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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

Valuation of Environmental Impacts on Children’s Health

Opening Date: January 18, 2002
Closing Date: May 8, 2002

Summary of Program Requirements
Introduction
Background
Description
Funding
Eligibility
Standard Instructions for Submitting an Application
Additional Requirements
Contact

Get Standard STAR Forms and Instructions (http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms/index.html)
View NCER Research Capsules (http://www.epa.gov/ncer/publications/topical/)
View research awarded under previous solicitations (http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/research.search/rpt/abs/type/3)

SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS
GENERAL INFORMATION

Program Title: Valuation of Environmental Impacts on Children’s Health

Synopsis of Program:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, is seeking applications for research leading to improved theoretical and/or empirical estimates of the value of reducing environmental risks to children’s health.  EPA is particularly interested in risks to children’s health from toxic substances and/or microbial threats in food, the air, surface, ground, or drinking water, or in the soil or other materials.  EPA wants to identify appropriate measures of willingness to pay (WTP) for reductions in (1) morbidity and (2) mortality risks to children’s health.  All proposals should clearly identify the environmental stressors and resulting health effects that will be investigated, as well as the attributes of children (as children and as future adults) that are altered by those effects.  Examples of such attributes include intelligence, fertility, functionality, mobility, and life expectancy.  Emphasis should be on development of empirical research and data.

Contact Person:  Matthew Clark, PhD., 202-564-6842; email: clark.matthew@epa.gov
Applicable Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s): 66.500

Eligibility Information:
Academic and not-for-profit institutions located in the U.S., and state or local governments are eligible to apply for assistance under this program.

Award Information:
Anticipated Type of Award: Grant
Estimated Number of Awards: Approximately four to eight
Anticipated Funding Amount: Approximately $1 million - $2 million
Potential Funding per Grant per Year: Dependent upon topic addressed by application
Limitations: Requests over $400,000 total will not be considered

Sorting Code(s):
The sorting code for applications submitted in response to this solicitation is
2002-STAR-F1.

Deadline/Target Dates:
Letter of Intent Due Date(s): None
Application Proposal Due Date(s): May 8, 2002


INTRODUCTION

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Research and Development, National Center for Environmental Research (NCER), in cooperation with the EPA Office of Children’s Health Protection (OCHP) announces the third year of an extramural grants competition supporting research leading to improved valuation of reducing environmental risks to children’s health.

EPA has supported similar socio-economic research in prior years through the EPA/NSF joint program on Decision-making and Valuation for Environmental Policy, and through the 2000 and 2001 Valuation of Environmental Impacts on Children’s Health Solicitations.  The competition encourages proposals from researchers from all behavioral, social, and economic sciences.  It encourages collaborations with non-social science disciplines when needed to answer important social science questions.  It will support research conducted within a single disciplinary tradition, and encourages novel, collaborative, and interdisciplinary scientific efforts.

BACKGROUND

Public decisions on health protection often depend on sound benefit-cost analysis, or related economic assessments.  Therefore, EPA is interested in sponsoring economic valuation research that will enhance the ability of all public and private stakeholders to evaluate policies and actions that may protect people from environmental health threats.  In this solicitation, EPA is requesting research proposals that develop theoretical and/or empirical methods and data to better value the health risks to children from environmental sources.  EPA is particularly interested in risks to children’s health from toxic substances and/or microbial threats in food, the air, surface, ground, or drinking water, or in the soil or other materials.

Federal policy states that health and safety regulations should recognize and explicitly account for risks to children.  Recent research has shown that children differ from adults in both the kind and the severity of environmentally induced adverse health effects.  Assessments of the impact of environmental pollutants on children’s health have not included appropriate economic valuations.  Economic valuation studies have focused on individual adults’ willingness to pay to reduce risks to themselves, not children.  While valuing reductions in adverse children’s health effects is increasingly critical for selecting appropriate risk-reducing policies and actions, information is extremely limited about both the adverse effects of environmental risks to children, and the value of reducing these risks.  This solicitation focuses on improved understanding of the latter issue, valuation of reducing health risks to children.

