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

CLOSED - FOR REFERENCES PURPOSES ONLY

The United States Environmental Protection Agency

Announces the Availability of 1996 Grants for Research on

Ecological Assessment
Exposure of Children to Pesticides
Air Quality
Analytical and Monitoring Methods
Drinking Water
Environmental Fate and Treatment of Toxics and Hazardous Wastes
Environmental Statistics
High-performance Computing
Exploratory Research

APPLICATION SUBMISSION CLOSING DATES: FEBRUARY 15 AND 29, 1996


In support of the mission of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Office of Research and Development is pleased to announce the availability of 1996 grants for research on the following areas:


  1. Ecological Assessment (contacts: Robert Menzer, 202-260-5779, menzer.robert@epamail.epa.gov; Barbara Levinson, 202-260-5983, levinson.barbara@epamail.epa.gov). Application deadline: 2/29/96

  2. Exposure of Children to Pesticides (contact: Chris Saint, 202-260-1093, saint.chris@epamail.epa.gov). Application deadline: 2/15/96

  3. Air Quality (contact: Deran Pashayan, 202-260-2606, pashayan.deran@epamail.epa.gov). Application deadline: 2/29/96

  4. Analytical and Monitoring Methods (contact: David Friedman, 202-260 3535, friedman.david@epamail.epa.gov). Application deadline: 2/15/96

  5. Drinking Water (contact: Sheila Rosenthal, 202-260-7334, rosenthal.sheila@epamail.epa.gov). Application deadline: 2/15/96

  6. Fate and Treatment of Toxics and Hazardous Wastes (contact: William Stelz, 202-260-5798, stelz.william@epamail.epa.gov). Application deadline: 2/15/96

  7. Environmental Statistics (contact: Chris Saint, 202-260-1093, saint.chris@epamail.epa.gov). Application deadline: 2/29/96

  8. High Performance Computing (contact: Chris Saint, 202-260-1093, saint.chris@epamail.epa.gov). Application deadline: 2/29/96

  9. Exploratory Research, including Early Career Research Awards (contact: Clyde Bishop, 202-260-7445, bishop.clyde@epamail.epa.gov). Application deadline: 2/29/96

This file, which includes introductory material, a description of the research topics, and application instructions, is about 30 pages long. Further information is available by sending email (after December 5, 1995) to: ord.grants@epamail.epa.gov

Introduction

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invites research grant applications in the following areas of special interest to its mission:
  1. Ecological assessment

  2. Exposure of children to pesticides

  3. Air quality

  4. Analytical and monitoring methods

  5. Drinking water

  6. Environmental fate and treatment of toxics and hazardous wastes

  7. Environmental statistics

  8. High-performance computing

  9. Exploratory research, including Early Career Research Awards

This invitation provides relevant background information, summarizes EPA's interest in the topic areas, and describes the application and review process.

Background

During fiscal year 1995 EPA increased funding for its investigator initiated research grants program. For fiscal year 1996, EPA anticipates a second increase, subject to the 1996 Federal appropriation process. Therefore, EPA is issuing this Request for Applications (RFAs) which summarizes its programs. Additional programs will involve cooperation with the National Science Foundation and other agencies and will be announced separately. In cooperation with the National Science Foundation, three areas of interest to both agencies are identified - watershed protection and restoration, technology for a sustainable environment, and decision-making for environmental policy. EPA, NSF, DOE, and ONR intend to collaborate in an RFA on bioremediation. Separate solicitations on "endocrine disruptors" and "risk-based decisions for contaminated sediments," possibly jointly with other agencies, will be announced later.

EPA Mission and R & D Strategy

The mission of EPA - and its unique role - is the protection of both environmental quality and human health through effective regulations and other policy implementation. Achievement of this mission requires the application of sound science to the assessment of environmental problems and evaluation of possible solutions. A significant challenge is to support both long-term research that anticipates future environmental problems as well as to fill significant gaps in knowledge relevant to meeting current Agency goals. This Request for Applications and the joint solicitations with other agencies are important steps toward ensuring that EPA can provide a sound scientific foundation as the country enters a new generation of environmental protection.

EPA recently reorganized its research programs to focus on the reduction of uncertainty associated with risk assessment and reduction of risks to human health and ecosystems. Through its laboratories and through grants to universities and other not-for-profit institutions, EPA will promote research in both domains, according the highest priority to those areas where risk assessors are most in need of new concepts, methods, and data. At the same time, EPA will foster the development and evaluation of new risk reduction technologies across a spectrum, from pollution prevention, through end-of-pipe controls, to remediation and monitoring. In all areas, EPA is interested in research that recognizes issues relating to environmental justice, the Agency's effort to achieve equal protection from environmental and health hazards for all people without regard to race, economic status, or culture.

Research Topics of Interest
1. Ecological Assessment

1.A. Regional Ecosystem Protection and Restoration

Background

The Agency's goal for protecting ecosystems is to restore and maintain the "health," biological diversity, and sustainability of ecosystems while supporting sustainable economies and communities. The specific purpose of this solicitation is to request proposals that lead to the development of scientific understanding and techniques required for effective ecological risk assessment and ecosystem protection at a regional ecosystem scale. Proposals at the watershed scale are being solicited in the joint EPA-NSF Water and Watersheds competition.

Description

While a broad consensus exists among scientists and managers on the utility and need for integrated ecosystem management, most recognize that our ability to implement ecosystem protection concepts is limited by inadequate understanding of the interaction of ecosystems. The Agency's primary focus in this solicitation is to fund research that ultimately will reduce the uncertainty in conducting ecological assessments at multiple ecological scales -- watershed (or an equivalent biogeographical unit) scale, regional scale, and national scale assessments. The research is intended to improve the Agency's ability to conduct ecological assessments using the following paradigm: (1) monitoring the current and changing conditions of ecological resources from which the success or failure of ecosystem protection can be judged without bias; (2) understanding more fully the structure and function of ecosystems to develop improved management options; (3) modeling to predict the response of ecosystems to changes resulting from human-induced stress from which possible ecosystem management strategies can be assessed; and (4) assessing the ecological consequences of management actions so that decision makers can best understand the outcome of choosing a particular management strategy.

This assessment paradigm must be applied at multiple scales to address the full spectrum of ecological assessment and management needs. Watershed-scale assessments tend to rely on relatively complete characterization of stressors and endpoints within watersheds, and deterministic linkages among stressors and endpoints are often driven by atmospheric and hydrologic transport, research on which will be solicited in a separate RFA in cooperation with the National Science Foundation.

On a broader basis, some ecological assessments and management issues require analyses at a regional scale. Relevant issues may include assuring that sufficient habitat or breeding populations exist over a region to insure sustainability of populations and ecosystems. Considerations such as habitat, biodiversity, and the introduction of exotic species may be important. Resource availability and quality should be considered. Regional-scale assessments tend to focus on how and if the sum total of watershed-scale management efforts protect or restore the sustainability of an ecological resource. Models and data collection at this scale tend to rely more on statistical sampling, remote sensing, and spatial analyses. Management may be complicated by the existence of multiple political and environmental jurisdictions within a region. Management at the regional scale will challenge the institutional and intellectual infrastructure.

