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CLOSED - FOR REFERENCES PURPOSES ONLY

Increasing Scientific Data on the Fate, Transport and Behavior of Engineered Nanomaterials in Selected Environmental and Biological Matrices

This is the initial announcement of this funding opportunity.

Funding Opportunity Number:

    EPA-G2010-STAR-N1 Fate, Transport, and Transformation
    EPA-G2010-STAR-N2 Food Matrices

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: EPA: 66.509, USDA: 10.310

Solicitation Opening Date: November 6, 2009
Solicitation Closing Date: February 2, 2010, 11:59:59 pm Eastern Time

Eligibility Contact: William Stelz (stelz.william@epa.gov); phone: 703-347-8039
Electronic Submissions: Ron Josephson (josephson.ron@epa.gov); phone: 703-308-0442
EPA Technical Contact: Nora Savage (savage.nora@epa.gov); phone: 703-347-8104
NSF Technical Contact: Mihail Roco (mroco@nsf.gov); phone: 703-292-8301
USDA Technical Contact: Hongda Chen (hchen@csrees.usda.gov); phone: 202-401-6497

Table of Contents:
SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS
Synopsis of Program
Award Information
Eligibility Information
Application Materials
Agency Contacts
I. FUNDING OPPORTUNITY DESCRIPTION
A. Introduction
B. Background
C. Authority and Regulations
D. Specific Areas of Interest/Expected Outputs and Outcomes
E. References
F. Special Requirements
II. AWARD INFORMATION
III. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION
A. Eligible Applicants
B. Cost Sharing
C. Other
IV. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION
A. Internet Address to Request Application Package
B. Content and Form of Application Submission
C. Submission Dates and Times
D. Funding Restrictions
E. Submission Instructions and Other Submission Requirements
V. APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION
A. Peer Review
B. Programmatic Review
C. Funding Decisions
VI. AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION
A. Award Notices
B. Disputes
C. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
D. Other Requirements
VII. AGENCY CONTACTS

Access Standard STAR Forms (http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms/)
View research awarded under previous solicitations (http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/archive/grants/)

SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

Synopsis of Program:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), are seeking applications proposing research to provide data that improves the scientific understanding of fate/transport and behavior of engineered nanomaterials.

Fostering international research collaboration is one aim of this solicitation and is encouraged and will be evaluated as part of the peer review evaluation under Section V. As an example of international research solicitations in this area, please see the EC call (solicitation) published on the 30th of July: http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/dc/index.cfm?fuseaction=UserSite.CooperationDetailsCallPage&call_id=276

Award Information:
Anticipated Type of Award: Grant or Cooperative Agreement
Estimated Number of Awards: Approximately 7 awards

    EPA will fund no more than 3 awards
    NSF will fund no more than 2 awards
    USDA/NIFA will fund no more than 2 awards
Anticipated Funding Amount: Approximately $4.2 million total for all awards
    EPA will award no more than $1.8 million total for a total of 3 awards
    NSF will award no more than $1.2 million total for a total of 2 awards
    USDA/NIFA will award no more than $1.2 million for a total of 2 awards
Potential Funding per Award: Up to a total of $600,000, including direct and indirect costs, with a maximum duration of 4 years.
Cost-sharing is not required. Proposals with budget requests that exceed the total award limits will not be considered.

Eligibility Information:
EPA
Public nonprofit institutions/organizations (includes public institutions of higher education and hospitals) and private nonprofit institutions/organizations (includes private institutions of higher education and hospitals) located in the U.S., state and local governments, Federally Recognized Indian Tribal Governments, and U.S. territories or possessions are eligible to apply. See full announcement for more details.

NSF
NSF will fund the following: for-profit or nonprofit organizations; public or private institutions, such as universities, colleges, hospitals, and laboratories; units of state and local governments; eligible agencies of the Federal government; domestic institutions/organizations only; faith-based community-based organizations; federally recognized Indian Tribes, Tribal Governments, Colleges, and/or Organizations. See full announcement for more details.

USDA
Eligible applicants for the grant program implemented under this subpart include: (1) State agricultural experiment stations; (2) colleges and universities (including junior colleges offering associate degrees or higher); (3) university research foundations; (4) other research institutions and organizations; (5) Federal agencies, (6) national laboratories; (7) private organizations or corporations; (8) individuals who are U.S. citizens, nations, or permanent residents; and (9) any group consisting of 2 or more entities identified in (1) through (8). Eligible institutions do not include foreign and international organizations.

Application Materials:
The necessary forms for submitting a STAR application will be found on the National Center for Environmental Research (NCER) web site, http://epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms/. Electronic submission of your application must be performed by an authorized representative of your organization.

Applicants must submit the full application in PDF format via electronic mail to 2010-NANOFATE-APPS@epa.gov with the funding opportunity number (FON) in the subject line by the solicitation closing date and time.

If you do not have the technical capability to utilize the electronic mail submission process for this solicitation, call 1-800-490-9194 or send a webmail message to (http://www.epa.gov/ncer/contact_us.html) at least 15 calendar days before the submission deadline to assure timely receipt of alternate submission instructions. In your message provide the funding opportunity number and title of the program, specify that you are requesting alternate submission instructions, and provide a telephone number, fax number, and an email address, if available. Alternate instructions will be e-mailed whenever possible. Any applications submitted through alternate submission methods must comply with all the provisions of this RFA, including Section IV, and be submitted by the solicitation closing date and time identified above.

Agency Contacts:
Eligibility Contact: William Stelz (stelz.william@epa.gov); phone: 703-347-8039
Electronic Submissions: Ron Josephson (josephson.ron@epa.gov); phone: 703-308-0442
EPA Technical Contact: Nora Savage (savage.nora@epa.gov); phone: 703-347-8104
NSF Technical Contact: Mihail Roco (mroco@nsf.gov); phone: 703-292-8301
USDA Technical Contact: Hongda Chen (hchen@csrees.usda.gov); phone: 202-401-6497

I. FUNDING OPPORTUNITY DESCRIPTION

A. Introduction
The sponsors of this request for applications (RFA) are interested in supporting fundamental and applied research related to engineered nanomaterials in the following two areas:

  1. Evaluation of potential exposures to engineered nanomaterials including an exploration of environmental and biological fate, transport, and transformation of these materials throughout their lifetimes; and
  2. Increasing the scientific understanding of engineered nanoscale additives and ingredients intentionally introduced into food matrices for delivery of important micronutrients and modification of sensory attributes.

Applications must address one of these two areas.

Fostering international research collaboration is one aim of this solicitation and international research collaboration is encouraged.

B. Background
Nanotechnology has been defined by the Interagency Subcommittee on Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology (NSET) of the federal Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) as follows: . the understanding and control of matter at dimensions between approximately 1 and 100 nanometers, where unique phenomena enable novel applications. Encompassing nanoscale science, engineering, and technology, nanotechnology involves imaging, measuring, modeling, and manipulating matter at this length scale. (http://www.nano.gov/html/facts/whatIsNano.html). Nanotechnology is rapidly becoming a major enabling technology, with a projected consumer market value in the trillions of US dollars within the next 15-20 years.

Many companies are currently involved in the manufacture of nanoscale materials which are used in a wide range of products, such as sunscreens, composites, sporting equipment, and catalysts. According to data collected by the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), the quantity of nanoscale materials engineered by various industries is expected to grow significantly within the next 8 to 10 years. (see Mihail Roco, Nanotechnologys Future, Scientific American, 24 July 2006, 7 Oct. 2006, http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=00029E0B-34C6-14C0-AFE483414B7F4945&sc=I100322 exit EPA).

There is currently insufficient information about the fate/transport and behavior of engineered nanomaterials, e.g., nanoparticles, nanotubes, nanowires, fullerene derivatives, and other nanoscale materials. Public health and environmental safety concerns about nanotechnology have been raised and a variety of research needs in this area have been identified by the Nanotechnology Environmental & Health Implications Working Group (NEHI) of the NNI. The following documents published by the NEHI Working Group can be found at: http://www.nano.gov/html/res/pubs.html

  • Strategy for Nanotechnology-Related Environmental, Health, and Safety Research (PDF - 2.2 MB), February 2008
  • Prioritization of Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Needs for Engineered Nanoscale Materials, August 2007
  • Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Needs for Engineered Nanoscale Materials, September 2006

International collaboration is critical for the rapid advance of scientific understanding of public health and environmental safety concerns as well as to the development of products which will improve our quality of life. Environmental damage is not confined within geographic or political borders and effects are often experienced on a global scale. In addition, industries are global in both manufacturing and distribution. Consequently, international research collaborations are encouraged.

Under this RFA, the U.S. EPA, NSF, and USDA/NIFA are interested in supporting research related to: (1) Evaluation of potential exposures to engineered nanomaterials including an exploration of environmental and biological fate, transport, and transformation of these materials throughout their lifetimes; and (2) Improvements in the scientific understanding of engineered nanoscale additives and ingredients that may be intentionally introduced into food for delivery of important micronutrients and modification of sensory attributes.

