U.S. Environmental Protection
CLOSED - FOR REFERENCE PURPOSES ONLY
2nd Annual P3 Award: A NATIONAL STUDENT DESIGN COMPETITION FOR SUSTAINABILITY FOCUSING ON PEOPLE, PROSPERITY, AND THE PLANET
This is the initial announcement of this funding opportunity.
Sorting Code Number: see sorting code list
Solicitation Opening Date:
October 20, 2004
Table of Contents:
SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS
Synopsis of Program:
FUNDING OPPORTUNITY DESCRIPTION
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the auspices of the Office of Research and Development (ORD), National Center for Environmental Research (NCER), and its affiliates invite your submission to the 2nd P3 Award: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability. P3 is the next step beyond P2 – pollution prevention – and focuses on the three components of sustainability: People, Prosperity, and the Planet.
The P3 Award will be given to the winner(s) of a national, intercollegiate design competition among interdisciplinary student teams for their research, development, and design solutions to the scientific, technical, and policy challenges of sustainability. The Brundtland Commission has defined sustainability as “…meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (Our Common Future, Oxford University Press, 1987)
The purpose of this Request for Applications (RFA) is to select innovative design proposals for support to compete for the P3 Award. Note: The competitors for the P3 Award and a subsequent award for further development and implementation (Phase II) will be limited to those selected to receive support as a result of the competition under this RFA (Phase I). Additional instructions for the Phase I final report and Phase II applications will be provided in the Phase I award terms and conditions.
This RFA represents the second National P3 Award competition. The projects funded through the first competition can be viewed at http://www.epa.gov/ncer/p3/projects/index.html.
Among the critical components to promote a systematic shift towards more environmentally benign and sustainable products, processes and systems, is increased awareness and training. It is essential that all involved in the design, discovery, demonstration, and implementation of innovations understand the fundamental methodologies, techniques, and principles that underlie sustainability and design. In addition, it is imperative to recognize that scientific, engineering, and policy innovation play a key role in addressing the persistent challenges of under-development in the world. Fundamental to the success of sustainable designs are considerations of people, prosperity, and the planet that recognize the needs, available resources, and boundaries of the intended user.
This announcement, which addresses the first phase of the competition, requests innovative design proposals to obtain support to compete for the P3 Award. In Phase I, EPA will fund approximately 50 student design projects from around the country during the 2005-2006 academic year for research and development of their sustainable designs. Proposals will be reviewed using the following criteria:
Phase II will occur in Spring of 2006 when teams will be invited to submit their completed design to compete for the P3 Award. The National Academies (National Academy of Science/National Academy of Engineering/Institute of Medicine) will convene a panel to judge the competition that will include a demonstration event on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. As part of the final report submitted at the completion of Phase I, applicants for the P3 Award may request additional funds from EPA for Phase II. The design and final report submitted at the completion of Phase I will be included in the evaluation for the selection of winners at the P3 Award competition.
The winner(s) of the P3 Award will be eligible to receive additional funding from EPA in Phase II (subject to availability of funds). Partnerships with industry or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will be required in Phase II. These partners are expected to help further develop the design, implement the project in the field, and/or move the design to the marketplace. Matching contributions are not required in Phase I competition; however, anticipated partnerships should be identified.
Matching contributions can be obtained from industry or NGO partners that may or may not be affiliated with EPA’s P3 Award. At this time, there are more than 40 affiliate organizations from government, industry and NGOs participating in the implementation of the competition. Affiliates for this competition include other Governmental entities (National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Science Foundation, Office of the Federal Environmental Executive, US Agency for International Development, White House Council on Environmental Quality, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy), Industry (DaimlerChrysler, Dell, Herman Miller, Hewlett-Packard, Nexant, US Business Council for Sustainable Development), and NGOs (Association of American Geographers, American Chemical Society, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, American National Standards Institute, American Society for Engineering Education, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors, Association of University Leaders for Sustainable Future, Education for Sustainability Western Network, Engineers Forum for Sustainability, Engineers without Borders, Engineers for a Sustainable World, Global Environment and Technology Foundation, Green Chemistry Institute, Industrial Design Society of America, Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Institute for Society, Ecology, and Environment, International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology, Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute, National Academy of Engineers, National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, National Council for Science and the Environment, US Green Buildings Council, US Partnership for the UN Decade for Education for Sustainable Development, WERC, World Resources Institute). EPA will continue to create affiliations with additional interested parties as the competition for the P3 Award continues to evolve.
