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

CLOSED - FOR REFERENCES PURPOSES ONLY

Superfund Minority Institutions Program: Hazardous Substance Research

Opening Date: January 30, 2002
Closing Date: July 3, 2002

Summary of Program Requirements
Introduction
Background
Scope of Research
Funding
Eligibility
Standard Instructions for Submitting an Application
Contacts

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



SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS
GENERAL INFORMATION

Program Title:

Superfund Minority Institutions Program: Hazardous Substance Research

Synopsis of Program:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Research and Development (ORD), National Center for Environmental Research (NCER), is seeking applications for the Superfund Minority Institutions Program that will provide extramural funding to minority institutions via grants to conduct research on Superfund related topics.  Appropriate projects include research on risk assessment and risk management issues associated with contaminated sites as well as related subjects such as community assessment and involvement, susceptible populations and tribal-specific topics.

Contact Person(s):

Nora Savage; Phone: 202-564-8228; email: savage.nora@epa.gov

Eligibility Information:

Minority institutions, including  Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), and Native American Tribal Colleges (TC) in the U.S. are eligible under all existing authorizations. (See U.S. Department of Education Accredited Postsecondary Minorities Institutions list http://www.ed.gov/offices/OCR/minorityinst.html exit EPA )

Applicable Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s): 66.500

Award Information:

Anticipated Type of Award: Grant
Estimated Number of Awards: 6
Anticipated Funding Amount: $2.4 million
Potential Funding per Grant $400,000.  Proposals that exceed $400,000 will not be considered.

Sorting Code:

The sorting code for applications submitted in response to this solicitation is 2002-NCER-K1.

Deadline/Target Dates:

Letter of Intent Due Date(s): None
Application Proposal Due Date(s): July 3, 2002



INTRODUCTION

In this announcement, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Research and Development (ORD), National Center for Environmental Research (NCER), invites grant applications from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), and Native American Tribal Colleges (TCs) (collectively referred to hereafter as “minority institutions”) for research relevant to hazardous substance problems addressed by the Superfund program.  Appropriate projects include research on risk assessment and risk management issues associated with contaminated sites, as well as related subjects such as community assessment and involvement, susceptible populations and tribal-specific topics.

BACKGROUND

Recognizing that scientific knowledge and existing science-based technologies are inadequate to fully address the identification, remediation, and management of hazardous substance problems, Congress enacted the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA), which amended the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980 to include a new Section 311, entitled Research, Development and Demonstration. The broad purpose of Section 311 is to establish a comprehensive Federal program of research, development, demonstration, and training to promote alternative and advanced treatment technologies and to improve the scientific capability to detect, assess, and mitigate risks associated with all major aspects of the manufacture, use, and disposal of hazardous substances.

Assessing and remediating problems associated with hazardous substances in soils, sediments, groundwater, abandoned buildings, old landfills, etc. has been the subject of considerable research by EPA and other agencies since the passage of CERCLA.  At EPA, a significant portion of this research has been carried out by Hazardous Substances Research Centers (HSRCs) that were established in EPA in 1989 under the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (http://www.epa.gov/ncer/centers/hsrc/89/).  Five new HSRCs were recently awarded by EPA to continue this mission (http://www.epa.gov/ncer/centers/hsrc/01/).  However, the problems of contaminated sites are ubiquitous, and it is important to continue to expand the capabilities to address them.  Many difficult problems are still not sufficiently understood or addressed with current knowledge.  EPA understands that it is particularly important to expand capability and understanding at minority institutions, due to the fact that Superfund sites are often disproportionately located in areas where minorities reside.  Therefore, this solicitation is specifically to support hazardous substances research at minority institutions.

Over the past five years, a number of research plans and strategies have contributed to the identification of priority research and assistance needs for hazardous substance problems. The most important was produced by the President’s National Science and Technology Council through its Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources (CENR). The CENR publication, a National R&D Strategy for Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Solid Waste, was the first consensus Federal “framework” for research on hazardous substances. The CENR strategy adopted “risk” as its organizing theme. The three primary areas of research emphasis were: (1) risk management, (2) risk assessment, and (3) training, technical assistance, technology transfer, and outreach. Each of these primary areas is further divided into specific research focus areas.

SCOPE of RESEARCH

To develop an optimal research portfolio, EPA developed its perspective on waste research priorities by evaluating the CENR document and other information. In this Request for Applications (RFA), the Agency is soliciting proposals in areas of risk management,  risk assessment, and risk communication.  Examples of research areas of interest are identified below.  However, applicants are not limited to these areas, as long as the proposed research is responsive to the goals of this RFA.

Areas of research

Characterization:

  • methods for contaminant sampling to determine location and magnitude

  •  
  • sensitive quantitative analysis of selected compounds

  •  
  • effective design of site-specific sampling strategies
Risk assessment:
  • bioavailability of contaminants to humans and the ecosystem

  •  
  • ecological effects of contaminants

  •  
  • issues of dermal exposure to contaminants
Remediation:
  • basic processes involved in contaminant interactions with the media in which they are found (soil, vadose zone, ground water and sediments) that could be enhanced to promote less costly subsurface media remediation which meets clean-up standards

  •  
  • cost-effective subsurface remediation processes for (1) metals and inorganics, (2) contaminated sediments, and (3) dense non-aqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs)

  •  
  • environmental impacts of existing and innovative remediation techniques, particularly for contaminated sediments

  •  
  • methods for monitoring the long-term performance of remediation processes to detect process failure or lack of effectiveness

  •  
  • rapid and low-cost monitoring, characterization and treatment options for risk management
Risk Communication:
  • approaches and special considerations for assessing and communicating risks and selecting clean-up options for waste sites located in Native American lands and in economically disadvantaged or minority communities

  •  
  • tools that might enhance participation in the assessment of site risks and selection of cleanup options

  •  
  • community involvement processes that would be effective for large geographic sites which encompass multiple diverse communities

  •  
  • ways to measure the effectiveness of community involvement in the remediation decision-making proces


FUNDING

It is anticipated that approximately $2.4 million will be awarded in this program, depending on the availability of funds.  Grants may not exceed $200,000 per year, including direct and indirect costs, for up to two years (total $400,000).  EPA anticipates funding approximately 6 grants under this RFA.


ELIGIBILITY

Minority institutions, including  Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), and Native American Tribal Colleges (TC) in the U.S. are eligible under all existing authorizations. (See U.S. Department of Education Accredited Postsecondary Minorities Institutions list http://www.ed.gov/offices/OCR/minorityinst.html exit EPA )

Federal employees are not eligible to serve in a principal leadership role on a grant.  Federally-Funded Research and Development Center (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.1  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.

1EPA encourages interaction between its own laboratory scientists and grant principal investigators for the 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.

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.  The necessary forms for submitting an application will be found on this web site.

Sorting Code

The need for a sorting code 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-NCER-K1.

CONTACTS

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

Nora Savage
(202)564-8228
savage.nora@epa.gov

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