Jump to main content or area navigation.

Contact Us

Extramural Research

Funding Opportunities

Research Project Search

Extramural Research Search

Special Announcements
  • The 2011 STAR Fellowship Award notice date will be delayed until May 30, 2011. The STAR Fellowship RFA called: "Fall 2011 EPA Science To Achieve Results (STAR) Fellowships For Graduate Environmental Study" which Opened on September 2, 2010 and closed on November 5, 2010 indicated that each applicant would receive an award or declination letter by April 1, 2011. The RFA also indicated that this schedule may be changed without notification due to factors that were not anticipated at the time of announcement. The purpose of this announcement is to let all applicants know that the award letters will not be sent until May 30, 2011 and declination letters will be sent during April and May. This will not effect the start dates of the awards. Please note that the earliest anticipated start date is still September 1, 2011 for these awards.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Research and Development
National Center for Environmental Research
Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Program

CLOSED - FOR REFERENCES PURPOSES ONLY

Fall 2011 EPA Science To Achieve Results (STAR) Fellowships For Graduate Environmental Study

This is the initial announcement of this funding opportunity.

Funding Opportunity Number: (See Section I.D. for descriptions)

NUMBER TOPIC TITLE
EPA-F2011-STAR-A1 Emerging Environmental Approaches & Challenges: Innovative Investigations for Oil Spill Impacts (A1)
EPA-F2011-STAR-A2 Emerging Environmental Approaches & Challenges: Social Sciences (A2)
EPA-F2011-STAR-A3 Emerging Environmental Approaches & Challenges: Information Science (A3)
EPA-F2011-STAR-B1 Tribes and American Indian/Alaska Native/Pacific Islander Communities (B1)
EPA-F2011-STAR-C1 Nanotechnology (C1)
EPA-F2011-STAR-D1 Science & Technology for Sustainability: Environmental Entrepreneurship (D1)
EPA-F2011-STAR-D2 Science & Technology for Sustainability: Green Engineering/Building/Chemical Products & Processes/Materials Development  (D2)
EPA-F2011-STAR-D3 Science & Technology for Sustainability: Green Energy/Natural Resources Production & Use (D3)
EPA-F2011-STAR-E1 Global Change (E1)
EPA-F2011-STAR-F1 Clean Air (F1)
EPA-F2011-STAR-G1 Drinking Water (G1)
EPA-F2011-STAR-H1 Water Quality: Hydrogeology and Surface Water (H1)
EPA-F2011-STAR-H2 Water Quality: Coastal and Estuarine Processes (H2)
EPA-F2011-STAR-I1 Human Health: Public Health (I1)
EPA-F2011-STAR-I2 Human Health: Risk Assessment and Risk Management (I2)
EPA-F2011-STAR-J1 Ecosystem Services: Aquatic Systems Ecology (J1)
EPA-F2011-STAR-J2 Ecosystem Services: Terrestrial Systems Soil and Plant Ecology (J2)
EPA-F2011-STAR-J3 Ecosystem Services: Terrestrial Systems Animal Ecology (J3)
EPA-F2011-STAR-K1 Pesticides and Toxic Substances (K1)
EPA-F2011-STAR-L1 Land Protection (L1)

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 66.514

Solicitation Opening Date: September 2, 2010
Solicitation Closing Date: November 5, 2010
Solicitation Closing Time: 4:00 PM Eastern Time (ET) to receive paper applications.
11:59:59 PM Eastern Time (ET) for electronic submission through Grants.gov.
11:59:59 PM Eastern Time (ET) for e-mail submission of All Letters of Recommendation.

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. Authority and Regulations
D. Specific Areas/Topics of Interest
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 Application Package
B. Content and Form of Application Submission
C. Submission Dates and Times
D. Funding Restrictions
E. Submission Instructions and Other Submission Requirements
V. APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION
A. External Peer Review
B. Internal Programmatic Review
C. Funding Decisions
VI. AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION
A. Award Notices
B. Disputes
C. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
VII. AGENCY CONTACTS

Access STAR Fellowship Application Package and Forms (http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms/)
View research awarded under previous solicitations (http://www.epa.gov/ncer/fellow/)

SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

Synopsis of Program:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, is offering Graduate Fellowships for master’s and doctoral level students in environmental fields of study. The deadline is November 5, 2010 at 4:00 PM for receipt of paper applications, and November 5, 2010 at 11:59:59 PM ET for submittal of electronic applications to Grants.gov. Subject to availability of funding, the Agency plans to award approximately 105 new fellowships by June 30, 2011. Master's level students may receive support for a maximum of two years. Doctoral students may be supported for a maximum of three years, usable over a period of five years. The fellowship program provides up to $42,000 per year of support per fellowship.

Award Information:
Anticipated Type of Award: Fellowship
Estimated Number of Awards: Approximately 105 awards
Anticipated Funding Amount: Approximately $4.5 million for all awards
Potential Funding per Fellowship: $42,000 per year per fellowship. Master's level students may receive support for a maximum of two years. Doctoral students may be supported for a maximum of three years, usable over a period of five years. Cost sharing is not required.

If selected to receive a fellowship, you will be contacted no later than April 1, 2011 and should subsequently receive your official notification of award by June 30, 2011, for the fall term. Please note that this schedule may be changed without notification due to factors that were not anticipated at the time of announcement. The earliest anticipated start date for these awards is September 1, 2011.

Eligibility Information:

  1. Students must attend a fully accredited U.S. college or university (located in the U.S. or its territories) for their graduate studies.
  2. Applicants must also be citizens of the U.S. or its territories or possessions, or be lawfully admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence. Resident aliens must include their green card number in their application (you must have your green card at the time of application to be eligible for this Fellowship opportunity). EPA may verify this number with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service of the Department of Homeland Security.

Application Materials:
The following Application Materials must be submitted:

  1. Application for Federal Assistance, Standard Form (SF) 424 (for electronic submissions via Grants.gov) or Standard Form (SF) 424 I-Individual (for paper submissions)
  2. EPA Key Contacts Form (5700-54)
  3. Front Page
  4. Personal Statement
  5. Proposal Description
  6. Background Information:
      Education & Relevant Experiences
      Publications & Presentations
      Course Work
  7. Letters of Recommendation (sent by referees)

You may submit only one application for this announcement, which means choosing only one Funding Opportunity Number (FON)/Topic.

You may submit either a paper application or an electronic application via Grants.gov but not both for this announcement. The necessary forms for submitting a STAR Fellowship paper application can be found on the 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"). See Section IV for further information on application submission procedures.

Agency Contacts:
Further information, if needed, may be obtained from the EPA/NCER resources listed below. To obtain information most quickly, consult the "Guidance & FAQs." If your question is not covered, then call the toll-free telephone number or send a query to 2011FellowshipsRFA@epa.gov. You will receive a personal response through a return telephone call or e-mail. Information regarding this RFA obtained from sources other than those indicated below may not be accurate.

Guidance & FAQs: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/guidance/faqs.html
Contact Person: Brandon Jones, e-mail: 2011FellowshipsRFA@epa.gov
Toll-free Number: 1-800-490-9194
Electronic Submissions Contact: Ron Josephson (josephson.ron@epa.gov); phone: 703-308-0442
Eligibility Contact: James Gentry (gentry.james@epa.gov); phone: 202-343-9798

I. FUNDING OPPORTUNITY DESCRIPTION

A. Introduction
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Center for Environmental Research (NCER), invites applications for the Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Fellowships for graduate environmental study for master’s and doctoral level students. The deadline is November 5, 2010 at 4:00 PM for receipt of paper applications, and November 5, 2010 at 11:59:59 PM ET for submittal of electronic applications via Grants.gov. Subject to availability of funding, the Agency plans to award approximately 105 new fellowships by June 30, 2011. Master's level students may receive support for a maximum of two years. Doctoral students may be supported for a maximum of three years, usable over a period of five years. The fellowship program provides up to $42,000 per year of support per fellowship. This amount covers a monthly stipend of $2,083 for up to 12 months totaling $25,000 for the year, $5,000 for authorized expenses, and up to $12,000 for tuition and fees. The actual amount awarded per year will vary depending on the amount of tuition and fees and the number of months the stipend is required. These fellowships are intended to help defray costs associated with advanced, environmentally-oriented study leading to a master's or doctoral degree.

This solicitation contains several important changes from the previous solicitation. First, Social Sciences and Tribes and American Indian/Alaska Native/Pacific Islander Communitieshave been added as topic areas in response to the EPA Administrator’s priorities. Secondly, Nanotechnology has been added in response to the Assistant Administrator’s articulated vision for the Office of Research and Development. Lastly, a special topic area entitled Innovative Investigations for Oil Spill Impacts has been added in response to the emerging environmental issues surrounding offshore oil drilling and the potential human health and environmental impacts of those associated practices.

B. Background
The STAR Fellowship program was initiated in 1995. Approximately 1,500 STAR fellowships have been awarded since the inception of the program. The STAR Fellowship program is part of the national effort to help ensure that the U.S. meets its current and projected human resource needs in the environmental science, engineering, and policy fields (Jackson 2002). The purpose of the fellowship program is to encourage promising students to obtain advanced degrees and pursue careers in an environmental field. The goals of the programs are to bolster the environmental generation of tomorrow, bridge to diverse communities, and boost excellent research and development that advance the protection of human health and the environment through education. These goals are consistent with the immediate and long‑term mission of EPA, to protect human health and the environment. The STAR Fellowship program has proven to be beneficial to both the public and private sectors by providing a steady stream of well‑trained environmental specialists to meet society’s environmental challenges (National Research Council 2003). It has also provided new environmental research in engineering and in the physical, biological, health, and social sciences.

The specific Strategic Goal and Objective from EPA's Strategic Plan that relate to this solicitation are: Goal 4: Healthy Communities and Ecosystems and Objective 4.4: Enhance Science and Research. The EPA’s Strategic Plan can be found at 2006-2011 EPA Strategic Plan (PDF) (184 pp, 9.85 MB, about PDF).

