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Collaborative Science &Technology Network for Sustainability

Sorting Code Number: 2004-NCER-YY
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 66.510

Opening Date: March 22, 2004
Closing Date: May 21, 2004

Technical Contact: Dr. Diana Bauer; Phone: 202-564-6932 (before April 1); 202-343-9759 (after April 1); email: bauer.diana@epa.gov
Eligibility Contact: Thomas Barnwell; Phone: 202-343-9862 (before April 1); email: barnwell.thomas@epa.gov

Summary of Program Requirements
Introduction and Background
Specific Areas of Interest
Special Requirements
Mechanism of Support/Funding
Eligibility
Cost-Sharing
Submitting an Application
Application Processing and Review Information
Evaluation Criteria
Contact Point
Authority and Regulations
Special Instructions for Submitting an Application

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS:
Special application instructions follow this RFA. Please DO NOT USE the standard instructions found on the National Center for Environmental Research (NCER) website. Follow the Application Instructions below using only those forms on the NCER site that are specifically called out in these instructions.

The necessary forms can be found on the NCER web site at: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms/.
Access EPA Sustainability Website (http://epa.gov/sustainability)
View NCER Research Capsules (http://www.epa.gov/ncer/publications/topical)

SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

Synopsis of Program:
Through the Collaborative Science and Technology Network for Sustainability (the Network), EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) will be funding innovative regional projects that address a stated problem or opportunity relating to sustainability.

This is the initial announcement for this program.

Award Information:
Anticipated Type of Award: Cooperative Agreement, Grant
Estimated Number of Awards: Approximately 6 - 10 awards
Anticipated Funding Amount: Approximately $1.5 Million total
Potential Funding per Assistance Agreement: $50,000 to $100,000/year with a duration of 1 to 3 years and no more than a total of $300,000, including direct and indirect costs. Proposals with budgets exceeding the total award limits will not be considered.

Eligibility Information:
Institutions of higher education and not-for-profit institutions located in the U.S., and also tribal, state, and local governments, are eligible to apply. See full announcement for more details.

Contact Person:
Technical Contact: Dr. Diana Bauer; Phone: 202-564-6932 (before April 1); 202-343-9759 (after April 1); email: bauer.diana@epa.gov
Eligibility Contact: Thomas Barnwell; Phone: 202-343-9862 (before April 1); 202-343-9862 (after April 1); email: barnwell.thomas@epa.gov

INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

Over the next 50 years, the world’s population is expected to grow 50%, global economic activity is expected to grow 500%, and global energy and materials use is expected to grow 300%. These trends present a challenge to environmental sustainability that will demand innovation at all levels - global, national, and regional; community and individual; and industrial.

To encourage innovative thinking about practical applications of science and engineering for sustainability, ORD—in partnership with the EPA Office of Policy, Economics, and Innovation (OPEI) and the Office of Regional Operations (ORO)— is launching the Collaborative Science and Technology Network for Sustainability. The Network will be an informal partnership among academics, nonprofits, communities, states, and EPA that explores and learns about new approaches to environmental protection that are systems-oriented, forward-looking, and preventative. The Network will be a testing ground for developing and applying tools necessary for practicing sustainability. The tools developed will draw on a scientific understanding of the consequences of decisions and actions.

Under the solicitation, EPA will be funding innovative regional projects that address a stated problem or opportunity relating to sustainability and use science to inform design, planning and decision-making at the local, state and industrial levels.

SPECIFIC AREAS OF INTEREST

Proposals should clearly: 1) identify a problem or opportunity relating to sustainability and explain its long-term importance or significance for an identified EPA region; 2) articulate the use of science and engineering, including data or information to be collected and synthesized; 3) define short- and long-term success in terms of environmental, economic, and social measures and explain how progress will be tracked; 4) identify partners and collaborators for the project; 5) articulate a plan for transferring tools, approaches, and lessons to other states, localities, regions or industries.

Proposals should address the long-term sustainability (in terms of quality, availability, and viability) of one or more resources, including water, atmosphere, land, energy, materials, and ecology. These resources should be considered in the context of a system, including, but not limited to: an ecosystem or watershed; an industrial network or supply chain; or the urban built environment. Proposals should consider economic and social dimensions, as well as environmental ones. Problems or opportunities addressed should be regional in scale. For example, a project could develop approaches for economically managing water quality and quantity in a watershed encompassing several states or municipalities; tools for reducing environmental burden through effective flow of materials and energy in a supply chain; or models to support transportation systems planning across a multi-jurisdiction metropolitan area that will result in economical improvements in air and water quality.