An even broader scale is the national scale. This category of ecological assessment and management recognizes that some ecological issues require long-term management actions. Examples include global change, establishment of national air, water, or sediment quality criteria, or even the further development of the generic process for assessing risks. Within each scale, the focus of the research should be on reducing the uncertainty in ecological risk assessment.

While the distinction between scales is somewhat arbitrary, public interest is focused on managing and sustaining many important regional scale systems across the country. Although the Agency has identified a number of areas throughout the country that represent important places that would benefit from the results of research contemplated in this solicitation, the following systems are noted for their current emphasis, in Agency priority order: (1) the Gulf of Mexico (including the South Florida area); (2) the Pacific Northwest; (3) the Mid-Atlantic Highlands; (4) the Great Lakes; (5) the Chesapeake Bay; (6) the Great Plains; and (7) the Arid Southwest. In addition to these places, each of the Agency's regional offices has an active list of needs for place-based studies that applicants may want to consider in developing their proposals.

To achieve the research goal set forth in this solicitation the Agency believes a number of key scientific questions should be addressed. The Agency is interested in how each applicant would design a research program to address these or related issues in the systems identified above.
  • What are the appropriate ecological units for analysis at various scales?
  • What are the appropriate indicators that can be used for monitoring and assessing ecosystem condition and how does scale affect the choice of indicators?
  • How does one characterize and measure sustainability of ecological systems?
  • How are systems likely to respond to changes in stressors, and what level and type of change can be attributed to anthropogenic stress?
  • What types of ecological issues and functions must be addressed at each spatial scale?
  • What mix of management actions will most efficiently achieve desirable ecosystem conditions?
  • How explicitly can the problem of limited data be dealt with (e.g., use of structured expert judgements)?
  • How can knowledge (e.g., ecological indicators) be extrapolated from one place to another and from one timeframe to another?
  • What are appropriate techniques for diagnosing ecosystem condition?
This solicitation is based on the concept that the fundamental unit in assessing ecosystems is an "area," e.g., the habitat, an ecoregion, a landscape, a biome. Furthermore, given EPA's holistic environmental perspective, we will probably never assess and manage whole ecosystems (e.g., forests) separately, but instead will manage ecosystems as parts of the landscape mosaic in which they fit.

Instrument

Applicants may apply for grants on their own behalf or establish interdisciplinary teams. Proposals involving multiple institutions are encouraged but are not necessary. Proposals representing research consortia should clearly identify the lead institution and the basis for allocating research funds.

1.B. Global Climate Change

Background

Making informed decisions on the risks of global change is critically dependent on understanding how climate change impacts resource systems and their related economic and sociopolitical sectors. Quantifying the vulnerabilities, the potential beneficial and adverse effects, of natural systems and regional economies to climate change, including climate variability, is a major responsibility of EPA's Global Change Research Program. The interdependency of these disciplines can be captured using an integrated assessment approach.

Description

This solicitation seeks research proposals that address regional scale vulnerabilities in the United States to Global Climate Change (e.g., Southeast, Great Plains, and U.S. Caribbean or Pacific Islands) with an integrative emphasis. Proposals should be based on and use existing data and assessments when appropriate. Consortia of broadly-based inter disciplinary researchers are encouraged to address areas of concern, such as (but not limited to) the following:
  • Development and demonstration of an integrated assessment methodology that can provide a framework and a process for organizing and interpreting diverse sets of technical, social, and economic information to support policy decision-making;
  • Ecological and hydrological responses in the coastal zones, lakes, and rivers due to changes in sea level and precipitation, and associated impacts on habitats, water supply, natural resources (forest/agricultural products, commercial/recreational fisheries, tourism), and public health (increased incidence and areal spread of vector-and water-borne diseases) caused by climate change.
  • Economic assessment of impacts, and relative risk of climate change versus other anthropogenic stressors.

Funding

Up to $12 million is expected to be available in fiscal year 1996 for awards in this program (1.A and 1.B) with approximately $8 million for area 1.A and $4 million for area 1.B. While there are no limitations on the amount of funds requested in each proposal, research that involves complex multiple-scale issues may be in the $1-2 million/year range ($36 million for a three-year proposal). Proposals in the $100,000 $500,000/year range are also encouraged where appropriate. Proposals that focus on specific regions are encouraged. Duration of awards may be up to 3 years.

2. The Exposure of Children to Pesticides

In its report, "Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children," the National Research Council (NRC) recommended that estimates of total pesticide exposure should account for all sources and pathways of pesticide intakes and should reflect the unique characteristics of the diets of infants and children. The NRC concluded that children may be exposed to multiple pesticides exhibiting a common toxic effect. Therefore, estimates of risk would be improved by accounting for these simultaneous exposures. They also concluded that differences in exposure between adults and children were more likely to account for differences in risk than were age-related differences in toxicity. Based on these findings, the EPA is interested in stimulating research on children's exposure to pesticides. Results of this focused research will likely have broad applications in improving the Agency's ability to assess pesticide exposures and their associated health risks. Future solicitations will focus on other areas of research related to the effects of pesticides on children.

Specifically, there is a need for information on children's cumulative exposure to pesticide classes such as, but not limited to, pyrethroids, cholinesterase inhibitors, and triazine herbicides. It is also important that this information be collected using a method that treats children as a unique sub-population and not simply as "small adults." Therefore, the EPA is seeking investigator-initiated grant proposals that address one or more of the following topics related to children's exposure:
  • Development of approaches for assessing children's exposure to the pesticides of interest via multiple pathways and routes (e.g., inhalation, dietary and non-dietary ingestion, and dermal contact). This research should emphasize age-related differences and characteristics of child behavior in dietary habits, hand-to-mouth activities, and contact with contaminated surfaces and objects.
  • Research that evaluates and compares children's exposures to pesticides resulting from various sources (e.g., agricultural food application, residential lawn treatment, indoor residential uses, pet uses) and apportions the exposure and potential dose.
  • The development of methods for assessing cumulative exposures to specific classes of pesticides. This should include methods to determine the temporal nature of various sources and the resulting impact on exposure.

Funding

Up to $3 million is expected to be available in fiscal year 1996 for awards in this program area. The projected award range is $100,000 $200,000/year for up to 3 years.

3. Air Quality

3.A. Ambient Air Quality

Certain widespread air pollutants, such as ozone and air toxics, continue to pose serious public health risks for susceptible members of the U.S. population or risks to sensitive ecosystems. The Clean Air Act (CAA) requires that EPA establish and periodically review and revise, as appropriate, criteria and National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for pollutants such as ozone. The Act also requires State Implementation Plans (SIPs) to be prepared, which describe control strategies that State and local authorities will employ to bring nonattainment areas into compliance with the NAAQS.

In addition, the CAA requires control of toxic air pollutant emissions from sources. The Act prescribes a phased approach to regulate both major and area sources of air toxics. The control program for major sources is a technology-based control program that mandates the use of Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) for major sources emitting one or more of 189 listed hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). A strategy for controlling the 30 most hazardous toxic pollutants in urban areas is also mandated.

The EPA is seeking investigator-initiated grant proposals aimed at generating new knowledge in these two major topic areas &shyp; tropospheric ozone and air toxics.