Fate, Transport and Behavior of Engineered Nanomaterials, EPA-G2010-STAR-N1
Research Area 1: Evaluation of potential exposures to engineered nanomaterials including an exploration of environmental and biological fate, transport, and transformation of these materials throughout their lifetimes

There is an urgent need to evaluate the fate and transport of nanomaterials in the environment and to consider the possible impacts of nanomaterials from their initial generation through product manufacturing, use and final disposition. As nanomaterials are released and migrate from one media to another, they may be physically altered. Current toxicity literature indicates that alterations of nanomaterials (coated, agglomerated/aggregated, suspended, functionalized, etc.) can change their toxicity. Consequently, it is necessary to characterize the nanomaterials during exposure to living organisms. Such information will enable the development of benign nanomaterials that, should exposure occur, will not result in adverse effects upon human health or the environment. The generation of this data requires scrutiny of the entire life cycle of the material. Developing life cycle perspectives for nanomaterials will provide critical information concerning the material form of nanoproducts and the applicable environmental media in which they will likely exist. In addition, information concerning the persistence and bioavailability will be obtained to help quantify potential dosages. The fate and transport of nanomaterials may be influenced by geochemical conditions of the media, and processes such as sorption, dissolution, deposition, etc. Specific nanomaterials of interest include nano silver, titanium dioxide, cerium oxide, nano-scale zero-valent iron (nZVI), quantum dots, and carbon-based.

Fate, Transport and Behavior of Engineered Nanomaterials, EPA-G2010-STAR-N2
Research Area 2: Improve the scientific understanding of engineered nanoscale additives and ingredients that may be intentionally introduced into food for delivery of important micronutrients and modification of sensory attributes.

Research and development at nanoscale science have significantly extended into the food and agriculture sector over the last few years both in the US, EU and other parts of the world. Applications of nanotechnologies aimed at improving human health and well being through food products and sustaining economic growth have been actively investigated. With the expectation of new products incorporating novel nanostructured food additives, ingredients and micronutrients, it is important to scientifically understand the characteristics and safety of engineered nanoscale food additives, ingredients, and micronutrient delivery complexes.

This Research Area is intended to address the urgent needs to scientifically understand the fate and properties of nanoscale materials and additives that may be used or introduced into foods. The pioneer study in this area is an important step towards responsible development and deployment of nanotechnology called for in the 2007 NNI Strategic Plan. It will also help to assess the adequacy of the existing characterization methods to study the critical questions, and establish the baseline for the needs of new characterization methodology. The information gained from this research will provide guidance on the extent of future investigation needs on the nanoscale food materials and additives. This research will complement proposed EU efforts to develop suitable techniques to detect nanostructures in food. It also complements other sections of this RFA regarding the environmental fate and transport properties of engineered nanoparticles.

The specific Strategic Goal and Objective from the EPAs Strategic Plan that relate to this solicitation are:
Goal 4: Healthy Communities and Ecosystems, Objective 4.4: Enhance Science and Research
The EPAs Strategic Plan can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/ocfo/plan/2006/entire_report.pdf (PDF) (184 pp, 9.87 MB, about PDF)

C. Authority and Regulations
EPAs authority for this RFA and resulting awards is contained in the Safe Drinking Water Act, Section 1442, 42 U.S.C. 300j-1, Clean Water Act, Section 104, 33 U.S.C. 1254, Toxic Substances Control Act, Section 10, 15 U.S.C. 2609, Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, Section 20, 7 U.S.C. 136r, and the Clean Air Act, Section 103, 42 U.S.C. 7403. For research with an international aspect, the above statutes are supplemented, as appropriate, by the National Environmental Policy Act, Section 102 (2)(F).

Applicable regulations include: 40 CFR Part 30 (Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Non-Profit Organizations), 40 CFR Part 31 (Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Cooperative Agreements to State and Local Governments) and 40 CFR Part 40 (Research and Demonstration Grants). Applicable OMB Circulars include: OMB Circular A-21 (Cost Principles for Educational Institutions) relocated to 2 CFR Part 220, OMB Circular A-87 (Cost Principles for State, Local and Indian Tribal Governments) relocated to 2 CFR Part 225, OMB Circular A-102 (Grants and Cooperative Agreements With State and Local Governments), OMB Circular A-110 (Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Other Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals and Other Non-Profit Organizations) relocated to 2 CFR Part 215, and OMB Circular A-122, (Cost Principles for Non-Profit Organizations) relocated to 2 CFR Part 230.

The USDA authority for this RFA is contained in Section 7406 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (FCEA) (Pub. L. 110-246) which amends section 2(b) of the Competitive, Special, and Facilities Research Grant Act (7 U.S.C. 450i(b)) to authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to establish the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI); a new competitive grant program to provide funding for fundamental and applied research, extension, and education to address food and agricultural sciences. AFRI is subject to the provision found at 7 CFR Part 3430.

D. Specific Research Areas of Interest/Expected Outputs and Outcomes
Note to applicant: The term output means an environmental activity or effort, and associated work products, related to a specific environmental goal(s), (e.g., testing a new methodology), that will be produced or developed over a period of time under the agreement. The term outcome means the result, effect, or consequence that will occur from the above activit(ies) that is related to an environmental, behavioral, or health-related objective.

Research Area 1: Relevant goals of this research include increasing scientific knowledge on the partitioning of nanomaterials in various media and increased data on movement and transformation capacities. Information about fate, transport, and transformation is necessary to estimate exposure to and to understand the potential risks of engineered nanomaterials. Research questions that might be addressed in applications include but are not limited to:

  • At what point in the lifetime of the engineered nanomaterial might exposure occur?
  • Can engineered nanomaterials be grouped or tiered based on exposure potential?
  • What are the potential routes by which engineered nanomaterials could enter biological organisms?
  • What are the potential routes by which engineered nanomaterials could enter the environment?
  • What are the characteristics of nanomaterials in terms of dispersion/aggregation/agglomeration?
  • What transformations could engineered nanoparticles undergo throughout their lifetimes?
  • How do/could nanomaterials migrate within a media and from one media to another, (e.g. nanoscale zero-valent iron - nZVI - in subsurface environments)?
  • What is the fate of nanomaterials as they move through waste treatment systems, including wastewater treatment plants, incinerators, or when placed in landfills (e.g. could they migrate through landfill liners)? What is the fate of nanomaterials in products that are recycled?

International collaboration is encouraged.

Research Area 2: Research and development at nanoscale science have significantly extended into the food and agriculture sector over the last few years both in the US, EU and other parts of the world. Applications of nanotechnologies aimed at improving human health and well being through food products and sustaining economic growth have been actively investigated. With the expectation of new products incorporating novel nanostructured food additives, ingredients and micronutrients, it is important to scientifically understand the characteristics and safety of engineered nanoscale food additives, ingredients, and micronutrient delivery complexes.

This section of the RFA is intended to address the urgent needs to scientifically understand the fate and properties of nanoscale materials and additives that may be used or introduced into foods. The pioneer study in this area is an important step towards responsible development and deployment of nanotechnology called for in the 2007 NNI Strategic Plan. It will also help to assess the adequacy of the existing characterization methods to study the critical questions, and establish the baseline for the needs of new characterization methodology. The information gained from this research will provide guidance on the extent of future investigation needs on the nanoscale food materials and additives. This research will complement proposed EU efforts to develop suitable techniques to detect nanostructures in food. It also complements other sections. Relevant research questions that might be addressed in applications include but are not limited to:

  • Are there adequate physical and chemical methods to characterize engineered nanoscale food materials?
  • Are engineered nanoscale food materials structurally stable through processing, storage, distribution and use? Do they dissolve, aggregate, or agglomerate in food processing media? Do they maintain structural and size integrity throughout the intended use life (from the inception to the digestion and the uptake)?
  • Are they digested or persistent in vivo?
  • Are their absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME) properties different from their bulk equivalents?
  • Are they able to trans-locate across cell membranes, and have the bio-kinetics been characterized?
  • Are they toxic at the intended application range/exposure level through oral ingestion?

This research area will focus on nanoscale food materials and additives. The intended uses of nanoscale materials in foods are to offer consumer benefits to improve health and well being. Their uses to improve food quality, safety and value must have been demonstrated through previous research. Their manufacturing at the bench scale level with precise control of material size at nanoscale must have been well developed. Multidisciplinary approaches that integrate scientific and engineering strengths in food, nutrition, nanotechnology, toxicology, physics, chemistry and others is highly recommended. International collaboration is encouraged.

Outputs and Outcomes for These Two Research Areas:
Unique characteristics of nano-phase and nano-particulate transport, bioavailability and potential human interactions and how they can be distinguished from background environmental influences are of particular significance. Outputs from this research may include providing researchers with critical information concerning the fate of engineered nanomaterials and strategy development for increasing the collaboration and coordination of environmental research on engineered nanomaterials at both national and international levels. Outcomes include the enhancement of environmental protection through the increased availability of important fate and transport data on these materials and increased knowledge gained concerning the fate, transport, and transformation of engineered nanomaterials as they enter and move through various ecosystems.

E. References
United States, National Science and Technology Council, Research and Development Leading to a Revolution in Technology and Industry: Supplement to the Presidents FY 2010 Budget (Washington, Office of Science and Technology Policy, 2006) http://nano.gov/NNI_07Budget.pdf (PDF) (76 pp, 1.12 MB, about PDF)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Nanotechnology White Paper, February 15, 2007, Science Policy Council, U.S. EPA, Washington, DC 20460 (http://www.epa.gov/osa/pdfs/nanotech/epa-nanotechnology-whitepaper-0207.pdf)

Strategy for Nanotechnology-Related Environmental, Health, and Safety Research (PDF - 2.2 MB), February 2008 (http://www.nano.gov/NNI_EHS_Research_Strategy.pdf)

Prioritization of Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Needs for Engineered Nanoscale Materials, August 2007 (http://www.nano.gov/Prioritization_EHS_Research_Needs_Engineered_Nanoscale_Materials.pdf)

Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Needs for Engineered Nanoscale Materials, September 2006 (http://www.nano.gov/NNI_EHS_research_needs.pdf)

United States, National Science and Technology Council, Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Needs for Engineered Nanoscale Materials (Washington: Office of Science and Technology Policy, 2006). http://www.nano.gov/NNI_EHS_research_needs.pdf (PDF) (80 pp, 1.06 MB, about PDF)

Andrew Maynard, et al. Safe Handling of Nanotechnology. Nature 16 Nov: 267 (2006).

