.B.9.a (Table of Contents, Abstract, Research Plan, References, Budget and Budget Justification, Resumes, Current and Pending Support, and Letters of Intent/Support) of this solicitation. In order to maintain format integrity, this file must be submitted in Adobe Acrobat PDF. Please review the PDF file for conversion errors prior to including it in the electronic application package; requests to rectify conversion errors will not be accepted if made after the solicitation closing date and time. If Key Contacts Continuation pages (see http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms) are needed, place them before the Abstract (IV.B.3.).
      5. Once the application package has been completed, the Submit button should be enabled. If the Submit button is not active, please contact Grants.gov for assistance (Telephone: 1-800-518-4726). Investigators should save the completed application package with two different file names before providing it to the AOR to avoid having to re-create the package should submission problems be experienced or a revised application needs to be submitted. Note: Revised applications must be submitted before the solicitation closing date and time.

    4. Submitting the application
      The application package must be transferred to Grants.gov by an AOR. The AOR should close all other software before attempting to submit the application package. Click the submit button of the application package. Your Internet browser will launch and a sign-in page will appear. Note: Minor problems are not uncommon with transfers to Grants.gov. It is essential to allow sufficient time to follow all trouble-shooting instructions, including contacting Grants.gov, before 4:00 pm Eastern Time on the solicitation closing date.

      A successful transfer will end with an on-screen acknowledgement. For documentation purposes, print or screen capture this acknowledgement. If a submission problem occurs, reboot the computer turning the power off may be necessary and re-attempt the submission. If submission problems continue, contact Grants.gov for assistance (Telephone: 1-800-518-4726).

      Note: Grants.gov issues a case number upon a request for assistance.

    5. Transmission Difficulties
      If transmission difficulties that result in a late transmission, no transmission, or rejection of the transmitted application are experienced and not resolved by following the above instructions, follow the guidance below. NCER may decide to review the application if it is clearly demonstrated that transmission difficulties were due solely as a result of problems associated with the transfer to Grants.gov. The decision regarding acceptance of the application for review will be made by NCER management and provided to the applicant within ten working days of the request. All e-mails, as described below, are to be sent to Thomas O'Farrell (O'Farrell.Thomas@epa.gov) with the FON in the subject line.
      1. Late transfer due to electronic submission problems: Should electronic submission problems result in the application being transferred to Grants.gov after 4:00 pm but before 5:00 pm Eastern Time on the solicitation closing date, send an e-mail documenting the problem and include the Grants.gov case number.
      2. Unsuccessful transfer of application package: If a successful transfer of the application cannot be accomplished even with assistance from Grants.gov due to electronic submission issues, send an e-mail before 5:00 pm Eastern Time on the solicitation closing date. Document the problem, include the Grants.gov case number, and attach the entire application.
      3. Grants.gov rejection of application: If a notification is received from Grants.gov stating that the application has been rejected for reasons other than late submittal, immediately send an email which includes any materials provided by Grants.gov with the entire application attached.

  3. Submission Instructions for Phase II Proposals
    Additional submission instructions will be provided in the Spring of 2009.

    Those receiving funding under Phase I are invited to apply for a P3 Award and Phase II funding. Phase II proposals must provide a summary of Phase I activities, a comprehensive overview of their research objectives and results (outputs/outcomes), as well as publications and presentations, in language that would be understood by the educated public. P3 teams should describe conclusions and implications for further research, development, or demonstration as described below. P3 teams are also encouraged to provide website links to their publications or related research efforts. The Phase II proposals will be due on April 1, 2009.

    The Research Plan for the Phase II proposal, including items listed in a. and b. below, must not exceed fifteen (15) consecutively numbered (bottom center), 8.5x11-inch pages of single-spaced, standard 12-point type with 1-inch margins. While these guidelines establish the minimum type size requirements, applicants are advised that readability is of paramount importance and should take precedence in selection of an appropriate font for use in the proposal. The description should contain the following information.