C. Authority and Regulations
The authority for this RFA and resulting awards is contained in the Safe Drinking Water Act, Section 1442, 42 U.S.C. 300j-1; Toxic Substances Control Act, Section 10, 15 U.S.C. 2609; Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, Section 20, 7 U.S.C. 136r; Clean Air Act, Section 103, 42 U.S.C. 7403; Clean Water Act, Section 104, 33 U.S.C. 1254; and Solid Waste Disposal Act, Section 8001, 42 U.S.C. 6981.

For research with an international aspect, the above statutes are supplemented, as appropriate, by the National Environmental Policy Act, Section 102 (2)(F).

Applicable Regulation: 40 CFR Part 46

D. Specific Areas/Topics of Interest
This Request for Applications (RFA) solicits applications from students to perform graduate level investigation towards protecting human health and the environment.

Applications are welcomed from students studying any academic discipline to the extent that the particular topic of research is related to EPA’s mission. This includes students studying in ecology, economics, engineering, modeling, the health sciences, physical sciences, earth sciences, exposure sciences, social sciences, informational sciences, mathematical and computer sciences, and environmental sciences.

The mission of the EPA STAR Fellowships Program is to help ensure that the U.S. meets its current and projected human resource needs in the environmental science, engineering, and policy fields. Thus the EPA is looking to fund students at the graduate level who are committed to meeting the challenges of today and the next generation by pursuing a career related to protecting human health and the environment. Proposals may come from students in traditional and interdisciplinary academic disciplines; from students studying in emerging fields that will require increased human capacity such as in the social and exposure sciences; from students utilizing multidisciplinary approaches and/or addressing multiple media; and, in areas which focus on environmental justice, environmental education, community-based participation, and/or environmental decision-making.

Selected candidates will have identified skills, achievements, and potential in consort with the program’s strategic goals: bolstering the environmental generation of tomorrow, bridging to diverse communities, and boosting excellent research & development that advance the protection of human health and the environment through education. Candidates will be evaluated for their demonstrated commitment to an environmental career, for the merit of the proposed area of inquiry, and for potential to have broader societal impacts. More specific information on selection criteria are found in Section V.

This RFA solicits applications from students performing investigations in a variety of environmentally-related research topics which are described below. By providing financial support across disciplines, EPA expects to continue to assist in increasing the nation’s environmental workforce and ability to produce leading edge research, and in advancing the nation’s research and development enterprise (The National Science & Technology Council 2004).

Funding Opportunity Numbers (FON)/Topics

EPA will select students whose projects meet high standards of scientific excellence and creativity, have the potential to broaden the academic frontiers of protecting human health and the environment today and in the next generation, and fall within the purview of EPA’s authorizing statutes (see Section I.C. “Authority and Regulations” for more details).

Thus, EPA seeks to fund projects that address protection of human health and the environment from a wide variety of perspectives and approaches, particularly those that relate to the purposes of pollution prevention and/or control.

Proposals may come from students in traditional and interdisciplinary academic disciplines; from students studying in emerging fields; from students utilizing multidisciplinary approaches and/or addressing multiple media; and, in areas which focus on environmental justice, environmental education, community-based participation, and/or environmental decision-making.

In order to assist EPA staff in the review and funding processes, applications must identify a single topic and corresponding Funding Opportunity Number (FON) that is appropriately related to the proposed area of inquiry. The review assignments will be made based on the one FON that you indicate in your application.

If your application seems to fit under more than one topic/FON, you still must choose a single topic/FON for purposes of submission. Your application can be submitted to one, and only one, topic/FON. EPA staff will not assist in identifying a topic/FON. Applicants should review the relevant authorizing statutes listed in Section I.C. Additionally, see the glossary of statutes prior to the descriptions.

Note: Your planned course of study and/or project should focus on one of the following topics of environmental significance. Also, see Section III.C. “Other” for additional requirements.

STAR GRADUATE FELLOWSHIP TOPICS and FUNDING OPPORTUNITY NUMBERS (FON)

NUMBER TOPIC TITLE
EPA-F2011-STAR-A1 Emerging Environmental Approaches & Challenges: Innovative Investigations for Oil Spill Impacts (A1)
EPA-F2011-STAR-A2 Emerging Environmental Approaches & Challenges: Social Sciences (A2)
EPA-F2011-STAR-A3 Emerging Environmental Approaches & Challenges: Information Science (A3)
EPA-F2011-STAR-B1 Tribes and American Indian/Alaska Native/Pacific Islander Communities (B1)
EPA-F2011-STAR-C1 Nanotechnology (C1)
EPA-F2011-STAR-D1 Science & Technology for Sustainability: Environmental Entrepreneurship (D1)
EPA-F2011-STAR-D2 Science & Technology for Sustainability: Green Engineering/Building/Chemical Products & Processes/Materials Development  (D2)
EPA-F2011-STAR-D3 Science & Technology for Sustainability: Green Energy/Natural Resources Production & Use (D3)
EPA-F2011-STAR-E1 Global Change (E1)
EPA-F2011-STAR-F1 Clean Air (F1)
EPA-F2011-STAR-G1 Drinking Water (G1)
EPA-F2011-STAR-H1 Water Quality: Hydrogeology and Surface Water (H1)
EPA-F2011-STAR-H2 Water Quality: Coastal and Estuarine Processes (H2)
EPA-F2011-STAR-I1 Human Health: Public Health (I1)
EPA-F2011-STAR-I2 Human Health: Risk Assessment and Risk Management (I2)
EPA-F2011-STAR-J1 Ecosystem Services: Aquatic Systems Ecology (J1)
EPA-F2011-STAR-J2 Ecosystem Services: Terrestrial Systems Soil and Plant Ecology (J2)
EPA-F2011-STAR-J3 Ecosystem Services: Terrestrial Systems Animal Ecology (J3)
EPA-F2011-STAR-K1 Pesticides and Toxic Substances (K1)
EPA-F2011-STAR-L1 Land Protection (L1)

All projects should describe the relationship of these topic areas to the statutorily required purpose of pollution prevention and/or control.

Glossary of Statutes
CWA Clean Water Act
CAA Clean Air Act
FIFRA Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act
SWDA Solid Waste Disposal Act
TSCA Toxic Substances Control Act
SDWA Safe Drinking Water Act
  1. EMERGING ENVIRONMENTAL APPROACHES & CHALLENGES (A)

    EPA- F2011-STAR-A1: INNOVATIVE INVESTIGATIONS FOR OIL SPILL IMPACTS (A1)

    In light of the April 20, 2010 British Petroleum Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, applications in this topic are for interests in and investigations on the environmental and human health impacts of oil spills, including innovative remediation solutions. Proposals in this topic focus on investigations that have the potential to boost our understanding of environmental exposure, bioavailability, effects and risk towards underpinning appropriate management responses to oil spills of this kind.

    Projects may include, but are not limited to identifying and characterizing environmentally benign dispersants with enhanced affinity for oil; generating and validating predictive models of environmental fate, behavior, bioavailability and effects for environmentally relevant oils and dispersants through key environmental pathways (i.e.,. source pathway receptor); developing novel tools/methods for detection, monitoring and quantitative assessment of exposure and bioavailability for environmentally relevant oils and dispersants; optimizing innovative technologies based on chemical, physical, and biological approaches for effective cleanup of the environment impacted by oil spills, etc.

    Authorizing statutes: CAA, CWA, TSCA, SDWA

    Please note that projects falling only under the purview of CERCLA (the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act - Superfund) cannot be supported by this fellowship.

    Additional Note: Technology related proposals, particularly those related to treatment and remediation, may be well suited for other FON/Topics, including but not limited to Water Quality (H1 & H2), Science and Technology for Sustainability (D1, D2, & D3), and Clean Air (F1).

    EPA-F2011-STAR-A2: SOCIAL SCIENCES (A2)

    Applications in this topic are for interests in and investigations on enhancing the integrated use of the natural and social sciences into emerging trans-disciplinary environmental research as well as to examine the concepts of environmentalism, environmental decision-making, and environmental governance (e.g. ecosystem-based management, social-ecological systems, coupling social and natural systems). Proposals in this topic focus on identifying and expanding the importance of social and cultural dimensions in the protection of the environment and human health.

    Projects may include, but are not limited to, bringing theories and methods of social sciences to subject areas such as environmentalism, environmental justice, environmental health, ecosystem services, air, land, pollution, risk assessment and/or risk management; broadening environmental decision-making schemes using more expansive social theories and methods to develop models, outputs, and interventions that protect human health and the environment; investigating social and cultural factors to gain more comprehensive understandings of the impacts of social indicators (e.g. understandings, behaviors or actions) for the protection of the environment and human health; etc.

    Note: Proposals related to American Indian/Alaska Native/Pacific Islander communities and/or Tribes may be well suited for the Tribes and American Indian/Alaska Native/Pacific Islander Communities FON/Topic (B1).

    Authorizing statutes: CAA, CWA, FIFRA, SWDA, TSCA, SDWA

    EPA-F2011-STAR-A3: INFORMATION SCIENCE (A3)

    Applications in this topic are for interests in and investigations on the science of processing environmental information to enhance decision making for pollution prevention and/or control. Proposals in this topic focus on facilitating environmental research and management by developing ways to access and/or integrate databases of environmental information, and developing new algorithms enabling different environmental datasets to be combined to test environmental hypotheses.

    Projects may include applying informatics to environmental health, public health, ecosystem services, and/or environmental economics; broadening environmental decision-making and policy-development at the State, Local, and/or Tribal levels by using more expansive information processing techniques; engineering newer informational systems and technologies for environmental protection, etc.

    Note: Proposals related to American Indian/Alaska Native/Pacific Islander communities and/or Tribes may be well suited for the Tribes and American Indian/Alaska Native/Pacific Islander Communities FON/Topic (B1).

    Authorizing statutes: CAA, CWA, FIFRA, SWDA, TSCA, SDWA

  2. EPA-F2011-STAR-B1: TRIBES AND AMERICAN INDIAN/ALASKA NATIVE/PACIFIC ISLANDER COMMUNITIES (B1)

    Applications in this topic are for interests and investigations at the intersections of protecting the environment and American Indian/Alaska Native/Pacific Islander communities and/or Tribes. Proposals in this topic focus on related environmental health, sustainability, and pollution prevention/remediation strategies and issues.