Andrew Maynard, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars: Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, Nanotechnology: A Research Strategy for Addressing Risk July 2006: 35.

The Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering. Nanoscience and nanotechnologies: Opportunities and uncertainties. London, July 2004, pp. 26-7, available online at www.nanotec.org.uk/finalReport.htm exit EPA.

F. Special Requirements
Agency policy prevents EPA technical staff and managers from providing individual applicants with information that may create an unfair competitive advantage. Consequently, EPA employees will not review, comment, advise, and/or provide technical assistance to applicants preparing applications in response to this RFA, nor will they endorse an application or discuss in any manner how the Agency will apply the published evaluation criteria for this competition.

Multiple Investigator applications may be submitted as: (1) a single Lead Principal Investigator (PI) application with Co-PI(s) or (2) a Multiple PI application (with a single Contact PI). If you choose to submit a Multiple PI application, you must follow the specific instructions provided in Sections IV. and V. of this RFA. For further information, please see the EPA Implementation Plan for Policy on Multiple Principal Investigators and, for NIFA, the CSREES, USDA, Implementation Plan for Recognizing Multiple Principle Investigators on Federally-Funded Research Projects, both at (http://rbm.nih.gov/toolkit.htm).

Groups of two or more eligible applicants may choose to form a consortium and submit a single application for this assistance agreement. The application must identify which organization will be the recipient of the assistance agreement and which organizations(s) will be subawardees of the recipient.

II. AWARD INFORMATION

It is anticipated that a total of approximately $4.2 million (no more than $1.8 million from EPA, no more than $1.2 million from USDA/NIFA, and no more than $1.2 million from NSF) will be awarded under this announcement, depending on the availability of funds and quality of applications received.  Anticipated funding will result in approximately 7 awards (no more than 3 awards by EPA, no more than 2 awards by USDA/NIFA, and no more than 2 awards by NSF) among the participating agencies under this RFA.  Requests for amounts in excess of a total of $600,000  including direct and indirect costs, will not be considered.  The total project period requested in an application submitted for this RFA may not exceed 4 years.  Awards will be made in accordance with the respective policies of each funding agency.

EPA
The EPA reserves the right to reject all applications and make no awards, or make fewer awards than anticipated, under this RFA.  The EPA reserves the right to make additional awards under this announcement, consistent with Agency policy, if additional funding becomes available after the original selections are made.  Any additional selections for awards will be made no later than six months after the original selection decisions.

EPA may award both grants and cooperative agreements under this announcement.

Under a grant, EPA scientists and engineers are not permitted to be substantially involved in the execution of the research.  However, EPA encourages interaction between its own laboratory scientists and grant Principal Investigators after the award of an EPA grant for the sole purpose of exchanging information in research areas of common interest that may add value to their respective research activities.  This interaction must be incidental to achieving the goals of the research under a grant.  Interaction that is “incidental” does not involve resource commitments.

Where appropriate, based on consideration of the nature of the proposed project relative to the EPA’s intramural research program and available resources, the EPA may award cooperative agreements under this announcement.  When addressing a research question/problem of common interest, collaborations between scientists and the institution’s principal investigators are permitted under a cooperative agreement.  These collaborations may include data and information exchange, providing technical input to experimental design and theoretical development, coordinating extramural research with in-house activities, the refinement of valuation endpoints, and joint authorship of journal articles on these activities.  Proposals may not identify EPA cooperators or interactions; specific interactions between EPA’s investigators and those of the prospective recipient for cooperative agreements will be negotiated at the time of award. 

USDA
There is no commitment by USDA to fund any particular application or to make a specific number of awards. USDA/NIFA anticipates funding 2 grants or cooperative agreements under this announcement.

Applicants selected for USDA funding will be required to submit additional forms and documents as detailed in “A Guide for Preparation and Submission of NIFA Applications via Grants.gov (PDF)” (available at LINK). All awards made from USDA will be limited to an indirect cost cap of 22% of the total Federal funds awarded. Revised budgets will be solicited if these guidelines are not met by an application to be awarded by USDA/NIFA.

III. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

A. Eligible Applicants
EPA
Public nonprofit institutions/organizations (includes public institutions of higher education and hospitals) and private nonprofit institutions/organizations (includes private institutions of higher education and hospitals) located in the U.S., state and local governments, Federally Recognized Indian Tribal Governments, and U.S. territories or possessions are eligible to apply.  Profit-making firms are not eligible to receive assistance agreements from the EPA under this program.

Eligible nonprofit organizations include any organizations that meet the definition of nonprofit in OMB Circular A-122, located at 2 CFR Part 230.  However, nonprofit organizations described in Section 501(c) (4) of the Internal Revenue Code that lobby are not eligible to apply.

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

Federal Agencies may not apply.  Federal employees are not eligible to serve in a principal leadership role on an assistance agreement, and may not receive salaries or augment their Agency’s appropriations in other ways through awards made under this program.

The applicant 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.  In addition, an appropriate form of assurance that documents the commitment, such as a letter of intent from the Federal Agency involved, should be included.

Potential applicants who are uncertain of their eligibility should contact William Stelz (stelz.william@epa.gov) in NCER, phone (202) 343-9802

USDA
Eligible applicants for the grant program implemented under this subpart include: (1) State agricultural experiment stations; (2) colleges and universities (including junior colleges offering associate degrees or higher); (3) university research foundations; (4) other research institutions and organizations; (5) Federal agencies, (6) national laboratories; (7) private organizations or corporations; (8) individuals who are U.S. citizens, nations, or permanent residents; and (9) any group consisting of 2 or more entities identified in (1) through (8). Eligible institutions do not include foreign and international organizations. Award recipients may subcontract to organizations not eligible to apply provided such organizations are necessary for the conduct of the project.

NSF
NSF will fund the following: for-profit or nonprofit organizations; public or private institutions, such as universities, colleges, hospitals, and laboratories; units of state and local governments; eligible agencies of the Federal government; domestic institutions/organizations only; faith-based community-based organizations; federally recognized Indian Tribes, Tribal Governments, Colleges, and/or Organizations.

B. Cost-Sharing
Institutional cost-sharing is not required.

C. Other
Applicants must submit applications for one of the two listed research areas in Section I:

Fate, Transport and Behavior of Engineered Nanomaterials, EPA-G2010-STAR-N1
Research Area 1: Evaluation of potential exposures to engineered nanomaterials including an exploration of environmental and biological fate, transport, and transformation of these materials throughout their lifetimes

Fate, Transport and Behavior of Engineered Nanomaterials, EPA-G2010-STAR-N2
Research Area 2: Improve the scientific understanding of engineered nanoscale additives and ingredients that may be intentionally introduced into food for delivery of important micronutrients and modification of sensory attributes.

Applications must substantially comply with the application submission instructions and requirements set forth in Section IV of this announcement or they will be rejected.  In addition, where a page limitation is expressed in Section IV with respect to parts of the application, pages in excess of the page limit will not be reviewed.  Applications must be submitted to EPA (see Section IV.E. “Submission Instructions and Other Submission Requirements” for further information) on or before the solicitation closing date and time in Section IV of this announcement or they will be returned to the sender without further consideration.  Also, applications exceeding the funding limits or project period term described herein will be returned without review.  Further, applications that fail to demonstrate a public purpose of support or stimulation (e.g., by proposing research which primarily benefits a Federal program or provides a service for a Federal agency) will not be funded.

In addition, to be eligible for funding consideration by EPA, a project’s focus must consist of activities within the statutory terms of EPA’s financial assistance authorities; specifically, the statute(s) listed in I.C. above.  Generally, a project must address the causes, effects, extent, prevention, reduction, and elimination of air pollution, water pollution, solid/hazardous waste pollution, toxic substances control, or pesticide control depending on which statute(s) is listed in I.C. above.  These activities should relate to the gathering or transferring of information or advancing the state of knowledge.  Proposals should emphasize this “learning” concept, as opposed to “fixing” an environmental problem via a well-established method.  Proposals relating to other topics which are sometimes included within the term “environment” such as recreation, conservation, restoration, protection of wildlife habitats, etc., must describe the relationship of these topics to the statutorily required purpose of pollution prevention and/or control.

Congress has prohibited the use of federal funds to award grants to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) or any of its subsidiaries and therefore in order to be eligible for funding consideration under this competition all applicants must affirmatively indicate in their application that they are not subject to this prohibition.  In addition, since this funding prohibition applies to subawards/subgrants and contracts awarded by grantees, applicants must consider it when preparing applications.

Applications deemed ineligible for funding consideration will be notified within fifteen calendar days of the ineligibility determination.

IV. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

A. Internet Address to Request Application Package
The full application must be submitted electronically via e-mail to 2010-NANOFATE-APPS@epa.gov (or through any authorized alternate submission methods described below) by the solicitation closing date and time. All necessary forms are available at http://epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms/.