    1. Summary of Previous (Phase I) Results (Note: This contributes to the 15-page limit for the Research Plan for Phase II)
      1. Background and problem definition
        • Relationship to people, prosperity and the planet
        • Relevance and significance to developing or developed world
        • Implementation of the P3 project as an educational tool
      2. Purpose, objectives, scope
      3. Data, outputs, outcomes, findings
      4. Discussion, conclusions, recommendations
        • Streamlined life cycle costing and analysis, if appropriate
        • Quantifiable benefits to people, prosperity, and the planet (estimated or actual)
        • Qualitative benefits to people, prosperity, and the planet
    2. Work Plan for Phase II (Note: This description contributes to the 15-page limit for the Research Plan for Phase II.)

      Applications should be focused on a limited number of research objectives that adequately and clearly meet the RFA requirements. Explicitly state how Phase II will build on the successes and learnings accomplished in the Phase I project. Detail the methods and approaches that will be used to further the design in terms of development or demonstration.

      The Phase II proposal must provide the following information:

      1. P3 Phase II Project Description
        Address the Phase II review criteria (see Section V, Application Review Information). Include the criteria subheadings [Challenge Definition and Relationship to Phase I; Innovation and Technical Merit; Relationship of Challenge to Sustainability; Measurable Results (outputs/outcomes), Evaluation Method, and Demonstration Strategy; and Integration of P3 Concepts as an Educational Tool].
      2. Project Schedule
        Show significant steps and milestones in the project. Clearly depict the projects duration, and include key milestones and project tasks building on the timeline from research to design (Phase I) through development and demonstration (Phase II). Indicate anticipated role and tasks of each team member or department represented. Also, indicate anticipated interactions with any and all partners (see 3 below), if applicable.
      3. Partnerships (if applicable) (Note: This description is in addition to the 15-page limit.)
        Partnerships are strongly encouraged and considered particularly important for the demonstrations. Formal partnerships should be established prior to drafting the Phase II proposal. Detail any and all partnerships established for the purposes of competing for the P3 Awards including the type of partner (educational institution, industry and/or NGOs), matching contributions (financial and/or in-kind) provided by the partner, the nature of the partnership, and the role of the partner in the project.

        Formal letters of intent including anticipated support for Phase II of the project from any and all partners should be submitted in support of the application, when available.

    3. References (Note: These are in addition to the 15-page limit.)
    4. Please see section on letters of intent/letters of support under IV.B.9.a. above for more details on these attachments.
    5. Appendices including drawings or preliminary data may be included but must remain within the 15-page limit.

V. APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION

A. Review Process for Phase I Applications

  1. External Peer Review
    All eligible grant applications are reviewed by an appropriate external technical peer review panel comprised of individual experts using the criteria below. This review is designed to evaluate each application according to its scientific merit. Each peer review panel includes non-EPA scientists, engineers, social scientists, and/or economists who are accomplished in their respective disciplines and proficient in the technical subjects they are reviewing. Reviewers are asked to individually assign a score of either highly recommend, recommend, or not recommend to each application. EPA translates the average of these individual scores into the final panel review score.

    The following are the criteria for the Phase I awards.

  2. Criteria for Phase I Awards
    All grant applications for Phase I awards will be peer reviewed by an external peer review panel to evaluate each proposal according to its scientific merit. The following criteria will be used in descending order of importance. Note: This order is not the same as the required order for proposal submission.
    1. Relationship of Challenge to Sustainability (People, Prosperity and the Planet)
      Does the proposed project promote sustainable environmental protection, economic prosperity, and social benefit across scales in the developing and/or developed world?

      People: Do the proposed environmental and economic outcomes benefit society? Does the project meet the needs of the intended end user? If the design is intended for the developing world, does it have the potential to improve quality of life? If it is intended for the developed world, does it use energy and material resources effectively and efficiently through the life cycle while reducing hazards to human health and the environment?