    Projects may include, but are not limited to, assessing the impacts of environmental challenges on American Indian/Alaska Native/Pacific Islander communities and/or Tribes such as climate change, mining activities, water quality, drinking water reliability, invasive species, and land-use changes; exploring how American Indian/Alaska Native/Pacific Islander lifeways may be connected to unique risk and exposure pathways; exploring sustainability through tribes' traditional ecological knowledge and/or local ecological knowledge of an area; expanding the understanding of cumulative risk in tribes, American Indians/Alaska Natives/Pacific Islanders and related communities; analyzing environment-related governance amongst American Indian/Alaska Native/Pacific Islander communities such as risk management, multi-sectoral or emerging approaches, ecosystem-based management approaches, etc; exploring integrated approaches to providing reliable supplies of safe drinking water to American Indian/Alaska Native/Pacific Islander communities, etc.

    Authorizing statutes: CAA, CWA, FIFRA, SWDA, TSCA, SDWA

  3. EPA-F2011-STAR-C1: NANOTECHNOLOGY (C1)

    Applications in this topic are for interests and investigations on engineered/manufactured nanomaterials. Proposals in this topic focus on how engineered/manufactured nanomaterials (including nano-bio and other emerging compounds) may be used to advance pollution prevention/remediation, and understanding material life cycles such that the impact of these materials can be accurately and rapidly assessed.

    Projects may include, but are not limited to applying green chemistry and engineering to nanomaterial synthesis; exploring how nanomaterials can be used effectively to clean up contaminants released into the environment; investigating unique exposure pathways associated with nanomaterials; conducting a life cycle analysis on a particular class of nanomaterials, etc.

    Authorizing statutes: CAA, CWA, FIFRA, SWDA, TSCA, SDWA

  4. SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY FOR SUSTAINABILITY (D)

    Applications in this category are for interests in and investigations on the science and engineering of sustainability, pollution prevention, waste reduction, green engineering, green chemistry, green materials, recycling, and resource conservation and recovery. Proposals in this topic focus on the design and analysis of chemicals, materials, products, or systems, as well as urban and regional planning. Proposals in this area also include investigations at the intersection of sustainability and innovative technology development and utilization.

    Projects may include, but are not limited to, developing technologies or analyses that enable multi-media pollution prevention of agricultural processes and practices; evaluating use of post-consumer or post-industrial recycled materials for new chemicals, materials, or products; examining life cycle assessment and other materials systems analyses; developing sustainability metrics and indicators that inform regional or industrial decision-making; green buildings; analyzing economy-wide environmental implications of technological or other changes; applying biometric approaches to material, product, or process design, etc.

    Subtopicsapplicants to the Science & Technology for Sustainability topic area must choose one of the subtopics below:

    EPA-F2011-STAR-D1: ENVIRONMENTAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP (D1) (focusing on the intersection of sustainability and innovative technology development and utilization)

    EPA-F2011-STAR-D2: GREEN ENGINEERING/BUILDING/CHEMICAL PRODUCTS & PROCESSES/MATERIALS DEVELOPMENT (D2)
    (includes design for the environment, life cycle assessment, green building, agricultural improvements through multi-media pollution prevention)

    EPA-F2011-STAR-D3: GREEN ENERGY/NATURAL RESOURCES PRODUCTION & USE (D3) (focusing on multimedia pollution prevention)

    Note: Technology related proposals, particularly those related to treatment and remediation, may be well suited for other FON/Topics, including but not limited to Drinking Water (G1), Water Quality (H1 & H2), and Land Protection (L1).

    Authorizing statutes: CAA, CWA, FIFRA, SWDA, TSCA, SDWA

  5. EPA-F2011-STAR-E1: GLOBAL CHANGE (E1)

    Applications in this topic are for interests in and investigations on the science of global change, particularly climate variability and change in the U.S. Proposals in this topic focus on global change impacts and mitigation of these impacts on air quality, water quality, ecosystems, human health, and socio-economic systems.

    Projects may include, but are not limited to, examining the impacts of global climate change on air quality, water quality, aquatic or terrestrial ecosystems, or human health; adapting air or water quality management systems or decision support tools to respond to risks posed by climate change; understanding the environmental consequences of potential climate mitigation strategies, etc.

    Authorizing statutes: CAA, CWA

  6. EPA-F2011-STAR-F1: CLEAN AIR (F1)

    Applications in this topic are for interests in and investigations on the science of air quality and pollution. Proposals in this topic focus on air pollution assessment, monitoring, transport, transformation, control, management, and modeling.

    Projects may include, but are not limited to, studying secondary formation of air pollutants, spatial temporal heterogeneity of particulate matter (PM) size fractions and components, studying the atmospheric science of air pollution mixtures, etc.

    Authorizing statutes: CAA

  7. EPA-F2011-STAR-G1: DRINKING WATER (G1)

    Applications in this topic are for interests in and investigations on the science of drinking water quality. Proposals in this topic focus on protecting drinking water sources, producing and distributing safe drinking water, managing health risks associated with exposure to waterborne contaminants, and promoting the safety and sustainability of water resources and water infrastructure.

    Projects may include, but are not limited to, developing assessment tools to characterize the occurrence of waterborne contaminants in drinking water supplies and quantify the extent of exposure from drinking these sources; adapting management and monitoring strategies to protect surface and ground water sources of drinking water; developing treatment technologies and/or understanding their efficacy; characterizing microbial ecology within distribution systems, etc.

    Authorizing statutes: SDWA, CWA

  8. WATER QUALITY (H)

    Applications in this topic are for interests in and investigations on the science of water quality. Proposals in this topic focus on assessing, protecting, and restoring surface and ground water quality, aquatic ecosystems, watershed management, and source control management.

    Projects may include, but are not limited to, developing better tools and technologies for assessing, monitoring and managing the impacts of nonpoint source pollution; developing approaches, tools, technologies, and models to characterize and manage the combined effects of multiple stressors on aquatic life and water quality; studying harmful algal blooms; adapting management strategies to assess surface and ground water quality; determining causes of impairments; developing sustainable and innovative tools to manage, restore, and protect these resources, etc.

    Subtopicsapplicants to this Water Quality topic area must choose one of the subtopics below:

    EPA-F2011-STAR-H1: HYDROGEOLOGY and SURFACE WATER (H1) (focusing on pollution)

    EPA-F2011-STAR-H2: COASTAL and ESTUARINE PROCESSES (H2) (focusing on pollution)

    Authorizing statutes: CWA, SWDA, SDWA

  9. HUMAN HEALTH (I)

    Applications in this topic are for interests in and investigations on the science of human health risk assessment, including understanding exposures and health effects that can lead to protection of human health. Proposals in this topic focus on advancing the field of risk assessment, including cumulative risk research; community-based risk assessment research; exposure assessment; susceptible subpopulations and lifestages research; and tools for risk management decisions.

    Projects may include, but are not limited to, studying exposures and health effects of environmental contaminants (especially unique exposures from cultural practices, unique geographic regions, or environmental justice communities) and cumulative risks posed by exposure to mixtures of contaminants (and/or a combination of chemical, physical, biological and social/psycho-social stressors); providing new insights into how environmental contaminants may affect susceptible life stages (e.g. early childhood, older adults) and vulnerable populations (e.g. populations of low socio-economic position, or with pre-existing diseases); what key factors impact exposures of these subpopulations; developing and evaluating novel exposure assessment tools (e.g., methods, models); evaluating alternative exposure metrics in epidemiologic studies; evaluating the effectiveness of State, Local, and/or Tribal policy, regulatory and risk communication actions to reduce health risks resulting from exposure to environmental contaminants; applying health impact assessment on State, Local, and/or Tribal policy policies, projects or programs dealing with environmental health issues, etc.

    Subtopicsapplicants to the Human Health Research topic area must choose one of the subtopics below:

    EPA-F2011-STAR-I1: PUBLIC HEALTH (I1)
    (e.g. environmental epidemiology, biostatistics, human exposure, health economics, health physics, health impact assessments, etc.)

    EPA-F2011-STAR-I2: RISK ASSESSMENT & RISK MANAGEMENT (I2)
    (e.g., cumulative risk research; community-based risk assessment; exposure assessment; susceptible subpopulations and lifestages research; tools for risk management decisions; intervention strategies; environmental health communications and education; environmental justice, etc.)

    Note: Proposals related to American Indian/Alaska Native/Pacific Islander communities and/or Tribes may be well suited for the Tribes and American Indian/Alaska Native/Pacific Islander Communities FON/Topic (B1).

    Authorizing statutes: CAA, CWA, FIFRA, SWDA, TSCA, SDWA

  10. ECOSYSTEM SERVICES (J)

    Applications in this topic are for interests in and investigations on the science of understanding, protecting, and restoring ecosystems. Proposals in this topic focus on improving knowledge to protect and restore the ecosystem services that are important for supporting humans and all organisms, such as clean air; clean water; and unpolluted, fertile soil which can aide in waste composition, water filtration and degradation of environmental contaminants. This includes developing data, methods, models, and tools needed by states, communities, and tribes to understand the cost and benefits of using ecosystem services, as well as, developing the underlying science for the characterization, quantification, and valuation of ecosystems services as responses to and/or regulators of environmental exposures to humans and ecosystems.

    Projects may include, but are not limited to, ecosystem restoration from pollution, landscape ecology for pollution prevention, studying pollutant effects on plants, animals and/or habitats, furthering knowledge on ecosystem services valuation (including but not limited to monetization), exposure scenario construction, model formulation and/or mapping for ecosystems services and their responses, and multimedia fate and transport models for exposures to the full range of stressors that interact with ecosystems services, etc.

    Subtopicsapplicants to the Ecosystem Services topic area must choose one of the subtopics below:

    EPA-F2011-STAR-J1: AQUATIC SYSTEMS ECOLOGY (J1) (focusing on freshwater endpoints)

    EPA-F2011-STAR-J2: TERRESTRIAL SYSTEMS SOILS and PLANT ECOLOGY (J2) (limited to soils and plants that can serve as a media for contaminant transport)

    EPA-F2011-STAR-J3: TERRESTRIAL SYSTEMS ANIMAL ECOLOGY (J3) (limited to pollution effects on animals or habitat)

    Authorizing statutes: CAA, CWA, FIFRA, SWDA, TSCA, SDWA

  11. EPA-F2011-STAR-K1: PESTICIDES and TOXIC SUBSTANCES (K1)

    Applications in this topic are for interests in and investigations on the science of understanding (e.g. toxicity), reducing, and/or preventing risks to humans, wildlife, and non-target plants from exposures to contaminants and groups of contaminants. Proposals in this topic focus on the use of molecular tools, pesticides, toxic chemicals, emerging environmental contaminants (e.g. endocrine disrupting chemicals, and pharmaceuticals in the environment), and products of biotechnology (e.g. genetically engineered agents).

