Jump to main content or area navigation.

Contact Us

Extramural Research

Funding Opportunities

Research Project Search

Extramural Research Search

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Research and Development
National Center for Environmental Research
Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Program

CLOSED - FOR REFERENCES PURPOSES ONLY

Fall 2006 EPA Greater Research Opportunities
(GRO) Fellowships For Graduate Environmental Study

This is the initial announcement of this funding opportunity.

Funding Opportunity Number: (See “Sort Codes” for descriptions)

EPA-F2006-GRO-A6
EPA-F2006-GRO-A7
EPA-F2006-GRO-B6
EPA-F2006-GRO-B7
EPA-F2006-GRO-B8
EPA-F2006-GRO-C6
EPA-F2006-GRO-C7
EPA-F2006-GRO-C8
EPA-F2006-GRO-C9
EPA-F2006-GRO-D6
EPA-F2006-GRO-D7
EPA-F2006-GRO-D8
EPA-F2006-GRO-D9
EPA-F2006-GRO-D0
EPA-F2006-GRO-E6
EPA-F2006-GRO-E7
EPA-F2006-GRO-F6
EPA-F2006-GRO-F7

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 66.513

Solicitation Opening Date: July 15, 2005
Solicitation Closing Date: October 18, 2005, 4:00 pm EST

Contact Person:
Stephanie Willett: phone, 202-343-9737; e-mail, willett.stephanie@epa.gov

Table of Contents:
SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS
  Synopsis of Program
  Award Information
  Eligibility Information
  Pre-Application Materials
  Agency Contacts
I. FUNDING OPPORTUNITY DESCRIPTION
  Introduction
  Background
  Authority and Regulation
II. AWARD INFORMATION
III. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION
  Eligible Applicants
  Cost Sharing
  Other
IV. PRE-APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION
  Internet Address to Request Pre-Application Package
  Content and Form of Pre-Application Submission
  Submission Dates and Times
  Funding Restrictions
  Other Submission Requirements
V. PRE-APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION
  Criteria
  Review and Selection Process
VI. AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION
  Award Notices
  Disputes
  Administrative and National Policy Requirements
  Reporting
VII. AGENCY CONTACTS

Access Standard Application Forms ( http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms/)

SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

Synopsis of Program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of its Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) program, is offering Graduate Fellowships for master's and doctoral level students in the environmental fields of study. The deadline for receipt of pre-applications is October 18, 2005. Subject to availability of funding, the Agency plans to award approximately 15 new fellowships by July 21, 2006. Master's level students may receive support for a maximum of two years. Doctoral students may be supported for a maximum of three years, usable over a period of four years. The fellowship program provides up to $37,000 per year of support.

Award Information

Anticipated Type of Award: Fellowship
Estimated Number of Awards: Approximately 15 awards
Anticipated Funding Amount: Approximately $1.5 million for all awards
Potential Funding per Fellowship: $37,000 per year per fellowship. Master’s level students may receive support for a maximum of two years. Doctoral students may be supported for a maximum of three years, usable over a four year period.

Eligibility Information

Applicants must attend a fully accredited U.S. college or university (located in the U.S. or its territories). Applicants must be citizens of the United States or its territories or possessions, or be lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence. Resident aliens must include their green card number in their pre-application. EPA may verify this number with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service of the Department of Homeland Security. Applicants must be attending a U.S. institution that receives less than $35 million in Federal Research and Development expenditures. For purposes of this solicitation, EPA will use the data found in column two of the National Science Foundation’s report “Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions: Fiscal Year 2002,” Table B-15. These data can be accessed at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsf05309/pdf/b15.pdf exit EPA.

Pre-Application Materials

You may submit either a paper pre-application or an electronic pre-application but not both for this announcement. The necessary forms for submitting a GRO paper pre-application will be found on the NCER web site, http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms/. To apply electronically, you must use the pre-application package available at https://apply.grants.gov/forms_apps_idx.html exit EPA (see "Submission Instructions for Electronic Pre-Applications").

Agency Contacts:

Further information, if needed, may be obtained from the EPA/NCER resources listed below. To obtain information most quickly, consult the “Guidance & FAQs.” If your question is not covered, then call the toll-free telephone number or send a query through the web-based query form. You will receive a personal response through a return telephone call or email. Information regarding this RFA obtained from sources other than those indicated below may not be accurate.