Sustainability in both the developed and developing world requires scientific and technical innovation to create designs that enable the earth and its inhabitants to prosper. EPA and its affiliates are conducting the competition for P3 Award to demonstrate to the nation and the world the possibilities of innovative, inherently benign, integrated, interdisciplinary designs to simultaneously benefit people, prosperity, and the planet.
Specific Research Areas of Interest
This Phase I competition is purposely designed to provide flexibility for creativity, allowing the interdisciplinary teams of students to: (1) define a technical challenge to sustainability; (2) discuss the relationship of the challenge to people, prosperity, and the planet; and (3) develop a design approach to address the challenge.
Challenges from a wide range of categories will be considered. Proposals can include but are not limited to the technical challenges listed as examples in the category descriptions. All projects, regardless of category, should be student led with faculty involvement, as appropriate and necessary.
Additionally, EPA’s Office of Policy, Economics, and Innovation (OPEI) is particularly interested in projects focused on the built environment category with an emphasis on “Smart Growth”. Smart growth development approaches have clear environmental benefits including improved air and water quality, greater preservation of critical habitat and open space, and more clean up and re-use of contaminated sites.
Challenges related to population growth and medical care, while important, are not included in this competition (other than the delivery or distribution systems of knowledge, goods, and supplies).
Authority and Regulations
This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
It is anticipated that a total of approximately $500,000 will be awarded, depending on the availability of funds. EPA anticipates funding approximately 50 grants under this RFA. The projected award per grant is $10,000 per year total costs. Requests for amounts in excess of a total of $10,000, including direct and indirect costs, will not be considered. The total project period for an application submitted in response to this RFA may not exceed 1 year.
Institutions of higher education and non-profit organizations located in the U.S. are eligible to apply as the recipient of a grant to support teams of undergraduate and/or graduate students. Students must be enrolled in the college, university, or post-secondary educational institution they will be representing at the time the proposal is submitted. Institutions are allowed to submit more than one proposal where each proposal represents a unique design concept and student team. For the purposes of grant administration, the team’s faculty advisor will be designated the principal investigator throughout the P3 Award grant and competition process.
Interdisciplinary teams, including representatives from multiple engineering departments and/or departments of chemistry, architecture, industrial design, business, economics, policy, social science, and others, are strongly encouraged to submit an application, through their institution.
Collaboration with colleges and universities outside the United States is permitted, but only U.S. institutions will be eligible for awards. Up to 40% of the total grant may be sub-contracted to another educational institution (domestic or foreign) as described in instructions for submitting to this RFA.
Potential applicants who are uncertain of their eligibility should contact Tom Barnwell in NCER, phone (202) 343-9862, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Institutional cost-sharing is not required for Phase I. However, if partners are providing contributions (funding and/or in-kind), this information should be included on the budget forms and should be described, as requested, in the research plan. In addition, a brief statement concerning cost-sharing should be added to the budget justification.
APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION
Address to Request Application Package
Application forms and associated instructions can be found on the NCER
web site at:
The initial application is made through submission of the materials described below. It is essential that the application contain all information requested and be submitted in the formats described. Noncompliance with formatting instructions (page limits, font size, etc.) is grounds for administrative dismissal. Please note that if an application is being considered for an award (i.e., after external peer review and internal review), additional forms and other information will be requested by the EPA Project Officer. The application must contain the following:
A. Standard Form 424: The applicant must complete SF424. This form will be the first page of the application. Instructions for completion of the SF424 are included with the form. The form must contain the original signature of an authorized representative of the applying institution. Please note that both the Principal Investigator and an administrative contact are to be identified in Section 5 of the SF424.
Regarding Block 16 of the SF 424: research funded under this program may be eligible under E.O. 12372, “Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs,” if it affects public health or if an environmental impact statement is required. If applicable, 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.
B. Key Contacts: The applicant must complete the Key Contacts Form (NCER Form 1) as the second page of the application. The Key Contacts Form and a continuation page is available at http://www.epa.gov/ncer/P3/forms. A copy of this form should also be completed for major sub-agreements (contacts at the institutions of primary co-investigators). Please make certain that all contact information is accurate. An e-mail will be sent by NCER (from email@example.com; e-mails to this address are not accepted) to the Principal Investigator (with a copy to the Administrative Contact) to acknowledge receipt of the application and to transmit other important information. If an e-mail acknowledgment has not been received within 30 days of the submission deadline, then immediately contact the project officer listed under "Technical Contacts " in this solicitation. Please note: Due to often lengthy delays in delivery, it is especially important that you monitor NCER confirmation of receipt of your application when using regular mail.
