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2004 Scientific and Technological Achievement Award STAA) Overview

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2004 - Overview | About STAA | Level I Awards | Level II Awards | Level III Awards | STAA Honorable Mentions

This year, the Panel recommended 54 nominations for awards and identified 33 additional nominations worthy of Honorable Mention. The Panel applied the evaluation criteria evenly across all nomination categories, without attempting to ensure equal numbers or percentages of awards in each category. The authors of papers recommended for awards this year represent the Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, Region 6, and 15 research facilities and centers within the Office of Research and Development.

The STAA review program is a long-standing partnership between the Agency and the EPA Science Advisory Board. Each year since 1980, Agency scientists and engineers have submitted nominated scientific and technological papers through an internal Agency review process managed by the Office of Research and Development (ORD).

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(Note: The Agency did not conduct the STAA Program during 1995 when there was a government-wide shutdown.) This review process ensures that the best scientific papers are submitted to the SAB for evaluation in the awards process. The SAB convenes an experienced interdisciplinary group of scientists and engineers who meet in a closed meeting to review and evaluate the nominations. The SAB review panel produces a set of award recommendations which ORD uses in preparing the actual awards.

The Scientific and Technological Achievement Awards (STAA) Panel of the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) reviewed and evaluated the 136 nominations for the FY2003 program that were submitted by EPA research laboratory directors and program office directors. The Panel met in Washington, DC, on August 5-7, 2003, to determine award recommendations.

The Panel strongly believes that recognition of the authors of the award-winning papers is important to encourage others to emulate that behavior and to establish this as normative. Similarly, publicity about the STAA program encourages people to participate and makes the general public more aware of the quality and depth of EPA science. The Panel was pleased to see authors of award-winning papers honored at last year’s Science Forum and encourages further activities of this type. While recognizing that there are limitations on what the Agency can do for those scientists and engineers who are not employees, the Panel would also like to see some form of recognition for the non-EPA co-authors of papers receiving awards.

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The Panel recommends that continued attention be paid to providing opportunities for EPA’s scientists, engineers, and other technical personnel to conduct challenging, soundly based research and publish the results in peer-reviewed journals. This practice improves the credibility of the science underpinning Agency decisions on important scientific issues of specific importance to EPA.

The STAA program began in 1980 and is approaching its silver anniversary. The need to recognize, promote, and reward the publication of science in peer-reviewed journals is even more acute. In 2004, the Panel would like to work with the Agency to gather information about the history of the program, reflect upon its strengths and weaknesses, and consider whether some celebration of its achievements might be warranted at the quarter-century mark in 2005.

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