Contact Person: Stephanie Willett: phone, 202-343-9737; e-mail, willett.stephanie@epa.gov

Guidance & FAQs: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/guidance/faqs.html
Toll-free telephone number: 1-800-490-9194
Web-based query form: http://www.epa.gov/cgi-bin/ncerqamail.pl

I. FUNDING OPPORTUNITY DESCRIPTION

Introduction

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Center for Environmental Research (NCER), invites pre-applications for the Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Fellowships for graduate environmental study for master's and doctoral level students. The deadline for receipt of pre-applications is October 18, 2005. Subject to availability of funding, the Agency plans to award approximately 15 new fellowships by July 21, 2006. Master's level students may receive support for a maximum of two years. Doctoral students may be supported for a maximum of three years, usable over a period of four years. The fellowship program provides up to $37,000 per year of support. This amount covers a monthly stipend of $1,667 for up to 12 months totaling $20,000 for the year, $5,000 for authorized expenses, and up to $12,000 for tuition and fees. The actual amount awarded per year will vary depending on the amount of tuition and fees and the number of months the stipend is required. These fellowships are intended to help defray costs associated with advanced, environmentally oriented study leading to a master's or doctoral degree.

Background

The GRO Graduate Fellowship program, like its predecessor (the Minority Academic Institution or MAI program), is intended to strengthen the environmental research capacity of institutions of higher education that receive limited funding to build such capacity, including in particular institutions with substantial minority enrollment. This goal is consistent with the mission of EPA, which is to provide leadership in the nation’s environmental science, research, education, assessment, restoration, and preservation efforts. This program will benefit both the public and private sectors which will need a steady stream of well-trained and diverse environmental specialists if our society is to meet the environmental challenges of the future.

The specific Strategic Goal, Objective and Sub-objective from EPA’s Strategic Plan that relates to this solicitation is: Goal 4: Healthy Communities and Ecosystems, Objective 4.5: Enhance Science and Research, Sub-objective 4.5.2: Conduct Relevant Research

Authority and Regulations

The authority for this RFA and resulting awards is contained in the Safe Drinking Water Act, Section 1442, 42 U.S.C. 300j-1; Toxic Substances Control Act, Section 10, 15 U.S.C. 2609; Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, Section 20, 7 U.S.C. 136r; Clean Air Act, Section 103, 42 U.S.C. 7403; Clean Water Act, Section 104, 33 U.S.C.; and Solid Waste Disposal Act, Section 8001, 42 U.S.C. 6901.

II. AWARD INFORMATION

It is anticipated that a total of approximately $1.5 million will be awarded under this announcement, depending on the availability of funds. The EPA anticipates funding approximately 15 fellowships under this RFA. The projected award per fellowship is $37,000 per year total costs, for up to 3 years. The EPA reserves the right to reject all pre-applications and make no awards under this RFA. The EPA reserves the right to make additional awards under this RFA if additional funding becomes available. Any additional selections for awards will be made no later than 4 months after the original selection. The fellowship provides up to $37,000 per year of support. A maximum of $74,000 will be provided for master's fellows (two years) and up to $111,000 (three years) for doctoral fellows. The $37,000 annual support covers stipend, tuition, and expenses as follows:

Stipends: For the 2006-2007 academic year, stipends will be $20,000 for 12-month tenures and prorated monthly at a maximum of $1,667 for shorter periods. Funds for unused months are forfeited. Stipends are paid directly to the fellow. At its discretion, each fellowship institution may supplement a fellow's stipend from institutional funds in accordance with the supplementation policy of the institution.

Tuition and Academic Fees: Up to $12,000 per year will be paid directly to the institution. For the purposes of this fellowship, health insurance is an expense, not an academic fee.

Expense Allowance: Up to $5,000 will be provided to pay for items and activities for the direct benefit of the student's education and research, e.g. health insurance, books, supplies, data analysis, publication costs, equipment (e.g., computers), travel to technical and scientific meetings, and domestic and international travel required to conduct the proposed research. Specific instructions regarding the disbursement and management of the expense allowance will be provided during the award process.

EPA Fellowship Conference: Fellows are expected to attend EPA Graduate Fellows Conferences as long as they are in the program. Resources to support this travel are to be taken from the expense allowance.

International Activities: The Fellow's proposed research may be conducted outside the United States. However, EPA allows only $5,000 for all expenses, including travel. See "Expense Allowance" for details. If it becomes necessary to travel outside the United States or its territories, you must notify your Project Officer in advance. Your Project Officer will obtain the necessary EPA and State Department approvals before the fellowship funds can be used to conduct these activities. Fellows who travel overseas will be required to comply with all provisions of the Fly America Act.

III. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

Eligible Applicants

Applicants must attend a fully accredited U.S. college or university (located in the U.S. or its territories). Individuals must be citizens of the United States or its territories or possessions, or be lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence. Resident aliens must include their green card number in their pre-application (you must have your green card at the time of application to be eligible for this Fellowship opportunity). EPA may verify this number with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service of the Department of Homeland Security. Applicants must be attending a U.S. institution that receives less than $35 million in Federal Research and Development expenditures. For purposes of this solicitation, EPA will use the data found in column two of the National Science Foundation’s report “Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions: Fiscal Year 2002,” Table B-15. These data can be accessed at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsf05309/pdf/b15.pdf exit EPA.

The EPA recognizes the need for scientists from diverse backgrounds. Students at schools that have substantial minority enrollment are particularly encouraged to apply. Examples of such schools are those that the U.S. Department of Education lists as “Accredited Post-secondary Minority Institutions” consistent with Executive Orders 13125 (Increasing Participation of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders), 13230 (Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans), 13256 (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), and 13270 (Tribal Colleges and Universities), which encourage building the capacity of minority serving institutions to provide high quality education, and other measures to improve minority education. Note however, that not all of these schools receive less then $35 million annually in Federal Research and Development expenditures. See “The Extent of Federal S&E Funding to Minority-Serving Institutions”, at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf04325/ exit EPA.

Students do not need to be enrolled in or formally accepted in a full-time graduate program at the time they apply for a fellowship but proof of enrollment or acceptance must be produced prior to the award of the fellowship. Students must attend a fully accredited U.S. college or university. Students must be pursuing a master's or doctoral degree in an environmental field of specialization.

Students who have completed more than one year in a master's program or four years in a doctoral program are not eligible. Students enrolled in a master's program, however, may apply for a doctoral fellowship.

Acceptance of this fellowship does not necessarily preclude acceptance of another scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, or grant aid. However, this fellowship does preclude receiving other federal fellowships.

Employees of the U.S. government must be able to prove separation from Federal service before accepting this fellowship.

Cost Sharing

Cost sharing is not required.

Other

Pre-applications that do not substantially comply with the pre-application submission instructions and requirements set forth in Section IV of this announcement will be rejected. In addition, where a page limit is expressed in Section IV with respect to parts of the pre-application, pages in excess of the page limitation will not be reviewed. Pre-applications must be received by the EPA on or before the solicitation closing date published in Section IV of this announcement. Pre-applications received after the published closing date will be returned to the sender without further consideration.

IV. PRE-APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

You may submit either a paper pre-application or an electronic pre-application (but not both) for this announcement. Instructions for both forms of submission follow.

Internet Address to Request a Pre-Application Package

For paper pre-applications, forms can be found on the NCER web site: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms/. Instructions for these forms follow (do not use the instructions provided on the NCER web site).

For electronic pre-applications, use the pre-application package available at https://apply.grants.gov/forms_apps_idx.html exit EPA (see "Submission Instructions for Electronic Pre-Applications"). Instructions for the forms follow.

Content and Form of Pre-Application Submission

The pre-application is made by submitting the materials described below. It is essential that the pre-application contain all information requested and be submitted in the formats described.

A. Standard Form 424

The applicant must complete form SF424. This form will be the first page of the pre-application. Do not use the instructions provided on the NCER web site. Instead, use the customized instructions below.

For electronic pre-applications, this form is found in the electronic pre-application package available at grants.gov. See “Submission Instructions for Electronic Pre-Applications.”

Instructions for Completing the SF 424for Paper or Electronic Submissions

  1. Enter Pre-application "Non-Construction."
  2. Leave blank.
  3. Leave blank.
  4. Leave blank.
  5. Legal Name: Enter your legal name as last name, first name, then middle initial/name.
    Organizational DUNS: Pre-entered for electronic submissions, leave blank for paper copy submissions.
    Organizational Unit: Leave blank.
    Address: Enter the address (including street, city, state, and zip code) you are currently using to receive United States Postal Service mail.
    Name and telephone number of person to be contacted: Enter your name, email address, and telephone number. Your middle name, suffix, and fax number are optional.
  6. Enter "12-3456789" for electronic submissions, leave blank for paper copy submissions.
  7. Enter "L-Individual."
  8. Enter "New."
  9. Pre-entered for electronic submissions. For paper copy submissions, enter "Environmental Protection Agency."
  10. Pre-entered for electronic submissions.
    For paper copy submissions, enter the title of the solicitation followed by the appropriate sort code (e.g., Greater Research Opportunities Fellowship Program, sort code E6). Sort codes are listed below. Be sure the sort code in this box corresponds with the appropriate sort code for your pre-application. Failure to do so could result in an inappropriate peer review assignment.
  11. Provide a descriptive title for your environmental research project. If the specific topic has not been selected, enter your research area of interest.
  12. List only the largest political entities affected (e.g., State, counties, cities).
  13. Enter a Start Date of 09/01/2006 and an End Date up to 2 years later for master's degree support or up to 3 years later for Ph.D. degree support. If necessary, these dates can be modified if you receive a fellowship.
  14. List your Congressional District and any District(s) affected by the program or project. For help finding the appropriate Congressional District, see http://www.house.gov/ exit EPA.
  15. Enter 37,000 for each year of requested support (see item 13). Unless you have other sources of funding, enter 0.00 in b through f.
  16. Enter "b. Program is not covered by E.O. 12372."
  17. Self-explanatory.
  18. Enter your name, title, telephone number and email address. "Graduate Student" or "Student" is an appropriate title. If you are submitting a paper copy, sign the pre-application.

