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Research Grants

15th Annual P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
National Center for Environmental Research
P3 Award Program

15th Annual P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet

This is the initial announcement of this funding opportunity.

Funding Opportunity Numbers:
EPA-G2018-P3-Q1 - Air Quality
EPA-G2018-P3-Q2 - Safe and Sustainable Water Resources
EPA-G2018-P3-Q3 - Sustainable and Healthy Communities
EPA-G2018-P3-Q4 - Chemical Safety

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 66.516

Solicitation Opening Date: December 21, 2017
Solicitation Closing Date: February 7, 2018, 11:59:59 pm Eastern Time

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. Expected Outputs and Outcomes
  E. Research Areas
  F. References
  G. Special Requirements
II. AWARD INFORMATION
III. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION
  A. Eligible Applicants
  B. Cost Sharing
  C. Other
IV. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION
  A. Grants.gov Submittal Requirements and Limited Exception Procedures
  B. Application Package Information
  C. Content and Form of Application Submission
  D. Submission Dates and Times
  E. Funding Restrictions
  F. Submision Instructions for Phase I Applications and Other Submission Requirements
  G. Submission Instructions for Phase II Applications
V. APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION
  A. Review Process for Phase I Applications
  B. Review Process for Phase II Applications
  C. Human Subjects Research Statement (HSRS) Review
  D. Funding Decisions
  E. Additional Provisions for Applicants Incorporated into the Solicitation
VI. AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION
  A. Award Notices
  B. Disputes
  C. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
VII. AGENCY CONTACTS

Access Standard Forms (How to Apply and Required Forms)
View research awarded under previous solicitations (People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3)

SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

Synopsis of Program:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – as part of its People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) Award Program – is seeking applications proposing to research, develop, design, and demonstrate solutions to real world challenges. The P3 competition highlights the use of scientific principles in creating innovative technology-based projects that achieve the mutual goals of improved quality of life, economic prosperity, and protection of the planet – people, prosperity, and the planet. The EPA offers the P3 competition in order to respond to the needs of people in the United States (U.S.)—e.g., those in small, rural, tribal, and disadvantaged communities. Please see the P3 website for more details about this program. Proposed projects must embody the P3 approach, which is that they have the intention and capability to simultaneously improve the quality of people’s lives, provide economic benefits, and protect the environment.

This solicitation provides the opportunity for the submission of applications for projects that may involve human subjects research. Human subjects research supported by the EPA is governed by EPA Regulation 40 CFR Part 26 (Protection of Human Subjects). This includes the Common Rule at subpart A and prohibitions and additional protections for pregnant women and fetuses, nursing women, and children at subparts B, C, and D. Research meeting the regulatory definition of intentional exposure research found in subpart B is prohibited by that subpart in pregnant women, nursing women, and children. Research meeting the regulatory definition of observational research found in subparts C and D is subject to the additional protections found in those subparts for pregnant women and fetuses (subpart C) and children (subpart D). All applications must include a Human Subjects Research Statement (HSRS, as described in Section IV.C.5.b of this solicitation), and if the project involves human subjects research, it will be subject to an additional level of review prior to funding decisions being made as described in Sections V.C and V.D of this solicitation.

Guidance and training for investigators conducting EPA-funded research involving human subjects may be obtained here:
Basic Information about Human Subjects Research
Basic EPA Policy for Protection of Subjects in Human Research Conducted or Supported by EPA

The P3 Program is intended to address domestic U.S. needs. For this reason, P3 projects should primarily perform their research in the U.S. and the benefits of the research should primarily accrue to the U.S. Applications that do not meet these requirements may not be evaluated as highly during the relevancy review, and therefore may not be recommended for an award.

Award Information:
Anticipated Type of Award: Grant
Estimated Number of Awards: Approximately 20 awards for Phase I; Approximately 4 awards for Phase II.
Anticipated Funding Amount: Approximately $600,000 total for all Phase I & II grant awards.
Potential Funding per Award: Up to $15,000 per Phase I grant including direct and indirect costs. Proposals for Phase I grants requesting an award of more than $15,000 will not be considered. Proposals for Phase I grants must be for one year. Proposals with a duration of more than one year will not be considered.

Upon the successful completion of Phase I, grant recipients will have the opportunity to apply for a P3 Phase II grant of up to $75,000 total for two years including direct and indirect costs (see Background section for more information). Proposals for Phase II grants requesting an award of more than $75,000 or with a duration of more than two years will not be considered.

Cost-sharing is not required for either Phase I or Phase II grants.

Eligibility Information:
Public and private institutions of higher education (limited to degree-granting institutions of higher education) located in the U.S. (includes eligible institutions of higher education located in U.S. territories and possessions) are eligible to apply to be the recipient of a grant to support teams of undergraduate and/or graduate students. Profit-making firms are not eligible to receive assistance agreements from the EPA under this program. See full announcement for more details.

