Science To Achieve Results (STAR) Research Program


To (1) support research to determine the environmental and human health effects of air quality, drinking water, water quality, hazardous waste, toxic substances, and pesticides; (2) identify, develop, and demonstrate effective pollution control techniques; and (3) support research to explore and develop strategies and mechanisms for those in the social, governmental, and environmental arenas to use in environmental management decisions.

Funding Priority - Fiscal Year 2014: The STAR Program will fund the highest quality research in the following priority areas:

(1) Air, Climate and Energy: Indoor Air and Climate Change; Particulate Matter and Related Pollutants in a Changing World; Air, Climate and Energy (ACE) Centers - Science Supporting Solutions; Air Pollution Monitoring for Communities.

(2) Chemical Safety and Sustainability: Organotypic Culture Models for Predictive Toxicology Center; Systems-Based Research for Evaluating Ecological Impacts of Manufactured Chemicals; Nanotechnology Research.

(3) Safe and Sustainable Water Resources: Center for Innovative Drinking Water Treatment Technologies;

(4) Safe and Healthy Communities: Centers of Excellence on Environmental Health Disparities; Science for Sustainable and Healthy Tribes; Healthy and Sustainable Schools: Environmental Factors, Children's Health and Performance, and Sustainable Building Practices.

In addition to the solicitations identified above, other solicitations may be announced in the coming year. Please check the NCER website: for an updated listing of all solicitations.

Funding Priority - Fiscal Year 2015: The STAR Program will fund the highest quality research in the following research areas:

(1) Air, Climate and Energy; 2) Chemical Safety and Sustainability: 3) Safe and Sustainable Water Resources; and 4) Safe and Healthy Communities.

Please check the NCER website: for an updated listing of all solicitations.

Funding Priority - Fiscal Year 2016: The STAR Program will fund the highest quality research in the following research areas:

(1) Air, Climate and Energy; 2) Chemical Safety and Sustainability: 3) Safe and Sustainable Water Resources; and 4) Safe and Healthy Communities.

Please check the NCER website: for an updated listing of all solicitations.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
Office: Office of Research and Development (ORD)
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2014: Applications received for the STAR Program - FY 14: 295. New awards for the STAR Program - FY 14: 30. Abstracts of current grant awards, and annual interim and final summary results of the research are available on the homepage: Fiscal Year 2015: Applications received for the STAR Program - FY 15 est.: 183. New awards for the STAR Program - FY 15 est.: 24. Abstracts of current grant awards, and annual interim and final summary results of the research are available on the homepage: Fiscal Year 2016: No Current Data Available
Safe Drinking Water Act, Section 1442, 42 U.S.C 300j-1; National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, Section 102(2(F); Clean Air Act, Section 103, 42 U.S.C 7403; Clean Water Act, Section 104, 33 U.S.C 1254; Toxic Substances Control Act, Section 10, 15 U.S.C 2609; Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, Section 20, 7 U.S.C 136r; Solid Waste Disposal Act, Section 8001, 42 U.S.C 6981.
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
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.

Public nonprofit institutions/organizations (includes public nonprofit institutions of higher education and hospitals) and private nonprofit institutions/organizations (includes private nonprofit institutions of higher education and hospitals) located in the U.S., state and local governments, Federally Recognized Indian Tribal Governments, and U.S. territories or possessions are eligible to apply. Profit-making firms are not eligible to receive assistance agreements from the EPA under this program.

Eligible nonprofit organizations include any organizations that:

1) Are operated primarily for scientific, educational, service, charitable, or similar purposes in the public interest; 2) Are not organized primarily for profit; and 3) Use its net proceeds to maintain, improve, and/or expand its operations. However, nonprofit organizations described in Section 501(c) (4) of the Internal Revenue Code that lobby are not eligible to apply.

Foreign governments, international organizations, and non-governmental international organizations/institutions are not eligible to apply.

National laboratories funded by Federal Agencies (Federally-Funded Research and Development Centers, "FFRDCs") may not apply. FFRDC employees may cooperate or collaborate with eligible applicants within the limits imposed by applicable legislation and regulations. They may participate in planning, conducting, and analyzing the research directed by the applicant, but may not direct projects on behalf of the applicant organization. The institution, organization, or governance receiving the award may provide funds through its assistance agreement from the EPA to an FFRDC for research personnel, supplies, equipment, and other expenses directly related to the research. However, salaries for permanent FFRDC employees may not be provided through this mechanism.