An email will be sent by NCER to the Lead/Contact PI and the Administrative Contact (see below) to acknowledge receipt of the application and transmit other important information.  The email will be sent from receipt.application@epa.gov; emails to this address will not be accepted.  If you do not receive an email acknowledgment within 30 days of the submission closing date, immediately inform the Eligibility Contact shown in this solicitation.  Failure to do so may result in your application not being reviewed.  See Section E. “Submission Instructions and Other Submission Requirements” for additional information regarding the application receipt acknowledgment.

B. Content and Form of Application Submission
The application is made by submitting the materials described below. Applications must contain all information requested and be submitted in the formats described.

  1. Standard Form 424

    The applicant must complete Standard Form 424. Instructions for completion of the SF424 are included with the form. (However, note that EPA requires that the entire requested dollar amount appear on the 424, not simply the proposed first year expenses.) The form must contain the signature of an authorized representative of the applying organization.

    Applicants are required to provide a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number when applying for federal grants or cooperative agreements. Organizations may receive a DUNS number by calling 1-866-705-5711 or by visiting the web site at http://www.dnb.com exit EPA.

    Executive Order 12372, Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs, does not apply to the Office of Research and Development's research and training programs unless EPA has determined that the activities that will be carried out under the applicants' proposal (a) require an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), or (b) do not require an EIS but will be newly initiated at a particular site and require unusual measures to limit the possibility of adverse exposure or hazard to the general public, or (c) have a unique geographic focus and are directly relevant to the governmental responsibilities of a State or local government within that geographic area.

    If EPA determines that Executive Order 12372 applies to an applicant's proposal, the applicant must follow the procedures in 40 CFR Part 29. The applicant must notify their state's single point of contact (SPOC). To determine whether their state participates in this process, and how to comply, applicants should consult http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants/spoc.html. If an applicant is in a State that does not have a SPOC, or the State has not selected research and development grants for intergovernmental review, the applicant must notify directly affected State, area wide, regional and local entities of its proposal.

    EPA will notify the successful applicant(s) if Executive Order 12372 applies to its proposal prior to award.

  2. Key Contacts
    The applicant must complete the Key Contacts form available at http://epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms/. The form includes an Additional Key Contacts page to be completed for additional investigators. The Key Contacts form should also be completed for major sub-agreements (i.e., primary investigators). Please make certain that all contact information is accurate.

    For Multiple PI applications: The Additional Key Contacts form must be completed (see Section I.F. for further information). Note: The Contact PI must be affiliated with the institution submitting the application. EPA will direct all communications related to scientific, technical, and budgetary aspects of the project to the Contact PI; however, any information regarding an application will be shared with any PI upon request. The Contact PI is to be listed on the Key Contact Form as the Principal Investigator. For additional PIs, complete the Major Co-Investigator fields and identify PI status next to the name (e.g., Name: John Smith, Principal Investigator).

  3. Table of Contents
    Provide a list of the major subdivisions of the application indicating the page number on which each section begins.
  4. Abstract (1 page)
    The abstract is a very important document in the review process. Therefore, it is critical that the abstract accurately describes the research being proposed and conveys all the essential elements of the research. Also, the abstracts of applications that receive EPA funding will be posted on the NCER web site and the NIFA-funded applications on the USDA/NIFA web site.

    The abstract should include the information described below (a-h). Examples of abstracts for current grants may be found on the NCER web site and USDA/NIFA website.

    1. Funding Opportunity Title and Number for this proposal.
    2. Project Title: Use the exact title of your project as it appears in the application. The title must be brief yet represent the major thrust of the project. Because the title will be used by those not familiar with the project, use more commonly understood terminology. Do not use general phrases such as research on.
    3. Investigators: For applications with multiple investigators, state whether this is a single Lead PI (with co-PIs) or Multiple PI application (see Section I.F.). For Lead PI applications, list the Lead PI, then the name(s) of each co-PI who will significantly contribute to the project. For Multiple PI applications, list the Contact PI, then the name(s) of each additional PI. Provide a web site URL or an email contact address for additional information.
    4. Institution: In the same order as the list of investigators, list the name, city and state of each participating university or other applicant institution. The institution applying for assistance must be clearly identified.
    5. Project Period and Location: Show the proposed project beginning and ending dates and the geographical location(s) where the work will be conducted.
    6. Project Cost: Show the total dollars requested (include direct and indirect costs for all years).
    7. Project Summary: Provide three subsections addressing: (1) the objectives of the study (including any hypotheses that will be tested), (2) the experimental approach to be used (a description of the proposed project), and (3) the expected results of the project and how it addresses the research needs identified in the solicitation, including the estimated improvement in risk assessment or risk management that will result from successful completion of the proposed work.
    8. Supplemental Keywords: Without duplicating terms already used in the text of the abstract, list keywords to assist database searchers in finding your research. A list of suggested keywords may be found at: http://epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms/.
  5. Research Plan, Quality Assurance Statement, Data Plan and References
    1. Research Plan (15 pages)

      Applications should focus on a limited number of research objectives that adequately and clearly demonstrate that they 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 reviewers can evaluate the appropriateness of your approach and the tools you intend to use. A statement such as: we will evaluate the data using the usual statistical methods is not specific enough for peer reviewers.

      This description must not exceed fifteen (15) consecutively numbered (bottom center), 8.5x11-inch pages of single-spaced, standard 12-point type with 1-inch margins. While these guidelines establish the minimum type size requirements, applicants are advised that readability is of paramount importance and should take precedence in selection of an appropriate font for use in the proposal.

      The description must provide the following information:

      1. Objectives: List the objectives of the proposed research and the hypotheses being tested during the project, and briefly state why the intended research is important and how it fulfills the requirements of the solicitation. This section should also include any background or introductory information that would help explain the objectives of the study. If this application is to expand upon research supported by an existing or former assistance agreement awarded under the STAR program, indicate the number of the agreement and provide a brief report of progress and results achieved under it.
      2. Approach/Activities: Outline the research design, methods, and techniques that you intend to use in meeting the objectives stated above.
      3. Expected Results, Benefits, Outputs, and Outcomes: Describe the results you expect to achieve during the project (outputs) and the potential benefits of the results (outcomes). This section should also discuss how the research results will lead to solutions to environmental problems and improve the publics ability to protect the environment and human health. A clear, concise description will help the funding agencies and peer reviewers understand the merits of the research.
      4. General Project Information: Discuss other information relevant to the potential success of the project. This should include facilities, personnel expertise/experience, project schedules, proposed management, interactions with other institutions, etc. Applications for multi-investigator projects must identify project management and the functions of each investigator in each team and describe plans to communicate and share data.
      5. Appendices may be included but must remain within the 15-page limit.
    2. Quality Assurance Statement (3 pages)

      For projects involving environmental data collection or processing, conducting surveys, modeling, method development, or the development of environmental technology (whether hardware-based or via new techniques), provide a Quality Assurance Statement (QAS) regarding the plans for processes that will be used to ensure that the products of the research satisfy the intended project objectives. Follow the guidelines provided below to ensure that the QAS describes a system that complies with ANSI/ASQC E4, Specifications and Guidelines for Quality Systems for Environmental Data Collection and Environmental Technology Programs. Do not exceed three consecutively numbered, 8.5x11-inch pages of single-spaced, standard 12-point type with 1-inch margins.

      NOTE: If selected for award, applicants will be expected to provide additional quality assurance documentation.

      Address each applicable section below by including the required information, referencing the specific location of the information in the Research Plan, or explaining why the section does not apply to the proposed research. (Not all will apply.)

      1. Identify the individual who will be responsible for the quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) aspects of the research along with a brief description of this persons functions, experience, and authority within the research organization. Describe the organizations general approach for conducting quality research. (QA is a system of management activities to ensure that a process or item is of the type and quality needed for the project. QC is a system of activities that measures the attributes and performance of a process or item against the standards defined in the project documentation to verify that they meet those stated requirements.)
      2. Discuss project objectives, including quality objectives, any hypotheses to be tested, and the quantitative and/or qualitative procedures that will be used to evaluate the success of the project. Include any plans for peer or other reviews of the study design or analytical methods.
      3. Address each of the following project elements as applicable:
        1. Collection of new/primary data:
          (Note: In this case the word sample is intended to mean any finite part of a statistical population whose properties are studied to gain information about the whole. If certain attributes listed below do not apply to the type of samples to be used in your research, simply explain why those attributes are not applicable.)
          1. Discuss the plan for sample collection and analysis. As applicable, include sample type(s), frequency, locations, sample sizes, sampling procedures, and the criteria for determining acceptable data quality (e.g., precision, accuracy, representativeness, completeness, comparability, or data quality objectives).
          2. Describe the procedures for the handling and custody of samples including sample collection, identification, preservation, transportation, and storage, and how the accuracy of test measurements will be verified.
          3. Describe or reference each analytical method to be used, any QA or QC checks or procedures with the associated acceptance criteria, and any procedures that will be used in the calibration and performance evaluation of the analytical instrumentation.
          4. Discuss the procedures for overall data reduction, analysis, and reporting. Include a description of all statistical methods to make inferences and conclusions, acceptable error rates and/or power, and any statistical software to be used.
        2. Use of existing/secondary data (i.e., data previously collected for other purposes or from other sources):
          1. Identify the types of secondary data needed to satisfy the project objectives. Specify requirements relating to the type of data, the age of data, geographical representation, temporal representation, and technological representation, as applicable.
          2. Specify the source(s) of the secondary data and discuss the rationale for selection.
          3. Establish a plan to identify the sources of the secondary data in all deliverables/products.
          4. Specify quality requirements and discuss the appropriateness for their intended use. Accuracy, precision, representativeness, completeness, and comparability need to be addressed, if applicable.
          5. Describe the procedures for determining the quality of the secondary data.
          6. Describe the plan for data management/integrity.
        3. Method development:
          (Note: The data collected for use in method development or evaluation should be described in the QAS as per the guidance in section 3A and/or 3B above.)