Overall, the Network is aiming to have a portfolio that is balanced across resources, systems, geographic regions, and scientific approaches. The overall portfolio of projects selected will be expected to enable further public learning about research, information, policy, and futures relating to sustainability.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS

Project Leads in awarded projects will be expected to participate in annual workshops held in Washington, DC.

Project awards may be grants or cooperative agreements. It is anticipated that many awards will be funded through a cooperative agreement in order to facilitate collaboration between award recipients, EPA researchers, and EPA program specialists. However, discussions regarding EPA collaborations will not take place until the final negotiation phase of the cooperative agreement; EPA collaboration should not be part of the initial proposal.

Projects selected for award must be executed such that no population is subjected to unjust or disproportionate environmental impacts and risks are not shifted from one population to another.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT/FUNDING

It is anticipated that a total of approximately $1.5 million will be awarded, depending on the availability of funds. EPA anticipates funding approximately 6 to 10 awards under this RFA. The projected amount per award is $50,000 to $100,000 per year total costs, for up to 3 years. Requests for amounts in excess of a total of $300,000, 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 3 years. Funding after the first year will be contingent upon satisfactory progress and availability of funds. All funds allocated under this program will be placed into assistance agreements. Most awards are expected to be cooperative agreements managed at a US EPA regional office.

ELIGIBILITY

Institutions of higher education, not-for-profit institutions located in the U.S., and tribal, state and local governments, are eligible to apply. Profit-making firms are not eligible to receive cooperative agreements or grants from EPA under this program. Universities and educational institutions must be subject to OMB Circular A-21.

Eligible nonprofit organizations include any organizations that meet the definition of nonprofit in OMB Circular A-122. However, nonprofit organizations described in Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code that engage in lobbying activities as defined in Section 3 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 are not eligible to apply.

National laboratories funded by federal agencies (Federally-funded Research and Development Centers, “FFRDCs”) may not directly apply for funds. 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 work directed by the Project Lead, but may not direct projects on behalf of the applicant organization or Project Lead. The Project Lead's institution, organization, or governance may provide funds through its assistance agreement from EPA to a FFRDC for research personnel, supplies, equipment, and other expenses directly related to the work. However, salaries for permanent FFRDC employees may not be provided through this mechanism.

Federal agencies may not directly apply. Federal employees are not eligible to serve in a principal leadership role on an assistance agreement, and may not receive salaries or in other ways augment their agency's appropriations through assistance agreements made by this program.

The Project Lead’s institution may enter into an agreement with a federal agency to purchase or utilize unique supplies or services unavailable in the private sector. Examples are purchase of satellite data, census data tapes, 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, along with an assurance from the federal agency involved which commits it to supply the specified service.

Potential applicants who are uncertain of their eligibility should contact Tom Barnwell in NCER, phone 202-343-9862 (before April 1); 202-343-9862 (after April 1); email: barnwell.thomas@epa.gov

COST-SHARING

Institutional cost-sharing and in-kind support is encouraged.

SUBMITTING AN APPLICATION

Special Instructions for Submitting an Application
The Special Instructions for submitting an application for the Collaborative Science and Technology Network for Sustainability can be found below. Follow the Application Instructions below using only those forms on the NCER site that are specifically called out in these instructions.The necessary forms can be found on the NCER web site at: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms/.

APPLICATION PROCESSING AND REVIEW INFORMATION

Applications must be received by the application receipt date listed in this announcement. If an application is received after that date, it will be returned to the applicant without review.

The following is the schedule for this RFA. It should be noted that this schedule may be changed without notification due to factors that were not anticipated at the time of announcement.

Application Receipt Date: May 21, 2004
Earliest Anticipated Start Date: Oct 1, 2004

Applications will be evaluated by the EPA Regional Office identified by the applicant and also by an ORD and Program Office committee at EPA Headquarters.