Sort Codes

Select a single Sort Code for your pre-application. Failure to select a proper sort code could result in an inappropriate reviewer assignment. If your pre-application seems to fit under more than one sort code, choose the most appropriate one. Each application can be submitted to one, and only one, sort code. For electronic submissions, you must use the appropriate electronic pre-application package (see “Submission Instructions for Electronic Pre-Applications”) for the chosen sort code. Note: Your planned course of study MUST focus on one or more issues of environmental significance.

EPA-F2006-GRO-A6 Environmental Engineering (limited to pollution prevention; includes sustainability)
EPA-F2006-GRO-A7 Environmental Engineering (limited to treatment and remediation)
EPA-F2006-GRO-B6 Atmospheric Sciences
EPA-F2006-GRO-B7 Environmental Chemistry and Environmental Materials Science
EPA-F2006-GRO-B8 Geology (includes hydrogeology)
EPA-F2006-GRO-C6 Economics (includes market incentives and health and ecosystem valuation)
EPA-F2006-GRO-C7 Geography
EPA-F2006-GRO-C8 Environmental Decision-making research (limited to projects in community-based participatory research, intervention strategies, environmental behavior modification, environmental education, environmental justice)
EPA-F2006-GRO-C9 Urban/Regional Planning
EPA-F2006-GRO-D6 Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Developmental Biology, and Genetics (includes genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics)
EPA-F2006-GRO-D7 Microbiology
EPA-F2006-GRO-D8 Public Health Sciences (includes environmental epidemiology, exposure assessment, biostatistics, and health risk assessment)
EPA-F2006-GRO-D9 Toxicology (includes pharmacokinetics and toxicodynamic modeling)
EPA-F2006-GRO-D0 Health Physics (limited to research involving radiation interaction, detection, and dosimetry; radiation protection standards and regulations; biological effects, risk assessment, and ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable radiation exposure) concepts; facility design and nuclear safety; radiological emergency management; environmental monitoring and assessment; and nuclear waste management)
EPA-F2006-GRO-E6* Aquatic Systems Ecology - freshwater systems only
EPA-F2006-GRO-E7 Oceanography and Coastal Processes - includes ecosystems ranging from estuarine to marine
EPA-F2006-GRO-F6* Terrestrial Systems Ecology - plants and soils only (limited to soils, plants and the microorganisms that inhabit them)
EPA-F2006-GRO-F7* Terrestrial Systems Ecology - includes animals (the animal research need not be the primary focus of the project)
*These categories are designed for pre-applications pertaining to the interrelationship of organisms and their environments where there is not a more specific Sort Code available.

B. Key Contacts

The applicant must complete the "Key Contacts" form as the second page of the pre-application. Please make certain that all contact information is accurate. For both paper and electronic pre-applications, an email will be sent by NCER to the applicant to acknowledge receipt of the pre-application and transmit other important information. The email will be sent from receipt.application@epa.gov; email to this address will not be accepted. If you do not receive an email acknowledgment within 30 days of the submission closing date, immediately call 1-800-490-9194 (the EPA/NCER toll-free telephone number). Failure to do so may result in your pre-application not being reviewed. Please note: Due to the high volume of pre-applications, voice and e-mail requests to verify pre-application receipt will not responded to unless they are placed after November 17, 2005. See "Submission Instructions for Electronic Pre-Applications" for additional information regarding acknowledgment of receipt of electronically submitted pre-applications. Please note: Due to often lengthy delays in delivery, it is especially important that you monitor NCER's confirmation of receipt of your pre-application when using US Postal Service mail.

For electronic pre-applications, this form is found in the electronic pre-application package available at grants.gov. See “Submission Instructions for Electronic Pre-Applications.”

Key Contacts Form Instructions

Authorized Representative: Enter your current address information.
Payee: Enter your permanent address information.
Administrative Contact: Enter the business information for your advisor. Leave blank if you have not identified an advisor.
Project Manager: Leave blank.