A separate conceptual issue is that existing economic valuation literature is based primarily on the concept of individual consumer willingness-to-pay (WTP) for marginal changes in circumstances that affect each person’s own well-being.  Economic analyses customarily assume fully informed and rational consumer behavior when making choices involving risk tradeoffs.  Children, particularly young children, often lack the experience and resources - including information, judgment, and income - to indicate a meaningful willingness to pay.  The resources and preferences of some other party generally provide the correct basis for estimating benefits.  Therefore, analysis of policies affecting children’s health typically cannot rely on individual willingness to pay as a measure of benefits.

DESCRIPTION

To promote research that would enhance economic valuation of reducing environmental risks to children’s health, EPA requests applications for research funding to identify willingness to pay (WTP) for reductions in (1) morbidity and (2) mortality risks to children’s health.  All proposals should clearly identify the environmental stressors and resulting health effects that will be investigated, as well as the attributes of children (as children and as future adults) that are altered by those effects.  Examples of such attributes include intelligence, fertility, functionality, mobility, and life expectancy.  Emphasis should be on development of empirical research and data.

This year’s Valuation of Environmental Impacts on Children’s Health solicitation requests proposals addressing both acute and chronic threats to children’s health.  EPA invites development of WTP estimates for a variety of health endpoints including: (a) childhood cancers, (b) incidence of food- or water-borne pathogenic illnesses, (c) developmental disorders; (d) respiratory illnesses; and (e) diseases, both fatal and non-fatal, that may manifest in adulthood as a result of childhood exposure to toxins or pathogens.  Proposals should clearly identify where outcomes are specific to certain health endpoints, and to the robustness of results with respect to different health endpoints.

Research proposals should address one or both of the objectives below:

 1. Development of methods to measure the value of reducing morbidity and mortality risks to children’s health using either established or novel techniques.
 2. Development of empirical estimates of the value of reducing a specific risk or set of related risks.
Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals that achieve more than one of these objectives and involve experts from economics and other disciplines.

Examples of related research questions:

  • What is the value for reducing fatal risks to children and how does it compare to a similar value for adults?
  • What is the value of lost school or recreational days, reduced intelligence, or other measures of avoided child morbidity?
  • What are the roles of age, dependency, ongoing development, and future potential of children in affecting how valuation of potential long-term effects is derived?
  • What is the role of family structure (e.g., presence or absence of, or number of children in household) on the valuation of children’s health?
  • What is the role of altruism – particularly to unrelated children – in how people (society) value reductions in children’s health risks?
  • How should the inter-generational aspects of risks, imposed by the current generation, on future generation(s) be addressed?
The results of this research are expected to inform federal and state policy-makers in both executive and legislative capacities, as well as members of regulated communities, the academic community, and public interest groups, all of whom will be stakeholders and participants in the debate on uses of children’s health valuation results.

RELATED EPA INFORMATION SOURCES

Applicants are encouraged to avail themselves of information in the following sources during preparation of proposals.  In addition to this solicitation, in the area of socio-economic research, this year EPA plans to issue solicitations addressing valuation of ecological services, environmental behavior, government interventions, and market-based incentives, subject to available funding. EPA also is issuing solicitations for research to characterize the effects of various environmental factors on children’s health.  Information on announcements and awards made in these competitions may be found on the at: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/.  Other EPA programs have an interest in research and policy development related to children’s health and valuation.  Information on activities of the Office of Children’s Health Protection, a partner in this solicitation, can be found at http://www.epa.gov/children/.   The National Center for Environmental Economics of the Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation has conducted and compiled a number of health valuation related studies, see:  http://yosemite1.epa.gov/ee/epa/eed.nsf/pages/homepage?Opendocument.  See particularly the results of workshops on health valuation and the valuation of fatal risk reduction at: http://yosemite1.epa.gov/ee/epa/wkshp.nsf/224b313b40f60b768525679f007b2e50/7d08536d29fb2741852567d2006e608a?OpenDocument and http://yosemite1.epa.gov/ee/epa/wkshp.nsf/224b313b40f60b768525679f007b2e50/fc9dc32ccab4f3c985256ad9004e1488?OpenDocument,respectively.

