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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Research and Development
National Center for Environmental Research

CLOSED - FOR REFERENCES PURPOSES ONLY

1998 Environmental Statistics

EPA/NSF PARTNERSHIP FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH
Interagency Announcement of Opportunity

OPENING DATE: December 17, 1997
CLOSING DATE: March 16, 1998

1.0 INTRODUCTION

The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announce their intent to support a special awards competition in Fiscal Year (FY) 1998. This NSF-EPA competition has been developed based on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed on December 8, 1994. This MOU establishes a partnership between the two agencies emphasizing the support and merit review of fundamental, extramural environmental research. NSF and EPA's Office of Research and Development are continuing their cooperation in this extramural grants program in FY 1998. This is the fourth year of the joint special awards competition. Information on the FY 1995, 1996, and 1997 awards and the 1998 solicitation can be found on the Internet through: http://www.nsf.gov or http://www.epa.gov/ncerqa/. There are four areas of interest in FY1998:

Water and Watersheds

Technology for a Sustainable Environment

Decision Making and Valuation for Environmental Policy

Environmental Statistics

This Announcement is directed only at research on Environmental Statistics (ES). The other three research areas are covered by other announcements. Awards made through the ES competition are dependent upon responsiveness of the proposals to this announcement, the quality of the proposed research, and the availability of funds. Under this announcement, NSF and EPA anticipate awarding:

* approximately $2 million, with a projected award range from $60,000 to $150,000 per award per year, and an approximate duration of 2 to 3 years, pending availability of funds. Multi-investigator projects may be considered for higher levels of funding. Depending on the quality of proposals and the recommendations from merit review, the sponsoring agencies expect more than half of the resources to be allocated to categories described in Sections 2.3 and 2.4 of this Announcement. Subject to the availability of funds, EPA and NSF plan to continue this program through fiscal year 2000.


Proposals in response to this announcement must be received by March 16, 1998. It is anticipated that awards will be made by Fall 1998. Awards resulting from this competition may be made by either EPA or NSF, at the option of the agencies, not the grantee.


Further information, if needed, may be obtained from the EPA and NSF officials indicated below. E-mail inquiries are the preferred communication method.


GENERAL INFORMATION ON THE COMPETITION:

Dr. Robert E. Menzer
EPA National Center for Environmental Research

menzer.robert@epamail.epa.gov
voice (202) 564-6849

Dr. Robert M. Wellek
NSF Directorate for Engineering
rwellek@nsf.gov
fax (703) 306-0319

Dr. Henry N. Blount, III
NSF Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences
hblount@nsf.gov
voice (703) 306-1946

Mr. Jeff Fenstermacher
NSF Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences
jfenster@nsf.gov
voice (703) 306-1741

Information on Environmental Statistics

EPA General Questions:
Dr. Chris Saint
saint.chris@epamail.epa.gov
voice (202) 564-6909

Statistical Questions:
Dr. Larry Cox
cox.larry@epamail.epa.gov
voice (919) 541-2648

NSF General Questions:
Dr. Keith Crank
kcrank@nsf.gov
voice (703) 306-1885

Statistical Questions:
Dr. James Gentle
jgentle@nsf.gov
voice (703) 306-1883

Social Science Questions:
Dr. Cheryl Eavey
ceavey@nsf.gov
voice (703) 306-1729


ENVIRONMENTAL STATISTICS

2.1 Introduction

Statistical science plays an important role in the conduct of research on environmental issues and environmental policies. Sound environmental decisions must be based on sound science which in turn must be based on appropriate, high quality data, data models, and data analysis. Understanding environmental risks or the impact of human actions on the environment often requires new approaches to modeling complex relations or new statistical techniques for the collection, aggregation, and/or analysis of relevant data. The Environmental Statistics competition invites proposals for the development of innovative statistical methods and models for environmental research. Because problems in environmental research are complex, interdisciplinary collaborations are encouraged. The goal of this competition is to increase understanding of the physical and human dimensions of environmental issues and policies. In particular, this competition supports research in the following areas: (1) Statistical models and methods for environmental social science research; (2) Physical environmental statistics research; and (3) Research which either combines or is fundamental to both items (1) and (2).


