Greater Opportunities Research Program


EPA's National Center for Environmental Research (NCER) is interested in stimulating and nurturing environmental research and educational opportunities at educational institutions that are not highly funded for development of environmental research capacity, including in particular institutions with substantial minority student enrollment. Increased resources not only will enable such institutions to better serve their student populations, but also to use the strategic positions in their communities to provide critical information and to develop and implement risk communication strategies. NCER invites grant applications from such institutions for research relevant to the reduction of risks to human health and the environment from current and future exposure to persistent bioaccumulative toxic pollutants (PBTs). Funding Priorities: The Greater Opportunities: Research Program will fund research on the risk assessment, risk management and risk communication of persistent, bioaccumulative toxic compounds (PBTs) and other hazardous compounds. PBT pollutants are chemicals that are toxic, persist in the environment and bioaccumulate in food chains and thus, pose risks to human health and ecosystems.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Deleted 08/20/2009 (Archived.)
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
Project Grants (Cooperative Agreements).
Program Accomplishments
Anticipated awards for the Greater Opportunities: Research Program during each annual RFA cycle is approximately 5 competitive grants. Abstracts of current grant awards, and annual interim and final summary results of the research are available on the EPA/ORD/NCER homepage:
Clean Air Act, Sections 103 and 104, as amended, Public Law 95-95, 42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.; Clean Water Act, Section 104, as amended, Public Law 95-217, 33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.; Solid Waste Disposal Act, Section 8001, as amended; Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976, as amended, Public Law 94-580, 42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.; Safe Drinking Water Act, Section 1442, as amended, Public Law 93- 523; Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, Public Law 92-516, Section 20, as amended; Public Laws 94-140 and 95-396, 7 U.S.C. 136 et seq.; Toxic Substances Control Act, Section 10, as amended, Public Law 94-469, 15 U.S.C. 2601 et seq.; Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), Section 311, Public Law 95-510, as amended, Public Law 99-499; Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, Section 203.
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
Fully accredited four year U.S. institutions of higher education. These schools must be among those that are not highly funded for development of environmental research capacity. For purposes of the Greater Opportunities: Research Program, EPA considers such institutions to be those listed in the National Science Foundation's publication, Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions: Fiscal Year 2001, Table B-15. Institutions identified as receiving $50 million or less in annual federal research and development funding, as designated in column 2 of Table B-15, are eligible. The publication can be found at Eligible institutions with substantial minority enrollment are particularly encouraged to apply. Examples of such schools are those that the U.S. Department of Education lists as Accredited Postsecondary Minority Institutions on its web site listed below, consistent with Executive Orders 13125 (Increasing Participation of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders), 13230 (Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans), 13256 (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), and 13270 (Tribal Colleges and Universities), which encourage building of the capacity of minority serving institutions to provide high quality education. minorityinst.html. See RFA for additional eligibility requirements.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Students, faculty and communities served by eligible institutions. Nonprofit organizations described in Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code that engage in lobbying activities as defined in Section 3 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 are not eligible to apply.
EPA may request that principal investigators document their affiliation with an eligible institution. The Agency may also request that applicants demonstrate they have appropriate background, academic training, experience in the field, and necessary equipment to carry out projects. EPA may ask applicants or principal investigators to provide curriculum vitae and relevant publications.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Discussion with the Office of Research and Development National Laboratories/Centers is advisable for research cooperative agreement applications. Contact points are shown in the RFAs. Generally, no preapplication assistance is available for research related to competitive grant applications. However, EPA will specify the nature of the pre-application assistance, if any, that will be available to applicants in the Requests for Initial Proposals or Requests for Applications. When applicable, an environmental impact assessment is made by the Office of Research and Development as required by the National Environmental Protection Act. The standard application forms as furnished by the EPA and required by OMB Circulars No. A-102 and No. A-110 must be used for this program. Research funded under this program may be eligible under E.O. 12372, Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs, if it affects public health or if an environmental impact statement is required. If applicable, an applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.
Application Procedure
The National Center for Environmental Research generally does not accept unsolicited proposals. Awards are made in response to competitive RFAs. Completed applications must be submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency, Grants Administration Division, GAD 3903R, Washington, DC 20460, or as shown in the specific RFA, which is accessible through the EPA/ORD/NCER website at This program is subject to the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-110.