Description

3.A.1. Tropospheric Ozone

Tropospheric ozone research is being coordinated through the North American Research Strategy for Tropospheric Ozone (NARSTO), an emerging public/private sector cooperative ten-year research effort to both improve the technical understanding of the tropospheric ozone issue and support future evaluations and adjustments to attainment strategies. The EPA/ORD contribution to the NARSTO program emphasizes the areas of atmospheric chemistry and modeling, ambient measurement methods and emissions research.

The EPA has also been a principal participant in the university-based Southern Oxidants Study (SOS) since 1991. Thirty-five Federal, State, and industry organizations and 24 universities cooperate in this regional research program. EPA sees a continuing research need in several critical areas related to the SOS effort. Published reports on SOS and its data sources are available from the National Exposure Research Laboratory, MD-80, Research Triangle Park, NC 27711 (contact: Dr. Basil Dimitriades, phone 919-541-2706).

This RFA is targeted to research needed in the following areas:

Atmospheric Chemistry

  • Laboratory studies to elucidate the products formed during the oxidation of biogenic VOCs and aromatic VOCs under atmospheric conditions, the reactions of olefins with O3 and NO3, and the reactions of OH radicals with higher molecular weight alkanes and alkenes.
  • Laboratory studies of the kinetics and stoichiometry of reactions of high molecular weight organic peroxy radicals, and the reaction of peroxy radicals with NOx-forming organic nitrogen reservoirs.
  • Smog chamber and modeling studies to develop advanced mechanistic models for atmospheric oxidant formation.
  • Laboratory investigations of the role of heterogeneous and aqueous phase processes on gas-phase oxidant production and nitrogen oxides/nitrate chemistry.

Modeling Research

  • Studies to explore boundary layer turbulence, vertical mixing, and cloud processes, and their interactions with atmospheric chemistry.
  • Research to develop and test quantitative techniques for assessing errors or uncertainties in physical and chemical processes (e.g., meteorology, deposition, photochemistry, and emissions) that affect concentration estimates from ozone air quality modeling systems.
  • Studies to develop and test innovative techniques to evaluate the functioning of physical and chemical processes in ozone air quality modeling systems.
  • Monitoring and observations-based approaches to investigate the photochemical ozone problem and evaluating/developing emissions control strategies; use of existing SOS databases to develop/test approaches.
  • Developing and diagnostically evaluating emissions-based modeling which focuses on interactions of urban area and point source plumes with the surrounding regional atmosphere; use of existing SOS databases for model development and evaluation.
  • Developing air pollution prediction systems to provide real-time forecasting of ozone air quality.

Ambient Measurement and Analysis Methods

  • Studies that may lead to new, more sensitive techniques for ambient measurement, on short time scales, of chemically-significant trace gases (e.g., ozone, hydrocarbons, oxides of nitrogen, carbonyls and key radical species) participating in the photochemistry of ozone
  • Development of innovative in-situ and remote-sensing measurement methods for using ambient concentration and meteorological measurements in assessing the potential ozone response to local changes in precursor emissions/concentrations
  • Instrument methods development studies or development of innovative data analysis techniques applicable to PAMS (Photochemical Assessment Monitoring Stations) objectives for cost-effective and accurate monitoring

Emissions

  • Studies of biochemical and physiological fundamental mechanisms linking seasonal and other significant variations in biogenic VOC emissions from important genera; field studies to assess the validity of the newly proposed mechanisms.
  • Developing improved algorithms for biogenic ozone-precursor emissions estimation.
  • Research, development and field assessments of tunable laser or other fast response techniques for remotely measuring ozone precursor emissions from fugitive emission concentration fields and from on-road, in-operation mobile source emissions.
  • Studies that explore the sub-grid scale uncertainties of representing urban and point source emissions within air quality modeling systems.

3.A.2. Air Toxics

The Clean Air Act (as amended in 1990) prescribes a phased approach to regulate air toxics emissions from pollutant sources. The first phase is a broad, technology-based control program based on Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) for major sources emitting one or more of 189 listed hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). The second phase, a risk-based control program, will address significant residual risks from major sources and risks posed by small, area sources.

In addition to the regulations for major sources, section 112(k) of the CAA mandates EPA to develop a national strategy which identifies the 30 hazardous air pollutants emitted from area sources which pose the greatest public health threat in the most urban areas. The strategy must assure that the sources accounting for 90 percent of the emissions of the 30 pollutants are subject to standards and that the estimated cancer incidence attributable to exposure to these pollutants is reduced by 75 percent. The proposals submitted in response to this RFA will provide data valuable for both residual risk determinations and the urban area source strategy.

Urban Air Toxics

There is almost no direct observational evidence (i.e., epidemiologic data) linking health effects and ambient HAPs exposures. In part, this is due to limited exposure methods and data and the expense of adequate epidemiologic studies. It is hoped that recently developed epidemiologic approaches may be useful in overcoming some of the traditional difficulties in this area, e.g., biomarkers, new statistical methods. It is the intent of this program to solicit research focusing on the urban toxic air problem.

A need exists to address the risks that may be posed by toxic contributions to the effects of urban mixtures ("urban soup") and/or risks that may be posed by individual and mixtures of toxic chemicals from large sources of pollution. EPA is seeking answers to the following key questions:
  • Are there public health risks that result from a) exposures to recurrent acute exposures from both point and area sources, b) chronic exposures from individual facilities or the combined exposures from multiple facilities, and c) mixtures which impact the same or different organ systems?
  • Can susceptible subpopulations be identified that are at increased risk due to higher exposures or biological sensitivities?
  • What are the emissions of air toxic pollutants from sources of concern in urban areas?
To answer these questions EPA seeks research that uses a multi disciplinary approach to investigate source identification and characterization, exposure characterization (modeling/monitoring), and characterization of health outcomes as related to exposure. Research that addresses all three topics in an integrated study is preferred; however, source characterization for air toxics and epidemiology (health and exposure) can be considered separately. No consideration will be given to proposals that address only health or exposure.

Great Waters Air Toxics Loadings

Research is needed to reduce the uncertainty in estimating the contribution of atmospheric transport and deposition to overall loadings of toxic substances in the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay. Work to date has focused principally on the transport and fate of mercury compounds in their different phases. Additional work has addressed polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and pesticides. Much of the work has centered on the Chicago and Baltimore urban areas in the Lake Michigan and Chesapeake Bay regions, respectively.

The Agency is interested in proposals to reduce uncertainties in estimating the atmospheric transport and deposition of hazardous air pollutants into Great Waters regions. Specifically proposals are requested for research devoted to different Great Waters regions or other hazardous air pollutants in the Lake Michigan and Chesapeake Bay regions.

Ecological Effects

Natural ecosystems are comprised of a mix of interacting species that compete for resources as they complete their life cycles. Ecosystems are exposed to a range of atmospheric pollutants that occur both singly and in combination. Individual plant response to pollutant stress varies by species, stage of development, and the presence of other stresses (e.g., insect and fungal pathogens, nutrient stress, water stress). However, individual species response to air pollution is not always reflective of overall ecosystem response since individual species respond differently depending on their competitive environment. Therefore, ecosystem sensitivity to pollutant stress is complex and needs to be studied across broad spatial and temporal scales.