2.2 Statistical Models and Methods for Environmental Social Science Research

Environmental social science research seeks to increase our understanding of the social and behavioral processes that define the complex interactions between human and physical systems. Research is sought on statistical models and/or methods that illuminate how humans impact the environment, how the environment affects human activities, and the complex dynamics of human and physical systems. Environmental social sciences covers a range of substantive topics, including but not limited to: adaptation and mitigation strategies; economic issues related to the environment; the measurement of attitudes toward the environment; resource use and management; collective action issues and the role of institutions; the assessment of environmental risks and uncertainty; and issues of environmental justice. This solicitation invites proposals that advance the methodological foundation for understanding these and other topics in environmental social science research. Because methodological advances relevant for environmental social science research often require substantial disciplinary as well as methodological expertise, we encourage collaborations across the social, behavioral, economic, and statistical sciences.


2.3 Physical Environmental Statistics Research

Research on the physical environment is important for understanding and responding to threats such as air and water pollution, ozone depletion, and hazardous waste disposal. While we have a good understanding of many of the components that make up the physical environment, we have much less knowledge about the interactions between components. Such an understanding is imperative for finding acceptable responses to threats to the environment. Recognizing and responding to threats to the environment requires the use of statistics, from sampling and data collection to modeling and analysis. This solicitation invites proposals for statistical research that improves the methodology or theory of statistics relevant to environmental research. Examples of such research include, but are not limited to, the design, evaluation, and placement of environmental monitoring networks; research on quality assurance methods for environmental and ecological data and data products; accounting for meteorological and co-pollutant effects on estimation of status and trends in air toxins; multi-parameter spatial sampling designs for hazardous waste site characterization; statistical environmental epidemiology and toxicology; and development and evaluation of ecological indicators and indexes, including issues of aggregation and scale.


2.4 Other Relevant Research

Besides the research described above, there is much statistical research which could contribute to both areas. Both human and natural systems are inherently spatial and time dependent. Models (statistical, probabilistic, computer) must be developed and evaluated for both types of systems. Data and other types of information may be available from multiple, disparate sources, and finding ways to satisfactorily combine this information is an important problem. Topics for research include combining environmental information from disparate sources; statistical and probabilistic modeling and validation of environmental models, including, but not limited to, air quality, groundwater, biokinetic, and ecological process models; research into methods for combining and evaluating social science and environmental data; and methods for combining epidemiological and toxicological studies for environmental risk assessment.

Fundamental statistical research in methodology or theory, which has applications to environmental studies, is appropriate for funding under this Program. The applications can be social or physical or both. Although specific environmental problems need not be addressed in this type of research, the relevance to environmental research must be described in the proposal.


3.0 ELIGIBILITY

Academic and not-for-profit institutions located in the U.S., and State or local governments are eligible. Profit-making firms and federal agencies are not eligible to apply to this program. However, personnel in profit-making firms may participate as non-funded co-investigators or through sub-contracts with the awardee institution.

Federal employees may cooperate or collaborate with eligible applicants within the limits imposed by applicable legislation and regulations. However, federal agencies, national laboratories funded by federal agencies (FFRDCs), and federal employees are not eligible to submit applications to this program and may not serve in a principal leadership role on a grant. Under exceptional circumstances the principal investigator's institution may subcontract to a federal agency to purchase unique supplies or services unavailable in the private sector. Examples are purchase of satellite data, census data tapes, chemical reference standards, and unique analyses or instrumentation not available elsewhere. A written justification for such federal involvement must be included in the application, along with an assurance from the federal agency which commits it to supply the specified service. Federal employees may not receive salaries or in other ways augment their agency's appropriations through grants made by this program. Potential applicants who are uncertain of their eligibility should contact Dr. Robert E. Menzer (listed in Section 1.0).


