Science To Achieve Results (STAR) Fellowship Program

 

The Office of Research and Development (ORD), as part of its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, offers graduate fellowships for master's and doctoral level students in environmentally related fields of study. The purpose of the fellowship program is to encourage promising students to obtain advanced degrees and pursue careers in environmentally related fields. This goal is consistent with the mission of EPA, which is to provide leadership in the nation's environmental science, research, education, assessment, restoration, and preservation efforts. This program will benefit both the public and private sectors which will need a steady stream of well-trained environmental specialists if society is to meet the environmental challenges of the future. These fellowships are intended to help defray costs associated with advanced environmentally-oriented study leading to a master's or doctoral degree. Funding Priority - Fiscal Year 2019: EPA did not include funding for this activity in the FY 2019 budget request.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Active
Program Number
66.514
Federal Agency/Office
Environmental Protection Agency
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
B - Project Grants
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2016 Applications received for the STAR Fellowship Program: FY 16: 0. New Awards for the STAR Fellowship Program: FY 16 est.: 45. Applications received for the STAR Fellowship Program: FY 16: 0. New Awards for the STAR Fellowship Program: FY 16: 45.
Fiscal Year 2017 No applications were received during FY 2017. No new projects were funded during FY 2017.
Fiscal Year 2018 No applications were received and no new awards were made during FY 2018.
Authorization
Solid Waste Disposal Act, Section 8001, 42 U.S.C. 6981
Clean Air Act, Section 103, 42 U.S.C. 7403
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, Section 20, 7 U.S.C. 136r
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, Section 102(2)(F)
Safe Drinking Water Act, Section 1442, 42 U.S.C. 300j-1
Toxic Substances Control Act, Section 10, 15 U.S.C. 2609
Clean Water Act, Section 104, 33 U.S.C. 1254
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
Applicants must attend a fully accredited U.S. college or university (located in the U.S. or its territories) for their graduate studies. Individuals must be citizens of the U.S. or its territories or possessions, or be lawfully admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence. Resident aliens must have their green card at the time of application to be eligible for this fellowship opportunity. Do not provide the green card number with your application; however, you may be asked to provide it at a later time to verify eligibility with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service of the Department of Homeland Security. Applicants do not need to be enrolled in or formally accepted into a full time graduate program at the time they apply for a fellowship, but proof of enrollment or acceptance must be produced prior to the award of the fellowship. To be eligible for this fellowship, applicants must be pursuing a master's or doctoral degree in an environmentally-related topic area at a fully accredited U.S. college or university (based in the U.S. or its territories). Applicants who are in a graduate program at the time of application and meet either of the following two criteria as of the solicitation closing date ARE NOT eligible to receive a fellowship: 1) have completed more than one year in their current master's program; or 2) have completed more than four years in their current doctoral program. However, applicants enrolled in a master's program who intend to pursue a doctoral degree beginning in the fall of 2015 may apply for a doctoral fellowship. Applicants who currently have another federal fellowship are not eligible. However, acceptance of a fellowship under this announcement does not necessarily preclude acceptance of another private, state, regional, local, or non-profit scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, research assistantship, teaching assistantship, or grant aid. Employees of the U.S. government may apply, but must be able to prove separation from Federal service before accepting this fellowship. Applications must be submitted by the student. Applications submitted by the institution on behalf of the student will be rejected without review. EPA recognizes that scientific, technical, engineering and mathematical (STEM) competence is essential to the Nation's future well-being in terms of national security and competitive economic advantage. For instance, the health and vitality of the economy is predicated, in part, on the availability of an adequate supply of scientists, technicians, engineers and mathematicians, to develop innovative technologies and solutions. In other words, this country must engage all available minds to address the challenges it faces. Minorities, women, and persons with disabilities historically have been under-represented in the STEM fields. For this reason, EPA strongly encourages women, minorities, persons with disabilities and MAI applicants to apply. For certain competitive funding opportunities under this CFDA description, the Agency may limit eligibility to compete to a number or subset of eligible applicants consistent with the Agency's Assistance Agreement Competition Policy.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Individual/Family; Student/Trainee and Graduate Student.
Credentials/Documentation