After EPA officials develop recommendations for award, all applicants will be notified, and the EPA Project Officer will begin negotiations with the recommended applicants to develop final assistance agreement(s) that will form the legal basis for the award of assistance funding. EPA anticipates that these negotiations will occur during July 2004. At this time, the applicant will be responsible for modifications to the applicant's plan that respond to written evaluations regarding weaknesses that can be improved and final budgets and terms of the agreement.

Additionally, for those applications to be funded with a cooperative agreement, negotiations about the nature of any collaboration by the Project Lead(s) with EPA scientists, engineers, and specialists will take place. Also, incorporation of this collaboration into the final cooperative agreement will occur at this time. The purpose of this final negotiation step is to ensure that all planning, application, and award paperwork--as well as implementation procedures--have been documented properly and are clearly understood by the affected parties.

EVALUATION CRITERIA

The following criteria, in decreasing order of importance, will be considered for both the regional and the national evaluations.

1. Identification of Problem or Opportunity
Applicants are encouraged to clearly articulate the problem or opportunity they are addressing and how it relates to sustainability. Applicants are further encouraged to describe how their project will result in improved planning or decision-making (at the local, state, regional, or industrial levels) and to explain who will benefit from this work. The following project attributes will be looked upon favorably:

  • Addresses a significant issue of emerging and/or long term regional importance
  • Networks and strengthens existing projects (in States, cities, industry, etc.) to make a whole greater than the sum of the parts
  • Focuses on preventative approaches

2. Use of Science
Applicants are encouraged to clearly specify the science or engineering they will use and how they will use it. They should identify which project partners are responsible for contributing scientific expertise. The ideal project will explore a new approach to use current science or engineering for forward-looking environmental policy or decision-making in the public or private sector. The following attributes will be looked upon favorably:

  • Collects and/or synthesizes scientifically relevant or useful data or information
  • Applies science or engineering to long-term, preventative, systems-oriented environmental protection
  • Links the science or engineering to policy or decision-making at the national, local, state, or industrial level

3. Definition of Success and Measurement of Progress
Applicants are encouraged to define success in the environmental, economic, and social dimensions. Applicants are encouraged to address environmental improvement, whether it is through reduced impact, more effective use of materials, healthier ecosystem functioning, or other measures. Applicants should also include measures in the economic and social dimensions. Finally, applicants are encouraged to collect and/or use data to measure and track progress towards defined success over the short and long term. In summary, applicants are encouraged to articulate:

  • Definition of short- and long-term goals in the environmental, economic, and social dimensions
  • A plan for tracking progress towards these goals
  • A plan for collecting, using, and presenting relevant data and information

4. Qualifications of Project Lead
The Project Lead and other personnel and their organizations should have demonstrated knowledge and experience to complete the project. They must be able to make a sufficient time commitment to the project.

5. Collaborations
Proposals should identify collaborative partners and their roles in the overall project. Specifically, proposals should identify:

  • Collaborative partner(s) responsible for science or engineering expertise
  • Collaborative partner(s) responsible for policy, planning, or decision-making expertise

6. Transferability
All applicants are encouraged to describe a plan for transferring tools, approaches and lessons to other states, localities, regions, or industries. This includes a plan to make all relevant data and information accessible and available to the public (where appropriate, protecting privacy or property rights), so that the data may be used by other researchers and specialists.

7. Schedule and budget
All proposals should contain a schedule and budget. The schedule and budget should be reasonable for the proposed activities and include milestones for the project period of up to three years.

CONTACT POINT(S)

Further information, if needed, may be obtained from the EPA official indicated below. Email inquiries are preferred.

Diana Bauer, Ph.D.; Phone: 202-564-6932 (before April 1); 202-343-9759 (after April 1); email: bauer.diana@epa.gov

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 66.510.

The authority for this RFA and resulting awards is contained in Clean Air Act, Section 103, as amended, Public Law 95-95, 42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.; Clean Water Act, Section 104, as amended, Public Law 95-217, 33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.; Solid Waste Disposal Act, Section 8001, as amended 42 U.S.C. 6981; Safe Drinking Water Act, Section 1442, as amended, Public Law 93- 523, Toxic Substances Control Act, Section 10, as amended 15 U.S.C. 2609; Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, Section 20, as amended 7 U.S.C. 136r; Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, Section 311, 42 U.S.C. 9660.

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR SUBMITTING AN APPLICATION FOR THE COLLABORATIVE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY NETWORK FOR SUSTAINABILITY

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