C. Table of Contents: Provide a list of the major subdivisions of the application indicating the page number on which each section begins.
D. Abstract: The abstract is a very important document. All abstracts are provided to the peer review panelists, and some of the panelists may read only the abstract. Abstracts also play a critical role in programmatic review (see “Application Review Information”). Therefore, it is critical that the abstract accurately describe the research being proposed and convey all the essential elements of the research. Also, the abstracts of applications that receive funding will be posted on the NCER web site.
The abstract, limited to one page, should include the information indicated in the example format (http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms) and described below (1-8). Examples of abstracts for current P3 grants may be found on the P3 web site (http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/recipients.display/rfa_id/353/records_per_page/ALL?RequestTimeout=180).
E. Research Plan
Applications should be focused on a limited number of research objectives that can be adequately and clearly demonstrated to meet the RFA requirements. Explicitly state the main hypotheses that you will investigate, the data you will create or use, the analytical tools you will use to investigate these hypotheses or analyze these data, and the results you expect to achieve. Research methods must be clearly stated so that the reviewers can evaluate the appropriateness of your approach and the tools you intend to use. The statement: “we will evaluate the data using the usual statistical methods” is not specific enough for peer reviewers.
This description must not exceed ten (10) consecutively numbered (bottom center), 8.5x11-inch pages of single-spaced, standard 12-point type with 1-inch margins. The description must provide the following information:
Address the peer review criteria (see Application Review Information section). Include the criteria subheadings (problem definition, innovation and technical merit, sustainability, and measurable results, evaluation method, and implementation strategy).
Prepare a budget table using the guidance and format found at http://www.epa.gov/ncer/P3/forms/, select “All required forms.” If a sub-agreement, such as a subcontract, is included in the application, provide a separate budget for the subagreement in the same format. Include the total amount for the sub-agreement under “Contracts” in the master budget. Any project containing sub-agreements that constitute more than 40% of the total direct cost of the grant will be subject to special review. Additional justification for use of such a subcontract must be provided, discussing the need for this agreement to accomplish the objectives of the research project.
Please note that institutional cost-sharing is not required. However, if you intend to cost-share, a brief statement concerning cost-sharing should be added to the budget justification, and estimated dollar amounts must be included in the appropriate categories in the budget table.
Describe the basis for calculating the personnel, fringe benefits, travel, equipment, supplies, contractual support, and other costs identified in the itemized budget and explain the basis for their calculation. (Special attention should be given to explaining the “travel,” “equipment,” and “other” categories.) The budget justification should not exceed two consecutively numbered (bottom center), 8.5x11-inch pages of single-spaced, standard 12-point type with 1-inch margins.
Budget information should be supported at the level of detail described below.
Provide the resumes of all principal investigators and important co-workers. The resume for each individual must not exceed two consecutively numbered (bottom center), 8.5x11-inch pages of single-spaced, standard 12-point type with 1-inch margins.
H. Guidelines, Limitations, and Additional Requirements
By submitting an application in response to this solicitation, the applicant grants EPA permission to make limited disclosures of the application to technical reviewers both within and outside the Agency for the express purpose of assisting the Agency with evaluating the application. Information from a pending or unsuccessful application will be kept confidential to the fullest extent allowed under law; information from a successful application may be publicly disclosed.
At various places within the application, applicants are asked to identify the sorting code corresponding to their proposed research topic area in the solicitation. It is the responsibility of the applicant to identify the proper sorting code, based on the nature of the proposed research. Failure to do so could result in an inappropriate peer review assignment. If your research seems to fit under more than one sorting code, choose the most appropriate one.
The sorting code must be placed at the top of the abstract (location is shown in the abstract format, http://www.epa.gov/ncer/P3/forms), in Box 10 of Standard Form 424, and in the address on the package that is sent to the EPA (see below). Each application submitted must fall under one topic area only, using a single sorting code. If an application is submitted to more than one topic area, it will be assigned to the topic designated on the first application received, or to the first sorting code shown on the application.
Submission Dates and Times
The original and eight (8) copies of the complete application (9 in all) and one (1) additional copy of the abstract, must be received by NCER no later than 4:00 P.M. Eastern Time on the closing date assigned to this topic area. The following is the schedule for this RFA. It should be noted that this schedule may be changed without prior notification due to factors that were not anticipated at the time of announcement. In the case of a change in the required receipt date, the new date will be posted on the NCER website.