EPA may request that fellows document their affiliation with an eligible institution. The EPA may also request that applicants demonstrate they have appropriate background, academic training, and experience in the field to carry out the fellowship.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is required. Regarding pre-application/pre-proposal assistance with respect to competitive funding opportunities under this program description, EPA will generally specify the nature of the pre-application/pre-proposal assistance, if any, that will be available to applicants in the competitive announcement. For additional information, contact the individual(s) listed in the competitive announcement. ORD invites applications for graduate fellowships in academic disciplines relating to environmental research including engineering, public health, and ecological sciences. An application provides the information needed for the review of its merit. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. Applicants, except in limited circumstances approved by the Agency, must submit all initial applications for funding through https://www.grants.gov.
Award Procedure
For competitive awards, EPA will review and evaluate applications, proposals, and/or submissions in accordance with the terms, conditions, and criteria stated in the competitive announcement. Competitions will be conducted in accordance with EPA policies/regulations for competing assistance agreements. The official notification of an award will be made by the EPA's Grants and Interagency Agreement Management Division.
Deadlines
Specific information regarding deadlines is provided in the competitive announcement.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
From 120 to 180 days. Approximately three to six months from the close of the solicitation.
Appeals
Assistance agreement competition-related disputes will be resolved in accordance with the dispute resolution procedures published in 70 FR (Federal Register) 3629, 3630 (January 26, 2005). Disputes relating to matters other than the competitive selection of recipients will be resolved under 2 CFR 1500 Subpart E, as applicable.
Renewals
Not applicable.
How are proposals selected?
The evaluation and selection criteria for competitive awards under this assistance listing description (CFDA) will be described in the competitive announcement. See the Web page (https://www.epa.gov/research-grants) for additional information on the evaluative criteria for this RFA.
How may assistance be used?
The funding mechanism for all awards issued under STAR solicitations will consist of assistance agreements from the EPA. All award decisions are subject to the availability of funds. In accordance with the Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act, 31 U.S.C. 6301 et seq., the primary purpose of a fellowship is to accomplish a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by federal statute, rather than acquisition for the direct benefit or use of the Agency. In issuing a fellowship agreement, the EPA anticipates that there will be no substantial EPA involvement in the design, implementation, or conduct of the research. However, the EPA will monitor research progress through annual reports and other contacts with the Fellow. Additionally, once selected, continued funding is contingent on availability of funds. Applications must not include management fees or similar charges in excess of the direct costs and indirect costs at the rate approved by the institution’s cognizant audit agency, or at the rate provided for by the terms of the agreement negotiated with EPA. The term "management fees or similar charges" refers to expenses added to the direct costs in order to accumulate and reserve funds for ongoing business expenses, unforeseen liabilities, or for other similar costs that are not allowable under EPA assistance agreements. Management fees or similar charges may not be used to improve or expand the project funded under this agreement, except to the extent authorized as a direct cost of carrying out the scope of work.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Reporting
Performance Reports: EPA includes reporting requirements for fellowships in the terms and conditions of the agreements. Performance Monitoring is required under this program.
Auditing
Grants and cooperative agreements are subject to inspections and audits by the Comptroller General of the United States, the EPA Office of Inspector General, other EPA staff, or any authorized representative of the Federal government. Reviews by the EPA Project Officer and the Grants Specialist may occur each year.
Records
The record retention requirements of 40 CFR Part 46 are applicable. All records related to a fellowship agreement must be maintained for three years after the completion date inserted on the "Completion of Studies Notice" (EPA Form 5770-9). EPA, the Inspector General, Comptroller General of the United States, or any of their duly authorized representatives, has the right of timely and unrestricted access to documents, papers, or other records related to a fellowship, in order to make audits, examinations, excerpts, transcripts and copies of such documents. The rights of access in this paragraph are not limited to the required retention period, but shall last as long as records are retained. In the spring of each fellowship year, the fellow will need to provide documentation (letter from sponsor, current copy of transcript, updated project synopsis, updated technical abstract, etc.).
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.