C. Citizenship Status, Degree Sought, Educational Level, and Optional Information (1 page)

The third page of the pre-application must contain the following information. Please begin each item on a separate line using the appropriate numbered heading.

  1. Your name: Last name, first name, middle initial/name.
  2. Citizenship Status: State whether you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If you are a U.S. citizen, give the city and state of your birth. If you are a resident alien, provide your green card number.
  3. Certification of Institute GRO Eligibility: You must certify that your school or intended school is GRO eligible. These data can be accessed at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsf05309/pdf/b15.pdf exit EPA. The full NSF report is available at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsf05309/ exit EPA. Multiply the figure in the second column by 1000. Then complete the following statement:

    “According to the National Science Foundation’s report “Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions: Fiscal Year 2002,” Table B-15, column two, <YOUR UNIVERSITY> received less than $_____ million in Federal Research and Development expenditures in fiscal year 2002. Since this is less than $35 Million, my university is GRO eligible.” EPA will verify student eligibility before awards are made. Only students who attend GRO eligible institutions will be awarded these fellowships.

  4. College/University, School or Department: Name and location of the college/university, school or department from which your degree will be obtained. NOTE: If you are undecided about the school you will attend, leave blank. If you are considering multiple institutions, list your top two choices.
  5. Provide a descriptive title for your environmental research project. If the specific topic has not been selected, enter your research area of interest
  6. Degree Sought: State if you are seeking funding to support either a master’s or doctoral degree, e.g., M.S., M.A., Ph.D., M.P.H. List the environmental discipline in which the degree will be earned. Include the month and year you expect the degree to be awarded.
  7. Educational Level (at the time of pre-application): Enter one of the following choices.

    a. Entering Master's Student (EM) if you are applying for, or enrolled in, a master's program and have completed less than one year* toward this degree.

    b. Entering Doctoral Student (ED) if you are applying for, or are enrolled in, a doctoral program, have completed less than one year toward this degree, and have no other graduate or professional degree (e.g., MS, DVM, JD).

    c. Doctoral Student (DS) if you are applying for, or enrolled in, a doctoral program, have completed less than one year toward this degree, but have completed another graduate or professional degree (e.g., MS, DVM, JD).

    d. Continuing Doctoral Student (CD) if you are enrolled in a doctoral program and have completed more than one year, but less than four years*, toward this degree.

    * Students who have completed more than one year of their master's studies or more than four years of their Ph.D. program at the time of pre-application are not eligible for the GRO fellowship.

  8. Voluntary Information: For statistical reporting purposes only, include your gender and race, ethnicity, or national origin (e.g., African-American, white, Hispanic, American Indian, Asian, or Pacific Islander, and whether you are a person with a disability. If provided, this information will be kept completely separate from your application. It will be used only in aggregate statistical form (without individual identification) to assess the effectiveness of ORD’s diversity efforts. Maintenance of the information, and access to individual information, will governed by the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a.

D. Statement of Objectives and Narrative Statement

These items must be single-spaced and completed using a 12-point or equivalent typeface on 8-1/2 x 11-inch paper with one-inch margins all around. Page limitations for individual components are specified below. You may use figures and tables, but do not deviate from the format requirements and page limits.

Statement of Objectives (1 Page)

Explain your academic and environmental career goals and how your proposed course of study or research will help you achieve these goals. Include any background information you believe is pertinent and provides insight into why you have chosen the goals you are pursuing. You will be evaluated on your dedication to your studies in an environmentally oriented career. This statement will also provide insight into your organizational, analytical, and written communication skills.

Narrative Statement (6 pages for Continuing Doctoral Students, 5 pages for all others)

The narrative statement should reflect your educational level. All students must include a description of the scientific and, if appropriate, societal importance of their chosen environmental field of study. A detailed environmental research plan is required for continuing doctoral students but is desirable for all applicants. At a minimum, answer the questions below for the appropriate educational level. Citation/reference pages are in addition to the page limit for the narrative statement.

Entering Master’s Student: What are the degree requirements for your program? What is your planned course of study during the period of the fellowship? Do you know if you will be undertaking a thesis/special project? If so, describe it. If you do not know, what environmental project would you like to propose? Why is it important? How is it relevant to the protection of human health and the environment?

Entering Doctoral Student: What are the degree requirements for your program? What is your planned course of study during the period of the fellowship? If you could select your dissertation topic this year, what would it be? Why is it important? How is it relevant to the protection of human health and the environment? Which environmental area would be best served by your selected topic?

