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Extramural Research

Basic Information

Summary Information

STAR Fellowship Program Summary (PDF) (16 pp, 2.72 MB)

Program Brochure (PDF): (2 pp, 271 K MB)

Quick Guide

Grantee Research Project Results

Extramural Research Search

Who Are We?

The National Center for Environmental Research (NCER) is one of seven research organizations that comprise EPA's Office of Research and Development (Research). NCER's mission is to support high-quality research by the nation's leading scientists and engineers that will improve the scientific basis for national environmental decisions. NCER and Research mirror the National Academy of Sciences risk assessment paradigm by focusing research on: Exposure, Effects, Risk Assessment, and Risk Management. NCER supports leading-edge, extramural research in each of these areas through competitions for grants, fellowships, and innovative small business research contracts.

The technical staff who work for NCER have backgrounds in engineering, ecological and health sciences, communication and information management. NCER is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Science to Achieve Results: Building a Scientific Foundation for Sound Environmental Decisions

NCER’s Science to Achieve Results or STAR program funds research grants and graduate fellowships in numerous environmental science and engineering disciplines through a competitive solicitation process and independent peer review. The program engages the nation’s best scientists and engineers in targeted research that complements EPA’s own outstanding intramural research program and those of our partners in other federal agencies.

In addition, through this same competitive process, NCER periodically establishes large research centers in specific areas of national concern. At present, these centers focus on childrens health, particulate matter, computational toxicology, and biological threats to homeland security. Research areas of previous centers have included hazardous substances, estuarine and coastal ecosystems, and environmental statistics.

One of NCER's highest priorities is ensuring that we have an adequate and well trained scientific workforce that can address tomorrows complex environmental issues. To respond to this need, NCER supports several fellowship programs focusing on current and future environmental professionals.

STAR research is funded through Requests for Applications (RFAs) that are derived from the Research Strategic Plan and from research plans for specific topics developed by Research. RFAs are prepared in cooperation with other parts of the Agency and concentrate on areas of special significance to the EPA mission. STAR RFAs have focused on air toxics, health effects of particulate matter, drinking water, water quality, global change, ecosystem assessment and restoration, human health risk assessment, endocrine disrupting chemicals, pollution prevention and new technologies, childrens environmental health, economics and decision sciences, computational toxicology, nanotechnology, and biomarkers.

NCER receives approximately 2000-2500 proposals every year for its STAR research and graduate fellowship programs. Each year, STAR awards about 150 research grants and 125 graduate fellowships. NCER also makes awards under joint RFAs with partnering agencies. These grants and fellowships have been awarded to universities and non-profit research institutions in all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.

Project abstracts as well as annual progress reports and final summary reports for each STAR funded grant and fellowship are posted on the NCER web site. Other types of results summary reports and workshop proceedings are also available on this site. More detailed results are available in published journals articles that are identified in the project web summary reports and many of these articles are provided in full text linked to these reports. Web site users may sign-up on line to receive emails about new grant announcements as they are posted.

Applying for a STAR Research Grant or Fellowship

RFAs for STAR Grants or Fellowships are found on the announcements page of the NCER web site and on Grants.gov. Instructions and eligibility requirements for applying for any of the STAR announcements are detailed in each solicitation. In general, solicitations are open for at least 90 days. Applications may be submitted electronically or by hardcopy.

Small Business Innovative Research Program

NCER supports the development of innovative environmental technologies and products through its Small Business Innovation Research program (SBIR). Small firms are eligible to apply for annual solicitations focused in areas of the Agency’s interest. SBIR solicitations, awards, and research summaries are posted on the NCER internet site. These SBIR solicitations, like the STAR grants, are targeted towards areas of particular importance to EPA's mission.

Other Fellowship Programs

In addition to STAR fellowships, NCER operates the Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) program which offers Graduate Fellowships for master's and doctoral level students and undergraduate fellowships in environmentally related fields of study. NCER also participates in the following other fellowship programs: the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Engineering Fellows Program; the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) Fellows Program; and the EPA Marshall Scholarship Program.

People, Prosperity, and the Planet Program (P3)

NCER also operates an undergraduate research grant program called P3. The P3 program was designed to demonstrate the possibilities of innovative, inherently benign, integrated, and interdisciplinary designs that simultaneously benefit people, promote prosperity, and protect and preserve the planet. NCER's P3 Program funds 1 year Phase 1 grants to undergraduate teams to participate in an annual sustainable design competition. For more detail on this program see our P3 page.

Additional Information

NCER believes that communicating the results of its research is extremely important for the Agency, the scientific community, and the general public. STAR information readily available on this internet site includes research progress and results, grant and fellowship solicitations, events, and other program summary information. Additional information written by STAR grantees can be found published in peer review journals. The bibliographies for these journals articles and in many instances the full text articles are associated with grantee's annual and final reports found on this web site. To view details about the number of reports in our project database please see "about our data collection".

If you have questions about the web site's content, or have a general question, please use the Contact Us button on this homepage to email your question to us. We will respond quickly to assist you. If you have a specific question about a particular research project and/or a solicitation, please contact the NCER project officer noted in the abstract or on the solicitation.

You will need Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more.

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