The Office of the Science Advisor (OSA), led by the Agency Science Advisor, provides leadership in cross-Agency science and science policy development and implementation to ensure the best possible use of science at the Agency. These efforts help ensure regulations are interpreted and enforced in a manner consistent with the science supporting them and will strengthen EPA's overall scientific performance.
The Science Advisor works across the Agency to ensure that the highest quality science is better integrated into the Agency's policies and decisions. In this capacity, the Science Advisor leads the OSA and chairs the Agency's Science and Technology Policy Council which reviews selected science issues that have implications across program and regional offices. The mission of the OSA is to provide leadership and serve as an honest broker for cross-Agency science, science policy, and technology issues.
EPA has strengthened its contractor-managed peer review process to address any actual or potential conflicts of interest with regard to peer review panels considering Influential Scientific Information (ISI) or a Highly Influential Scientific Assessment (HISA). Peer review panel membership will now be subject to public comment in order to increase transparency. For a copy of this process CLICK HERE (4 pp, 814K, About PDF).
Programs and projects managed by the Office of the Science Advisor:
Scientific Integrity - In 2012, EPA enacted an Agency-wide Scientific Integrity Policy (EPA's Scientific Integrity Policy February 2012 (PDF) (14 pp, 207K, About PDF)) that builds on our long history of scientific safeguards and further ensures that sound science drives Agency decision making. The policy builds on EPA's Principles of Scientific Integrity (PDF) (1 pg, 56K, About PDF) and outlines foundational principles that promote a culture of scientific integrity, communication with the public, the use of peer review and Federal Advisory Committees, and the professional development of Agency scientists. It also established a Scientific Integrity Committee to implement this policy. The Scientific Integrity Policy helps to ensure that science continues to drive our efforts to protect human health and the environment.
Annual Report on Scientific Integrity - The Policy states that there will be a publicly available annual report on the status of scientific integrity within the Agency. The 2013 Annual Report (PDF) (39 pg, 916K, About PDF) highlights EPA's scientific integrity successes.
Policy and Procedures for Addressing Research Misconduct – EPA Order 3120.5 (12 pg, 101K, About PDF) provides policy and procedures on reporting, procedures, investigations, and adjudication of research misconduct by the EPA’s employees, contractors, and recipients of assistance agreements.
Science and Technology Policy Council - The Science Advisor chairs the Agency's Science and Technology Policy Council, which reviews selected science issues that have implications across Program and Regional offices. Current priorities include identifying ways to institutionalize the principles of sustainability into EPA's programmatic work, driving technology innovation to solve discrete environmental and health problems, and creating community-relevant actions to help communities understand potential short- and long-term risks from exposures to multiple pollutants.
Council for Regulatory Environmental Modeling - Environmental Modeling Community of Practice – The Environmental Modeling (E-Mod) Community of Practice (CoP) is being established for modelers (i.e., developers, users, evaluators, and those with a passion for modeling [e.g., statisticians, software analysts] – likeminded individuals) to come together as a community with an open opportunity to regularly interact with one another, form new collaborative relationships, and possibly pursue a project(s) to advance environmental modeling at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or the Agency). This is a cross-Agency opportunity to learn about the exciting modeling related activities ongoing or needed within (or potentially outside of) the Agency; collaborate with colleagues to solve an issue; learn about new modeling techniques, tools, or opportunities (i.e., internal or external to the Agency); talk with individuals that use the same language, among other things.
Forum on Environmental Measurements - The Forum on Environmental Measurements works to develop policies to guide the Agency's measurement community in: validating and disseminating methods for sample collection and analysis; ensuring that monitoring studies are scientifically rigorous, statistically sound, and yield representative measurements; and employing a quality systems approach that ensures that the data gathered and used by the Agency is of known and documented quality. The Environmental Laboratory Advisory Board also provides recommendations to EPA.
Global Earth Observation System of Systems - The Global Earth Observation System of Systems mission is a mechanism to provide decision makers with scientific information that can advance societal benefit areas including human health, ecosystems, climate change and air and water quality.
Program in Human Research Ethics - The Program in Human Research Ethics has two components, the Human Subjects Research Review Official and the Human Studies Review Board. These two components work together to support the ethical conduct and regulatory compliance of human subjects research conducted, supported, or regulated by EPA. The Program in Human Research Ethics provides direct regulatory oversight of human subjects research conducted or supported by the Agency and supports the EPA Office of Pesticide Programs in its regulatory oversight of third-party human subjects research for pesticides.
Risk Assessment Forum - The Risk Assessment Forum mission promotes consensus on risk assessment issues and develops Agency risk assessment guidance.
Environmental Technologies - Sustainable, innovative technologies have been shown to help businesses reduce costs, expand product markets, and increase profitability. New approaches to environmental technology are increasingly becoming part of the solution for existing and emerging environmental challenges.