EPA and NSF welcome applications on behalf of all qualified scientists, engineers, and other professionals and strongly encourage women, minorities, and persons with disabilities to compete fully in any of the programs described in this announcement.


In accordance with Federal statutes and regulations and EPA and NSF policies, no person on grounds of race, color, age, sex, national origin, or disability shall be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving financial assistance from the Environmental Protection Agency or the National Science Foundation.


4.0 INSTRUCTIONS FOR APPLICATION SUBMISSION

4.1 Sorting Codes

In order to facilitate proper assignment and review of applications, each applicant is asked to identify the topic area in which the application is to be considered. It is the responsibility of the applicant to correctly identify the proper sorting code. Failure to do so may result in an improper review assignment. At various places within the application, applicants will be asked to identify this topic area by using the appropriate Sorting Code. The Sorting Code for Environmental Statistics is 98-NCERQA-P1.


The Sorting Code must be placed at the top of the abstract (as shown in the abstract format), on the title page (Standard Form 424), and must also be included in the address on the package that is sent to EPA (See Section 4.3).

4.2 The Application

The initial application is made through the submission of the application materials described below. It is important that the application contain all the information requested and be submitted in the formats described. If it is not, the application may be eliminated from review on administrative grounds. Once an applicant is chosen for award (i.e., after external peer review and internal programmatic review), additional documentation and forms will be requested by the Project Officer. The application contains the following:

A. Standard Form 424: The applicant must complete Standard Form 424 (see attached form and instructions). This form will act as a cover sheet for the application and should be its first page. Instructions for completion of the SF424 are included with the form. The form must contain the original signature of an authorized representative of the applying institution. Please note that both the Principal Investigator and an administrative contact should be identified in Section 5 of the SF424.

B. Key Contacts: The applicant must complete the Key Contacts Form (attached) as the second page of the submitted application.

C. Abstract: The abstract is a very important document. Prior to attending peer review panel meetings, some of the panelists may read only the abstract. Therefore, it is critical that the abstract accurately describe the research being proposed and convey all the essential elements of the research. Also, in the event of an award, the abstracts will form the basis for an annual report of awards made under this program. The abstract should include the following information:

1. EPA Sorting Code: 98-NCERQA-P1

2. Title: Use the exact title as it appears in the rest of the application.

3. Investigators: List the names and affiliations of each investigator who will significantly contribute to the project. Start with the Principal Investigator.

4. Project Summary: This should summarize: (a) the objectives of the study (including any hypotheses that will be tested), (b) the approach to be used (which should give an accurate description of the project as described in the proposal), (c) the expected results of the project and how they address the research needs identified in the solicitation, and (d) the estimated improvement in risk assessment or risk management that will result from successful completion of the work proposed.

5. Supplemental Keywords: Abstracts of successful proposals will become part of the NCER database and will be searchable on the Internet. Applicants should take care that appropriate words appear in the text of the Abstract to facilitate searching. Supplemental keywords that do not otherwise appear in the text may be selected from the suggested list provided. Appropriate terms not appearing on the list may also be used.

The abstract must not exceed one 8.5x11 inch page of single spaced standard 12 point type with 1 inch margins (see attached format).

D. Project Description: This description must not exceed fifteen (15) consecutively numbered (center bottom), 8.5x11 inch pages of single spaced standard 12 point type with 1 inch margins, exclusive of the references cited and the results of prior Federal support. The description must provide the following information:

1. Objectives: List objectives of the proposed research and/or the hypotheses being tested during the project. Include a statement on the context of the proposed research in relation to other environmental research in the particular area of work; this statement should also be synopsized in the objectives section of the abstract.
2. Approach: Outline the methods, approaches, and techniques that you intend to employ in meeting the objective stated above.