Doctoral Student: What are the degree requirements for your program? What is your planned course of study during the period of the fellowship? If you could select your dissertation topic this year, what would it be? Why is it important? How is it relevant to the protection of human health and the environment? Which environmental area would be best served by your selected topic? What are some of the most influential publications currently available in this area?

Continuing Doctoral Student: What is your dissertation topic? How is it relevant to the protection of human health and the environment? Describe your dissertation research project by addressing the following points:

  1. Goal of research: What environmental problem are you focusing on? What is your hypothesis(es)?
  2. Rationale: What is the environmental need for this research? What significant research has been published on this topic? How do the results of that research relate to your project?
  3. Approach: How will you test your hypothesis?
  4. Expected results: What environmental benefits are expected to result from this work?
  5. Cited literature: Provide a list of cited literature.

E. Education and Experience, Publications, and Transcript Information

Education and Experience (1 Page)

List the academic degrees you have received or expect to receive in the near future, including the date, discipline, and the institution. Also list relevant experience, including paid employment, military service, internships, residencies, special studies, volunteer work, etc. Give dates and a short description of your duties in each position, listing most recent first. Give names and addresses of employers. List only relevant experience.

Publications (1 Page)

If you have published in the technical/scientific literature, provide a bibliography here. If you have not yet published, write “NA.”

Course Work Information (use as many pages as are necessary)

Provide, in tabular form, the following information about your course work (this information should be obtained from your transcripts): the institutions at which the credits were earned, dates, names and catalog numbers of courses taken, credit hours, grades received, and cumulative GPA for all courses taken at each degree level. If possible, course titles should not exceed the space available. Abbreviations are allowed. Note if courses were audited or not completed. If any institution you attended had a grading system different from the traditional "A, B, C" system, explain the system in a succinct footnote. Include data from your entire college career. Do not include your transcripts at this time. Top-ranked applicants will be required to submit official copies of transcripts for validation prior to award of the fellowship.

F. Letters of Recommendation

Each pre-application package MUST include three (3) current letters of reference from individuals who have knowledge of your academic record. If you have a sponsor or advisor in the program, one of these letters should come from that individual. Letters of recommendation are critical components of the pre-application. Select your references carefully and urge them to write letters specifically about you. Do not write the letters yourself. Letters that appear to be mass produced are not ranked highly by the reviewers. At a minimum, the letters should address your academic performance and potential, enthusiasm, thoughtfulness, and motivation in your chosen field. It is always useful if the writer also conveys a sense of who you are as an individual. The name of the applicant and the appropriate sort code should be clearly marked on the outside of the envelope prior to sending it to EPA (see also “Other Submission Requirements” below).

Submission Dates and Times

For paper copy submissions, the original and two (2) copies of the complete pre-application (3 in all) including letters of recommendation must be received by EPA no later than 4:00 pm Eastern Time on the solicitation closing date, October 18, 2005. Electronic applications must be transferred to grants.gov no later than 4:00 pm Eastern Time on the solicitation closing date. It should be noted that this schedule may be changed without prior notification because of factors that were not anticipated at the time of announcement. In the case of a change in the required application closing date, a new date will be posted on the NCER web site (http://www.epa.gov/ncer/) and a modification posted on www.grants.gov exit EPA. Applications received after the closing date will be returned to the sender without further consideration.

Solicitation Closing Date: October 18, 2005, 4:00 pm Eastern Time

Earliest Anticipated Start Date: September 1, 2006

Funding Restrictions

The funding mechanism for all awards issued under GRO solicitations will consist of assistance agreements from the EPA. All award decisions are subject to the availability of funds. In accordance with the Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act, 31 U.S.C. 6301 et seq., 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 Fellows and other contacts with the Fellow.

You may not submit a pre-application to more than one GRO Fellowships Funding Opportunity.

Other Submission Requirements

You may submit either a paper pre-application or an electronic pre-application but not both for this announcement.

Submission Instructions for Paper Pre-Applications

Pre-applications MUST be received by EPA no later than 4:00 p.m., EST, on October 18, 2005. NOTE: Letters of Recommendation MUST be received by EPA no later than 4:00 p.m., EST, on October 18, 2005. Allow sufficient time to assure delivery by 4:00 pm EST on October 18, 2005 Because of security concerns, pre-applications cannot be personally delivered. They must be sent through regular mail, express mail, or a major courier. Due to uncertainties associated with timely delivery of regular mail, it is especially important to provide an e-mail address to which an acknowledgment of receipt notification can be sent (see Key Contacts above).