Award Procedure
Competitions will be conducted under EPA Order No. 5700.5, Policy for Competition in Assistance Agreements (9/12/02). EPA will review applications or proposals in accordance with the criteria specified in the RFA. Each application shall be subjected to administrative evaluation to determine the adequacy of the application in relation to grant regulations and to program evaluation; technical and extramural review determines the merit and relevance of the project to Agency programs.
As stated in the RFA.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
Approximately 180 days.
As described in 40 CFR Part 30.63.
None. A standard grant application should be prepared and submitted as a new grant, which will be reviewed in the same manner as the original application and will compete for available funds.
How are proposals selected?
Competitive applications and proposals will be selected in accordance with announced criteria. NCER generally judges proposals for (A) scientific merit in terms of: (1) quality and originality of the proposed work; (2) the qualifications of the Principal Investigator(s) and other key personnel assigned to the project; (3) the adequacy of the quality assurance plan; (4) the responsiveness of the proposed research to needs identified in the RFA; (5) the appropriateness of the proposed project period and budget; and (6) the probability that the project will accomplish stated objectives; and (B) program interest in terms of: (1) the need for the proposed research; and (2) a balanced ORD research portfolio. See the Web page ( for specific criteria for this year's RFA.
How may assistance be used?
The National Center for Environmental Research generally does not accept unsolicited proposals. Awards are made in response to announced competitive requests for applications (RFAs). Funds awarded via grant agreements are available for allowable direct cost expenditures incident to the performance of research plus allocable portions of allowable indirect costs of the institutions, in accordance with established EPA policies and regulations.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Annual interim progress, and final results, expenditure, equipment and invention reports.
Grants are subject to inspections and audit by representatives of the Comptroller General of the United States and EPA or any authorized representative. Federal audits will be made in accordance with the policies of OMB Circular No. A-133 to ensure that funds have been applied efficiently, economically, and effectively without waste fraud or abuse. Periodic audits by the recipient institution should be made as part of the recipient's systems of financial management and internal controls to meet terms and conditions of grants and other agreements. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular No. A-133, "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," was published in the Federal Register on June 30, 1997. The Circular implements the Single Audit Act Amendments of 1996. The Circular requires nonfederal entities that expend $300,000 ($500,000 for fiscal years ending after December 31, 2003) or more in Federal award dollars, to have an audit conducted in accordance with the Circular's provisions. With the revised Circular, the previous OMB Circular No. A-128 for single audits of State and local governments was rescinded and the single audit requirements for these entities were incorporated among the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133. Recipients that are State or local governments, institutions of higher education, or non-profit organizations shall be subject to the audit requirements contained in OMB Circular No. A-133, "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Institutions."
The record retention requirements of 40 CFR Part 30 are applicable. Financial records, including all documents to support entries on accounting records and to substantiate charges to each grant, must be kept available to personnel authorized to examine EPA grant accounts. All records must be maintained until three years from the date of submission of the final expenditure report. If questions still remain, such as those raised as a result of audit, related records should be retained until the matter is completely resolved.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Although NCER generally does not accept unsolicited research proposals, EPA's Appropriation Act requires that applicants submitting unsolicited research grant proposals share in the cost of conducting research. The amount of the cost share will be based on the mutuality of interest between the Government and the applicant. This requirement cannot be waived by EPA.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Grants are normally funded on a 12-month basis (annual). Total approved project period may not exceed 5 years.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
Individuals are encouraged to communicate with the appropriate EPA Regional Office listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog or the contact listed on the RFA.
Headquarters Office
For information on grant applications and procedures, contact Environmental Protection Agency, Grants Administration Division, 3903R, Washington, DC 20460. To obtain further information via the Internet for the Greater Opportunities: Research Program, click on "Funding Opportunities" at RFAs will be posted as available.
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
Grants- FY 02 $1,152,000; FY 03 $1,152,000; and FY 04 est. $1,152,000.
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
New grants range from $300,000 to $450,000 and average $325,000.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
General Grant Regulations and Procedures, Environmental Protection Agency (40 CFR Part 30) and Research and Demonstration Grant Regulations, Environmental Protection Agency (40 CFR Part 40). Costs will be determined in accordance with OMB Circular No. A-21 for educational institutions, and OMB Circular No. A-122 for nonprofit organizations.
Examples of Funded Projects
See Web Page for previously funded grants:


Related Federal Grants

Federal Grants Resources