3. Expected Results or Benefits: Describe the result you expect to achieve during the project and the benefits of success as they relate to the topic under which the proposal was submitted.

4. Results from Prior Federal Support: Provide information on the results of research conducted with prior or current Federal Support. This must be limited to five pages but is in addition to the 15-page limit. This section should include information on any prior Federal awards closely related to the application (i.e., not limited to EPA or NSF awards).

5. General Project Information: Discuss other information relevant to the potential success of the project. This should include facilities, personnel, project schedules, proposed management, interactions with other institutions, etc.

6. Important Attachments: Appendices or other information may be included but must remain within the 15-page limit. References and results of prior federal support are in addition to the 15 page limit.

E. Resumes: The resumes of all principal investigators and important co-workers should be presented using NCER form 5 (see attached). Resumes must not exceed two consecutively numbered (bottom center), 8.5 x 11 inch pages of single-spaced standard 12 point type with one inch margins.

F. Current and Pending Support: The applicant must identify any current and pending financial resources that are intended to support research. This should be done by completing NSF Form 1239 (see attached) for each investigator and other senior personnel involved in the proposal. Failure to provide this information may delay consideration of your proposal. Updates of this information may be requested during the evaluation process.

G. Budget: A detailed, itemized budget for each year of the proposed project must be included. This budget must utilize the format shown in the attachment. (Do not try to squeeze your complete budget on the "form" shown as an example).

H. Budget Justification: This section should describe the basis for calculating the personnel, fringe benefits, travel, equipment, supplies, contractual support, construction, and other costs identified in the itemized budget. This should also include an explanation of how the indirect costs and charges were calculated.
This justification should not exceed two consecutively numbered (bottom center), 8.5 x 11 inch pages of single-spaced standard 12 point type with one inch margins.

I. Quality Assurance Narrative Statement: For any project involving data collection or processing, conducting surveys, environmental measurements, and/or modeling, provide a statement on how quality products will be assured. This statement should not exceed two consecutively numbered, 8.5x11 inch pages of single spaced standard 12-point type with 1 inch margins. This is in addition to the 15 pages permitted for the Project Description. The Quality Assurance Narrative Statement should, for each item listed below, either present the required information or provide a justification as to why the item does not apply to the proposed research. For awards that involve environmentally related measurements or data generation, a quality system that complies with the requirements of ANSI/ASQC E4, "Specifications and Guidelines for Quality Systems for Environmental Data Collection and Environmental Technology Programs," must be in place.

1. The activities to be performed or hypothesis to be tested (reference may be made to the specific page and paragraph number in the application where this information may be found); criteria for determining the acceptability of data quality in terms of precision, accuracy, representativeness, completeness, comparability, and other commonly used indicators.

2. The study design including sample type and location requirements and any statistical analyses that were used to estimate the types and numbers of samples required for physical samples or similar information for studies using survey and interview techniques.

3. The procedures for the handling and custody of samples, including sample identification, preservation, transportation, and storage.

4. The methods that will be used to analyze samples collected, including a description of the sampling and/or analytical instruments required.

5. The procedures that will be used in the calibration and performance evaluation of the sampling and analytical methods used during the project.

6. The procedures for data reduction and reporting, including a description of statistical analyses to be used and of any computer models to be designed or utilized with associated verification and validation techniques.

7. The intended use of the data as they relate to the study objectives or hypotheses.

8. The quantitative and or qualitative procedures that will be used to evaluate the success of the project.

9. Any plans for peer or other reviews of the study design or analytical methods prior to data collection.


ANSI/ASQC E4, "Specifications and Guidelines for Quality Systems for Environmental Data Collection and Environmental Technology Programs" is available for purchase from the American Society for Quality Control, phone 1-800-248-1946, item T55. Only in exceptional circumstances should it be necessary to consult this document.


J. Postcard: The application must include a blank, self-addressed, stamped post card. This will be returned to the applicant to signify that the application has been received.