Research to evaluate ecosystem response to pollutant stress is needed to address a number of questions in several areas:
  • how does vegetation respond to co-occurring natural and/or anthropogenic stresses?
  • how does intra- and interspecific competition affect individual plant response to air pollutant stress?
  • how does stage of plant development and timing of pollutant exposure affect species response to air pollutants?
  • how do long-lived species, exposed to pollutants year after year, integrate pollutant damage over time?
  • what is the response of plant communities exposed to air pollutant stress?
  • what are appropriate indicators of ecosystem response to air pollution?
Research should not be limited to single species; rather, the approach should address ecosystem response from an overall ecosystem perspective, as measured by factors such as a loss in overall ecosystem productivity, shifts in species composition or loss of species, overall growth reductions of pollutant sensitive individuals, or increased incidence of damaging agents (e.g., pests or pathogens). The research should include both controlled exposures of species mixtures and field plots.

3.B. Indoor Air Quality

The 1986 Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) Title IV directs EPA to conduct and support research on indoor air quality. An important aspect of this effort is research to develop and evaluate risk management methods to reduce risks associated with indoor exposures to air pollutants, including biocontaminants, which are of particular concern because they are common cause of building-related illnesses.

EPA is seeking proposals targeted at techniques to reduce indoor exposures to biocontaminants. EPA is particularly interested in studies to determine the effects of environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, dust level, air velocity, and substrate materials on the deposition, amplification, and dissemination of biological contaminants including fungi and dust mites. High priority research areas include 1) factors controlling the dust mite population in the indoor environment, 2) the influence of substrate and relative humidity on colonization of toxic fungi, and 3) factors controlling dissemination of fungal contaminants.

Funding: Up to $8.5 million is expected to be available in fiscal year 1996 for awards in this program area with approximately $7 million in area 3.A and $1.5 million in area 3.B. The projected award range is $50,000 $200,000/year for up to 3 years.

4. Analytical and Monitoring Methods

Background

The purpose of the program is to advance measurement science by stimulating research on radically new approaches to solving environmental monitoring problems.. In evaluating proposals, EPA will favor research that is likely to solve real world monitoring problems. To that end, EPA has identified several areas where current environmental monitoring technology is known to be inadequate The critical need is for measurement techniques that are inexpensive to purchase and inexpensive to operate and maintain and that also use little or no toxic chemicals and generate little or no hazardous waste. Also, any new technology should include whatever mechanisms are needed for the data to yield well defined levels of confidence. The focus of the proposals should be on new approaches rather than stepwise improvements to existing methodology. Such approaches might include the adaption of existing techniques from other, non-environmental fields that have yet to receive any attention in the environmental analytical community.

Description
4.A. Field Analytical Methods

Development of measurement technologies that can be used in the field to permit more rapid decision making, to eliminate packaging and shipping samples to distant laboratories, and to yield more information for less money are urgently needed. Such technologies need to be portable, yield real time (i.e., within 4 hours) data, rugged, sensitive, and suitable for the wide variety of samples that are commonly analyzed (e.g., industrial wastes, industrial waste waters, incinerator stack emissions) and, if possible, be able to measure multiple pollutants simultaneously. In addition to the aforementioned applications, rapid field tests are also needed by personnel confronted with responding to crisis situations (e.g., spills and accidents). Examples of what is meant by field-portable, rapid results monitoring methodology include the recently developed and commercialized immunochemistry-based assays and hand held X-ray fluorescence spectrometers.

4.B. Continuous Measurement Methods

Major improvements in waste process/treatment control and environmental decision making could be made if more accurate, less costly, more rugged techniques were available which would yield continuous, or at least intermittent, data on pollutant concentrations in environmental media. Some monitoring situations where current methodology is known to be inadequate include the following: (Prospective applicants should consider this list to be suggestions to stimulate thinking rather than as criteria for evaluating proposals.)
  • Toxic metal (particularly mercury) and/or organic compound emissions from high temperature, complex matrix sources such as incinerators.
  • Release of volatile compounds from complex point sources or area sources (e.g., tanks, pipes, valves, landfills, contaminated soils) under ambient conditions.
  • Toxic chemical concentrations in the air over a defined area such as a hazardous waste site, an industrial facility, etc.
  • Organic and inorganic toxicants in municipal and industrial waste water on a continuous basis to eliminate the need to overengineer waste treatment facilities to ensure compliance with regulatory standards.
  • Deposition or emission flux of toxic air pollutants, especially semi volatile pollutants that exist both in the gas phase and on particulate matter.
  • Continuous measurement of the mass of inhalable particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), semi-volatile organic toxicants, and NH4NO3 in the air while not also including the particle-bound water in the weight of material measured.
  • Continuous mass measurements of particle-bound water in airborne particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10).

4.C. Leachability Prediction

Still another critical area in need of innovative approaches is leachability prediction. Current methods for determining the leaching potential of waste materials are designed for determining whether a waste poses a hazard to ground water under specific improper disposal situations. They are not appropriate for assessing risk under other management situations. In order to better assess the potential risk posed by wastes under real world land management conditions and, therefore, permit the design of more cost-effective land management facilities, new methods are needed for characterizing the potential for toxic materials to migrate from waste materials that are destined for land management. One group of materials that pose a particular problem are those wastes that contain either a highly viscous or a non-newtonian liquid phase.

Funding

Up to $1 million is expected to be available in fiscal year 1996 for awards in this program area. The projected award range is $75,000 to $125,000/year with a duration of 2 or 3 years.


5. Drinking Water

Background

The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) requires that public water supplies be disinfected and that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set standards and establish processes for treatment and distribution of disinfected water to ensure that no significant risks to human health occur. Scientific evidence suggests that exposure to chemical by-products formed during the disinfection process may be associated with adverse health effects. Reducing the amount of disinfectant or altering the disinfection process may decrease by-product formation; however these practices may increase the potential for microbial contamination. EPA's current challenge is to find the point of optimal disinfection, defined as the amount of disinfectant that will destroy the greatest number of the most pathogenic microbiological organisms while creating a residual level of chemical that is unlikely to cause other disease in humans.

This solicitation invites research grant applications in two areas of special interest to its mission:
  • Microbial Pathogens in Drinking Water Systems
  • Drinking Water Disinfection By-products (DBPs)


5.A. Microbial Pathogens in Drinking Water Systems

The incidence of waterborne disease in the U.S. is highly uncertain. While the health effects caused by drinking water pathogens are generally known, limited information is available on the doses and conditions that produce effects. Also, little is known about the extent to which bacterial growth in the distribution system is a cause of waterborne illness. Research is needed in the following areas:
  • Current methods for measuring Cryptosporidium and Giardia frequently produce inaccurate and highly variable recovery data, in part due to the small volume of water that can be practically analyzed. This has contributed to considerable uncertainty about the health risks associated with exposure to drinking water containing Cryptosporidium and Giardia, as has the lack of information about the viability of cysts and oocysts found in drinking water systems. Research is needed to develop practical, low cost, accurate, and specific methods to identify and quantify viable pathogenic cysts and oocysts in raw and finished drinking water systems.
  • Dose-response models have been developed for Cryptosporidium parvum, Giardia, and several waterborne viruses; however, the validity of these models at low doses is unknown. Research is needed to evaluate the reliability of existing models at low dose exposures and whether dose response models developed with animals can be translated to the existing human models.
  • Research is needed to develop an understanding of the risks associated with exposure to primary waterborne pathogens (e.g., Giardia, Cryptosporidium, and enteric viruses) as a function of such susceptibility factors as age, nutrition, protective immunity, and behavioral patterns.