Federal Agencies may not apply. Federal employees are not eligible to serve in a principal leadership role on an assistance agreement, and may not receive salaries or augment their Agency's appropriations in other ways through awards made under this program.

The applicant institution may enter into an agreement with a Federal Agency to purchase or utilize unique supplies or services unavailable in the private sector to the extent authorized by law. Examples are purchase of satellite data, chemical reference standards, analyses, or use of instrumentation or other facilities not available elsewhere. A written justification for federal involvement must be included in the application. In addition, an appropriate form of assurance that documents the commitment, such as a letter of intent from the Federal Agency involved, should be included.

The early career awards will support research performed by PIs with outstanding promise at the Assistant Professor or equivalent level. Principal investigators from applicant institutions applying for the early career portion of the RFA must meet the following additional eligibility requirements:

1. Hold a doctoral degree in a field related to the research being solicited by the closing date of the RFA;

2. Be untenured at the closing date of the RFA;

3. By the award date, be employed in a tenure-track position (or tenure-track-equivalent position) as an assistant professor (or equivalent title) at an institution in the U.S., its territories, or possessions. Note: For a position to be considered a tenure-track-equivalent position, it must meet all of the following requirements: (1) the employing department or organization does not offer tenure; (2) the appointment is a continuing appointment; (3) the appointment has substantial educational responsibilities; and (4) the proposed project relates to the employee's career goals and job responsibilities as well as to the goals of the department/organization.

Senior researchers may collaborate in a supporting role for early career awards. Early career applications should not propose significant resources for senior researchers and may not list senior researchers as co-PIs. Applicants will be asked to verify their early career status.

See RFAs at: for additional information pertaining to eligibility requirements.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Public nonprofit institutions/organizations and private nonprofit institutions/organizations located in the U.S.; state and local governments; Federally Recognized Indian Tribal Governments; U.S. territories or possessions; Anyone/General Public, Education Professional, Student/Trainee, Graduate Student, Scientists/Researchers.
The EPA may request that applicants demonstrate they have appropriate background, academic training, experience in the field, and necessary equipment to carry out the research. EPA may ask applicants to provide curriculum vitae and relevant publications. EPA may also ask the lead principal investigator/contact principal investigator for information documenting past performance. 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles applies to this program.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
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 as "Information Contacts" or see Appendix IV of the Catalog. When applicable, an environmental impact assessment is made by the Office of Research and Development as required by the National Environmental Policy Act. This program is eligible for coverage under E.O. 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." 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. An environmental impact assessment is required for this program. This program is eligible for coverage under E.O. 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." 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
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. Competitive RFAs or RFIPs for grants/cooperative agreements are announced widely through the Internet, university and scientific organizations, among other mechanisms. Applicants must propose EPA mission relevant research based on excellent science as determined through peer review by experts drawn from the national and international scientific community. Other more specialized scientific areas may be solicited via joint RFAs with other Federal agencies. The STAR program may fund research centers that focus on long-term, multi-disciplinary research. This program is subject to the provisions of 2 CFR Part 200 and 2 CFR Part 1500. Specific details on the application process are described in the solicitations which are located at: Applicants, except in limited circumstances approved by the Agency, must submit all initial applications for funding through
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. Customarily, applicants are notified of award decisions within six months of the close of the RFA. After being recommended for award, applicants will be required to submit additional certifications and an electronic version of the revised project abstract, and may be requested to provide responses to comments or suggestions offered by the peer reviewers, a revised budget, and/or make appropriate proposal revisions. EPA Project Officers will contact the Lead Principal Investigator/Contact Principal Investigator to obtain these materials. The official notification of an award will be made by the Agency's Grants and Interagency Agreement Management Division. Before or after award, certain applicants will be expected to provide additional quality assurance documentation.
Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
Approximately three to six months from the close of the solicitation.
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). Copies of these procedures may also be requested by contacting the individual(s) listed as "Information Contacts." Disputes relating to matters other than the competitive selection of recipients will be resolved under 2 CFR 1500 Subpart E, as applicable.
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?
The evaluation and selection criteria for competitive awards under this CFDA description will be described in the competitive announcement. See the web page ( for additional information on the evaluative criteria for the RFAs.
How may assistance be used?
The National Center for Environmental Research (NCER) generally does not accept unsolicited proposals for the STAR program. All STAR awards are made in response to competitive requests for applications (RFAs) or requests for initial proposals (RFIPs). Funds awarded via grants/cooperative 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. Assistance agreement awards under this program may involve or relate to geospatial information. Further information regarding geospatial information may be obtained by viewing the following website:

Some solicitations issued under this CFDA may allow for the submittal of Multiple Investigator applications. The applicability of Multiple Investigator applications will be described in the solicitations. For further information, please see the EPA Implementation Plan for Policy on Multiple Principal Investigators (

Grant recipients and sub-recipients are encouraged to adopt and enforce policies that ban text messaging while driving company-owned or -rented vehicles or government-owned vehicles, or while driving privately-owned vehicles when on official government business or when performing any work for or on behalf of the government. Grant recipients and sub-recipients are encouraged to conduct initiatives of the type described in section 3(a) of the Federal Leadership on Reducing Text Messaging While Driving Executive Order that was signed on October 1, 2009.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
No program reports are required. No cash reports are required. A grant recipient must agree to provide annual progress reports, with associated summaries for posting on NCER's web site, and a final report with an executive summary for web posting. A grant recipient must agree to provide copies of any peer reviewed journal article(s) resulting from the research during the project period. The recipient also agrees to provide expenditure and invention reports as appropriate. Progress Reports are required under this program. No expenditure reports are required. Performance Monitoring is required under this program.
In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503. 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.
The record retention requirements of 2 CFR Part 200 apply. 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
This program has no statutory formula.
This program has no matching requirements. The Office of Research and Development reserves the right to impose a cost share requirement under certain competitions. See individual RFAs at for additional information pertaining to matching/cost share requirements.
This program does not have MOE requirements.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Grants are normally funded for a minimum of 2 years. Total approved project period may not exceed 5 years. Grants are generally fully funded or incrementally funded (on a annual basis). See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: 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
See Regional Agency Offices. Applicants are encouraged to communicate with the appropriate EPA Regional Office listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog or the contacts listed in the solicitations. Solicitations are located at:
Headquarters Office
Ron Josephson EPA, 2777 Crystal Drive (One Potomac Yards), Arlington, Virginia 22202 Email: Phone: 703-308-0442
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Project Grants) FY 14 $44,200,000; FY 15 est $39,100,000; and FY 16 est $48,800,000 - FY 14 $44,200,000; FY 15 est. $39,100,000; FY 16 est. $48,800,000.
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
New awards range from $183,000 to $6,000,000 total per grant and average $900,000.

Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
2 CFR Part 200 & 2 CFR Part 1500 (Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards) and Research and Demonstration Grant Regulations, Environmental Protection Agency (40 CFR Part 40).
Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2014: 1. Evaluate the trade-offs between intended function of nanomaterials (NMs) in products and risks to humans and the environment.

2. Integrate traditional ecological and community knowledge, scientific data and climate models to describe existing and projected local climate, hydrologic and microbial water quality changes and their impacts on ecosystem and community health.

3. Identify neurodevelopmental processes regulated by thyroid hormone and determine differences between species, intracellular signaling pathways that affect neurodevelopment, and the toxicity pathways by which chemicals interfere with neurodevelopment.

4. Quantify the benefits of cookstove interventions on climate, indoor air quality, and regional air quality.

5. Support demonstration of green infrastructure (GI) practices by local communities, governments, and municipalities. By identifying social, economic, and technical barriers to GI and interacting with various stakeholders to create a GI toolbox, this project will provide practical tools to specific user communities and better integrate stormwater management into local decision-making. Fiscal Year 2015: 1. Uncover the mechanistic linkages between the genome (e.g., variation in DNA sequence among individuals), metabolism (e.g., formation of organ-specific toxic intermediates), and adverse molecular events (e.g., transcriptional changes associated with toxicity) in response to Tetrachloroethylene (Perchloroethylene, PERC) exposure in humans.

2. Investigate the impact of climate change on home air exchange rates and the subsequent changes to fine particle exposures on human health.

3. Utilize a freshwater crustacean and a freshwater gastropod as model ecological receptors to develop bioenergetic markers and population models for predicting adverse ecological effects in response to two emerging contaminants, pyroclostrobin fungicide and perfluorooctane sulfonate.

4. Test the hypothesis that the toxicity of flame retardant chemicals (FRCs) is highly dependent on their chemical structure and conduct the first comprehensive in vivo, structure-activity based toxicity studies of FRCs.

5. Investigate indoor smog-induced chemistry and associated human exposure, and the effect of natural ventilation on this chemistry and subsequent exposure estimates. Fiscal Year 2016: No Current Data Available


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