    Projects may include, but are not limited to, searching for pesticides and/or chemicals which are safer for humans and non-target organisms; developing screening and monitoring techniques used to detect toxic chemicals and/or quantifying the effects of toxic chemicals and chemical mixtures in the environment, including computational toxicology; providing new insights into how pesticides or environmental contaminants may affect wildlife or human populations; understanding the toxicology of environmental contaminants, and developing techniques and tools to predict hazards of environmental contaminants, etc.

    Note: Nanotechnology related proposals may be well suited for the Nanotechnology FON/Topic (C1).

    Authorizing statutes: CAA, CWA, FIFRA, SWDA, TSCA, SDWA

  12. EPA-F2011-STAR-L1: LAND PROTECTION (L1)

    Applications in this topic are for interests in and investigations on preserving the nation's land, and protecting public health from exposure to land-based contaminants, particularly solid waste. Proposals in this topic focus on strategies for waste (including hazardous waste) and contaminant management, treatment, and reduction; extractive industries and land protection; landfills and leach testing for material reuse and protection through urban and regional planning.

    Projects may include, but are not limited to, developing more cost-effective tools, technologies, models, and methods related to land preservation and solid waste collection, disposal, and management; studying effects of sediment dredging on biota and contaminant re-suspension; developing effective modeling and sampling methods to reduce uncertainty in analysis of vapor intrusion from land-based contamination and solid waste into homes and buildings; developing modeling tools such as GIS to assist urban and regional planners in protecting land from pollution; reducing uncertainty in modeling of (land based) oil spill fate and effects, etc.

    Note: Proposals related to deep sea oil leaks and spills (e.g. recent Gulf Coast oil spill), may be well suited for the Emerging Environmental Approaches and Challenges: Innovative Investigations for Oil Spill Impacts FON/Topic (A1).

    Authorizing statutes: SWDA, SDWA, CAA, CWA

    Please note that projects falling only under the purview of CERCLA (the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act - Superfund) cannot be supported by this fellowship.

E. References
Jackson, Shirley Ann. The Quiet Crisis: Falling Short in Producing American Scientific and Technical Talent, Building Engineering and Science Talent (2002). Available at http://www.bestworkforce.org/PDFdocs/Quiet_Crisis.pdf (PDF) (12 pp, 2.08 MB, about PDF).

Environmental Protection Agency. EPA Strategic Plan, 2006-2011. Available at http://www.epa.gov/ocfo/plan/2006/entire_report.pdf (PDF) (184 pp, 9.85 MB, about PDF).

National Research Council.  The Measure of STAR. Available at  http://www.nap.edu/catalog/10701.html (2003).

The National Science and Technology Council, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Science for the 21st Century. Available at http://www.ostp.gov/galleries/NSTC%20Reports/Science21Century.pdf (PDF) (48 pp, 1.16 MB, about PDF) (2004).

F. Special Requirements
Agency policy prevents EPA technical staff and managers from providing individual applicants with 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.  EPA employees cannot endorse any particular application.

The fellowship awards expected to be made under this RFA 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 $4.5 million will be awarded under this RFA, depending on the availability of funds and the quality of applications received. The EPA anticipates funding approximately 105 fellowships under this RFA. The projected award per fellowship is $42,000 per year total costs. Requests for amounts in excess of a total of $126,000 will not be considered. Master's level students may receive support for a maximum of two years. Doctoral students may be supported for a maximum of three years, usable over a period of five years.

The EPA reserves the right to reject all applications and make no awards, or make 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 6 months after the original selection decisions.

The fellowship provides up to $42,000 per year of support per fellowship. A maximum of $84,000 will be provided for master's fellows (two years) and up to $126,000 (three years) for doctoral fellows. The $42,000 annual support covers stipend, tuition, and expenses as follows:

Stipends: For the 2011‑2012 academic year, stipends will be $25,000 for 12‑month tenure, prorated monthly at a maximum of $2,083 for shorter periods. Funds for unused months are forfeited. Stipends are paid directly to the fellow. At its discretion, the institution may supplement a fellow's stipend from institutional funds in accordance with the supplementation policy of the institution.

Tuition and Academic Fees: Up to $12,000 per year (apportioned over the various academic semesters/quarters) will be paid directly to the institution. For the purposes of this fellowship, health insurance is an expense, not an academic fee.

Expense Allowance: Up to $5,000 will be provided to pay for items and activities for the direct benefit of the student's education and research, such as health insurance, books, supplies, computers, data analysis, publication costs, equipment, travel to technical and scientific meetings, and domestic and international travel required to conduct the proposed research. Specific instructions regarding the disbursement and management of the expense allowance will be provided during the award process.

EPA Fellowship Conference: Fellows are expected to attend the EPA Graduate Fellows Conference as long as they are in the program. Resources to support this travel are to be taken from the expense allowance.

International Activities: The Fellow's proposed research may be conducted outside the U.S. However, EPA allows only $5,000 for all expenses, including travel. See "Expense Allowance" for details. If it becomes necessary to travel outside the U.S. or its territories, you must notify your Project Officer six (6) months in advance. You will also be required to obtain local permits in other countries to conduct research there. Your Project Officer will obtain the necessary EPA and State Department approvals before the fellowship funds can be used to conduct these activities. Fellows who travel overseas will be required to comply with all provisions of the Fly America Act.

III. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

A. Eligible Applicants
Applicants must attend a fully accredited U.S. college or university (located in the U.S. or its territories) for their graduate studies. Individuals must be citizens of the U.S. or its territories or possessions, or be lawfully admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence. Resident aliens must include their green card number in their application. Resident alien applicants must have their green card at the time of application to be eligible for this Fellowship opportunity. EPA may verify this number with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service of the Department of Homeland Security.  

Applicants do not need to be enrolled in or formally accepted into a full‑time graduate program at the time they apply for a fellowship, but proof of enrollment or acceptance must be produced prior to the award of the fellowship. To be eligible for this fellowship, individuals must pursue a master's or doctoral degree in an environmental field of specialization at a fully accredited U.S. college or university (based in the U.S. or its territories).

Applicants who are in a graduate program at the time of application and meet either of the following two criteria as of November 5, 2010 ARE NOT eligible to receive a fellowship: 1) have completed more than one year in their current master's program; or 2) have completed more than four years in their current doctoral program. However, applicants enrolled in a master's program who intend to pursue a doctoral degree beginning in the fall of 2011 may apply for a doctoral fellowship.

This fellowship does preclude receiving other federal fellowships simultaneously. However, acceptance of this fellowship does not necessarily preclude acceptance of another private, state, regional, local, or non-profit scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, research assistantship, teaching assistantship, or grant aid.

Employees of the U.S. government may apply, but must be able to prove separation from Federal service before accepting this fellowship.

Diversity: EPA recognizes the need for scientists and engineers from diverse cultural backgrounds. Broadening opportunities for, and enabling participation of all individuals, including women, men, minorities and persons with disabilities, are essential to the health and vitality of science and in particular, the environmental research and development enterprise. For this reason, EPA strongly encourages women, minorities, and persons with disabilities to apply.

B. Cost-Sharing
Cost sharing is not required.

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 word or page limit is expressed in Section IV with respect to parts of the application, words and pages in excess of the limitations will not be reviewed. Applications must be received by the EPA (via direct mail/courier/express mail) or submitted electronically to Grants.gov on or before the solicitation closing date and times as identified in Section IV of this announcement or they will be returned to the sender without further consideration. All applicants must also follow the instructions for verifying that their application was received by NCER or their application may be rejected without review. Also, 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.

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

IV. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

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 their application/proposal package as confidential business information. EPA will evaluate confidentiality claims in accordance with 40 CFR Part 2. Applicants must clearly mark applications/proposals or portions thereof that they claim as confidential. If no claim of confidentiality is made, EPA is not required to make the inquiry to the applicant otherwise required by 40 CFR 2.204(c)(2) prior to disclosure. However, competitive proposals/applications are considered confidential and protected from disclosure prior to the completion of the competitive selection process.

You may submit either a paper application, or an electronic application via Grants.gov, but not both for this announcement. If not otherwise marked, the following instructions apply to both types of submissions as follows.

A. Internet Address to Request Application Package
For paper applications, STAR Fellowship forms can be found on the NCER web site: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms/. Instructions for completing these forms follow.

For electronic applications, use the application package available at Grants.gov (see "Submission Instructions for Electronic Applications"). Instructions for completing these forms follow.

For both paper and Grants.gov applications, an e-mail will be sent by NCER to the applicant to acknowledge receipt of the application and to transmit other important information. The e-mail will be sent from receipt.application@epa.gov; any e-mail sent to this address will not be accepted. Please be aware that this notification is separate from the one you will receive from Grants.gov. NCER does not notify you of receipt of your Letters of Recommendation. Due to the volume of applications received, the e-mailed acknowledgement from receipt.application@epa.gov may take several weeks. Thus, our staff will not respond to queries regarding applications received before November 30, 2010. Please make a notation on your calendar to call the toll-free number 1-800-490-9194 from Monday, November 30, to no later than 5:00 PM ET Friday, December 4, for information if you have not received the notification from receipt.application@epa.gov by that time. Failure to follow these instructions may result in your application being rejected without review. See "Submission Instructions for Electronic Applications" for additional information regarding acknowledgment of receipt of electronically submitted applications. Due to often lengthy delays in delivery, it is especially important that you monitor NCER's confirmation of receipt of your application when using US Postal Service mail. Express or courier mail is encouraged for paper applications. Also, check your e-mail spam folder and/or check your spam filter settings to ensure e-mails from EPA are delivered to your e-mail inbox.