Application of Research Results

The information developed by research on the above elements of dose-response and exposure will be useful for human health risk assessments. Applicants should explicitly address the use of results in risk assessment. Applications that integrate research on the above elements within a risk assessment framework are invited in addition to applications on separate elements.

5.B. Drinking Water Disinfection By-products

Public water systems disinfect drinking water with chlorine or alternate disinfectants. While chlorine reduces microbial risk, the use of chlorine creates new potential risks from disinfection by-products formed during the water treatment process. Research is needed in the following areas:
  • Research is needed to improve methods for estimating human exposures to the by-products of different disinfection treatments. Proposals should address research on biochemical markers of human exposure and/or the development and validation of models of human exposure to DBPs. Please do not submit proposals for epidemiology studies.
  • There is uncertainty regarding the appropriate markers of effects and susceptibility in both cancer and reproductive outcome epidemiology studies. Laboratory and/or field evaluations are needed of morphological, biochemical, and/or molecular alterations that may be useful as markers of effect and susceptibility. Please do not submit proposals for epidemiology studies.
  • Research is needed to examine the feasibility of assessing the relative toxicity of DBP mixtures in drinking water (e.g., ozone/chloramines, chlorine/chloramines, and chlorine dioxide). Proposals may include such elements as: the feasibility of sample preparation; chemical analysis and assessment; and toxicological testing of mixtures.
  • Research is needed to develop improved extraction procedures and advanced instrumentation to characterize the non-volatile and difficult to extract organic and inorganic DBPs. These procedures would be used in the development of methods to assess the frequency and magnitude of occurrence of by-products.

Application of Research Results

The information developed by research on the above elements of toxicity, dose-response, and exposure will be useful in human health risk assessments. Applicants should explicitly address the use of results in risk assessment. Applications that integrate research on the above elements within a risk assessment framework are invited in addition to applications on separate elements.

Funding

Up to $2.5 million is expected to be available in fiscal year 1996 for awards in this program area. The projected award range is $50,000 to $200,000/year with a duration of 2 or 3 years.


6. Environmental Fate and Treatment of Toxics and Hazardous Wastes

Background

EPA is required to develop regulations and guidelines that will insure proper waste management and proper remediation of contaminated waste sites. While numerous improvements have been made to insure reduced risks to human health and the environment, and to reduce the cost of these activities, a number of technical problems remain. The EPA has an interest in advancing research to help develop more realistic risk assessments and more efficient and cost-effective cleanups through the development of new risk knowledge and site characterization and remediation technologies. This competition is intended to support research projects in two areas: (1) the fate and mobility of contaminants in soils and groundwater, and (2) assessment of risks of contaminated soils and treatment residuals.

6.A. Fate and Mobility of Contaminants in Soils and Groundwater

The interactions between subsurface geochemical and biological processes can have a profound influence on the mobility, fate, and bioavailability of organic and inorganic contaminants in soil and ground water. A thorough understanding of the processes (chemical, physical, and biological) is needed to accurately predict the influences of these processes on contaminants. This same understanding is also required to predict the impact of the contaminants on the subsurface (vadose zone and the saturated zone) and its ability to serve as a filter for protecting ground water and surface water. In addition, better measurement methods, including the ability to identify individual contaminants, are needed to determine more reliably the risks associated with the original contamination and the risk remaining when a cleanup effort has been completed. This component seeks to strengthen the scientific basis for estimating risk through improved scientific knowledge about the fate and transport processes that affect contaminants and our ability to detect and measure them. Results of this research should also improve our ability to develop new approaches to remediation. Examples of topics of interest are:
  • Research to develop the ability to better predict the formation, degradation, and bioaccumulation constants of metal/organic complexes and organometallics and to develop equilibrium and kinetic sorption models for inorganic/organic metal species on environmental surfaces, both biotic and abiotic. A major focus of the research should be on contaminants and environmental settings typical of large, complex waste sites, e.g., mining sites, multiple industrial waste sites, and disposal in a single watershed, etc.
  • Research to develop models for predicting the fate and sorption properties of dense non-aqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs) in a wide range of environmental settings.
  • Research on the interactions between subsurface geochemical and biological processes to determine their influence on the mobility, fate, and bioavailability of contaminants, particularly DNAPLs, in soils and ground water to quantify the transformations taking place in the subsurface and the fluxes of materials to other ecosystem components (receptors) and to develop indicators of subsurface ecosystem status. A major focus of the research should be on indicators that can serve as markers for naturally occurring biodegradation at DNAPL sites or for identifying novel processes and mechanisms for the development of innovative subsurface remediation technologies.
  • Research on geochemical and geophysical processes that have the potential to lead to the development of more effective technologies for the removal of DNAPLs from the subsurface.
  • Research to develop methods and data to determine the properties and processes associated with subsurface contaminants that could be used to develop real-time measurement methods for determining the nature and extent of subsurface contamination problems and the progress of remedial actions to correct them and to develop prototype sensors based on these processes.

6.B. Assessment of Risks of Contaminated Soils and Treatment Residuals

The level of cleanup greatly affects the cost of remediation. Remediation levels must insure that human health and the environment are adequately protected. To accomplish these objectives in a cost-effective manner, data are needed about the risks of contaminated soils, treated soils and other solid matrices in the vadose zone. Techniques for cost effectively measuring these possible impacts are also needed. Therefore, the EPA is soliciting proposals on one or more of the following topics:
  • Research on methods for assessing the potential human health and ecological impacts of residual contaminants (e.g., incinerator ash or untreated mine waste tailings that remain in place). Of particular importance are techniques applicable to assessing mixtures of residuals from thermal and chemical treatment of complex, toxic organics such as PAHs and PCBs which go through multiple steps of degradation.
  • Research on the factors influencing the availability of toxic metal or inorganic contaminants common at contaminated sites (e.g., CN, Cd, Hg, Cr(VI)). Example sources are mining operations, metal finishing sites, and other industrial operations. This research requires developing an understanding of the chemical, physical, and biological processes which influence the chemical form of the metal/inorganic, its mobility in the environment, and its assimilation by, and impacts on, human and ecological receptors.

Funding Level

Up to $2.5 million is expected to be available in fiscal year 1996 for awards in this program area. The projected award range is $50,000 to $150,000/year with a duration of up to 3 years.

7. Environmental Statistics

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is soliciting proposals to establish a National Research Center on Statistics and the Environment (the Center) by means of a five-year cooperative agreement. EPA's purpose in establishing the Center is to provide a national capability to identify and perform cutting-edge research in environmental statistics that will further application of statistics to the environmental sciences and facilitate the professional development of future environmental statisticians.