          Describe the scope and application of the method, any tests (and measurements) to be conducted to support the method development, the type of instrumentation that will be used and any required instrument conditions (e.g., calibration frequency), planned QC checks and associated criteria (e.g., spikes, replicates, blanks), and tests to verify the methods performance.

        4. Development or refinement of models:
          (Note: The data collected for use in the development or refinement of models should be described in the QAS as per the guidance in section 3A and/or 3B above.)
          1. Discuss the scope and purpose of the model, key assumptions to be made during development/refinement, requirements for code development, and how the model will be documented.
          2. Discuss verification techniques to ensure the source code implements the model correctly.
          3. Discuss validation techniques to determine that the model (assumptions and algorithms) captures the essential phenomena with adequate fidelity.
          4. Discuss plans for long-term maintenance of the model and associated data.
        5. Development or operation of environmental technology:
          (Note: The data collected for use in the development or evaluation of the technology should be described in the QAS as per the guidance in section 3A and/or 3B above.)
          1. Describe the overall purpose and anticipated impact of the technology.
          2. Describe the technical and quality specifications of each technology component or process that is to be designed, fabricated, constructed, and/or operated.
          3. Discuss the procedure to be used for documenting and controlling design changes.
          4. Discuss the procedure to be used for documenting the acceptability of processes and components, and discuss how the technology will be benchmarked and its effectiveness determined.
          5. Discuss the documentation requirements for operating instructions/guides for maintenance and use of the system(s) and/or process(s).
        6. Conducting surveys:
          (Note: The data to be collected in the survey and any supporting data should be described in the QAS as per the guidance in section 3A and/or 3B above.)

          Discuss the justification for the size of the proposed sample for both the overall project and all subsamples for specific treatments or tests. Identify and explain the rational for the proposed statistical techniques (e.g., evaluation of statistical power).

      4. Discuss data management activities (e.g., record-keeping procedures, data-handling procedures, and the approach used for data storage and retrieval on electronic media). Include any required computer hardware and software and address any specific performance requirements for the hardware/software configuration used.
    3. References: References cited are in addition to other page limits (e.g. research plan, quality assurance statement, data plan)
  6. Budget and Budget Justification
    1. Budget

      Prepare a master budget table using SF-424A Budget Information for Non-Construction Programs (aka SF-424A), available at http://epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms/. Only complete Section B-Budget Categories. Provide the object class budget category (a. - k.) amounts for each budget year under the Grant Program, Function or Activity heading. Each column reflects a separate budget year. For example, Column (1) reflects budget year 1. The total budget will be automatically tabulated in column (5).

      If a subaward, such as a subagreement with an educational institution is included in the application, provide a separate SF-424A and budget justification for the subaward. Include the total amount for the subaward under Other in the master SF-424A. Applicants may not use subagreements to transfer or delegate their responsibility for successful completion of their EPA assistance agreement. Therefore, EPA expects that subawards or subcontracts should not constitute more than 40% of the total direct cost of the total project budget. If a subaward/subcontract constitutes more than 40% of the total direct cost, additional justification may be required before award, discussing the need for the subaward/subcontract to accomplish the objectives of the research project.

      Please note that institutional cost-sharing is not required. However, if cost-sharing is proposed, a brief statement concerning cost-sharing should be added to the budget justification.

      Please note that when formulating budgets for proposals/applications, applicants must not include management fees or similar charges in excess of the direct costs and indirect costs at the rate approved by the applicants cognizant audit agency, or at the rate provided for by the terms of the agreement negotiated with EPA. The term "management fees or similar charges" refers to expenses added to the direct costs in order to accumulate and reserve funds for ongoing business expenses, unforeseen liabilities, or for other similar costs that are not allowable under EPA assistance agreements. Management fees or similar charges may not be used to improve or expand the project funded under this agreement, except to the extent authorized as a direct cost of carrying out the scope of work.

    2. Budget Justification [2 pages in addition to the Section IV.B.5. page limitations, not including additions under Nos. (6) and (7) below to support contracts and subawards]

      Describe the basis for calculating the personnel, fringe benefits, travel, equipment, supplies, contractual support, and other costs identified in the itemized budget. 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:

      1. Personnel: List all staff positions by title. Give annual salary, percentage of time assigned to the project, and total cost for the budget period.
      2. Fringe Benefits: Identify the percentage used and the basis for its computation.
      3. Travel: Specify the estimated number of trips, locations, and other costs for each type of travel. Explain the need for any travel, paying particular attention to travel outside the United States. Include travel funds for annual STAR program progress reviews (estimate for two days in Washington, D.C.) and a final workshop to report on results.
      4. Equipment: Identify all tangible, non-expendable personal property to be purchased that has an estimated cost of $5,000 or more per unit and a useful life of more than one year. (Personal property items with a unit cost of less than $5,000 are considered supplies.)
      5. Supplies: Supplies means tangible property other than equipment. Identify categories of supplies to be procured (e.g., laboratory supplies or office supplies). Specifically identify computers to be purchased or upgraded.
      6. Contractual: Identify each proposed contract for services/analyses or consultants and specify its purpose and estimated cost. Contracts must have a separate itemized budget and budget justification, not to exceed one additional page each, included as part of the application.
      7. Other: List each item in sufficient detail for the funding agencies to determine the reasonableness of its cost relative to the research to be undertaken. Note that subawards, such as those with other universities for members of the research team, are included in this category. Subawards must have a separate itemized budget and budget justification, not to exceed one additional page each, included as part of the application.
      8. Indirect Costs: If indirect costs are included in the budget, indicate the approved rate and base with an explanation of how the indirect costs were calculated. USDA: Section 7132 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, amended the National Agriculture Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 (7 U.S.C. 3310(a)), limiting indirect costs to 22 percent of the total Federal funds provided under each award. Therefore, applicants selected for funding by USDA/NIFA will be asked to revise their budgets to reflect the lesser of their institutions official negotiated indirect cost rate or the equivalent of 22 percent of total Federal funds awarded. This same indirect cost limitation applies to subcontracts.
  7. Resumes
    Provide resumes for each investigator and important co-worker. 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.
  8. Current and Pending Support
    Complete a current and pending support form (provided at http://epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms/) for each investigator and important co-worker. Include all current and pending research regardless of source.

    Note to all prospective applicants requiring multiple Current and Pending Support Form pages:

    Due to a limitation in Adobe Acrobat's forms functionality, additional pages cannot be directly inserted into the original PDF form and preserve the form data on the subsequent pages. Multiple page form submissions can be created in Acrobat 8 and later using the "PDF Package" option in the "Create PDF from Multiple Files" function. If you have an earlier version of Adobe Standard or Professional, applicants will need to convert each PDF page of the form to an EPS (Encapsulated Post Script) file before creating the PDF for submission. The following steps will allow applicants with earlier versions of Adobe Standard or Professional to create a PDF package:

    1. Populate the first page of the PDF, and save it as a EPS (Encapsulated Post Script) file.
    2. Reopen the form, and populate it with the data for page 2. Save this page as a different EPS file. Repeat for as many pages as necessary.
    3. Use Acrobat Distiller to convert the EPS files back to PDF.
    4. Open Acrobat Professional, and combine the individual pages into a combined PDF file.
  9. Guidelines, Limitations, and Additional Requirements
    1. Letters of Intent/Letters of Support

      Letters of intent to provide resources for the proposed research or to document intended interactions are limited to one brief paragraph committing the availability of a resource (e.g., use of a person's time or equipment) or intended interaction (e.g., sharing of data, as-needed consultation) that is described in the Research Plan. Letters of intent are to be included as an addition to the budget justification documents.

      All letters that do not commit a resource vital to the success of the proposal are considered letters of support. Letters of support, and letters of intent that exceed one brief paragraph (excluding letterhead and salutations), are considered part of the Research Plan and are included in the 15-page Research Plan limit.

      Note: Letters of intent or support must be part of the application; letters submitted separately will not be accepted. Any transactions between the successful applicant and parties providing letters of support or intent financed with EPA grant funds are subject to the funding restrictions described in Section IV. D. Applicants must not submit letters of support from EPA staff.

    2. Funding Opportunity Number(s) (FON)

      At various places in the application, applicants are asked to identify the FON.

      Applicants must select the FON corresponding to their proposed research topic area. It is the responsibility of the applicant to identify the proper FON 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 FON, choose the most appropriate one. Each application must be submitted using a single FON.

      The Funding Opportunity Numbers for this RFA are:
      EPA-G2010-STAR-N1 Fate, Transport, and Transformation
      EPA-G2010-STAR-N2 Food Matrices

    3. Confidentiality

      By submitting an application in response to this solicitation, the applicant grants the 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 to the extent permitted by law.

      In accordance with 40 CFR 2.203, applicants may claim all or a portion of their application/proposal package as confidential business information. EPA will evaluate confidentiality claims in accordance with 40 CFR Part 2. Applicants must clearly mark applications/proposals or portions thereof that they claim as confidential. If no claim of confidentiality is made, EPA is not required to make the inquiry to the applicant otherwise required by 40 CFR 2.204(c)(2) prior to disclosure. However, competitive proposals/applications are considered confidential and protected from disclosure prior to the completion of the competitive selection process.