B. Content and Form of Application Submission

Summary of Application Materials:

    Item 1 Application for Federal Assistance, Standard Form (SF) 424 (for electronic submissions via Grants.gov) or Standard Form (SF) 424 I-Individual (for paper submissions)
    Item 2 EPA Key Contacts Form (5700-54)
    Item 3 Front Page
    Item 4 Personal Statement
    Item 5 Proposal Description
    Item 6 Background Information:
    Education & Relevant Experiences
    Publications & Presentations
    Course Work
    Item 7 Letters of Recommendation (sent by referees)

The application is made by submitting the materials described below. For Items 3-6 prepare these on 8-1/2"x11" paper with one inch margins. Use a font size of 12 points or larger. It is essential that the application contain all information requested and be submitted in the formats described. It is also essential that all contact information be that of the applicant unless specifically requested otherwise. 

The applicant submits Items 1-6 either in hard-copy by mail (postal, express, or courier), or as part of the Grants.gov application (See “Submission Instructions for Electronic Applications”). The Letters of Recommendation (Item 7) are e-mailed directly to EPA by those referees writing the letters (see "Submission Instructions and Other Submission Requirements”).

NOTE: GRE Scores are NOT needed and must NOT be sent to EPA. Do NOT send a separate Budget. Do NOT send a Quality Assurance Plan. Only prepare and send the materials described below.

Item 1. Standard Form 424 (electronic) or 424 I (paper)
The student, that is the individual applying for funding, must complete Standard Form 424 for electronic submissions via Grants.gov or Standard Form 424 I (Individual) for paper submissions. This form will be the first page of the application. For paper submissions, use the 424 I-Individual form identified for Fellowships available at: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms/. For electronic submissions, use the Standard Form 424 in the electronic application package (see "Submission Instructions for Electronic Applications").
Instructions for Standard Form 424 - electronic submissions only:

Do not follow the instructions provided with the form. Instead, follow the instructions detailed below for items that may cause difficulty. Only the yellow highlighted fields of the form need to be completed.

8.a. The applicant is the student submitting the application (not an Institution).
8.b. Enter the applicant's social security number.
8.f. The contact person is the applicant (see 8.a.).
9. Enter "P: individual"
15. Provide a Title for your environmental research project. The Title (no more than 150 characters) must be brief yet represent the major thrust of the project. Because the Title will be used by those not familiar with the project, avoid highly technical words and phrases and use more commonly understood terminology. Do not use general phrases such as “research on.” If the specific topic has not been selected, enter your research area of interest.

16.a. For help finding the appropriate Congressional District, see http://www.house.gov/. If you cannot locate a Congressional District (e.g., Puerto Rico), please enter "00."
16.b. Enter "00".
17.a. Enter a Start Date of 09/01/2011.
17.b. Enter an End Date up to two (2) years later for master's degree support or up to three (3) years later for Ph.D. degree support. If necessary, these dates can be modified if you receive a fellowship.
18.a. Enter the amount of funding you are requesting ($84,000 for Master's degree, $126,000 for Ph.D.)
18.b.-f. Enter "0".
19. Enter "c" Program is not covered.
The Authorized Representative is the applicant (see 8.a.). You may enter "student" as the title. “Close Form” will save and close the form.

Instructions for Standard Form 424 I Individual - paper submissions only:

This form is in a PDF format that must be filled in first, and then printed for paper applications. It is recommended that you save an electronic copy as well. Only the sections highlighted in yellow must be filled in.
Fill-in Instructions:
Section 1: NAME OF FEDERAL AGENCY. Type in “Environmental Protection Agency.”
Section 2: CATALOG OF FEDERAL DOMESTIC ASSISTANCE NUMBER. Type in “66.514.”
CFDA TITLE: Type in “Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Fellowship Program.”
Section 3: Enter the present date.
Section 4: Click in this field to choose only one Funding Opportunity Number (FON). Click in the “TITLE” field to choose the corresponding Topic Title for the FON. They must match. See Section I.D. for a listing.

Section 5:

  1. Enter your Prefix, First and Last Name. You may include a Suffix and Middle Name if you choose, but they are not required.
  2. Enter your (Daytime) Telephone Number. You may include an evening number if you choose.
    Enter your contact e-mail address. You may include a fax number if you choose.

  3. Enter the address of your legal permanent residence (must be in the U.S. or one of its territories).
  4. Select your citizen status. If you select “No”, enter your residency information. Resident aliens must include their green card number in their application (you must have your green card at the time of application to be eligible for this Fellowship opportunity). EPA will request a copy of your green card if you are selected as a finalist may verify this number with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service of the Department of Homeland Security.
  5. Enter your social security number.
  6. Enter the Congressional district for your legal permanent residence. For help finding the appropriate Congressional District of your place of legal, permanent residence, see http://www.house.gov/. If you cannot locate a Congressional District (e.g., Puerto Rico), please enter "00".

Section 6:

  1. TITLE: Provide a Title for your environmental research project. The Title (no more than 150 characters) must be brief yet represent the major thrust of the project. Because the Title will be used by those not familiar with the project, avoid highly technical words and phrases and use more commonly understood terminology. Do not use general phrases such as “research on.” If the specific topic has not been selected, enter your research area of interest.
  2. PROJECT DESCRIPTION: COPY your Title and enter it here as well.
  3. START DATE: Enter “09/01/2011.”

    END DATE: For End Date, enter a date up to 2 years later for Master's degree support or up to 3 years later for Ph.D. degree support. If necessary, these dates can be modified if you receive a fellowship.

Section 7: For your application to be processed, you must check this box.

SIGNATURE:

For Paper applications (including express mail and courier), print the filled-out form (it is recommended that you save it as well). Sign and Date the form before mailing it in with your application package (See “Submission Instructions for Paper Applications”).

Item 2. EPA Key Contacts Form (5700-54)

The applicant must complete the "Key Contacts" form as the second page of the application as directed below. For paper submissions, use the EPA Key Contacts Form (5700-54) identified for Fellowships available at: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms/. For electronic submissions, use the EPA Key Contacts Form (5700-54) in the electronic application package (see "Submission Instructions for Electronic Applications.").

Ignore all other instructions for completing this form that may be found elsewhere. Please make certain that all contact information is accurate.

Key Contacts Form Instructions for Electronic Submissions:

Authorized Representative: Enter the applicant's current address information.

Payee: Enter the applicant's permanent address information. This is the address NCER will use for any U.S. Postal Service correspondence.

Administrative Contact: Enter the business information for the applicant's advisor. Leave blank if the applicant has not identified an advisor.

Principal Investigator: Leave blank or, if the applicant has a second advisor, please enter the second advisor's information here.

Key Contacts Form Instructions for Paper Submissions:

Use the Key Contacts form identified for Fellowships available as part of the STAR Fellowship application package at: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms/.
This form is in a PDF format that must be filled in first, and then printed for paper submission. It is recommended that you save an electronic copy as well. Only the sections highlighted in yellow must be filled in. See “Submission Instructions for Paper Applications.”

Authorized Representative: Enter the applicant's current address information.

Payee: Enter the applicant's permanent address information. This is the address NCER will use for any U.S. Postal Service correspondence.

Administrative Contact: Enter the business information for the applicant's advisor. Leave blank if the applicant has not identified an advisor.

Principal Investigator: Leave blank or, if the applicant has a second advisor, please enter the second advisor's information here.

The applicant does not need to fill out the second page.

Item 3. Front Page (1 page)

The third item of the application serves as the Front Page.

Instructions for both Electronic and Paper Submissions:

Starting with a blank page, please begin each item on a separate line using the appropriate numbered heading.

  1. Your name: Last name, first name, middle initial/name.
  2. Funding Opportunity Number and Topic Title.
  3. Current College/University, School or Department: Name and location of the college/university, school or department you are currently attending. If you are not attending a college or university at the time of application, put “N/A.”
  4. Intended College/University, School or Department: Name and location of the college/university, school or department from which your graduate degree will be obtained. NOTE: If you are undecided about the school you will attend, please enter “Not selected yet.” If you are considering multiple institutions, list your top two choices.
  5. Include the Title of your projectthe same Title used in Standard Form 424 or Standard Form 424I-Individual.
  6. Degree Sought: State if you are seeking funding to support either a master's or doctoral degree, e.g., M.S., M.A., M.P.H., Dr.P.H., Ph.D. Include the month and year you expect the degree to be awarded.
  7. Environmental Discipline. List your major discipline for your graduate studies.
  8. Educational Level (at the time of application). Enter one of the following choices:
    1. Entering Master's Student (EM) if you are seeking funding for a master's program, and have completed less than one year* toward this degree.

    or

    1. Entering Doctoral Student (ED) if you are seeking funding for a doctoral program, have completed less than one year toward this degree, and will have no other graduate or professional degree as of November 5, 2010 (e.g., MS, MA, MPH, etc.).

    or

    1. Doctoral Student (DS) if you are seeking funding for a doctoral program, have completed less than one year toward this degree, and will have completed another graduate or professional degree as of November 5, 2010 (e.g., MS, MA, MPH, etc.).

    or

    1. Continuing Doctoral Student (CD) if you are enrolled in a doctoral program and have completed more than one year, but less than four years*, toward this degree.

    * Students who have completed more than one year in their current master's program or more than four years in their current Ph.D. program at the time of application are not eligible to apply for STAR Fellowships.

For Electronic submissions via Grants.gov this item will be combined with Items 4, 5, and 6 into one PDF file that will be uploaded into Grants.gov as the “Mandatory Project Narrative” (See “Submission Instructions for Electronic Applications.”). Label the file “MandatoryProjectInfo”. Please do not use spaces or special characters in the file name as this may cause Grants.gov to reject your application.
For Paper applications, print this Item (it is recommended that you save an electronic copy as well). See “Submission Instructions for Paper Applications.”

Item 4. Personal Statement (1000 word limit)

Instructions for both Electronic and Paper Submissions:

You should use 12-point or an equivalent typeface on 8-1/2 x 11-inch paper with one-inch margins. Do not exceed the 1000 word limit.