Application Materials:
To apply under this solicitation, use the application package available at Grants.gov (for further submission information see Section IV.F. “Submission Instructions for Phase I Applications and Other Submission Requirements”) Note: With the exception of the current and pending support form (available at How to Apply and Required Forms), all necessary forms are included in the electronic application package. Make sure to include the current and pending support form in your Grants.gov submission.

If your organization is not currently registered with Grants.gov, you need to allow approximately one month to complete the registration process. Please note that the registration process also requires that your organization have a unique entity identifier (formerly ‘DUNS number’) and a current registration with the System for Award Management (SAM) and the process of obtaining both could take a month or more. Applicants must ensure that all registration requirements are met in order to apply for this opportunity through Grants.gov and should ensure that all such requirements have been met well in advance of the submission deadline. This registration, and electronic submission of your application, must be performed by an authorized representative of your organization.

If you do not have the technical capability to utilize the Grants.gov application submission process for this solicitation, see Section IV.A below for additional guidance and instructions.

Agency Contacts:

Technical Contact: Angela Page; Phone: 202-564-7957; Email: page.angelad@epa.gov
Eligibility Contact: Ron Josephson; Phone: 202-564-7823; Email: josephson.ron@epa.gov
Electronic Submissions: Debra M. Jones; Phone: 202-564-7839; Email: jones.debram@epa.gov

I. FUNDING OPPORTUNITY DESCRIPTION

A. Introduction
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under the auspices of the Office of Research and Development (ORD), National Center for Environmental Research (NCER), invites submissions to the 15th Annual P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet. The P3 Program supports science-based projects and designs developed by interdisciplinary student teams at colleges and universities. These projects must embody the P3 approach, which is that they have the intention and capability to simultaneously improve the quality of people’s lives, provide economic benefits, and protect the environment.

The P3 approach has its roots in the concept of sustainability. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 states that the goal of sustainability is to “create and maintain conditions, (sic) under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.” Use of the term “sustainability” was widely adopted following the publication of Our Common Future (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987), which defined sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”  Successful sustainable design recognizes the needs, available resources, and boundaries of the intended user. See for instance: Cradle to Cradle (Braungart & McDonough, 2002), The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability--Designing for Abundance (McDonough & Braungart, 2013), Engineering Biomimicry (Lakhtakia & Martín-Palma, 2013) and Biomimicry (Benyus, 2002). An overview of the meaning of sustainability for application in P3 research proposals is located here: Sustainability Primer (PDF) (2 pp, 195 K).

The P3 Program is composed of two phases that award grants on a competitive basis.  The purpose of this RFA is to solicit proposals for innovative research projects and designs to compete for Phase I of the P3 Program. The first phase is a competition for one-year grants of up to $15,000 to test, research, and develop innovative scientific projects or engineering designs that use the P3 approach. In the spring of 2019, the Phase I grantees awarded from this solicitation are required to present their projects/designs at the National Student Design Expo. EPA will provide teams with information about the Expo during the award year.

At the end of Phase I, teams will submit a Project Report that will serve as an application for a Phase II grant award of up to $75,000. The Phase II grant awards are intended to support the further development and demonstration of the projects/designs created in Phase I. The competitors for 2019 P3 Phase II grants are limited to recipients of Phase I grant awards from this solicitation. Additional instructions for completing the Phase II proposals, which will be due approximately seven months after the Phase I grants are awarded, will be distributed to Phase I recipients. Those projects identified for receipt of a Phase II grant will be recognized as P3 Award recipients on the P3 website. If a team elects not to compete for a Phase II grant award, its faculty advisor (the Principal Investigator [PI] for the grant) must inform the EPA Project Officer and a Final Report must be submitted per the award Terms and Conditions.

This RFA represents the 15th National P3 Awards competition. Previously awarded projects funded through this program can be viewed at P3 Website

EPA recognizes that it is important to engage all available minds to address the environmental challenges the nation faces. At the same time, EPA seeks to expand the environmental conversation by including members of communities which may have not previously participated in such dialogues to participate in EPA programs. For this reason, EPA strongly encourages all eligible applicants identified in Section III, including minority serving institutions (MSIs), to apply under this opportunity.

For purposes of this solicitation, the following are considered MSIs:

  1. Historically Black Colleges and Universities, as defined by the Higher Education Act (20 U.S.C. § 1061). A list of these schools can be found at White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities;
  2. Tribal Colleges and Universities, as defined by the Higher Education Act (20 U.S.C. § 1059(c)). A list of these schools can be found at American Indian Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities;
  3. Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), as defined by the Higher Education Act (20 U.S.C. § 1101a(a)(5). There is no list of HSIs. HSIs are institutions of higher education that, at the time of application submittal, have an enrollment of undergraduate full-time equivalent students that is at least 25% Hispanic students at the end of the award year immediately preceding the date of application for this grant; and
  4. Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions; (AANAPISIs), as defined by the Higher Education Act (20 U.S.C. § 1059g(a)(2)). There is no list of AANAPISIs. AANAPISIs are institutions of higher education that, at the time of application submittal, have an enrollment of undergraduate students that is not less than 10 % students who are Asian American or Native American Pacific Islander.