4.3 How to Apply

The original and fifteen (15) copies of the fully developed application and five (5) additional copies of the abstract (20 in all), must be received by NCERQA/EPA no later than 4:00 P.M. EST on the closing date: March 16, 1998.


The application and abstract must be prepared in accordance with these instructions. Informal, incomplete, unsigned, or late proposals will not be considered. Completed applications should be sent via regular U.S. mail to:


Peer Review Division (8703R)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Sorting Code: 98-NCERQA-P1
401 M Street, SW
Washington DC 20460


For express mail or courier applications, the following address must be used:


Peer Review Division (8703R)
U. S. Environmental Protection Agency
Sorting Code: 98-NCERQA-P1
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Room B-10105
Washington, DC 20004

Phone: (202) 564-6939 (for express mail applications)

Proposals must be submitted to only one topic area, using a single sorting code. If you wish to submit more than one application to EPA or NSF, you must ensure that the research proposed is significantly different from the research in other proposals that have been submitted to this solicitation or from other grants you are currently receiving from any Federal government agency.


The sorting code must be identified in the address (as shown above). Applications sent via express mail or courier should have the following telephone number listed on the express mail label: (202) 564-6939.

4.4 Guidelines, Limitations, and Additional Requirements

Subcontracts for research to be conducted under the grant which exceed 40% of the total direct cost of the grant for each year in which the subcontract is awarded must be especially well justified.

Researchers may be invited to participate in an annual All Investigators Meeting with EPA and NSF scientists and other grantees to report on research activities and to discuss areas of mutual interest. Travel funds should be budgeted to accommodate that eventuality.


5.0 REVIEW AND SELECTION
5.1 Review Procedures

All grant applications are initially screened by EPA and NSF to determine their compliance with legal and administrative requirements. Acceptable applications are then reviewed by an appropriate technical peer review group. This review is designed to evaluate each proposal according to its technical merit. Each review group is composed of non EPA scientists, engineers, and/or social scientists who are experts in their respective disciplines. The reviewers use the following criteria to guide them in their reviews:

1. The originality and creativity of the proposed research, the potential contribution the proposed research could make to advance scientific knowledge in the environmental the appropriateness and adequacy of the research methods proposed, and the appropriateness and adequacy of the Quality Assurance Narrative Statement.

2. The qualifications of the principal investigator(s) and other staff, including knowledge of pertinent literature, experience, and publication records as well as the likelihood that the proposed research will be successfully completed.

3. The availability and/or adequacy of the facilities and equipment proposed for the project.

4. The responsiveness of the proposal to the research needs set forth in this solicitation.

5. Although budget information is not used by the reviewers as the basis for their evaluation of scientific merit, the reviewers are asked to provide their input on the appropriateness and/or adequacy of the proposed budget and its implications on the potential success of the proposed research. Input on requested equipment is of particular interest.

Grants are selected on the basis of technical merit, relevancy to the research priorities outlined, program balance, and budget. In addition to the above criteria, other factors that will be taken into consideration by NSF in the evaluation and award process are described in section 6.3, paragraph 3.

Copies of the evaluations by the technical reviewers will be provided to each applicant. Funding decisions are the sole responsibility of EPA and NSF.


5.2 Proprietary Information

By submitting an application in response to this solicitation, the applicant grants EPA and NSF permission to share the application with technical reviewers both within and outside the Agencies. Applications containing proprietary or other types of confidential information will not be reviewed.

6.0 GRANT ADMINISTRATION

Upon conclusion of the review process, meritorious applications may be recommended for funding by either EPA and/or NSF, at the option of the agencies, not the applicant. Subsequent grant administration procedures will be in accordance with the individual policies of the awarding agency.

6.1 EPA Grant Administration

The funding mechanisms for all awards issued by EPA under this solicitation will consist of grant agreements between EPA and the recipient. In accordance with Public Law 95-224, grants are used to accomplish a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by Federal statute rather than acquisition for the direct benefit of the Agency. In using a grant agreement, EPA anticipates that there will be no substantial involvement during the course of the grant between the recipient and the Agency.