      Prosperity: Does the proposal mention or consider short- and long-term costs?

      Planet: In general, will the design reduce impacts on the environment and human health, diminish resource consumption, and/or directly benefit the environment? Does the proposal demonstrate: (1) That the design demonstration will not exhaust or degrade the local environment or shift the environmental impacts to another locality? (2) That the proposed project is less damaging or more beneficial to the health of natural systems than the traditional design?

    2. Challenge Definition
      Is the technical challenge defined in terms that are relevant, significant, and related to sustainability? Is the scope of the project clearly described? Are potential or realized project characteristics, opportunities, and limitations described?
    3. Innovation and Technical Merit
      Is the design novel? Is the design interdisciplinary? Does the proposal address feasibility of the design, demonstrate scientific/technical soundness, and discuss trade-offs in the design approach? Is the proposed approach and are the suggested materials adequate and appropriate?
    4. Measurable Results (outputs/outcomes), Evaluation Method, and Demonstration Strategy
      Can the goals and objectives be determined and achieved? Do the methods to quantify the benefits seem applicable, effective, and appropriate? Have the necessary partnerships been developed or will they be pursued? Can the design or approach be replicated in other situations?
    5. Integration of P3 Concepts as an Educational Tool
      Will the proposed plans maximize the educational benefits of the P3 Award program to the participants, institution, and surrounding community?
  3. Internal Programmatic Review
    Applications receiving scores of highly recommend or recommend as a result of the peer review process will then undergo an internal programmatic review, as described below, conducted by technical experts from the EPA, including individuals from the Office of Research and Development (ORD) and program and regional offices involved with the science or engineering proposed. All other applications are automatically declined.

    After the peer review, those applicants who received scores of highly recommend or recommend as a result of the peer review process will be asked to provide additional information for the programmatic review pertaining to the proposed Lead Principal Investigator's (PI) "Past Performance and Reporting History." The applicant must provide the EPA Project Officer with information on the proposed Lead PI's past performance and reporting history under prior Federal agency assistance agreements (assistance agreements include grants and cooperative agreements but not contracts) in terms of: (i) the level of success in performing each agreement, and (ii) how progress towards achieving the results intended under each agreement was reported. This information is required only for the proposed Lead PI's performance under Federal assistance agreements (assistance agreements include grants and cooperative agreements but not contracts) initiated within the last three years that were similar in size and scope to the proposed project.

    The specific information required for each agreement is shown below, and must be provided within two weeks of EPA's request. A maximum of three pages will be permitted for the response; excess pages will not be reviewed. Note: If no prior past performance information and/or reporting history exists, you will be asked to so state.

    1. Name of Granting Agency
    2. Grant/Cooperative agreement number
    3. Grant/Cooperative agreement title
    4. Brief description of the grant/cooperative agreement
    5. A description of how the agreement is similar in size and scope to the proposed project and whether or not it was successfully performed; if not successfully performed, provide an explanation.
    6. Information relating to the proposed Lead PI's past performance in reporting on progress towards achieving the expected results (outputs/outcomes) under the agreement. Include the history of submitting timely progress/final technical reports, describe how progress towards achieving the expected results was reported/documented, and if such progress was not being made, provide an explanation of whether, and how, this was reported.
    7. Total (all years) grant/cooperative agreement dollar value
    8. Project period
    9. Technical contact (project officer), telephone number, and E-mail address (if available)

    The purpose of the programmatic review is to assure an integrated research portfolio for the Agency and help determine which applications to recommend for award. In conducting the programmatic review, the EPA will consider information provided by the applicant and may consider information from other sources, including prior and current grantors and agency files.