Application Receipt Date: January 27, 2005, 4:00 p.m. E.S.T.
To be considered timely, applications and initial proposals must be received by the Agency on or before the deadline date published in the RFA. Applications received after the published deadline or applications that deviate from the prescribed format will be returned to the sender without further consideration. Also, applications exceeding the funding limits described in the RFA will be returned without review.
The funding mechanism for all awards issued under this RFA will consist of assistance agreements from the EPA. All award decisions are subject to the availability of funds. In accordance with Public Law 95-224, the primary purpose of a grant 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 grant 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 provided by grantees and other contacts, including site visits, with the Principal Investigator.
Collaborative applications involving more than one institution must be submitted as a single administrative package from one of the institutions involved.
Other Submission Requirements
The application and abstract must be prepared in accordance with these instructions. Informal, incomplete, or unsigned applications will be returned without review. The original, signed copy of the application must not be bound or stapled in any way. The other eight (8) required copies of the application should be secured with paper or binder clips or secure staples.
Because of security concerns, applications cannot be personally delivered. They must be sent through regular mail, express mail, or a major courier.
The following address must be used for regular mail:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
The following address must be used for express mail and couriers:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION
In general, each peer review group will be composed of non-EPA scientists, engineers, social scientists, and/or economists who are experts in their respective disciplines and proficient in the technical subjects they are reviewing.
Reviewers will be asked to assess which proposals are the most meritorious. The following criteria will be used in descending order of importance and relevance. Note: This order is not the same as the required order for proposal submission.
I. Relationship of Challenge to Sustainability (people, prosperity, and the planet)
Does the proposed entry for the P3 Award integrate and sustain environmental protection, economic prosperity, and social benefit across scales in the developing and/or developed world? Does the proposal address how future generations will be affected by the proposed design?
People: Do the proposed environmental and economic outcomes benefit society? Does the proposed project meet the needs of the intended end user and is it affordable (either in the developing or developed world)? If the design is intended for the developing world, does it provide for basic needs such as food, water, shelter, energy, health care, education, and/or transportation? If it is intended for the developed world, does it use energy and material resources effectively and efficiently through the life cycle while reducing hazards to human health and the environment?
Prosperity: Does the cost-benefit analysis consider both short-term (i.e., capital costs for implementation) and long-term (i.e., operation and maintenance) needs? Does the design promote prosperity across scales and directly benefit the local, regional, national, and/or world economy?
Planet: In general, will the design reduce impacts on the environment and human health, diminish resource consumption, and/or directly benefit the environment? Does the proposal demonstrate: (1) That design implementation will not exhaust or degrade the local environment or shift the environmental impacts to another locality? (2) That the proposed project is less damaging or more beneficial to the health of natural systems than the traditional design?
Multidisciplinary approaches to impact areas (i.e., air, land, and water as well as ecosystem and human health) are encouraged.
II. Challenge Definition
Is the technical challenge defined in terms that are relevant and significant in the developing and/or developed world and directly related to sustainability? Is the scope of the project clearly and accurately described? Are project characteristics, opportunities, and limitations described?
III. Innovation and Technical Merit
Is the design novel? Is the design interdisciplinary? Does it aim to move beyond optimization by creating new approaches to development and implementation of science and technology for sustainability? Does the concept address feasibility of the design, demonstrate scientific/technical soundness, and analyze trade-offs in the design approach? Are the proposed approach and suggested materials adequate and appropriate for the designated location in the developing or developed world?
IV. Measurable Results, Evaluation Method, and Implementation Strategy
Can the goals and objectives be determined and achieved? If implemented, are the potential realized benefits described in terms of people, prosperity, and the planet? Are the methods to quantify the benefits of implementation applicable, effective, and appropriate? How is “success” defined relative to the design and implementation? Is the proposed strategy for moving the design from research to development to implementation adequate and realistic? Have the necessary partnerships been developed? Is the design effective, transferable, replicable, and applicable across situations and contexts to the extent appropriate?
V. Integration of P3 concepts as an Educational Tool
Will the proposed plans maximize the educational benefits of the competition for the P3 Award? Is the research, development, and strategic planning for the competition integrated into core courses and/or elective courses or is the competition implemented as an extracurricular, student chapter, or club activity? Will student awareness be increased in terms of the impacts of their designs on people, prosperity, and the planet?