The following address must be used for regular mail:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Peer Review Division (8725F)
Sort Code: EPA-F2006-GRO-XX (replace the "XX" with the appropriate code)1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460

The following address must be used for express mail and couriers:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Peer Review Division (8725F)
Sorting Code: EPA-F2006-GRO-XX (replace the "XX" with the appropriate code)
1025 F Street, NW (Room 3500)
Washington, DC 20004
Phone: (202) 233-0686

Submission Instructions for Electronic Pre-Applications

Grants.gov requires an individual registration to submit to this solicitation; however, registration is not required to view the pre-application package. To register, go to http://www.grants.gov/, exit EPA click on “Get Started,” click on “Individual” and “Go.” Follow the registration guidance and also see “Registration Checklists.” Allow approximately one day for the registration to be activated. This registration is temporary and can only be used for the specified Funding Opportunity Number.

The electronic pre-application package available through the http://www.grants.gov/ exit EPA web site must be used for electronic submissions. In order to view the pre-application package, download the PureEdge viewer (hyperlink available under "Apply for Grants" then "Apply Step 1"). The pre-application package may be quickly accessed from https://apply.grants.gov/forms_apps_idx.html exit EPAusing CFDA number 66.513. Be sure to download the electronic pre-application package for the appropriate sort code. It is recommended that you “Register to Receive Notification” of announcement updates. Both a tutorial and training demonstration are available at http://www.grants.gov/, exit EPA click on “Customer Support,” then “Tutorial” or “Training Demonstration.”

The complete pre-application must be transferred to grants.gov no later than 4:00 pm Eastern Time on October 18, 2005. NOTE: Letters of Recommendation MUST received at EPA no later than 4:00 p.m., EST, on October 18, 2005. Allow sufficient time to assure delivery by 4:00 pm October 18, 2005. An e-mail will be sent by NCER to the applicant to acknowledge receipt of the pre-application and to transmit other important information. The email will be sent from receipt.application@epa.gov; email to this address will not be accepted. If an email acknowledgment from NCER (not support@grants.gov) has not been received within 30 days of the submission closing date, immediately contact the technical contact us using either the toll-free telephone number or web-based query form listed in Agency Contacts. Failure to do so may result in your pre-application not being reviewed. Please note: Due to the high volume of pre-applications, voice and e-mail requests to verify pre-application receipt will not responded to unless they are placed after November 17, 2005.

Documents must be submitted in Adobe Acrobat PDF format to maintain format integrity. Prior to submitting your electronic pre-application package, we suggest you view your converted documents for conversion errors. Submit the required documents as described below.

On the electronic “Grant Application Package” page, enter your name, starting with last name, in the “Application Filing Name” field.

A. Application for Federal Assistance (SF-424, see “Instructions for Completing the SF 424" for specific instructions)

  1. Complete the form using the instructions provided above. There are no attachments.

B. EPA Key Contacts Form 5700-54 (see “Key Contacts Form Instructions” for specific instructions)

  1. Complete the form using the instructions provided above. There are no attachments.

C. Project Narrative Attachment Form

  1. Compile the Statement of Objectives and Narrative Statement into one document labeled ObjectivesNarrative and submit it as the "Add Mandatory Project Narrative File."
  2. Prepare one document that contains Education and Experience, Publications, and Transcript Information and label it Background. Submit it as an "Add Optional Project Narrative File."
  3. Prepare one document that contains Your Name, Citizenship Status, GRO Eligibility Certification, Degree Sought, Project Title, Educational Level, and Optional Information and label it AddInfo. Submit it as an “Add Optional Project Narrative File.”

Once the pre-application package has been completed, the “Submit” button will become active. Save your completed pre-application package with two different names before submission to avoid having to re-create the package should you experience submission problems. Close all other software before attempting to submit the pre-application package.

If you experience submission problems, reboot your computer (turning the power off may be necessary) and re-attempt the submission. If you continue to experience submission problems, contact grants.gov for assistance (Phone: 1-800-518-4726, Email: support@grants.gov).

D. Letters of Recommendation MUST be received at EPA no later than 4:00 p.m., EST, on October 18, 2005. The original and two (2) copies of each letter must be contained in an individual envelope sealed by the writer. Place all letters of recommendation in one envelope and mail to the address given for Paper Pre-Applications (follow guidance below). Include your full name and the appropriate sort code in the return address area of the envelope to enable quick matching with your electronic pre-application. Letters will be scanned and distributed to reviewers electronically.

V. PRE-APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION

Criteria

An external review panel considers an applicant’s merit based on the criteria below. Criteria 1-4 are listed in increasing order of importance.