Refer to the “Criteria for Evaluation for External Peer Review” and “Criteria for Evaluation for Internal Programmatic Review” described in Section V “Application Review Information” before completing your Personal Statement. This Item will provide insight into your organizational, analytical, and written communication skills. In general you should:

  • Explain your academic and environmental career goals.
  • Describe how your proposed course of study or research will help you achieve these goals.
  • Include any background information you believe is pertinent and provides insight into why you have chosen the goals you are pursuing.

For Electronic submissions via Grants.gov this item will be combined with Items 3, 4, and 6 into one PDF file that will be will be uploaded into Grants.gov as the “Mandatory Project Narrative” (See “Submission Instructions for Electronic Applications.”). Label the file “MandatoryProjectInfo”. Please do not use spaces or special characters in the file name as this may cause Grants.gov to reject your application.

For Paper applications, print this Item (it is recommended that you save an electronic copy as well). See “Submission Instructions for Paper Applications.”

Item 5. Proposal Description (4000 word limit [not including figure captions], plus additional pages as needed for cited references)

Instructions for both Electronic and Paper Submissions:

You should use 12-point or an equivalent typeface on 8-1/2 x 11-inch paper with one-inch margins. Do not exceed the word limit which excludes cited references.

Refer to the “Criteria for Evaluation for External Peer Review” and the “Criteria for Evaluation for Internal Programmatic Review” described in Section V “Application Review Information” before completing your Proposal Description. This Item will provide insight into your organizational, analytical, and written communication skills. You may use figures and tables, but do not deviate from the format requirements and word limits.

The Proposal Description should reflect your educational level (see guidelines below). You are advised, at a minimum, to address the general guidelines below, and those specific to your own educational level. Citation/reference pages are in addition to the word limits for the Proposal Description. You may use any citation format you choose.

General Guidelines for all Proposal Descriptions:

  • Describe the scientific and societal importance of your chosen environmental field of study.
  • Articulate how your thesis/special project/proposed environmental project/dissertation topic/research project is relevant to the protection of human health and the environment, and how it relates to your chosen FON.
  • Explain what broader societal impacts you might have as a fellow by virtue of your particular environmental interests as well as broader environmental applications resulting from your approach.

Minimum Recommended Guidelines for Proposal Description at Specific Educational Levels:

Entering Masters (EM):

  • The degree requirements for your program and your planned course of study.
  • A description of your thesis/special project if you will be undertaking one or what environmental project you would like to propose and why it is important.

Entering Doctoral (ED):

  • The degree requirements for your program and your planned course of study.
  • What environmentally-related dissertation topic you would select and why it would be important.

Doctoral Student (DS):

  • What environmentally-related dissertation topic you would select and why it would be important.
  • Influential publications in your area of interest.

Continuing Doctorate (CD):

  • Your dissertation topic, the goal of your research, and environmental problem you are focusing on and/or your hypothesis.
  • Key research published on your topic and how results of that research relate to your topic (include a list of cited literature for your research).
  • The rationale, environmental need, and approach of your research (hypothesis testing).
  • Expected results of your research and environmental benefits.

For Electronic submissions via Grants.gov this item will be combined with Items 3, 4, and 6 into one PDF file that will be uploaded into Grants.gov as the “Mandatory Project Narrative” (See “Submission Instructions for Electronic Applications.”). Label the file “MandatoryProjectInfo”. Please do not use spaces or special characters in the file name as this may cause Grants.gov to reject your application.
For Paper applications, print this Item (it is recommended that you save an electronic copy as well). See “Submission Instructions for Paper Applications.”

Item 6. Background Information

Instructions for both Electronic and Paper Submissions:

Start each section on a separate page.

Education & Relevant Experiences (1 Page Resume format)

List the academic degrees you have received or expect to receive in the near future, including the dates, discipline, and the institution. Also list your relevant experiences (this could include but is not limited to paid employment, military service, research assistantships, internships, special studies, volunteer work, etc.). Give dates and a short description of your duties in each position, listing most recent first. Give names and addresses (City and State) of employers.

Publications & Presentations (2 Pages)

If you have published in the technical/scientific literature, provide a bibliography here. If you have published in any other media (newspaper, book, etc.) provide listing here. If you have not yet published, write “NA.” Also include any presentations you have given at professional meetings (Please provide the following: title of presentation, date of presentation, type of presentation [e.g. oral or poster] and name of meeting or conference).

Course Work (use as many pages as are necessary)

Provide, in tabular form, the following information about your past and current course work (much of this information should be obtained from your transcripts): the institutions at which the credits were earned, dates, names and catalog numbers of courses taken, credit hours, grades received, and cumulative GPA for all courses taken at each degree level. Be sure to list any degree(s) received. Abbreviations are allowed if their meaning is generally understood. Note if courses were audited or not completed. If any institution you attended had a grading system different from the traditional "A, B, C" system, explain the system in a short footnote. Do not leave anything out. Include data from your entire college career. DO NOT INCLUDE COPIES OF YOUR TRANSCRIPTS. Top-ranked applicants will be required to submit official copies of transcripts for validation prior to the award of the fellowship.

For Electronic submissions via Grants.gov this item will be combined with Items 3, 4, and 5 into one PDF file that will be uploaded into Grants.gov as the “Mandatory Project Narrative” (See “Submission Instructions for Electronic Applications.”).

SAVE all Items, 3, 4, 5, and 6 into one file. Convert this one file into a PDF file. Check the file to ensure there are no conversion errors. Label the file “MandatoryProjectInfo”. Please do not use spaces or special characters in the file name as this may cause Grants.gov to reject your application.
For Paper applications, print this Item (it is recommended that you save an electronic copy as well). See “Submission Instructions for Paper Applications.”

Item 7. Letters of Recommendation

Each applicant should arrange for the submittal of three (3) current letters of recommendation on official letterhead. If the applicant has a sponsor or advisor for his/her graduate program, one of these letters of recommendation should come from that individual. At least two (2) should be from individuals who have knowledge of your academic record. The third, if you choose, may be from an individual who has supervised you (e.g. a mentor, internship supervisor, or work supervisor). Letters should not be written by the applicant. Letters of recommendation are critical components of the application. The student is strongly advised to present the guidelines below to the referees writing the recommendations.

Note: EPA employees cannot endorse any particular application.

Applicants are advised to start the process early of having your recommendations composed by the referees and sent in. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that all Letters of Recommendation are sent by referees so that they are received by EPA by the due date and time.
Failure to submit 3 Letters of Recommendation may negatively affect your score during the evaluation outlined in Section V.

Guidelines for Referees

  1. Letters of Recommendations should be written on official letterhead.
  2. Referees should include the Funding Opportunity Number (FON), corresponding Topic Title, and applicant’s name in the e-mail “subject” line when sending the letter. The applicant should provide these to the Referees.
  3. Referees are advised to use the applicant’s full name (as opposed to nicknames or shortened names) in order to ensure the Letters are matched with the applicant’s materials.
  4. Referees should write letters specifically about the applicant. Letters of Recommendation that appear to be mass produced do not generally lead to high rankings by the reviewers. It is always useful if the writer also conveys a sense of who the applicant is as an individual, particularly the applicant’s maturity, responsibility, and integrity.
  5. Referees should write Letters of Recommendation that speak to elements of the “Criteria for Evaluation for External Peer Review” and the “Criteria for Evaluation for Internal Programmatic Review” (See Section V “Application Review Information.”). At a minimum, letters of recommendation should address the applicant’s performance and potential, enthusiasm, thoughtfulness, and motivation in his/her chosen field.
  6. These letters must be submitted directly to EPA electronically via e-mail per the instructions below. All letters of recommendation must be submitted to the EPA no later than 11:59:59 PM ET on the solicitation closing date, November 5, 2010.
    1. Letters of recommendation must be submitted directly to EPA, and must be submitted to the correct e-mail address given below. All Letters must have the name of the applicant and the appropriate Funding Opportunity Number (FON) and corresponding Topic Title in the letter itself. The name of the applicant and the appropriate FON and Topic Title must appear in the “subject” line. Letters of Recommendation should be attached to the e-mail submission with a filename containing the FON and the applicant’s last name. Letters must be e-mailed to the address corresponding to the correct FON (see below). Text e-mails or other parts of the application package sent to these addresses will not receive a response. Any applications e-mailed to the Letters of Recommendation address will be rejected without review.
    2. NCER cannot guarantee that Letters of Recommendation that do not denote the applicant’s name, FON, and corresponding Topic Title will be matched with the appropriate application. Due to the potentially large number of applicants, NCER CANNOT ACKNOWLEDGE NOR VERIFTY RECEIPT OF LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION. It is the applicant's responsibility to see that letters of recommendation are submitted in a timely manner.

Letters must be submitted to the correct e-mail address below that corresponds to the applicant’s chosen FON.  Letters of recommendation cannot be submitted through Grants.gov.  Failure to submit 3 Letters of Recommendation may negatively affect your score during the evaluation outlined in Section V.