C. Submission Dates and Times
Applications must be submitted no later than 11:59:59 pm Eastern Time on the solicitation closing date.  Applications submitted after the closing date and time will be returned to the sender without further consideration.

It should be noted that this schedule may be changed without prior notification because of factors not anticipated at the time of announcement.  In the case of a change in the solicitation closing date, a new date will be posted on the NCER web site (http://www.epa.gov/ncer) and the NIFA website: (http://www.nifa.usda.gov). and the grants.gov synopsis will be modified accordingly.

Solicitation Closing Date: February 2, 2010, 11:59:59 pm Eastern Time (applications must be submitted to EPA by this time, see Section IV.E “Submission Instructions and Other Submission Requirements” for further information).

NOTE: Customarily, applicants are notified about evaluation decisions within six months of the solicitation closing date.  Awards are generally made 9-12 months after the solicitation closing date.

D. Funding Restrictions
The funding mechanism for awards issued under this STAR solicitation will consist of assistance agreements from the EPA, NSF, and USDA. 
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 an assistance agreement 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, 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(s).

Funds made available for grants under the AFRI program shall not be used for the construction of a new building or facility or the acquisition, expansion, remodeling, or alteration of an existing building or facility (including site grading and improvement, and architect fees).

If you wish to submit applications for more than one STAR funding opportunity you must ensure that the research proposed in each application is significantly different from any other that has been submitted to the EPA or from any other financial assistance you are currently receiving from the EPA or other federal government agency.

Collaborative applications involving more than one institution must be submitted as a single administrative package from one of the institutions involved.

EPA, NSF, and USDA award funds to one eligible applicant as the recipient even if other eligible applicants are named as partners or co-applicants or members of a coalition or consortium.  The recipient is accountable to the funding agencies for the proper expenditure of funds.

Funding may be used to provide subgrants or subawards of financial assistance, which includes using subawards or subgrants to fund partnerships,  provided the recipient complies with applicable requirements for subawards or subgrants including those contained in 40 CFR Parts 30 or 31, as appropriate.   Applicants must compete contracts for services and products, including consultant contracts, and conduct cost and price analyses to the extent required by the procurement provisions of the regulations at 40 CFR Parts 30 or 31, as appropriate. The regulations also contain limitations on consultant compensation. Applicants are not required to identify subawardees/subgrantees and/or contractors (including consultants) in their proposal/application.  However, if they do, the fact that an applicant selected for award  has named a specific subawardee/subgrantee, contractor, or consultant in the proposal/application selected for funding does not relieve the applicant of its obligations to comply with subaward/subgrant and/or competitive procurement requirements as appropriate.   Please note that applicants may not award sole source contracts to consulting, engineering or other firms assisting applicants with the proposal based solely on the firm's role in preparing the proposal/application. 

Successful applicants cannot use subgrants or subawards to avoid requirements in EPA grant regulations for competitive procurement by using these instruments to acquire commercial services or products from for-profit organizations to carry out its assistance agreement.  The nature of the transaction between the recipient and the subawardee or subgrantee must be consistent with the standards for distinguishing between vendor transactions and subrecipient assistance under Subpart B Section .210 of OMB Circular A-133, and the definitions of subaward at 40 CFR 30.2(ff) or subgrant at 40 CFR 31.3, as applicable. EPA will not be a party to these transactions.  Applicants acquiring commercial goods or services must comply with the competitive procurement standards in 40 CFR Part 30 or 40 CFR Part 31.36 and cannot use a subaward/subgrant as the funding mechanism.  

Section V of the announcement describes the evaluation criteria and evaluation process that will be used by EPA to make selections under this announcement.  During this evaluation, except for those criteria that relate to the applicant's own qualifications, past performance, and reporting history, the review panel will consider, if appropriate and relevant, the qualifications, expertise, and experience of:

  1. an applicant's named subawardees/subgrantees identified in the proposal/application if the applicant demonstrates in the proposal/application that if it receives an award that the subaward/subgrant will be properly awarded consistent with the applicable regulations in 40 CFR Parts 30 or 31.  For example, applicants must not use subawards/subgrants to obtain commercial services or products from for profit firms or individual consultants.
  2. an applicant's named contractor(s), including consultants, identified in the proposal/application if the applicant demonstrates in its proposal/application that the contractor(s) was selected in compliance with the competitive procurement standards in 40 CFR Part 30 or 40 CFR 31.36 as appropriate.  For example, an applicant must demonstrate that it selected the contractor(s) competitively or that a proper non-competitive sole-source award consistent with the regulations will be made to the contractor(s), that efforts were made to provide small and disadvantaged businesses with opportunities to compete, and that some form of cost or price analysis was conducted.   EPA may not accept sole source justifications for contracts for services or products that are otherwise readily available in the commercial marketplace.

EPA will not consider the qualifications, experience, and expertise of named subawardees/subgrantees and/or named contractor(s) during the proposal/application evaluation process unless the applicant complies with these requirements.

Each proposed project must be able to be completed within the project period and with the initial award of funds.  Applicants should request the entire amount of money needed to complete the project.  Recipients should not anticipate additional funding beyond the initial award of funds for a specific project. 

E. Submission Instructions and Other Submission Requirements
Please read this entire section before attempting an electronic submission. 

If you do not have the technical capability to utilize the electronic mail submission process for this solicitation, call 1-800-490-9194 or send a webmail message to (http://www.epa.gov/ncer/contact_us.html) at least 15 calendar days before the submission deadline to assure timely receipt of alternate submission instructions.  In your message provide the funding opportunity number and title of the program, specify that you are requesting alternate submission instructions, and provide a telephone number, fax number, and an email address, if available.  Alternate instructions will be e-mailed whenever possible.  Any applications submitted through alternate submission methods must comply with all the provisions of this RFA, including Section IV, and be submitted by the solicitation closing date and time identified above.

The applicant must submit the full application package, as described in Section IV.B, in PDF format via electronic mail to 2010-NANOFATE-APPS@epa.gov with the funding opportunity number (FON) in the subject line.

  1. Preparing for Submission.  All required forms can be found at: (http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms).

    Note:  The electronic submission of your application package must be made by an official representative of your organization who is authorized to sign for Federal assistance. Submission instructions are updated on an as-needed basis.  Please provide your authorized representative with a copy of the following instructions to avoid submission delays that may occur from the use of outdated instructions.

  2. Acknowledgement of Receipt.  The complete application must be submitted to 2010-NANOFATE-APPS@epa.gov no later than 11:59:59 pm Eastern Time on the solicitation closing date (see “Submission Dates and Times”).  The only official documentation that the application has been received by NCER is the e-mail acknowledgement sent by NCER to the Lead/Contact PI and the Administrative Contact.  This email will be sent from receipt.application@epa.gov; emails to this address will not be accepted.  If an email acknowledgment from NCER has not been received within 30 days of the solicitation closing date, immediately inform the Eligibility Contact shown in this solicitation.  Failure to do so may result in your application not being reviewed.
  3. Application Package Preparation.  The application package consists of a. through c. below.
    1. Application for Federal Assistance (SF 424):  Complete the form except for the “competition ID” field.
    2. EPA Key Contacts Form 5700-54:  Complete the form.  If additional pages are needed, see (c) below.
    3. Attach a single electronic file labeled “Application” that contains the items described in Section IV.B.3. through IV.B.9.a (Table of Contents, Abstract, Research Plan, Quality Assurance Statement, References, Budget and Budget Justification, Resumes, Current and Pending Support, and Letters of Intent/Support) of this solicitation.  In order to maintain format integrity, this file must be submitted in Adobe Acrobat PDF.  Please review the PDF file for conversion errors prior to including it in the electronic application package; requests to rectify conversion errors will not be accepted if made after the solicitation closing date and time. If Key Contacts Continuation pages (see http://epa.gov/ncer/rfa/forms/) are needed, place them before the Table of Contents (Section IV.B.3.).
  4. Submitting the application.  The full application package must be e-mailed to 2010-NANOFATE-APPS@epa.gov by an authorized representative of your organization.  Note: Minor problems are uncommon, but may still occur, with electronic mailing of files.
  5. E-mail Transmission Difficulties.

    Please note that by sending your materials via email you are accepting all risks attendant to email submission including server delays and transmission difficulties. Email submissions exceeding 15MB will experience delays and should be sent at least two days before the solicitation closing date or through an approved alternate means (or divided up as noted below).  Submissions above 70 MB will not be received by the Agency and should be submitted through approved alternate means or divided up into smaller submission sizes.

    Please do not send compressed files, particularly those with a .zip file extension.  The Agency’s e-mail server will delete these kinds of file attachments.  If necessary, you may choose to divide your application into smaller pieces and e-mail smaller file attachments separately.

    If transmission difficulties that result in a late transmission, no transmission, or rejection of the transmitted application are experienced, send an email to Ron Josephson (Josephson.Ron@epa.gov) with the FON in the subject line within one day after the closing date.  The email should detail the transmission problems experienced and include any error messages.  The email should also include information demonstrating that you attempted to submit the application package by the due date in Section IV of the RFA.

    The Agency may decide to review the application if it is clearly demonstrated that transmission difficulties were due solely as a result of problems associated with EPA servers and documentation that these instructions were followed is provided. The decision regarding acceptance of the application for review will be made by the Agency and provided to the applicant within ten calendar days of the request.

V. APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION

A. Peer Review
All eligible grant applications are reviewed by an appropriate external technical peer review panel comprised of individual experts using the criteria below. EPA will conduct a peer review with the assistance of the other contributing agencies. This review is designed to evaluate each application according to its scientific merit. Each peer review panel includes non-EPA scientists, engineers, social scientists, and/or economists who are accomplished in their respective disciplines and proficient in the technical subjects they are reviewing. Reviewers are asked to individually assign a score of excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor to each application. EPA translates the average of these individual scores into the final panel review score.

Individual external peer reviewers consider an applications merit based on the criteria below. Criteria 1-6 are listed in descending order of importance:

  1. Research Proposal (criteria 1a through 1f are essentially equal):
    1. The originality and creativity of the proposed research, the appropriateness and adequacy of the proposed research methods, and the Quality Assurance Statement.
    2. Practical and technically defensible approach that can be performed within the proposed time period.
    3. Research contributes to scientific knowledge in the topic area.
    4. Projected benefits of the proposed activity to society, such as improving the environment or human health.
    5. The results are disseminated broadly to enhance scientific and technological understanding.
    6. The proposal is well prepared with supportive information that is self-explanatory or understandable.
  2. Investigators: The qualifications of the Principal Investigator(s) and other key personnel, including research training, demonstrated knowledge of pertinent literature, experience, and publication records. All key personnel must make a significant time commitment to the project.
  3. Responsiveness: The responsiveness of the proposal to the research needs identified for the research area. The proposal adequately addresses the objectives and special considerations specified by the RFA.
  4. Facilities and equipment: The availability and/or adequacy of the facilities and equipment proposed for the project. Note any deficiencies that may interfere with the successful completion of the research.
  5. Extent of international collaboration.
  6. Budget: Although budget information does not reflect on the applications scientific merit, the reviewers are asked to provide their view on the appropriateness and/or adequacy of the proposed budget and its implications for the potential success of the proposed research. Input on requested equipment is of particular interest.

B. Programmatic Review

EPA
Applications receiving scores of excellent or very good as a result of the peer review process will then undergo an internal programmatic review, as described below, conducted by technical experts including individuals from the EPA Office of Research and Development (ORD) and program and regional offices involved with the science or engineering proposed.  All other applications are automatically declined.

Those applicants who received final scores of excellent or very good as a result of the peer review process will be asked to provide additional information for the programmatic review pertaining to the proposed Lead PI’s (in the case of Multiple-PI applications, the Contact PI’s) "Past Performance and Reporting History."  The applicant must provide the EPA Project Officer with information on the proposed Lead/Contact PI's past performance and reporting history under prior Federal agency assistance agreements (assistance agreements include grants and cooperative agreements but not contracts) in terms of: (i) the level of success in managing and completing each agreement, and (ii) history of meeting the reporting requirements under those agreements.

This information is required only for the proposed Lead/Contact PI's performance under Federal assistance agreements initiated within the last three years that were similar in size and scope to the proposed project. 
     
The specific information required for each agreement is shown below, and must be provided within three weeks of EPA's request.  A maximum of three pages will be permitted for the response; excess pages will not be reviewed.  Note: If no prior past performance information and/or reporting history exists, you will be asked to so state.

  1. Name of Granting Agency.
  2. Grant/Cooperative agreement number.
  3. Grant/Cooperative agreement title.
  4. Brief description of the grant/cooperative agreement.
  5. A description of how the agreement is similar in size and scope to the proposed project and whether or not it was successfully managed and completed; if not successfully managed and completed, provide an explanation.
  6. Information relating to the proposed Lead/Contact PI's past performance in reporting on progress towards achieving the expected results (outputs/outcomes) under the agreement.  Include the history of submitting timely progress/final technical reports, describe how progress towards achieving the expected results was reported/documented, and if such progress was not being made, provide an explanation of whether, and how, this was reported. 
  7. Total (all years) grant/cooperative agreement dollar value.
  8. Project period.
  9. Technical contact (project officer), telephone number, and E-mail address (if available).     

The purpose of the programmatic review is to assure an integrated research portfolio and help determine which applications to recommend for award.  In conducting the programmatic review, EPA will consider information provided by the applicant and may consider information from other sources, including prior and current grantors and agency files. The internal programmatic review panel will assess:

  1. The relevance of the proposed science to EPA research priorities.
  2. The proposed Lead/Contact PI's past performance [under Federal agency assistance agreements (assistance agreements include grants and cooperative agreements but not contracts) initiated within the last three years that were similar in size and scope to the proposed project] in two areas:  First, in successfully managing and completing these prior Federal assistance projects, including whether there is a satisfactory explanation for any lack of success.  Second, in reporting progress toward achieving results under these agreements, including the proposed Lead/Contact PI's history of submitting timely progress/final technical reports that adequately describe the progress toward achieving the expected results (outputs/outcomes) under the agreements.  Any explanation of why progress toward achieving the results was not made will also be considered.  Applicants whose proposed Lead PI/Contact PI has no relevant past performance and/or reporting history, or for whom this information is not available, will be evaluated neither favorably nor unfavorably on these elements.

C. Funding Decisions

GENERAL(for EPA, USDA, and NSF awards).
Only applications that received scores of excellent or very good as a result of the peer review process will be eligible to be considered for funding. All other applications are automatically declined.  Final funding decisions will be made by each agency as described below.

EPA
Final funding decisions are made by the NCER Director based on the results of the peer review and internal programmatic review.  In addition, in making the final funding decisions, the NCER Director may also consider program balance and available funds.  Applicants selected for funding will be required to provide additional information listed below under “Award Notices.” The application will then be forwarded to EPA’s Grants and Interagency Agreement Management Division for award in accordance with the EPA’s procedures.

USDA
USDA/NIFA USDA/NIFA will make final funding decisions based on the results of the peer review process.

Applicants selected for funding by NIFA will be required to provide additional information in accordance with policies and procedures of the AFRI program in order to complete the award process. Applications selected for funding by NIFA will be forwarded to the USDA/NIFA Awards Management Branch for award processing in accordance with the USDA/NIFA procedures.

NSF
NSF will make final funding decisions based on the following factors:

  • What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity?
  • How important is the proposed activity to advancing knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields?
  • How well qualified is the proposer (individual or team) to conduct the project? (If appropriate, the reviewer will comment on the quality of prior work.)
  • To what extent does the proposed activity suggest and explore creative and original concepts?
  • How well conceived and organized is the proposed activity?
  • Is there sufficient access to resources?  What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity? How well does the activity advance discovery and understanding while promoting teaching, training, and learning? How well does the proposed activity broaden the participation of underrepresented groups (e.g., gender, ethnicity, disability, geographic, etc.)? To what extent will it enhance the infrastructure for research and education, such as facilities, instrumentation, networks, and partnerships? Will the results be disseminated broadly to enhance scientific and technological understanding? What may be the benefits of the proposed activity to society?

VI. AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

A. Award Notices
Customarily, applicants are notified about evaluation decisions within six months of the solicitation closing date.  A Peer Review Results document summarizing the scientific review  will be provided to each applicant with an award or declination letter. 

EPA
Applicants to be recommended for funding will be required to submit additional certifications and an electronic version of the revised project abstract.  They may also be asked 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 the Lead PI/Contact PI to obtain these materials.  Before or after an award, applicants may be required to provide additional quality assurance documentation.

Non-profit applicants that are recommended for funding under this announcement are subject to pre-award administrative capability reviews consistent with Sections 8b., 8c. and 9d. of EPA Order 5700.8 - Policy on Assessing Capabilities of Non-Profit Applicants for Managing Assistance Awards (http://www.epa.gov/ogd/grants/award/5700_8.pdf (PDF) (9 pp, 31 K)). In addition, non-profit applicants that qualify for funding may, depending on the size of the award, be required to fill out and submit to the Grants Management Office the Administrative Capabilities Form with supporting documents contained in Appendix A of EPA Order 5700.8.

The official notification of an award will be made by the Agency’s Grants and Interagency Agreement Management Division.  Applicants are cautioned that only a grants officer is authorized to bind the Government to the expenditure of funds; preliminary selection by the NCER Director in the Office of Research and Development does not guarantee an award will be made.

USDA
The award document will provide pertinent instructions and information shall include at a minimum the following:

  1. Legal name and address of performing organization or institution to which the Director has awarded a grant under the terms of this RFA;
  2. Title of project;
  3. Name(s) and institution(s) of PDs chosen to direct and control approved projects;
  4. Identifying grant number assigned by the Department;
  5. Project period, specifying the amount of time the Department intends to support the project without requiring recompetition for funds;
  6. Total amount of Departmental financial assistance approved by the Director during the project period;
  7. Legal authority(ies) under which the grant is awarded;
  8. Appropriate Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number;
  9. Applicable award terms and conditions;
  10. Approved budget plan for categorizing allocable project funds to accomplish the stated purpose of the grant award; and
  11. Other information or provisions deemed necessary by NIFA to carry out its respective granting activities or to accomplish the purpose of a particular grant.

B. Disputes
Disputes related to applicant  eligibility under this RFA and EPA selections under this RFA 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 identified below.

C. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
EPA
Expectations and responsibilities of NCER grantees and cooperative agreement holders are summarized in this section, although the terms grant and grantee are used. See http://www.epa.gov/ncer/guidance for the full terms and conditions associated with an award, including which activities require prior approval from the EPA.