The Office of Research and Development (ORD) has ongoing research in environmental statistics, including the following examples: statistical methods for combining environmental information and for the design and evaluation of environmental monitoring networks, accounting for meteorological and co-pollutant effects on estimation of status and trends in air toxics; spatial sampling designs for hazardous waste site characterization; statistical environmental epidemiology and toxicology; development and evaluation of ecological indicators and indexes, including issues of aggregation and scale; data quality assurance; and statistical modeling, validation of biokinetic models, and methods for combining epidemiological and toxicological studies for environmental criteria assessment. ORD statisticians can serve as research collaborators, sources of problem issues, data, and experience with important environmental problems, and for the transport of research findings into applied environments. The Center is expected to interact actively with ORD research programs and scientists and to identify and explore other promising areas of research in collaboration with other partners. As EPA/ORD scientists are located at multiple sites nationally, a Center encompassing research activity at multiple, geographically diverse sites is envisioned.

Statistical science is crucial to environmental research at all stages of its development and analysis. Sound environmental decisions must be based on sound science which in turn must be based on appropriate, high quality data, data models, and data analysis. Statistical design and analysis techniques, including data quality objectives (DQO's), are central to environmental data collection programs. Statistical techniques often can identify and adjust for biases in data. When sufficient data are not available from one source, data and other quantitative information from multiple, disparate sources must be combined statistically. Environmental data are inherently spatial, and spatial statistical methods are needed to model and analyze environmental data; spatio-temporal methods are also needed. Computer models of environmental and other phenomena and environmental monitoring networks must be evaluated to identify embedded biases, sensitivities, or limitations, which then may be addressed. Environmental risks must be based and evaluated on sound notions of likelihood, duration, and intensity of exposure and the relationship of exposure to potential effects. Environmental regulation and criteria assessment will benefit from further developments in statistical meta-analysis and data synthesis. Environmental sampling methods, such as for hazardous waste site characterization, must be efficient and able to account for both false-positive and false-negative errors. Many of these needs require entirely new statistical methods or approaches. These and other examples motivate modern environmental statistics research and illustrate the need for a cutting edge, cohesive national research capability in environmental statistics.

Proposals should address the following issues: organization, location, leadership, and governance of the Center; scientific objectives over the five-year period; research to be undertaken during the first two years; areas and extent of proposed collaboration with ORD programs and scientists; anticipated interactions with other scientific fields and scientists, including evidence of past collaborations; computing and other scientific resources available or required; and, cost and cost sharing information, including identification of other potential sources of funds. Proposals will be rated on a scale of 100 points as follows: planned organization and leadership (10); scientific personnel (15); scientific objectives (15); research plan (20); interaction with ORD programs and scientists (15); interdisciplinary and other collaborations (10); computing and scientific resources available (5); and, cost, cost sharing, and other potential funding (10).

Funding: Approximately $1.0 million/year is expected to be available for a single award in this program area. The project period will be 5 years with a progress review by EPA during project year 3.


8. High Performance Computing

Background

The Environmental Protection Agency, through its High Performance Computing and Communications (HPCC) program, is attempting to accelerate the evolution of high performance technologies and their applications to environmental management. As part of this effort, research has been implemented to develop a flexible framework to facilitate cross-media environmental modeling, risk assessments, and community decision making. In order to develop such a framework, a technology infrastructure is needed for rapid intelligent data access and synthesis, integrated visualization and geographical information systems capabilities closely tied to environmental modeling, and parallel computing and communications to support multi-disciplinary ecosystem risk assessments.

In the past, computational limitations and a single discipline approach to environmental assessment ignored the importance of cross media effects. Numerous independent models and other software tools are available that deal with segregated aspects of the environment. This includes air and water quality, air-water surface exchange, hydrology, hydrodynamics, sedimentation, groundwater, bioaccumulation, ecology, and risk assessment. An integrated, expandable approach is needed to facilitate the evolution toward more comprehensive assessment tools made up of a large number of interoperable components.

Therefore, EPA is seeking proposals aimed at developing high performance computing technologies for use in environmental assessment and management. Of particular interest are proposals that target research on problem solving environments, parallel algorithms, and data access and analysis techniques. All technology advances should be demonstrated in a results-oriented testbed that specifically addresses cross-media ecosystem management capabilities to support community based environmental assessments.

8.A. Problem Solving Environments

Problem solving environments (PSE) provide a broad range of computational capabilities to address a specific class of problems. This enables inexperienced people to accomplish tasks they could not have done otherwise and assists experienced people to accomplish more difficult tasks more rapidly. This research is targeted to explore fundamental technology components required to facilitate software reuse, data sharing, and geospatial modeling and decision support within the context of environmental management. Without software reuse it is not practical for one group to build the complex software needed for cross-media environmental applications. Proposals should address one or more of the following objectives:
  • Explore conceptual data models that encompass all data types required for cross-media environmental assessment and decision making. To test the robustness of the data models by developing reusable scalable input/output (I/O) class libraries to support development of interoperable cross-media environmental modeling and decision support frameworks including geospatial data for integrated visualization and geospatial analysis.
  • Explore and evaluate alternative techniques for full integration (close coupling) of geospatial analysis, environmental modeling, and object oriented databases involving very large three dimensional, time and space varying data.
  • Develop scalable parallel I/O techniques for object oriented data bases, I/O mechanisms to support data reordering, fast queries over distributed databases and archives, and I/O for binary large objects.
  • Develop reusable object-model-based class libraries for parallel numerical solvers and science processes related to cross-media modeling, uncertainty, and risk assessment.


8.B. Parallel Algorithms

As environmental science and computational capabilities advance, research is targeting the linkage of several process models to achieve cross-media management objectives. For example, a manager may wish to evaluate the simultaneous impacts pollution on air quality, surface and groundwater hydrology, sediments, biota, and other processes in an ecosystem. Currently, issues of spatial and temporal scale and computational feasibility have limited advances in this area. EPA is requesting proposals to explore scalable parallel approaches for effective coupling among water, air, soil, terrestrial, and ecological models and research on issues of scale and resolution that affect the computational feasibility. Proof of concept and research-prototype development of coupled models in a scalable parallel computing environment are important components of the research. Proposals should address one or more of the following objectives:
  • Evaluate performance characteristics of alternative domain decomposition approaches and scalable parallel algorithms for multi media (air, water, soil, terrestrial systems, etc.) environmental modeling, coupled air-water exchange processes, and/or associated uncertainty and risk computations.
  • Develop scalable parallel algorithms for adaptive grid approaches and evaluate the preservation of accuracy with the interaction of regular and irregular grid systems in the context of cross-media environmental assessments.
  • Devise methods for optimization problems involving non-linear processes, develop scalable parallel algorithms for efficient implementation, and explore the accuracy of sampling strategies for non linear response space.


8.C. Data Access and Analysis Techniques

A wealth of environmental data from diverse sources at multiple scales exists and continues to accumulate each day. Scientists, policy makers, industry, and the general public have diverse needs for data access, manipulation, summarization, and interpretation. Intelligent and effective methods are needed to satisfy the extensive need for environmental data to support environmental management activities. Proposals should address one or more of the following objectives:
  • Develop techniques for exploring multiple-scales and cross-media environmental data. Research could include:
  • Agent facilitated data queries of distributed data sources, methods for organizing standard metadata for fast queries, capabilities to handle legacy data, dynamic analysis of very large distributed archives of diverse multi-scale data useful for environmental decision making.
  • High performance data assimilation techniques supported by scalable parallel I/O systems to enable the integration of remote sensing data into predictive models to enhance the quality of model predictions.
  • Multivariate analysis and visualization techniques over three dimensional space and time, and techniques for desktop virtual environments for analysis of time sequences of three dimensional environmental data.