E- MAIL ADDRESSES FOR SUBMITTING LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY NUMBER TOPIC TITLE E-mail for Letters
EPA-F2011-STAR-A1 Emerging Environmental Approaches & Challenges: Innovative Investigations for Oil Spill Impacts (A1) 2011-STAR-A1-Letters@epa.gov
EPA-F2011-STAR-A2 Emerging Environmental Approaches & Challenges: Social Sciences (A2) 2011-STAR-A2-Letters@epa.gov
EPA-F2011-STAR-A3 Emerging Environmental Approaches & Challenges: Information Science (A3) 2011-STAR-A3-Letters@epa.gov
EPA-F2011-STAR-B1 Tribes and American Indian/Alaska Native/Pacific Islander Communities (B1) 2011-STAR-B1-Letters@epa.gov
EPA-F2011-STAR-C1 Nanotechnology (C1) 2011-STAR-C1-Letters@epa.gov
EPA-F2011-STAR-D1 Science & Technology for Sustainability: Environmental Entrepreneurship (D1) 2011-STAR-D1-Letters@epa.gov
EPA-F2011-STAR-D2 Science & Technology for Sustainability: Green Engineering/Building/Chemical Products & Processes/Materials Development  (D2) 2011-STAR-D2-Letters@epa.gov
EPA-F2011-STAR-D3 Science & Technology for Sustainability: Green Energy/Natural Resources Production & Use (D3) 2011-STAR-D3-Letters@epa.gov
EPA-F2011-STAR-E1 Global Change (E1) 2011-STAR-E1-Letters@epa.gov
EPA-F2011-STAR-F1 Clean Air (F1) 2011-STAR-F1-Letters@epa.gov
EPA-F2011-STAR-G1 Drinking Water (G1) 2011-STAR-G1-Letters@epa.gov
EPA-F2011-STAR-H1 Water Quality: Hydrogeology and Surface Water (H1) 2011-STAR-H1-Letters@epa.gov
EPA-F2011-STAR-H2 Water Quality: Coastal and Estuarine Processes (H2) 2011-STAR-H2-Letters@epa.gov
EPA-F2011-STAR-I1 Human Health: Public Health (I1) 2011-STAR-I1-Letters@epa.gov
EPA-F2011-STAR-I2 Human Health: Risk Assessment and Risk Management (I2) 2011-STAR-I2-Letters@epa.gov
EPA-F2011-STAR-J1 Ecosystem Services: Aquatic Systems Ecology (J1) 2011-STAR-J1-Letters@epa.gov
EPA-F2011-STAR-J2 Ecosystem Services: Terrestrial Systems Soil and Plant Ecology (J2) 2011-STAR-J2-Letters@epa.gov
EPA-F2011-STAR-J3 Ecosystem Services: Terrestrial Systems Animal Ecology (J3) 2011-STAR-J3-Letters@epa.gov
EPA-F2011-STAR-K1 Pesticides and Toxic Substances (K1) 2011-STAR-K1-Letters@epa.gov
EPA-F2011-STAR-L1 Land Protection (L1) 2011-STAR-L1-Letters@epa.gov

C. Submission Dates and Times

Electronic Submissions:

Electronic applications must be submitted to Grants.govby 11:59:59 PM ET on the solicitation closing date, November 5, 2010.

This includes:

    Item 1: Application for Federal Assistance, Standard Form (SF) 424 entered through Grants.gov

    Item 2: EPA Key Contacts Form (5700-54) entered through Grants.gov

    Items 3, 4, 5, & 6: Uploaded as one PDF file labeled “MandatoryProjectInfo” into Grants.gov through “Add Mandatory Project Narrative File” (See “Submission Instructions for Electronic Applications”).

Paper Submissions:

Paper applications [one original, and one (1) copy for a total of two (2) copies] must be received by EPA by 4:00 PM ET on the solicitation closing date, November 5, 2010. See “Submission Instructions for Paper Applications” for more details.

Letters of Recommendation:

All Letters of Recommendation (see IV.B. Item 7 above) must be submitted by e-mail to the EPA no later than 11:59:59 PM ET on the solicitation closing date, November 5, 2010.

It should be noted that this schedule may be changed without prior notification because of factors that were not anticipated at the time of announcement. In the case of a change in the required solicitation closing date, a new date will be posted on the NCER web site (http://www.epa.gov/ncer/). Applications received after the closing date will be returned to the sender without further consideration.

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 a grant 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 fellowship agreement, the EPA anticipates that there will be no substantial EPA involvement in the design, implementation, or conduct of the research. However, the EPA will monitor research progress through annual reports and other contacts with the Fellow. Additionally, once selected, continued funding is contingent on availability of funds.

Please note that when formulating budgets for 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.

E. Submission Instructions and Other Submission Requirements
You may submit only one application for this announcement through only one of the following methods:

  1. Electronically via Grants.gov.
  2. Paper application.

Contact individuals for your Letters of Recommendation as soon as possible. They are sent separately via e-mail.

Submission Instructions for Electronic Applications

Please read this entire section before attempting an electronic submission through Grants.gov. It is the responsibility of the applicant to see that these instructions are followed. Failure to follow these instructions may result in your application being rejected without review.

START EARLY! Grants.gov requires a new individual registration to submit an application for this solicitation; however, registration is not required to view the application package. To register, go to http://www.Grants.gov/, click on "Get Registered," click on "Individual Registration." Allow at least one day for the registration to be activated. Safeguard your username and password, as this information can take a great deal of time to retrieve should it be misplaced. Note that the use of an organizational registration (e.g., an academic institution registration) will result in a Grants.gov rejection.

Due to the potentially high volume of applications submitted as the deadline time approaches, it is possible that the Grants.gov electronic submission and telephone assistance systems may become overwhelmed. To assure successful transmission, it is highly recommended that you do not delay submission of your application past 10:00 AM ET on the deadline day. The complete application must be submitted to Grants.gov no later than 11:59:59 PM ET on November 5, 2010. Please note that the Grants.gov telephone assistance line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week excluding Federal holidays.

Note for Fellowship Applicants
As part of the registration process with Grants.gov, applicants need to enter a Funding Opportunity Number (FON) on the "Registration with Credential Provider" page. There is a problem with some FONs that results in an error message. If you encounter this problem, please use the work around FON: 0716-INDV-REGISTRATION.

The electronic application package available through the http://www.Grants.gov/ web site must be used for electronic submissions. The Grants.gov "Applicant's User Guide" is available at http://www.Grants.gov/help/user_guides.jsp. Grants.gov presents an animated tutorial for individual applicants at http://www.Grants.gov/tutorials/individual/Animated2009/index.htm. View a narrated tutorial on how to complete a grant application package using Adobe at http://www.Grants.gov/flash/AdobeReaderApplicationTutorial_skin.swf.

Note: Grants.gov is not compatible with all internet browsers nor is it readily compatible with all computers. To avoid fatal submission problems, please check the compatibility of the browser and computer system you intend to use prior to attempting to submit an electronic application. The Grants.gov system requirements are: Windows 98, ME, NT 4.0, 2000, XP; 500 MHz processor; 128 MB of RAM; 40 MB disk space; Web browser: Internet Explorer 5.01 or higher. If your default internet browser is not Internet Explorer, contact Grants.gov (1-800-518-4726) for assistance. If your computer system is not listed, please consider submitting a paper application to avoid fatal submission problems. Also, while submitting an application to Grants.gov via dial-up service is possible, the transfer can take one hour or longer and is prone to connection interruptions. Please consider submitting a paper application if you do not have a high-speed internet connection available. For more information on browsers and Adobe Reader, please see http://www.grants.gov/help/download_software.jsp.

Application Package Preparation. See instructions at Section IV.B above. The application package consists of 1 though 5 below.

  1. On the initial electronic Grant Application Package page, complete the "Application Filing Name" field by entering the Applicant's name, starting with the last name. Note: Applicants do not need to complete the "Competition ID" field.
  2. Application for Federal Assistance (SF 424): See instructions in Item 1 of Section IV.B. above. Do not follow the instructions provided with the form. Instead, follow the instructions in Section IV.B. above.
  3. EPA Key Contacts Form 5700-54: Complete the form as described in Section IV.B. Item 2. above. Ignore all other instructions for completing this form that may be found elsewhere.
  4. Items 3-6 Attachment Form (click on "Add Mandatory Project Narrative"): Attach a single electronic file labeled "MandatoryProjectInfo" that contains the Items 3, 4, 5, and 6 described in Section IV.B. above. This file must be submitted in PDF format. 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.

Letters of Recommendation cannot be submitted electronically through Grants.gov; see Section IV.B. Item 7 above for submission instructions. All Letters of Recommendation MUST be submitted by e-mail to the EPA no later than 11:59:59 PM ET on November 5, 2010.

Once the application package has been completed, the "Submit" button should be enabled (you may need to "Check Package for Errors" as well as save the file before this occurs). If the "Submit" button is not active, please contact Grants.gov for assistance (Telephone: 1-800-518-4726). Applicants should save the completed application package with two different file names to avoid having to re-key the forms should submission problems be experienced.

Submitting the application to Grants.gov:
Minor problems are not uncommon with transfers to Grants.gov. In addition, slow connection and transfer rates are generally experienced as the deadline time approaches due to high demand. To assure successful transmission, it is highly recommended that you do not delay submission of your application past 10:00 AM ET on the deadline day. For frequently asked questions concerning submissions via Grants.gov, please see http://www07.Grants.gov/help/submit_application_faqs.jsp.

Close all other software before attempting to submit the electronic application package. Click the "Submit" button of the application package. Your internet browser will launch and a sign-in page will appear within a few minutes. Enter your individual registration user name and password.

A successful transfer should take no longer than 10-15 minutes and will end with an on-screen acknowledgement. "Print Screen" or “screen capture” this acknowledgement for documentation purposes. (Note: Subsequent E-mail acknowledgements from Grants.gov regarding your submission may take as long as 48 hours to arrive.) If you experience submission problems, 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). The Grants.gov support desk operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Transmission Difficulties. If transmission difficulties continue after following the above instructions, follow the guidance below. NCER may decide to review the application if it is clearly demonstrated that the transmission difficulties were due solely as a result of unavoidable and unresolvable 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 calendar days of the request. All e-mails, as described below, are to be sent to Ron Josephson (josephson.ron@EPA.gov) with the FON in the subject line. Note: Grants.gov will issue a “case number” upon being contacted for assistance.

  1. Unsuccessful transfer of the application package: If a successful transfer of the application cannot be accomplished due to electronic submission issues, send an e-mail before 11:59:59 PM ET on the solicitation closing date. In that e-mail, document the problem, include the Grants.gov “case number,” and attach the entire application in PDF format.
  2. Grants.gov rejection of the application: If a notification is received from Grants.gov stating that the application has been rejected for reasons other than late submittal or use of an institutional rather than an individual registration, immediately send an e-mail. In that e-mail, document the problem, include all materials provided by Grants.gov, and attach the entire application in PDF format.

Grants.gov will send several e-mails during their processing of the application. Their last e-mail will state that the application has been transferred to the Agency and is undergoing review. Save these e-mails for documentation purposes; however, the critical e-mail is the one acknowledging receipt by the NCER Fellowship Program. This e-mail will be sent from receipt.application@epa.gov.

Due to the volume of applications received, the e-mailed acknowledgement from receipt.application@epa.gov may take several weeks. Thus, EPA staff will not respond to queries regarding applications prior to November 30, 2010. Please make a notation on your calendar to call the toll-free number 1-800-490-9194 from Monday, November 30, to no later than 5:00 PM ET Friday, December 4, for information if you have not received the notification from receipt.application@epa.gov by that time. Failure to follow these instructions may result in your application being rejected without review.

