Science To Achieve Results (STAR) Research Program


The Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Program's goal is to stimulate and support scientific and engineering research that advances EPA's mission to protect human health and the environment. It is a competitive, peer-reviewed, extramural research program that provides access to the nation's best scientists and engineers in academic and other nonprofit research institutions. STAR funds research on the environmental and public health effects of air quality, environmental changes, water quality and quantity, hazardous waste, toxic substances, and pesticides. Funding Priority - Fiscal Year 2019: The STAR Program will fund the highest quality research in the following research areas: 1) Air quality research that will advance the science and provide the information critical to improving air quality. 2) Safe and sustainable water research that will support the development of innovative, cost-effective solutions to current, emerging, and long-term water resource challenges for complex chemical and biological contaminants. 3) Sustainable and healthy communities research that supports health, environmental engineering, and ecological research aimed at facilitating regulatory compliance and improving environmental and health outcomes. 4) Chemical safety research that will evaluate and predict impacts from chemical use and disposal, and provide states and tribes with information, tools, and methods to make better informed, more timely decisions about the thousands of chemicals in the United States. Please check the EPA website: for an updated listing of all solicitations.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Environmental Protection Agency
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
B - Project Grants
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2016 Applications received for the STAR Program - FY 16 est.: 84. New awards for the STAR Program - FY 16 est.: 28. Abstracts of current grant awards, and annual interim and final summary results of the research are available on the homepage: Applications received for the STAR Program - FY 16: 87. New awards for the STAR Program - FY 16: 9. Abstracts of current grant awards, and annual interim and final summary results of the research are available on the homepage:
Fiscal Year 2017 Applications received for the STAR Program - FY 17: 187. New awards for the STAR Program - FY 17: 5. Abstracts of current grant awards, and annual interim and final summary results of the research are available on the homepage:
Fiscal Year 2018 Applications received for the STAR Program - FY 18: 32. New awards for the STAR Program - FY 18: 5. Abstracts of current grant awards, and annual interim and final summary results of the research are available on the homepage:
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, Section 102(2)(F)
Safe Drinking Water Act, Section 1442
Toxic Substances Control Act, Section 10, as amended by P.L. 106-74
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide, Section 20, as amended by P.L. 106-74
Clean Air Act, Section 103
Clean Water Act, Section 104
Solid Waste Disposal Act, Section 8001
Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, Section 203
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), Section 311
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 and private nonprofit institutions/organizations, public and private 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 and individuals are not eligible to apply. Non-profit organization, as defined by 2 CFR Part 200, means any corporation, trust, association, cooperative or other organization that: (1) is operated primarily for scientific, educational, service, charitable or similar purposes in the public interest; (2) is not organized primarily for profit; and (3) uses its net proceeds to maintain, improve and/or expand its operations. Note that 2 CFR Part 200 specifically excludes the following types of organizations from the definition of "non-profit organization" because they are separately defined in the regulation: (i) institutions of higher education; and (ii) state, local and federally-recognized Indian tribal governments. While not considered to be a "non-profit organization(s)" as defined by 2 CFR Part 200, Institutions of Higher Education and state, local and federally-recognized Indian tribal governments are, nevertheless, eligible to submit applications under this program. Hospitals operated by state, tribal, or local governments or that meet the definition of nonprofit at 2 CFR 200.70 are also eligible to apply. For-profit colleges, universities, trade schools, and hospitals are ineligible. 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. Federal employees may not receive salaries or augment their Agency's appropriations through awards made under this program unless authorized by law to receive such funding. 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. Certain competitions may allow for early career awards. The following requirements in addition to the requirements listed above apply to early career awards. 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; and 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. 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 resources 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.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is required. An environmental impact statement is required for this listing. An environmental impact assessment is required for this listing. 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. 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. 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.
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
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 may be requested to submit an electronic version of the project abstract, provide responses to comments or suggestions offered by the peer reviewers, and provide a revised budget. 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.
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.
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.
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 assistance listing description (CFDA) 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?
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.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Not applicable.
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
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
Grants are normally funded for a minimum of 3 years. Total approved project period may not exceed 5 years. Grants are generally fully funded or incrementally funded (on an annual basis), subject to the availability of funds. 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
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
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. (Mail Code: 8725R)
Washington, DC 20460 US
Phone: 202-564-7823
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Project Grants (Discretionary)) FY 18$21,540,757.00; FY 19 est $28,500,000.00; FY 20 est $0.00; FY 17$28,180,686.00; FY 16$49,200,000.00; -
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
New awards range from $600,000 to $800,000 total per grant. Average awards total $725,000.