    The internal programmatic review panel will assess:

    1. The relevance of the proposed science to EPA research priorities and EPAs statutory authority.
    2. The proposed Lead PIs past performance [under Federal agency assistance agreements (assistance agreements include grants and cooperative agreements but not contracts) initiated within the last three years that were similar in size and scope to the proposed project] in two areas: First, in successfully performing these prior Federal assistance projects, including whether there is a satisfactory explanation for any lack of success. Second, in reporting progress towards achieving results under these agreements, including the proposed Lead PI's history of submitting timely progress/final technical reports that adequately describe the progress toward achieving the expected results (outputs/outcomes) under the agreements. Any explanation of why progress towards achieving the results was not made will also be considered. Applicants whose proposed Lead PI has no relevant past performance and/or reporting history, or for whom this information is not available, will be evaluated neither favorably nor unfavorably on these elements

B. Review Process for Phase II Applications

  1. External Panel of Judges
    All Phase I winners are expected to participate in the National Sustainable Design Expo which will be held on the National Mall in April 2009. Prior to attending the Expo, all Phase I grantees will submit a written final report for their Phase I project and a proposal for Phase II of the project. In addition, they will be expected to display and discuss their projects at the Expo. Prior to the Expo, the EPA will make arrangements to engage an external panel of judges made of up of non-EPA scientists, engineers, social scientists, economists and other professionals with relevant expertise who are accomplished in their respective disciplines and proficient in the technical subjects represented among the P3 projects. These judges will use the Phase II criteria presented below to evaluate the Phase II proposals based on both the written reports and interviews with each of the P3 teams conducted at the Expo. These judges will make recommendations to the EPA on the top projects that should be considered for a P3 Award and for the opportunity to receive Phase II funding. Winners of the P3 Award will be chosen by EPA based on recommendations from the external judges and will be eligible for additional funding to support further development and demonstration as described in the Phase II proposal. EPA will make the final decisions to select projects to receive the Phase II funding.
  2. Criteria for Phase II Awards
    The judges convened by an external body will be asked to assess which P3 Phase II proposals are the most meritorious. The following criteria will be used in descending order of importance. Note: This order is not the same as the required order for proposal submission.
    1. Relationship of Challenge to Sustainability (People, Prosperity and the Planet)
      How well does the proposed follow-on work for Phase II promote sustainable environmental protection, economic prosperity and social benefit across scales in the developing and/or developed world? Does the proposal address how future generations may be affected by the design?

      People: Do the proposed environmental and economic outcomes benefit society? Does the project meet the needs of the intended end user? If the design is intended for the developing world, does it have the potential to improve quality of life? If it is intended for the developed world, does it use energy and material resources effectively and efficiently through the life cycle while reducing hazards to human health and the environment?

      Prosperity: Does the proposal mention or consider short- and long-term costs?

      Planet: In general, will the design reduce impacts on the environment and human health, diminish resource consumption, and/or directly benefit the environment? Does the proposal demonstrate: (1) That the design demonstration will not exhaust or degrade the local environment or shift the environmental impacts to another locality? (2) That the proposed project is less damaging or more beneficial to the health of natural systems than the traditional design?

    2. Challenge Definition and Relationship to Phase I
      Is the technical challenge defined in terms that are relevant and significant related to sustainability? Is the scope of the project clearly described? Are potential or realized project characteristics, opportunities, and limitations described? Was Phase I of the project successful? How does Phase II build on the learnings from the Phase I experience? What are the lessons learned from Phase I and how will they be applied in Phase II? How will Phase II advance and improve progress in Phase I?
    3. Innovation and Technical Merit
      Is the design novel? Is the design interdisciplinary? Does the proposal address feasibility of the design, demonstrate scientific/technical soundness, and discuss trade-offs in the design approach? Is the proposed approach and are the suggested materials adequate and appropriate? What is the likelihood of success for the work proposed in Phase II?
    4. Measurable Results (Outputs/Outcomes), Evaluation Method, and Demonstration Strategy
      How will the goals and objectives for Phase II be achieved? Are the potential realized benefits described in terms of people, prosperity, and the planet? Is the proposed strategy for moving the design from research to development (Phase I) to demonstration (Phase II) adequate and realistic? Have the necessary partnerships been developed or are they being pursued? Is the design or design approach applicable and replicable to the extent appropriate?
    5. Integration of P3 Concepts as an Educational Tool
      Was Phase I of the P3 project successfully demonstrated as an educational tool? Will the proposed plans for Phase II maximize the educational benefits of the project? Will there be students or community members, beyond those directly participating in the P3 project, who will gain an increased awareness of the impacts of the P3 project on people, prosperity, and the planet?