Instrument

Proposers may apply for grants on their own behalf or establish interdisciplinary teams. Proposals that support collaborative disciplinary or multidisciplinary research or comprehensive system studies needing multidisciplinary teams from a single or a number of institutions are all encouraged but are not necessary. Proposals representing research consortia should clearly identify the lead institution and the basis for allocating research funds. Investigators who wish to take advantage of the current ecosystem research capabilities at EPA's research laboratories are encouraged to contact and collaborate with the appropriate laboratory. Successful proposals that collaborate with EPA will be awarded as cooperative agreements.

Funding

Up to $3 million is expected to be available in fiscal year 1996 for awards in this program area. The projected award range is $100,000 $200,000/year for up to 3 years.


9. The General Solicitation

9.A. Exploratory Research Grants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through its National Center for Environmental Research (NCER) is seeking grant applications to conduct exploratory environmental research in areas of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Human Health, Socioeconomics, and Engineering which are not covered in the specific RFAs described above. Investigator-initiated research projects which focus on aspects of pollution identification, characterization, abatement, or control or the effects of pollutants on human and biological systems are sought.

The mission of EPA is to provide environmental policies, risk assessments, pollution prevention programs, and effective regulations based on sound science. NCER is committed to providing the best possible products in areas of research and engineering technology through significant support for long-term research that anticipates future environmental problems and strives to fill significant gaps in knowledge relevant to meeting regulatory goals and protecting the environment. In part, these goals may be accomplished through this competitive, peer reviewed extramural program in which investigator-initiated projects in basic or fundamental research can forge solutions to environmental problems and EPA can benefit from close cooperation with the scientific community.

Funding

Up to $6 million is expected to be available in fiscal year 1996 for new exploratory research grants. The projected award range is $75,000-$125,000/year for up to 3 years.


9.B. Early Career Research Award Program
Background

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announces the initiation of the Early Career Award Program to support outstanding scientists and engineers at the onset of their careers in America's colleges, universities, and not-for-profit institutions. This competition is a component of the Exploratory Research Grants Program and applicants should prepare their proposals accordingly. The Early Career Award Program embodies the high priority placed by EPA on maintaining the leadership position of the United States in environmental science by producing outstanding researchers and nurturing their continued development.

Eligibility

The Early Career Research Award Program is open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents in academic or not-for-profit institutions who received their graduate degrees (Ph.D. or equivalent), completed post doctoral programs, or entered a tenure-track position at an academic institution on or after May 1, 1991.

Scope

Research topics are open to all areas of environmental science and engineering related to human health risk assessment, ecological risk assessment, and pollution prevention and reduction. As with the Exploratory Research Grants Program, research in biology, chemistry, physics, human health, socioeconomics, and engineering is inclusive. The grant awards are subject to the same regulations and guidelines as the Exploratory program.

Funding: Up to $1.0 million is expected to be available in fiscal year 1996 in this program area. The projected award range is $75,000 $100,000/year with a duration of 5 years.


The Application

The following instructions apply to all areas described above.

Proposed research projects must be designed to advance the state of knowledge in the indicated areas. The Application Kit for Assistance contains detailed instructions on how to prepare your application. The application kit is available at most institutional offices of sponsored research or may be obtained (preferably via E-mail or fax request) from EPA at:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
National Center for Environmental Research (8703)
401 M Street SW
Washington DC 20460
E-mail: ord.grants@epamail.epa.gov
Fax: (202) 260-2039
Phone: (202) 260-3837

Each application must contain the following:

    A. Application for Federal Assistance (Standard Forms 424 and 424A). These forms must have original signature.

    B. A detailed, itemized budget for each year of the proposed project.

    C. A budget justification describing the basis for calculating the personnel, fringe benefits, travel, equipment, supplies, contractual support, and other costs identified in the itemized budget.

    D. An abstract containing the following information: The project title, the names and affiliations of all investigators, and a summary of the objectives, expected results, and approach described in the proposal. The abstract must not exceed one (1) 8.5 x 11 inch page of single-spaced standard 12 point type with 1 inch margins.

    E. A Description of the Project. For proposals submitted to all areas other than topic 7, Environmental Statistics, this description must not exceed fifteen (15) pages; for proposals submitted to topic 7, Environmental Statistics, the description must not exceed twenty (20) pages. All pages must be consecutively numbered, 8.5 x 11 inch, single-spaced standard 12 point type with 1 inch margins. The description must provide the following information (1-5):

      1. Objectives: List objectives of the proposed research and/or the hypotheses being tested during the project.

      2. Expected Results or Benefits: Describe the results you expect to achieve during the project and the benefits of success.

      3. Approach: Outline the methods, approaches, and techniques that you intend to employ in meeting the objective stated above.

      4. General Project Information: Discuss other information relevant to the potential success of the project. This might include facilities, project schedules, proposed management, interactions with other institutions, etc.

      5. Quality Assurance: A brief narrative statement (not to exceed two consecutively numbered, 8.5 x 11 inch pages of single-spaced standard 12 point type with 1 inch margins) describing the quality assurance procedures proposed for the project (see section of this RFA on quality assurance).


    F. Any important attachments, appendices, references, or other information may be included but must not exceed five (5) pages.

    G. The resumes of the principal investigator, and co-workers. Resumes must not exceed two consecutively-numbered, 8.5 x 11 inch pages of single spaced standard 12 point type with 1 inch margins.

    H. Standard Form (SF) 5700-48 Procurement System Certification (provided in Application Kit).

    I. Standard Form (SF) 5700-49 Debarment and Suspension Certification (provided in Application Kit).

    J. A list of key contacts (provided in Application Kit) including authorizing representative, payee, administrative contact, and project manager.

    K. Disclosure of Lobbying Activities (provided in Application Kit).

    L. Copy of State Clearing House Approval Notification (see Application Kit to determine if applicable).

    M. In lieu of the Application Receipt Letter provided in the Application Kit, the applicant must include a blank self-addressed, stamped post card with the application.

The application must contain all of the above, in the order listed.

Sorting Codes

In order to facilitate proper assignment and review of applications, applicants are asked to identify the topic area in which their application is to be considered. Applications must be identified by printing the appropriate Sorting Code (see below) in block 10 of the SF-424.