Submission Instructions for Paper Applications

Your paper application must contain the following:

  1. One original set of Items 1-6. Item 1 should have an original signature.
  2. One additional copy of Items 1-2, which will be used for processing; and one additional copy of Items 3-6 which will be for scanning purposes. Do not permanently bind or staple any of these copies; please use either binder or paper clips to secure them.
  3. Please, if possible, include an electronic copy of your application (e.g., on a CD) to help speed up data entry.

Letters of Recommendation must be submitted by e-mail. Do not have referees mail Letters of Recommendation. Letters of Recommendation received by mail will be rejected.

Because of security concerns, paper applications cannot be personally delivered. They must be sent through regular mail, express mail, or a major courier.

The following address must be used for regular mail only:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Peer Review Division (8725F)
Funding Opportunity Number: (applicant: place the appropriate FON here or your application may be sorted incorrectly!)
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460
ATTN: Ron Josephson

Please note also that due to security concerns, applications sent in by regular mail to the Agency may not be received by NCER for several weeks. Therefore, if you must send in a paper application, the Agency strongly encourages you to use an express mail or courier service.

The following address must be used for express mail and couriers only (encouraged):

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Peer Review Division (8725F)
Funding Opportunity Number: (applicant: place the appropriate FON here, or your application may be sorted incorrectly!)
1025 F Street, NW (Room 3500)
Washington, DC 20004
Phone: (202) 343-9800
ATTN: Ron Josephson

Electronic applications MUST be submitted to Grants.gov no later than 11:59:59 PM, Eastern Time (ET), on November 5, 2010.

Paper applications must be received by EPA no later than 4:00 PM, Eastern time (ET), on November 5, 2010. Allow sufficient time to assure delivery by 4:00 PM ET on November 5, 2010. Due to uncertainties associated with timely delivery of regular mail, it is especially important to provide an e-mail address to which an acknowledgment of receipt notification can be sent (see Section IV.A. above).

NOTE: Letters of Recommendation must be e-mailed to EPA, and all of them MUST be submitted no later than 11:59:59 PM ET, on November 5, 2010 (see Section IV. B. Item 7 above for further instructions).

V. APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION

A. External Peer Review
All eligible fellowship applications are reviewed by an appropriate external technical peer review comprised of individual experts. Each external review 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. This review is designed to evaluate each applicant on his or her potential for success in an environmental graduate study program. The review is conducted by at least three external peer reviewers. Reviewers are first asked to individually assign a score of excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor to each application based on Criteria I, Criteria II, and Criteria III detailed below. Criteria I, Criteria II, and Criteria III will be weighted equally. Reviewers may revise their reviews and scores based on any discussion that occurs at the in-person meeting of the reviewers. Individual scores are averaged and translated into the final external peer review score by EPA staff. Applications receiving a final score of excellent as a result of this external peer review process will then undergo an internal programmatic review described below.

Criteria for External Peer Review:

Criteria I. Comment on the Scientific Merit of the Applicant's Proposed Area of Inquiry. To evaluate the scientific merit of the applicant's proposed area of inquiry, reviewers will consider the following elements, to be weighted equally:

  • The candidate's organizational, analytical, and written skills;
  • The candidate's demonstrated potential for success in working as a member of a team and individually;
  • The candidate's potential for scientific curiosity, creativity, acumen, and success in research appropriate to his/her educational level as indicated in their planned course of study (which may include a thesis project/dissertation topic description and listing relevant research literature based on educational level); and,
  • The proposal, as appropriate to the candidate's educational level, for its technical merit, social application, potential for success, and expected environmental benefits.

Criteria II: Comment on the Applicant's Demonstrated Commitment to an Environmental Career. To evaluate the applicant's demonstrated commitment to an environmental career, reviewers will consider the following elements, to be weighted equally:

  • The degree to which the candidate possesses a strong potential for pursuing an environmental career;
  • The candidate's demonstrated commitment to the environment and/or potential for leadership in the environmental arena;
  • The candidate's demonstrated potential for success in attaining an advanced degree in an environmentally-related field; and,
  • The candidate's demonstrated potential for maturity, responsibility, and integrity.

Criteria III. Comment on the Potential for Broader Societal Impacts. To evaluate the potential for broader societal impacts, reviewers will consider the following, which are weighted equally:

  • Evaluating how the applicant, by virtue of his/her environmental interests, may encourage diversity, broaden opportunities, and enable the participation of all citizenswomen and men, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilitiesin the protection of human health and the environment;
  • Evaluating how the applicant addresses possibilities for disseminating environmental research results and information; and,
  • Evaluating how the applicant proposes to collaborate with other [non-federal] sectors and users to advance environmental decision-making.

B. Internal Programmatic Review
Applications receiving a final score of excellent as a result of the external peer review process will then undergo an internal programmatic review conducted by technical experts from the EPA. All other applications are automatically declined.

The STAR fellowship solicitation typically results in more applicants receiving an excellent rating from the external peer review process than there are funds. Therefore, those applications which receive a final score of excellent from the external peer review are further subjected to an internal programmatic review to help determine which applications to recommend for award. This process helps ensure that proposals relate to the mission of the EPA, and assures an integrated, balanced research portfolio for the Agency. EPA experts conducting the internal programmatic review assess the excellent applications against the criteria and process described below.

The criteria below are of equal importance.

Criteria for Internal Programmatic Review:

Comment on the Relevance to EPA's Mission of Protecting Human Health and the Environment. To evaluate the merit of the proposed area of inquiry in the internal programmatic review, reviewers will consider the following elements, which are weighted equally:

  1. The strength and degree to which the proposed area of inquiry relates to protection of human health and the environment in light of EPA's authorizing statutes while not being duplicative of a government effort [e.g. supported by EPA or some other source];
  2. The strength and degree to which the proposed area of inquiry has the potential to improve environmental management decisions and practices and/or improve the managing of complex environmental problems; and,
  3. The strength and degree to which the proposed area of inquiry provides a focus for future approaches towards assessing and managing environmental risks.

Comment on the Potential for Broader Environmental Application. To evaluate the potential for broader environmental application in the internal programmatic review, reviewers will consider the following elements, which are weighted equally:

  1. The strength and degree to which the application proposes consideration, where appropriate, of persons and groups affected by disproportionate environmental impacts and/or unequal distribution of environmental protection; and,
  2. The strength and degree to which the applicant proposes to carry out activities in a sustainable fashion [e.g. conserving water and energy, minimizing waste and toxics] appropriate to his/her environmental interests.

C. Funding Decisions
Final funding decisions are made by the NCER Director based on the results of the external peer review and internal programmatic review. In addition, in making the final funding decisions, the NCER Director may also consider the availability of funds, program goals, such as distribution of awards across disciplines, institutions and geography, and degree level being sought. Applicants selected for funding will be required to provide the additional information listed below under “Award Notices.” The application will then be forwarded to EPA’s Grants and Interagency Management Division for award in accordance with the EPA’s procedures.

VI. AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

A. Award Notices
A written evaluation provided by the external peer review will be provided to each applicant with an award or declination letter. If selected to receive a fellowship, you will be contacted no later than April 1, 2011 and should subsequently receive your official notification of award by June 30, 2011, for the fall term. Please note that this schedule may be changed without notification due to factors that were not anticipated at the time of announcement. The earliest anticipated start date for these awards is September 1, 2011.

You are advised to retain this announcement for future reference.

The official notification of an award will be made by the EPA's Grants and Interagency Management Division. Selected applicants will be required to provide the following information to complete the application process:

  1. EPA Form 5770‑2, "Fellowship Application".  This form is available on the NCER web page (www.epa.gov/ncer/fellow/).
  2. Additional information and documentation about your educational status and tuition/other costs.
  3. Sealed official transcripts.
  4. Fellowship Recipient Abstract, not to exceed one page, which should include: Project Title, Name of Fellow, Institution, EPA Project Officer, Project Period, FON/Topic, Description of Research Project (including Objective(s)/Research Questions(s), Approach, Results or Expected Results, Potential to further Human Health and the Environment, and Keywords).
  5. A project synopsis written in non-technical terms not to exceed 595 characters (approximately seven typed lines).

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.

C. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
Terms and conditions associated with this award can be found at http://www.epa.gov/ncer/guidance/.

  1. Reporting: Fellowship recipients must provide annual progress reports in order to retain their funding, and must provide a final report upon termination of the award. Fellows are expected to maintain contact with the Agency for at least five years after graduation.
  2. Meetings: Fellows are required to attend the EPA Graduate Fellows Conference as long as they are in the program. Resources to support this travel are to be taken from the expense allowance.
  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 CFR § 26. Studies involving intentional exposure of human subjects who are children or pregnant or nursing women are prohibited by Subpart B of 40 CFR § 26. For observational studies involving children or pregnant women and fetuses please refer to Subparts C & D of 40 CFR § 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." EPA’s regulation 40 CFR § 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 applicant’s 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 fellowship 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. Acknowledgement of EPA Support: EPA's 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 the agreement for distribution to the public or inclusion in a scientific, technical, or other journal shall include the following statement:

      This publication [article] was made possible by EPA fellowship number _______.  Its contents are solely the responsibility of the fellow and do not necessarily represent the official views of the EPA.  Further, the EPA does not endorse the purchase of any commercial products or services mentioned in the publication.

    A graphic that can 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.

VII. AGENCY CONTACTS

Further information, if needed, may be obtained from the EPA/NCER resources listed below. To obtain information most quickly, consult the "Guidance & FAQs." If your question is not covered, then call the toll-free telephone number or send a query to the 2011FellowshipsRFA@epa.gov e-mail address. You will receive a personal response through a return telephone call or e-mail. Information regarding this RFA obtained from sources other than those indicated may not be accurate. 

Guidance & FAQs: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/guidance/faqs.html
Contact Person: Brandon Jones (2011FellowshipsRFA@epa.gov)
Toll Free Number: 1-800-490-9194
Electronic E-mail Submissions Contact: Ron Josephson (josephson.ron@epa.gov); phone: 703-308-0442
Eligibility Contact: James Gentry (gentry.james@epa.gov); phone: 202-343-9798

Jump to main content.