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 2016 1. Support a research center that utilizes novel measurement and modeling approaches to understand spatial and temporal differences in multiple air pollutants and health outcomes, develops and distributes tools for air quality impact assessment, and examines and tests the efficacy of various technology and policy scenarios in meeting outcome and cost-effectiveness goals. 2. Researchers will use state-of-the-art methods to measure in utero chemical exposures that are potential risk factors for childhood leukemia and characterize the biological mechanisms by which these chemicals may act on the fetus to increase the risk of leukemia in human and animal studies. 3. This project evaluates how a range of future changes will impact particulate matter and ozone levels in the western United States. Chemistry and physics simulations for key locations in the western US will use a range of scenarios for future climate change, anthropogenic emissions of pollutant and precursors in the US, wildfire emissions, biogenic emissions, land cover changes and background from long range transport. 4. This grant supports research to identify major sources and composition of air pollutants in the year 2050 resulting from different energy portfolios that optimize economic outcomes related to different assumptions about available technology and climate change. Analyses will include detail to allow air quality health costs to be calculated for a range of socio-economic classes. The study will use combinations of different climate models, air quality models, and energy portfolios. 5. The goal of this project is to develop a transferable framework for linking the health of small streams to water quality indicators, ecosystem services, and human preferences. This project will focus on small streams and the benefits of protection both upstream and downstream. 1. 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. 2. Develop new and improved Environmental Public Health Indicators related to the school environment, and explore appropriate statistical methodology in order to evaluate linkages between the school environment and children's health and school performance. 3. Communicate to the public the importance of the effects of nutrient loading and the consequences for ecological services. This will be achieved through the development of an organizational framework, quantification of spatially scalable ecological services production function, investigation of household preferences and economic value of water quality, preference surveys to estimate willingness to pay, and the production of an Integrated Assessment Model (IAM). 4. Use a preference function model to value changes in water quality benefits. The findings will be adaptable to alternative study-sites and will address critical deficiencies in traditional benefit transfer studies. 5. Develop an integrated modeling framework to characterize present and future health risks in an elderly population jointly exposed to ozone and extreme heat.
Fiscal Year 2018 1. The project studies the influence of social and physical factors (residential conditions, personal lifestyles/genetics, socioeconomic behaviors, public interactions) and total chemical pollutant exposures on children’s health and development. The research provides exposure models reflecting the chemical, social and physical environments that influence health outcomes from the prenatal period to age four and estimates the causal effect of these total environment exposures on child health. 2. The project studies the importance of environmental factors such as geographical heat index, personal lifestyles/activities/genetics, societal behaviors, and public interactions on the potential link between adulthood cardiovascular disease (CVD) and PM2.5. Increasing awareness of environmental factors that contribute CVD from PM2.5 exposures enable state and local decision makers and health experts to implement correct and effective preventive measures to achieve the optimal public health outcomes. 3. The project is developing a watershed classification system to diagnose and manage harmful algal blooms (HABs) in the upper Ohio River basin. The focus of this project is to determine characteristics related to distribution, duration, and intensity of HABs and develop a classification system to predict and prevent HABs. 4. The project studies the importance of peri-urban/rural environmental factors (availability of water service, housing conditions, socioeconomic status, behaviors, and water infrastructure) on lead exposures and children’s health. Research will estimate how potential lead in well waters affects children’s developmental outcomes, and the association between lead in private well water and children’s blood lead. 5. The project explores genetic and environmental factors controlling the occurrence of harmful algal blooms (HABs) in Iowa's lakes. The project will produce tools and databases accessible and useful for state/local decision makers and managers dealing with HABs.
Fiscal Year 2019 1. The project proposes to study the partitioning and fate of Per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) and its precursors in landfill leachate and related environmental media at landfill sites and treated landfill leachate; and to identify the sources of PFAS compounds in current U.S. domestic waste streams using laboratory-scale batch leaching, and landfill simulation studies. 2. The project proposes to advance electron beam (eBeam) technology an innovative approach for on-site remediation of short-chain and perfluoroalkyl substances contaminated groundwater, wastewater effluent, sewage sludge, and soils. 3. The project develops practical strategies for removing legacy and emerging per - and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from leachate and groundwater. It will identify the governing soil sorption and desorption mechanisms of PFAS in landfill leachate, investigate the biodegradation of sorbed precursor compounds of perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs), and examine the effects of sorption hysteresis. 4. Immortalized cell lines will be developed to investigate three objectives: 1) Develop assays complementary to fish early life stage and larval growth for a euryhaline model; 2) Quantify internal exposure concentrations of model pesticides across a salinity gradient; and 3) Use a combination of genomic tools and demographic modeling link in vivo phenotypic anchors to biomarker candidates and population-level outcomes. 5. This research will develop an approach to dynamically assess metabolic and signaling processes within and between blood-brain barrier (BBB) cells without the ethical and practical limitations posed by in vivo studies of animals or the lack of sensitivity observed in standard cell death/morphology toxicology assays in cell lines.


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