C. Funding Decisions
All final decisions regarding who will be recommended to receive a Phase I or Phase II P3 Program grant are made by the NCER Director. Phase I decisions are made based on the results of the peer review and internal programmatic review. Phase II decisions are made based on the recommendations of the panel of expert judges. In addition, in making the final funding decisions, the NCER Director may also consider program balance, available funds, and the Congressionally-mandated Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCOR) (see http://www.epa.gov/ncer/other/). Applicants selected for funding will be required to provide additional information listed below under “Award Notices.” The application will then be forwarded to EPA’s grants administration office for award in accordance with the EPA’s procedures.

VI. AWARD ADMINISTRATION

A. Award Notices
Customarily, applicants are notified about evaluation decisions within six months of the solicitation closing date.  A summary statement of the scientific review by the peer panel will be provided to each applicant with an award or declination letter.

Applicants to be recommended for funding will be required to submit additional certifications and an electronic version of the revised project abstract.  They may also be asked to provide responses to comments or suggestions offered by the peer reviewers, a revised budget, and/or to resubmit their proposal.  EPA Project Officers will contact Principal Investigators to obtain these materials.

The official notification of an award will be made by the Agency’s Grants Administration Division.  Applicants are cautioned that only a grants officer is authorized to bind the Government to the expenditure of funds; preliminary selection by the NCER Director in the Office of Research and Development does not guarantee an award will be made.

B. Disputes
Disputes related to this assistance agreement competition will be resolved in accordance with the dispute resolution procedures set forth in 70 FR 3629, 3630 (January 26, 2005) which can be found at http://www.epa.gov/ogd/competition/resolution.htm.  Questions regarding disputes may be referred to the Eligibility Contact identified below.

C. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
Expectations and responsibilities of NCER grantees and cooperative agreement holders are summarized in this section, although the terms grant and grantee are used.

  1. National Sustainable Design Expo
    The Principal Investigator and the student team, or a subset of the student team, will be expected to budget for, and participate in, the National Sustainable Design Expo to be held the Spring following award on the National Mall in Washington, DC.
  2. Approval of Changes after Award
    Prior written approval is required from the EPA if there will be a significant change from the work described in the application. Examples of these changes are contained in 40 C.F.R. 30.25. Note: prior written approval is also required from the EPA for incurring costs more than 90 calendar days prior to award.
  3. Human Subjects
    A grant applicant must agree to meet all EPA requirements for studies using human subjects prior to implementing any work with these subjects. These requirements are given in 40 C.F.R. § 26. For observational studies involving children or pregnant women or nursing mothers please refer to Subparts B & D of 40 C.F.R. § 26. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regulations at 45 CFR § 46.101(e) have long required "... compliance with pertinent Federal laws or regulations which provide additional protection for human subjects." EPAs regulation 40 C.F.R. Part 26 is such a pertinent Federal regulation. Therefore, the applicant's Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval must state that the applicant's study meets the EPA's regulations at 40 CFR § 26. No work involving human subjects, including recruiting, may be initiated before the EPA has received a copy of the applicants IRB approval of the project and the EPA has also provided approval. Where human subjects are involved in the research, the recipient must provide evidence of subsequent IRB reviews, including amendments or minor changes of protocol, as part of annual reports.
  4. Animal Welfare
    A grant recipient must agree to comply with the Animal Welfare Act of 1966 (P.L. 89-544), as amended, 7 U.S.C. 2131-2156. The recipient must also agree to abide by the "U.S. Government Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals used in Testing, Research, and Training" (50 Federal Register 20864-20865. May 20, 1985).
  5. Data Access and Information Release
    After award, all data (including primary and secondary or existing data) must be made available to the NCER Project Officer without restriction and be accompanied by comprehensive metadata documentation adequate for specialists and non-specialists alike to be able to understand how and where the data were obtained and to evaluate the quality of the data. If requested, the data products and their metadata must be provided to the NCER Project Officer in a standard exchange format no later than the due date of the grant's final report or the publication of the data product's associated results, whichever comes first.