EPA grants awarded as a result of this announcement will be administered in accordance with 40 CFR Part 30 and 40 or the most recent FDP terms and conditions, depending upon the grantee institution.

EPA provides awards for research in the sciences and engineering related to environmental protection. The awardee is solely responsible for the conduct of such activities and preparation of results for publication. EPA, therefore, does not assume responsibility for such findings or their interpretation.

6.2 NSF Grant Administration

NSF grants awarded as a result of this announcement will be administered in accordance with the terms and conditions of the most recent NSF GC-1, "Grant General Conditions," or the FDP-III, "Federal Demonstration Partnership General Terms and Conditions," depending on the grantee organization.

More comprehensive information on the administration of NSF grants is contained in the Grant Policy Manual (NSF 98-2, October 1997), for sale through the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office (GPO), Washington, D.C. 20402. The telephone number at GPO is (202) 512 1800 for subscription information.

Organizations applying to NSF for the first time, or which have not received an NSF award within the preceding two years, should refer to the NSF Grant Policy Manual, Section 500, for instructions on specific information that may be requested by NSF. First time NSF awardees will be required to submit organizational, management, and financial information, including a certification of civil rights compliance, before an award can be made. One copy of the Grant Policy Manual will be provided free of charge to new grantees.

Upon completion of an NSF project, a Final Project Report (NSF Form 98A) form will be sent to the grantee. Applicants should review this form prior to proposal submission so that appropriate tracking mechanisms are included in the proposal plan to ensure that complete information will be available at the conclusion of the project.

Activities described in this publication are in the following categories in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA): 47.049 Mathematical and Physical Sciences; 47.075 Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences.

6.3 NSF Applicant Information

The Foundation provides awards for research and education in the sciences and engineering. The awardee is wholly responsible for the conduct of such research and preparation of the results for publication. The Foundation, therefore, does not assume responsibility for the research findings or their interpretation.

The Foundation welcomes proposals from all qualified scientists and engineers and strongly encourages women, minorities, and persons with disabilities to compete fully in any of the research and education related programs described here. In accordance with federal statutes, regulations, and NSF policies, no person on grounds of race, color, age, sex, national origin, or disability shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any program or activity receiving financial assistance from the National Science Foundation.

NSF will consider in the evaluation and award process the broader impacts of the proposed research activity, in addition to addressing the criteria stated in section 5.1. Questions to be considered are: 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, 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?

Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities (FASED) provide funding for special assistance or equipment to enable persons with disabilities (investigators and other staff, including student research assistants) to work on NSF projects. See the program announcement or contact the program coordinator at (703) 306-1636.

Privacy Act. The information requested on proposal forms is solicited under the authority of the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended. It will be used in connection with the selection of qualified proposals and may be disclosed to qualified reviewers and staff assistants as part of the review process; to applicant institutions/grantees; to provide or obtain data regarding the application review process, award decisions, or the administration of awards; to government contractors, experts, volunteers, and researchers as necessary to complete assigned work; and to other government agencies in order to coordinate programs. See Systems of Records, NSF 50, Principal Investigators/Proposal File and Associated Records, and NSF-51, 60 Federal Register 4449 (January 23, 1995), Reviewer/Proposal File and Associated Records, 59 Federal Register 8031 (February 17, 1994).

Public Burden. Submission of the information is voluntary. Failure to provide full and complete information, however, may reduce the possibility of your receiving an award.

The public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 120 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to Gail A. McHenry, Reports Clearance Officer, Information Dissemination Branch, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 245, Arlington, VA 22230.

The National Science Foundation has TDD (Telephonic Device for the Deaf) capability, which enables individuals with hearing impairment to communicate with the Foundation about NSF programs, employment, or general information. To access NSF TDD, dial (703) 306-0090; for FIRS, 1 800-877-8339.


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