FUNDING

EPA anticipates making approximately four to eight awards totaling about $1 million to $2 million.  The projected range is from $50,000 to $200,000 per award per year, with durations from one to three years.  Field experiments, survey research, and multi-investigator projects may justify the higher funding level.  Awards made through this competition will depend on the availability of funds. Requests for amounts in excess of a total of $400,000 will not be considered.

ELIGIBILITY

Academic and not-for-profit institutions located in the U.S., and state or local governments, are eligible under all existing authorizations.  Profit-making firms are not eligible to receive grants from EPA under this program.  Federal agencies and national laboratories funded by federal agencies (Federally-funded Research and Development Centers, FFRDCs) may not apply.

Federal employees are not eligible to serve in a principal leadership role on a grant.  FFRDC employees may cooperate or collaborate with eligible applicants within the limits imposed by applicable legislation and regulations.  They may participate in planning, conducting, and analyzing the research directed by the principal investigator, but may not direct projects on behalf of the applicant organization or principal investigator.  The principal investigator's institution may provide funds through its grant from EPA to a FFRDC for research personnel, supplies, equipment, and other expenses directly related to the research.  However, salaries for permanent FFRDC employees may not be provided through this mechanism.

Federal employees may not receive salaries or in other ways augment their agency's appropriations through grants made by this program.  However, federal employees may interact with grantees so long as their involvement is not essential to achieving the basic goals of the grant.  The principal investigator’s institution may also enter into an agreement with a federal agency to purchase or utilize unique supplies or services unavailable in the private sector.  Examples are purchase of satellite data, census data tapes, chemical reference standards, analyses, or use of instrumentation or other facilities not available elsewhere, etc.  A written justification for federal involvement must be included in the application, along with an assurance from the federal agency involved which commits it to supply the specified service.

Potential applicants who are uncertain of their eligibility should contact Jack Puzak in NCER, phone (202) 564-6825, email: puzak.jack@epa.gov.

STANDARD INSTRUCTIONS FOR SUBMITTING AN APPLICATION

A set of special instructions on how applicants should apply for an NCER grant is found on the NCER web site, http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms/index.html. Standard Instructions for Submitting a STAR Application and the necessary forms for an application also will be found on this web site.

SORTING CODES

The need for sorting codes to be used in the application and for mailing is described in the Standard Instructions for Submitting a STAR Application.  The sorting code for applications submitted in response to this solicitation is:

2002-STAR-F1 for Valuation of Children’s’ Health.
 
The deadline for receipt of the application at NCER is no later than 4:00 p.m. ET, May 8, 2002.

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS

In addition to the standard application, the following is also required:

Data Availability
The application must include a plan to make available all data (including primary and secondary data) from observations, analyses, or model development, in a format and with documentation so that others in the scientific community may utilize them.  The data must be made available to the EPA Project Officer without restriction and be accompanied by comprehensive metadata documentation adequate for specialists and non-specialists alike to be able to understand how and where the data were obtained and to evaluate the quality of the data.  The data, databases, and metadata must be provided to the Project Officer in standard exchange format no later than the due date of the grant’s final report or the publication of the data, databases, and metadata’s associated results, whichever comes first.

Applicants who develop databases containing proprietary or restricted information should provide a strategy to make the data widely available, while protecting privacy or property rights.  The plan and strategy identified in this section should not exceed two pages.  These pages are in addition to the 15 pages permitted for the project description.


 1 EPA encourages interaction between its own laboratory scientists and grant principal investigators for the sole purpose of exchanging information in research areas of common interest that may add value to their respective research activities.  However, this interaction must be incidental to achieving the goals of the research under a grant.  Interaction that is "incidental" is not reflected in a research proposal and involves no resource commitments.

CONTACT

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

Dr. Matthew Clark
EPA National Center for Environmental Research
clark.matthew@epa.gov
voice (202) 564-6842
Fax (202) 565-2447

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