Review and Selection Process
All grant applications are reviewed by an appropriate external technical peer review panel. In general, each peer review group is composed of non-EPA scientists, engineers, social scientists, and/or economists who are experts in their respective disciplines and are proficient in the technical subjects they are reviewing. Reviewers are asked to assign a summary score of either excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor to each application. This review is designed to evaluate each proposal according to its scientific merit.
Applications that receive scores of excellent and very good from the peer reviewers are subjected to a programmatic review within the EPA to assure a balanced research portfolio for the Agency. The programmatic review considers the relevance of the proposed science to EPA research priorities, program balance, budget, and available funds. Final funding decisions are made by the NCER Director. Selected applicants will be required to provide additional information and the application will be forwarded to the grants administration office for award in accordance with the EPA’s procedures.
Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates
The following is the schedule for this RFA. Please note that this schedule may be changed without notification due to factors that were not anticipated at the time of announcement.
Application Receipt Date: January 27, 2005
AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION
Customarily, applicants are notified about award decisions within six months of the application deadline. A summary statement of the scientific review by the peer panel will be provided to each applicant with the award or declination letter. After selection for award, applicants recommended for funding 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 to resubmit their proposal. EPA Project Officers will contact Principal Investigators to obtain these materials. The official notification of an award will be made by the Agency’s Grants Administration Division. Before or after an award, certain applicants will be expected to provide additional quality assurance documentation.
Administrative and National Policy Requirements
Expectations and responsibilities of NCER grantees are summarized in this section; see http://www.epa.gov/ncer/guidance for full terms and conditions associated with an award, including what activities require prior approval of the EPA. However, these posted terms and conditions will be modified (generally simplified) for awards under this RFA.
A. P3 Award Competition. At least two team representatives (students and/or faculty advisors) will be expected to participate in the P3 Award Competition in Washington, D.C. in the late spring of 2006.
B. Approval of Changes after Award: Prior written approval is required from the EPA if there is to be significant change in the research that deviates markedly from work described in the application. Examples of these changes are contained in 40 C.F.R. 30.25. Prior written approval is also required from the EPA for incurring costs greater than 90 calendar days prior to award.
C. Human Subjects: A grant recipient must agree to meet all EPA requirements for studies using human subjects prior to implementing any work with these subjects. These requirements are given in 40 C.F.R. 26, referred to as the “Common Rule.” No work involving human subjects, including recruiting, may be initiated before the EPA has received a copy of the applicant’s Institutional Review Board’s (IRB) approval of the project and the EPA has also provided approval. Where human subjects are involved in the research, the recipient must provide evidence of subsequent IRB reviews, including amendments or minor changes of protocol, as part of annual reports.
D. Animal Welfare: A grant recipient must agree to comply with the Animal Welfare Act of 1966 (P.L. 89-554), as amended. All projects involving vertebrate animals must have approval from the applying organization’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee before issuance of an EPA grant.
E. Data Access and Information Release: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-110 has been revised to provide public access to research data through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) under some circumstances. Data that are (1) first produced in a project that is supported in whole or in part with Federal funds and (2) cited publicly and officially by a Federal agency in support of an action that has the force and effect of law (i.e., a regulation) may be accessed through FOIA. All data sets, models, and databases developed under NCER grants may become accessible to the public and therefore freely available to all researchers. If such data are requested by the public, the EPA must ask for it, and the grantee must submit it, in accordance with A-110 and EPA regulations at 40 C.F.R. 30.36.
Grant recipients must agree to provide an abstract for posting on the NCER web site. Recipients must also provide a final report (with an executive summary for web posting) to be distributed to the judges prior to the P3 Award competition event on the National Mall. Details for the final report and executive summary will be provided to those receiving funding under this solicitation.
A grant recipient must agree to provide copies of any peer reviewed journal article(s) resulting from the research during the project period. In addition, the recipient should notify the EPA Project Officer of any papers published after completion of the grant which were based on research supported by the grant. NCER intends to post references to all publications resulting from the grant on the NCER web site.
EPA’s full or partial support should be acknowledged in journal articles, oral or poster presentations, news releases, interviews with reporters and other communications. Any documents developed under the agreement for distribution to the public or inclusion in a scientific, technical, or other journal shall include the following statement:
A graphic that can be converted to a slide or used in other ways, such as on a poster, is located at http://www.epa.gov/ncer/guidance/star_images.html. Use of this graphic in oral and poster presentations is expected.
Further information, if needed, may be obtained from the EPA official indicated below. Email inquiries are preferred.