Ecological Assessment
    Protection and Restoration--96-NCERQA-1A
    Global Climate Change--96-NCERQA-1B

Exposure of Children to Pesticides--96-NCERQA-2

Air Quality
    Tropospheric Ozone--96-NCERQA-3A1
    Air Toxics --96-NCERQA-3A2
    Indoor Air Quality--96-NCERQA-3B

Analytical & Monitoring Methods
    Field Analytical Methods--96-NCERQA-4A
    Continuous Measurement Methods--96-NCERQA-4B
    Leachability Prediction--96-NCERQA-4C

Drinking Water
    Microbial Pathogens--96-NCERQA-5A
    Disinfection By-Products--96-NCERQA-5B

Fate and Treatment of Toxics and Hazardous Wastes
    Fate and Mobility--96-NCERQA-6A
    Assessment of Risks--96-NCERQA-6B

Environmental Statistics--96-NCERQA-7

High Performance Computing
    Problem Solving Environments--96-NCERQA-8A
    Parallel Algorithms--96-NCERQA-8B
    Data Access and Analysis Tech--96-NCERQA-8C

General Solicitation
    Exploratory Research Grants--96-NCERQA-9A
    Early Career Research Awards--96-NCERQA-9B


The Sorting Code must be placed in Block 10 of SF 424.


The Sorting Code must also be included in the address on the package that is submitted to EPA (see next section on how to apply).

How to Apply

To be considered, the original and ten (10) copies of the fully developed research grant application and five (5) additional copies of the abstract (fifteen in all), must be received (post-marked if sent by U.S. Mail) by the National Center for Environmental Research no later than 4:00 P.M. EST on the closing date assigned to the topic area appropriate to the application (see sorting codes). The closing dates for the topic areas are:

    Ecological Assessment---Feb 29, 1996

    Exposure of Children to Pesticides---Feb 15, 1996

    Air Quality
      Tropospheric Ozone---Feb 29, 1996
      Air Toxics---Feb 29, 1996
      Indoor Air---Feb 29, 1996

    Analytical & Monitoring Methods---Feb 15, 1996

    Drinking Water
      Microbial Pathogens---Feb 15, 1996
      Disinfection By-Products---Feb 15, 1996

    Fate and Treatment of Toxics and Hazardous Wastes---Feb 15, 1996

    Environmental Statistics---Feb 29, 1996

    High Performance Computing---Feb 29, 1996

    General Solicitation---Feb 29, 1996

The application and abstracts must be prepared in accordance with instructions in the Application Kit for Federal Assistance and this RFA. Informal, incomplete, or unsigned proposals will not be considered. Completed applications should be sent via regular or express mail to:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Research and Development
National Center for Environmental Research (8703)
Sorting Code: 96-NCERQA-X
Room M2426
401 M Street SW
Washington DC 20460

Applications sent via express mail should have the following telephone number listed on the express mail label: (202) 260-3837

Quality Assurance

Data sets resulting from EPA-funded environmental research often are used by government officials when establishing standards or when making other policy decisions. Explicit indicators of data quality are essential for determining whether a particular data set is appropriate for use in a specific context. To that end, EPA regulations require that grant-funded projects address quality assurance.

The application must include a quality assurance narrative statement, not to exceed two pages, which for each item listed below, either presents the required information or provides justification as to why the item does not apply to the proposed research.
  • The intended use of the data and the associated acceptance criteria for data quality (i.e., precision, accuracy, representativeness, completeness, and comparability).
  • Project requirements for precision, accuracy, representativeness, completeness, and comparability, and how these will be determined.
  • Procedures for selection of samples or sampling sites, and collection or preparation of samples.
  • Procedures for sample handling, identification, preservation, transportation, and storage.
  • Description of measurement methods or test procedures, with a statement of performance characteristics if methods are non-standard.
  • Standard quality assurance/quality control procedures (e.g., American Society for Testing Materials, American Public Health Association, etc.) to be followed. Non-standard procedures must be documented.
  • Data reduction and reporting procedures, including description of statistical analyses to be used.

Guidelines and Limitations

Subcontracts for research to be conducted under the grant that exceed 40% of the total direct cost of the grant for each year in which the subcontract is awarded will be subject to special review.

Additional Requirements

Researchers will be expected to participate in an annual All-Investigator Meeting with EPA researchers and other grantees and cooperators to report on research activities and to discuss issues of mutual interest.

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 eligible only under certain laws, and then under restrictive conditions, including the absence of any profit from the project. Federal agencies and federal employees are not eligible to participate in this program. Potential applicants who are uncertain of their eligibility should contact EPA's Grants Operations Branch at (202) 260-9266.

Review and Selection

All grant applications are initially reviewed by EPA to determine their legal and administrative acceptability and responsiveness to this solicitation. Acceptable applications are then reviewed by an appropriate technical peer review group. This review is designed to evaluate and rank each proposal according to its scientific merit. Each review group is composed primarily of non-EPA scientists, engineers, social scientists, and/or economists who are experts in their respective disciplines. All reviewers are proficient in the technical areas that they are reviewing. The reviewers use the following criteria in their reviews:
  • quality of the research plan (including theoretical and/or experimental design, originality, and creativity);
  • qualifications of the principal investigator and staff, including knowledge of relevant subject areas;
  • potential contribution of the research to advancing scientific knowledge in the environmental area;
  • availability and adequacy of facilities and equipment; and
  • budget justification -- justification for equipment will receive special attention;
  • responsiveness to solicitation objectives.
Funding decisions are the sole responsibility of EPA. Grants are selected on the basis of technical merit, relevancy to the research priorities outlined, program balance, and budget.

EPA anticipates making awards from this RFA by September 1996.

Proprietary Information

By submitting an application in response to this solicitation, the applicant grants EPA permission to share the application with technical reviewers both within and outside of the Agency. Applications containing proprietary or other types of confidential information will be immediately returned to the applicant without review.

Funding Mechanism

The funding mechanism for all awards issued under this solicitation will consist of either a grant or cooperative agreement between EPA and the recipient.

In accordance with Public Law 95-224, a grant or cooperative agreement is used to accomplish a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by Federal statute rather than acquisition for the direct benefit of the Agency. In using a grant instrument, EPA anticipates that there will be no substantial involvement during the course of the grant between the recipient and the Agency. When substantial involvement is anticipated, a cooperative agreement will be awarded.

Contacts


Additional general information on the grants program may be obtained by contacting:

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    National Center for Environmental Research (8703)
    401 M Street SW
    Washington DC 20460
    E-mail: ord.grants@epamail.epa.gov
    Fax: (202) 260-2039
    Phone: (202) 260-3837

Applicants with technical questions may contact the appropriate individual identified below.

Contacts for Research Topics of Interest

Ecological Assessment
Robert Menzer---202-260-5779, menzer.robert@epamail.epa.gov
Barbara Levinson---202-260-5983, levinson.barbara@epamail.epa.gov

Exposure of Children to Pesticides
Chris Saint---202-260-1093, saint.chris@epamail.epa.gov

Air Quality
Deran Pashayan---202-260-2606, pashayan.deran@epamail.epa.gov

Analytical and Monitoring Methods
David Friedman 202-260-3535, friedman.david@epamail.epa.gov

Drinking Water
Sheila Rosenthal---202-260-7334, rosenthal.sheila@epamail.epa.gov

Environmental Fate and Treatment of Toxics and Hazardous Wastes
William Stelz---202-260-5798, stelz.william@epamail.epa.gov

Environmental Statistics
Chris Saint---202-260-1093, saint.chris@epamail.epa.gov

High Performance Computing
Chris Saint---202-260-1093, saint.chris@epamail.epa.gov

Exploratory Research
Clyde Bishop---202-260-5727, bishop.clyde@epamail.epa.gov

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