    Congress, through OMB, has instructed each federal agency to implement Information Quality Guidelines designed to "provide policy and procedural guidance...for ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information, including statistical information, disseminated by Federal agencies." The EPA's implementation may be found at http://epa.gov/quality/exmural.html#genreqts. These procedures may apply to data generated by grant recipients if those data are disseminated as described in the Guidelines.

    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-110 located at 2 CFR Part 215 has been revised to provide public access to research data through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) under some circumstances. Data that are (1) first produced in a project that is supported in whole or in part with federal funds and (2) cited publicly and officially by a federal agency in support of an action that has the force and effect of law (i.e., a regulation) may be accessed through FOIA. If such data are requested by the public, the EPA must ask for it, and the grantee must submit it, in accordance with A-110 and the EPA regulations at 40 C.F.R. 30.36.

  6. Reporting
    A grant recipient must agree to provide a final report with an executive summary for web posting at the conclusion of Phase I.

    A grant recipient must agree to provide copies of any peer reviewed journal article(s) resulting from the research during the project period. In addition, the recipient should notify the EPA Project Officer of any papers published after completion of the grant that were based on research supported by the grant. NCER posts references to all publications resulting from a grant on the NCER web site.

  7. Acknowledgement of EPA Support
    EPAs full or partial support must be acknowledged in journal articles, oral or poster presentations, news releases, interviews with reporters and other communications. Any documents developed under this agreement that are intended for distribution to the public or inclusion in a scientific, technical, or other journal shall include the following statement:
    This publication [article] was developed under STAR Research Assistance Agreement No. __________ awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as part of the P3: People, Prosperity and the Planet Student Design Competition for Sustainability. It has not been formally reviewed by the EPA. The views expressed in this document are solely those of [name of recipient] and the EPA does not endorse any products or commercial services mentioned in this publication.

    A graphic that may be converted to a slide or used in other ways, such as on a poster, is located at http://www.epa.gov/ncer/guidance/star_images.html. EPA expects recipients to use this graphic in oral and poster presentations.

  8. Exchange Network
    EPA, states, territories, and tribes are working together to develop the National Environmental Information Exchange Network, a secure, Internet- and standards-based way to support electronic data reporting, sharing, and integration of both regulatory and non-regulatory environmental data. States, tribes and territories exchanging data with each other or with EPA, should make the Exchange Network and the Agency's connection to it, the Central Data Exchange (CDX), the standard way they exchange data and should phase out any legacy methods they have been using. More information on the Exchange Network is available at www.exchangenetwork.net exit EPA.

VII. AGENCY CONTACTS
Further information, if needed, may be obtained from the EPA officials indicated below. Information regarding this RFA obtained from sources other than these Agency Contacts may not be accurate. Email inquiries are preferred.

Eligibility Contact: Tom Barnwell (barnwell.thomas@epa.gov); phone: 202-343-9862
Electronic Submissions: Thomas O'Farrell (O'Farrell.Thomas@epa.gov); phone: 703-347-8085
Technical Contact: Cynthia L. Nolt-Helms (nolt-helms.cynthia@epa.gov); phone: 703-347-8102

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