  1. Meetings: Principal Investigators will be expected to budget for, and participate in, All-Investigators Meetings (also known as progress reviews) approximately once per year with EPA scientists and other grantees to report on research activities and discuss issues of mutual interest.
  2. Approval of Changes after Award: Prior written approval is required from the EPA if there will be a significant change from the work described in the application. Examples of these changes are contained in 40 C.F.R. 30.25. Note: prior written approval is also required from the EPA for incurring costs more than 90 calendar days prior to award.
  3. Human Subjects: A grant applicant 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 CFR 26. Studies involving intentional exposure of human subjects who are children or pregnant or nursing women are prohibited by Subpart B of 40 CFR 26. For observational studies involving children or pregnant women and fetuses please refer to Subparts C & D of 40 CFR 26. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regulations at 45 CFR 46.101(e) have long required "... compliance with pertinent Federal laws or regulations which provide additional protection for human subjects." EPAs regulation 40 CFR 26 is such a pertinent Federal regulation. Therefore, the applicant's Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval must state that the applicant's study meets the EPA's regulations at 40 CFR 26. No work involving human subjects, including recruiting, may be initiated before the EPA has received a copy of the applicants 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.
  4. Animal Welfare: A grant recipient must agree to comply with the Animal Welfare Act of 1966 (P.L. 89-544), as amended, 7 U.S.C. 2131-2156. The recipient must also agree to abide by the "U.S. Government Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals used in Testing, Research, and Training" (50 Federal Register 20864-20865. May 20, 1985).
  5. Data Access and Information Release: After award, all data (including primary and secondary or existing data) must be made available to the NCER Project Officer without restriction and be accompanied by comprehensive metadata documentation adequate for specialists and non-specialists alike to be able to understand how and where the data were obtained and to evaluate the quality of the data. If requested, the data products and their metadata must be provided to the NCER Project Officer in a standard exchange format no later than the due date of the grant's final report or the publication of the data product's associated results, whichever comes first.

    Congress, through OMB, has instructed each federal agency to implement Information Quality Guidelines designed to "provide policy and procedural guidance...for ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information, including statistical information, disseminated by Federal agencies." The EPA's implementation may be found at http://epa.gov/quality/exmural.html#genreqts. These procedures may apply to data generated by grant recipients if those data are disseminated as described in the Guidelines.

    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-110 located at 2 CFR Part 215 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. 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 the EPA regulations at 40 C.F.R. 30.36.

  6. Reporting: A grant recipient must agree to provide annual progress reports, with associated summaries, and a final report with an executive summary. The summaries will be posted on NCERs website.

    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 that were based on research supported by the grant. NCER posts references to all publications resulting from a grant on the NCER web site.

  7. Acknowledgement of EPA Support: EPAs 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 this agreement that are intended for distribution to the public or inclusion in a scientific, technical, or other journal shall include the following statement:
      This publication [article] was made possible by EPA grant number _______. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the grantee and do not necessarily represent the official views of the EPA. Further, the EPA does not endorse the purchase of any commercial products or services mentioned in the publication.

    A graphic that may be converted to a slide or used in other ways, such as on a poster, is located at http://epa.gov/ncer/guidance/star_images.html. EPA expects recipients to use this graphic in oral and poster presentations.

  8. Exchange Network: EPA, states, territories, and tribes are working together to develop the National Environmental Information Exchange Network, a secure, Internet- and standards-based way to support electronic data reporting, sharing, and integration of both regulatory and non-regulatory environmental data. States, tribes and territories exchanging data with each other or with EPA, should make the Exchange Network and the Agency's connection to it, the Central Data Exchange (CDX), the standard way they exchange data and should phase out any legacy methods they have been using. More information on the Exchange Network is available at www.exchangenetwork.net exit EPA.

USDA/NIFA
The purpose of USDA/NIFA is to support research, education, and extension grants and integrated research, education, and extension grants that address key problems of national, regional, and multi-state importance in sustaining all components of agriculture, including farm efficiency and profitability, ranching, renewable energy, forestry (both urban and agroforestry), aquaculture, rural communities and entrepreneurship, human nutrition, food safety, biotechnology, and conventional breeding. Providing this support requires that AFRI advance fundamental sciences in support of agriculture and coordinates opportunities to build on these discoveries. This will necessitate efforts in education and extension that deliver science-based knowledge to people, allowing them to make informed practical decisions. This AFRI RFA is announcing an anticipated funding opportunity for fundamental and applied research.

Reporting
USDA/NIFA grantees are required to submit annual and summary evaluation reports via the Current Research Information System (CRIS). CRIS is an electronic, Web-based inventory system that facilitates both grantee submissions of project outcomes and public access to information on Federally-funded projects. It can be accessed at http://cris.csrees.usda.gov/.

Acknowledgement of USDAs Funding Support
Proper acknowledgement of NIFA funding in published manuscripts, presentation and press releases is critical for the success of the agencys programs. Please use the following language to acknowledge NIFA in your manuscripts, as appropriate:

The project was supported by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative of the USDA National Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, grant number #.

Some Applicable Statutes and Regulations
Several Federal statutes and regulations apply to USDA/NIFA grant applications considered for review and to project grants awarded under this program. These include, but are not limited to:

2 CFR Part 215 Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements With Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Non-Profit Organizations (OMB Circular A-110).

2 CFR Part 220 Cost Principles for Educational Institutions (OMB Circular A-21).

2 CFR Part 230 Cost Principles for Non-Profit Organizations (OMB Circular A-122).

7 CFR Part 1, subpart AUSDA implementation of the Freedom of Information Act.

7 CFR Part 3USDA implementation of OMB Circular No. A-129 regarding debt collection.

7 CFR Part 15, subpart AUSDA implementation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.

7 CFR Part 331 and 9 CFR Part 121USDA implementation of the Agricultural Bioterrorism Protection Act of 2002.

7 CFR Part 3015USDA Uniform Federal Assistance Regulations, implementing OMB directives (i.e., OMB Circular Nos. A-21 and A-122, now codified at 2 CFR Parts 220 and 230) and incorporating provisions of 31 U.S.C. 6301-6308 (formerly the Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act of 1977, Pub. L. No. 95-224), as well as general policy requirements applicable to recipients of Departmental financial assistance.

7 CFR Part 3017USDA implementation of Governmentwide Debarment and Suspension (Nonprocurement) and 7 CFR Part 3021Governmentwide Requirements for Drug Free Workplace (Grants).

7 CFR Part 3018USDA implementation of Restrictions on Lobbying. Imposes prohibitions and requirements for disclosure and certification related to lobbying on recipients of Federal contracts, grants, cooperative agreements, and loans.

7 CFR Part 3019USDA implementation of OMB Circular A-110, Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Other Agreements With Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Nonprofit Organizations.

7 CFR Part 3052USDA implementation of OMB Circular No. A-133, Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non profit Organizations.

7 CFR Part 3407NIFA procedures to implement the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended.

7 CFR Part 3430 NIFA Competitive and Noncompetitive Nonformula Grant ProgramsGeneral Grant Administrative Provisions.

29 U.S.C. 794 (section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973) and 7 CFR Part 15b (USDA implementation of statute) prohibiting discrimination based upon physical or mental handicap in Federally assisted programs.

35 U.S.C. 200 et seq. Bayh Dole Act, controlling allocation of rights to inventions made by employees of small business firms and domestic nonprofit organizations, including universities, in Federally assisted programs (implementing regulations are contained in 37 CFR Part 401).

D. Other Requirements
USDA

  1. Delegation of Fiscal Responsibility
    Unless the terms and conditions of the grant state otherwise, the grantee may not, in whole or in part, delegate or transfer to another person, institution, or organization the responsibility for use or expenditure of grant funds.
  2. Changes in Project Plans
    1. The permissible changes by the grantee, PD(s), or other key project personnel in the approved project grant shall be limited to changes in methodology, techniques, or other similar aspects of the project to expedite achievement of the project's approved goals. If the grantee or the PD(s) is uncertain as to whether a change complies with this provision, the question must be referred to the Authorized Departmental Officer (ADO) for a final determination. The ADO is the signatory of the award document, not the program contact.
    2. Changes in approved goals or objectives shall be requested by the grantee and approved in writing by the ADO prior to effecting such changes. In no event shall requests for such changes be approved which are outside the scope of the original approved project.
    3. Changes in approved project leadership or the replacement or reassignment of other key project personnel shall be requested by the grantee and approved in writing by the ADO prior to effecting such changes.
    4. Transfers of actual performance of the substantive programmatic work in whole or in part and provisions for payment of funds, whether or not Federal funds are involved, shall be requested by the grantee and approved in writing by the ADO prior to effecting such transfers, unless prescribed otherwise in the terms and conditions of the grant.
    5. Changes in Project Period: The project period may be extended by NIFA without additional financial support, for such additional period(s) as the ADO determines may be necessary to complete or fulfill the purposes of an approved project, but in no case shall the total project period exceed five years. Any extension of time shall be conditioned upon prior request by the grantee and approval in writing by the ADO, unless prescribed otherwise in the terms and conditions of a grant.
    6. Changes in Approved Budget: Changes in an approved budget must be requested by the grantee and approved in writing by the ADO prior to instituting such changes if the revision will involve transfers or expenditures of amounts requiring prior approval as set forth in the applicable Federal cost principles, Departmental regulations, or grant award.

VII. AGENCY CONTACTS

Eligibility Contact: William Stelz (stelz.william@epa.gov); phone: 703-347-8039
Electronic Submissions: Ron Josephson (josephson.ron@epa.gov); phone: 703-308-0442
EPA Technical Contact: Nora Savage (savage.nora@epa.gov); phone: 703-347-8104
NSF Technical Contact: Mihail Roco (mroco@nsf.gov); phone: 703-292-8301
USDA Technical Contact: Hongda Chen (hchen@csrees.usda.gov); phone: 202-401-6497

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