  1. Course work information
  2. Reference Letters
  3. Goals and Objectives
    a. Comment on the seriousness of the applicant’s dedication to the stated career goals and objectives.
    b. Comment on the applicant’s organizational, analytical, and written skills.
  4. Narrative Statement
    a. Entering Master’s Student: Comment on the strength of the applicant’s planned course of study and probability of success of any proposed project.
    b. Entering Doctoral Student: Comment on the strength of the applicant’s planned course of study and probability of success of any proposed project.
    c. Doctoral Student: Comment on how the applicant’s proposed doctoral program builds on his/her previous education or research projects. Why and how will any proposed research project advance the applicant’s academic or career goals?
    d. Continuing Doctoral Student: Comment on the applicant’s research project as to its technical and social application, potential for success, and the benefits expected.

Review and Selection Process

All Fellowship pre-applications are reviewed by an appropriate external merit review panel using the criteria above. In general, each review group is 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 are asked to assign a summary score of either excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor for each pre-application. This review is designed to evaluate each student on his or her potential for success in an environmental graduate study program based on the information provided in the pre-application.

Pre-applications receiving a score of excellent or very good as a result of the external merit review process will undergo further review within EPA. All other applications are automatically declined. The purpose of the internal review is to assure a balanced research portfolio for the Agency and determine which pre-applications to recommend for award.

Finalists will be recommended for award of a fellowship based on: the availability of funds; reviewers' evaluations; program goals, such as distribution of awards across disciplines, institutions and geography; degree level being sought; and other possible indicators of program balance.

Final funding decisions are made by the NCER Director based on the results of the external and internal reviews. Applicants selected for funding will be required to provide additional information, listed under “Award Notices.” The application will then be forwarded to EPA’s Grants Administration Office for award in accordance with the EPA’s procedures.

VI. AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

Award Notices

Either a summary statement or multiple individual reviews provided by the external merit review panel will be provided to each applicant with an award or declination letter. If selected to receive a fellowship, you will be contacted no later than May 30, 2006 and should subsequently receive your official notification of award by July 21, 2006, for the fall term. Please note that this schedule may be changed without notification due to factors that were not anticipated at the time of announcement.

You are advised to retain this announcement for future reference.

The official notification of an award will be made by the EPA's Grants Administration Division. Selected applicants will be required to provide the following information to complete the application process:

  1. EPA Form 5770-2, "Fellowship Application*"
  2. EPA Form 5700-49, "Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, and Other Responsibility Matters*"
    *Forms are available on the NCER web page (www.epa.gov/ncer/fellow/).
  3. Sealed official transcripts from all graduate institutions
  4. Fellowship Recipient Abstract, not to exceed one page, which should include: Project Title, Name of Fellow, Institution, EPA Project Officer, Project Period, Research Category, Description of Research Project including Objective, Approach, Results or Expected Results, Keywords

Disputes

Disputes related to this assistance agreement competition will be resolved in accordance with the dispute resolution procedures set forth in 70 FR 3629, 3630 (January 26, 2005) which can be found at http://www.epa.gov/ogd/competition/resolution.htm. Questions regarding disputes may be referred to the Eligibility Contact, see http://www.epa.gov/ncer/guidance/faqs.html.

Administrative and National Policy Requirements

Terms and conditions associated with this award can be found at http://www.epa.gov/ncer/guidance.

A. Meetings: Fellows are expected to attend EPA Graduate Fellows Conferences as long as they are in the program. Resources to support this travel are to be taken from the expense allowance.

B. Reporting: Fellowship recipients must provide annual progress reports in order to retain their funding, and must provide a final report upon termination of the award. Fellows must agree to maintain contact with the Agency for at least five years after graduation.

C. Acknowledgment of EPA Support: EPA’s full or partial support must 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:

This publication [article] was developed under a GRO Research Assistance Agreement No. __________ awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It has not been formally reviewed by the EPA. The views expressed in this document are solely those of [name of recipient] and the EPA does not endorse any products or commercial services mentioned in this publication.

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/GRO_images.html. EPA expects recipients to use this graphic in oral and poster presentations.

VII. AGENCY CONTACTS

Further information, if needed, may be obtained from the EPA/NCER resources listed below. To obtain information most quickly, consult the “Guidance & FAQs.” If your question is not covered, then call the toll-free telephone number or send a query through the web-based query form. You will receive a personal response through a return telephone call or email. Information regarding this RFA obtained from sources other than those indicated may not be accurate.

Contact Person: Stephanie Willett: phone, 202-343-9737; e-mail, willett.stephanie@epa.gov

Guidance & FAQs: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/guidance/faqs.html

Toll-free telephone number: 1-800-490-9194

Web-based query form: http://www.epa.gov/cgi-bin/ncerqamail.pl

Jump to main content.