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Research Programs

Science for a Sustainable Future

EPA researchers are working collaboratively, across many scientific disciplines and in close partnership with EPA partners and stakeholders to conduct research that is truly transdisciplinary. Agency scientists and engineers engage experts from related scientific fields, and from a diversity of other disciplines, including economics, law, policy, communications and information sciences to provide the solutions the Agency and the nation need to meet today’s complex environmental and human health challenges.

The overall research portfolio is organized into six highly coordinated, transdisciplinary research programs. Each program is aligned around the core principle of sustainability, and guided by a Strategic Research Action Plan developed by EPA with input from its many partners and external stakeholders.

The Strategic Research Action Plans are:

Photo montage with six parts: water, lab research, fishing off dock, city skyline during the day, smiling young girl, and New York city skyline at night

Science for a Sustainable Future: EPA Research Program Overview
This document provides an overview of EPA research strategies, how the six research programs are aligned around the concept of sustainability, and how the six research areas contribute to and reinforce one another, emphasizing the integration of environmental science research.

Download the Science for a Sustainable Future: EPA Research Program Overview 2012-2016 (PDF)
(24pp, 1.2MB, About PDF)

air climate and energy

Air, Climate, and Energy (ACE)
The ACE program builds on 40 years of achievement in air pollution research that has led to landmark outcomes—including healthier communities and longer life expectancies. EPA researchers are exploring the dynamics of air quality, global climate change, and energy as a set of complex, interrelated challenges.

Download the Air, Climate, and Energy Strategic Research Action Plan (PDF)
(45 pp, 2.3MB, About PDF)

Safe and Sustainable Water Resources

Safe and Sustainable Water Resources (SSWR)
EPA’s SSWR program seeks to ensure that clean, adequate, and equitable supplies of water are available to support human well-being and aquatic ecosystems. SSWR research integrates social, environmental, and economic factors to provide smarter, more sustainable guidance for the management of the nation’s water resources and infrastructure.

Download the Safe and Sustainable Water Resources Strategic Research Action Plan (PDF)
(39 pp, 1.1MB, About PDF)

Sustainable and Healthy Communities

Sustainable and Healthy Communities (SHC)
The SHC program is designed to inform and empower community decision‐makers as they create and implement sustainability policies. SHC research provides decision support tools, models, and metrics that can be used to make these policies more efficient, balanced, and equitable.

Chemical Safety for Sustainability

Chemical Safety for Sustainability (CSS)
The CSS program is primarily designed to assure the safety of chemicals and products that we use in our everyday lives and that impact the environment. CSS research provides decision-support tools needed to efficiently evaluate chemicals, conduct risk management, and prioritize time-critical research.

Download the Chemical Safety for Sustainability Strategic Research Action Plan (PDF)
(64 pp, 620K, About PDF)

Human Health Risk Assessment

Human Health Risk Assessment (HHRA)
The HHRA program provides human health risk assessments for existing chemicals and chemical mixtures that find their way into our air, water, and land. The HHRA program plays a unique role in serving the needs of EPA programs by incorporating, integrating, and coordinating the use of scientific information as a foundation for regulatory decision-making on these chemicals.

Download the Human Health Risk Assessment Strategic Research Action Plan (PDF)
(43 pp, 1.3MB, About PDF)

Homeland Security

Homeland Security (HS)
The HS program conducts research that increases EPA’s capability to carry out its homeland security responsibilities, which include helping communities prepare for and recover from environmental disasters, as well as acts of terrorism that might involve chemical, biological, or radiological weapons. The HS program also conducts research on drinking water, wastewater systems, and on technologies have broader environmental and health protection applications.

Download the Homeland Security Strategic Research Action Plan (PDF)
(29 pp, 3.4MB, About PDF)

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