Matching requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
The term of a graduate fellowship is negotiated with students and customarily covers a period of 9 to 12 months for each fellowship year. Students seeking a master's degree may be supported for a maximum of two years. Students seeking doctoral degrees may receive support for a maximum of three years, available over a period of four years. If selected to receive a fellowship, the fellow will be contacted no later than 3-6 months after the close of the solicitation and should subsequently receive official notification of award by no later than 3-6 months after the close of the solicitation for the fall term. Please note that this schedule may be changed without notification due to factors that were not anticipated at the time of announcement. Assistance is either fully funded (lump sum) or incrementally funded on an annual basis.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
For general questions, Applicants are encouraged to communicate with the appropriate EPA Regional Office listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog or the contact listed in the solicitation. The solicitation is located at: https://www.epa.gov/research-grants.
Headquarters Office
Ron Josephson
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development/NCER, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. (Mail Code: 8725R)
Washington, DC 20460 US
josephson.ron@epa.gov
Phone: 202-564-7823
Website Address
https://www.epa.gov/research-grants
Financial Information
Account Identification
68-0107-0-1-304
Obligations
(Project Grants (Discretionary)) FY 18$0.00; FY 19 est $0.00; FY 20 est $0.00; FY 17$0.00; FY 16$6,700,000.00; -
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
No information is available.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
Fellowship Regulations, Environmental Protection Agency (40 CFR Part 46).
Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2016 . The research will investigate the mechanisms of anaerobic bacterial lignin degradation to improve paper pulping processes and the use of lignin as a biofuel feedstock. 2. In the proposed research, pathogens being transmitted through small rural drinking water systems will be identified using molecular biology. This data will then be used to conduct a quantitative microbial risk assessment to estimate the health risks attributable to small drinking water systems and develop risk management strategies. 3. The fellow will design, build and deploy an instrument to measure up to thousands of distinct organic compounds and gain insight into what aerosols from fires are made of and how they form. 4. The research will apply modern econometric techniques to climatological and socioeconomic datasets to uncover the causal relationship between climate variation and global labor productivity, a fundamental building block of economic development that is vulnerable to warming through biophysical and cognitive constraints imposed by higher temperatures. 5. The research will use stable carbon isotopes to study organic reactions that occur in fog and clouds to assess the effects of these processes on particulate matter mass. This will help in understanding the atmospheric organic carbon budget, as existing models underestimate the concentration of aerosol particulate matter. 1. The research will investigate the mechanisms of anaerobic bacterial lignin degradation to improve paper pulping processes and the use of lignin as a biofuel feedstock. 2. In the proposed research, pathogens being transmitted through small rural drinking water systems will be identified using molecular biology. This data will then be used to conduct a quantitative microbial risk assessment to estimate the health risks attributable to small drinking water systems and develop risk management strategies. 3. The fellow will design, build and deploy an instrument to measure up to thousands of distinct organic compounds and gain insight into what aerosols from fires are made of and how they form. 4. The research will apply modern econometric techniques to climatological and socioeconomic datasets to uncover the causal relationship between climate variation and global labor productivity, a fundamental building block of economic development that is vulnerable to warming through biophysical and cognitive constraints imposed by higher temperatures. 5. The research will use stable carbon isotopes to study organic reactions that occur in fog and clouds to assess the effects of these processes on particulate matter mass. This will help in understanding the atmospheric organic carbon budget, as existing models underestimate the concentration of aerosol particulate matter.
Fiscal Year 2017 No new projects were funded during FY 2017.
Fiscal Year 2018 No new projects were funded during FY 2018.
Fiscal Year 2019 No new projects will be funded during FY 2019.

 


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