B. Background

The P3 Program promotes a shift towards more environmentally benign products, processes, and systems. It is essential that all involved in the design, discovery, and demonstration of technical innovations understand the fundamental techniques and principles that underlie the P3 approach. Innovative research can take the form of wholly new applications or applications that build on existing knowledge and approaches for new uses.

EPA’s P3 Program has identified the following four strategic program goals.

Goal 1:Engage and educate the next generation of scientists, engineers, and the greater academic and external communities in understanding and using the P3 approach.
Goal 2: Support the development of innovative technologies that will contribute to improved social, environmental, and economic well-being, especially in communities with the greatest needs.
Goal 3: Support the demonstration of P3-developed technologies to prove their effectiveness and value.
Goal 4: Foster the development of enterprises that will disseminate technologies in the target communities and elsewhere.

We strongly encourage projects to include partnerships with industry, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other educational and research institutions to increase their capacity to meet the goals of the project. A partnership is defined as an arrangement where parties agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests.  No matter the arrangement, project partners should, for example, help further develop the design, demonstrate the project in the field, and/or move the design to the marketplace. Matching contributions are not required from partners or others in either the Phase I or the Phase II competition. If the applicant does not intend to partner with other groups in the performance of the project, the applicant must demonstrate how it will be able to effectively perform and complete the project without such partnership.

Although P3 grant funding must be used for research and cannot be used for commercialization and for-profit initiatives (such as business creation), proposals with commercial potential are encouraged to apply to EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program. Since its inception, EPA's SBIR Program has provided incentive funding to small businesses to translate their innovative ideas into commercial products that address environmental problems. The EPA is one of 11 federal agencies that participate in the SBIR Program established by the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982. EPA issues annual solicitations for Phase I and Phase II research proposals from science and technology-based firms (not universities). EPA’s SBIR program has funded companies that were formed by people who participated in P3 projects and acted upon the commercial potential of the innovative technology that they created in their projects.

Many institutions have entrepreneurship centers where adjunct faculty are practicing entrepreneurs. SBIR applicants are encouraged to consult with their university’s business or management school or department and entrepreneurship center faculty for advice about how best to design their proposed research and to include those faculty and their students in their project teams. For more information on EPA’s SBIR Program see U.S. EPA SBIR Website. For more information about the federal SBIR Program see Federal SBIR Program.

Specific outputs and outcomes from the Phase I and II grant awards are described in Section I.D. below.

This announcement addresses the first phase (Phase I) of the P3 competition by requesting proposals for innovative research projects or designs from eligible institutions.  The Phase I grants are intended to support an interdisciplinary team of undergraduate and/or graduate students to develop their projects/designs in preparation for competing for a P3 Phase II grant award to demonstrate their proposed projects/designs. The EPA will fund approximately 20 Phase I research proposals from around the country during the 2018-2019 academic years.

The proposal process for the Phase II grant awards will begin in the spring of 2019, when the student teams and their faculty advisor (the Principal Investigator [PI] on the grant) submit a Project Report describing the Phase I project activities and the Phase II proposal for further development and demonstration. The EPA will fund approximately four Phase II research proposals. A panel of qualified experts will be convened to review the applications and score them based on the evaluation criteria described in Section V.

Institutions are also encouraged to include in their project team’s faculty and students from their education and social science schools and departments and from other relevant disciplines who can help meet the education and outreach requirements for the projects.

C. Authority and Regulations

1. Statutory Authorities

Note that a project’s focus is to consist of activities within the statutory terms of EPA’s financial assistance authorities; specifically, the statute(s) listed below. 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 above. Further note applications dealing with any aspect of or related to hydraulic fracking will not be funded by EPA through this program.

The authorities for awarding research grants under this RFA are contained in the Clean Air Act (CAA), 42 U.S.C. 7403, Section 103(b)(3); Clean Water Act (CWA), 33 U.S.C. 1254, Section 104(b)(3); the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), 42 U.S.C. 300j-1, Section 1442; the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), 7 U.S.C. 136r, Section 20; the Solid Waste Disposal Act (SWDA), 42 U.S.C. 6981, Section 8001; and the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), 15 U.S.C. 2609, Section 10. 

For research with an international aspect, the above statutes are supplemented, as appropriate, by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Section 102(2)(F).

Specific descriptions of the areas of research that are authorized by each statute are described below:

CAA: Clean Air Act--Section 103:
Section 103 of the Clean Air Act authorizes the EPA to make grants to institutions for research, investigations, experiments, demonstrations, surveys, and studies relating to the causes, effects, extent, prevention, and control of air pollution.

CWA: Clean Water Act--Section 104:
Section 104 of the Clean Water Act authorizes the EPA to make grants to institutions for research, investigations, experiments, training, demonstrations, surveys, and studies relating to the causes, effects, extent, prevention, reduction, and elimination of water pollution. Water pollution is defined as man-made or man-induced alteration of the chemical, physical, biological, and radiological integrity of water, including freshwater aquatic ecosystems.

SDWA: Safe Drinking Water Act--Section 1442:
Section 1442 of the Safe Drinking Water Act authorizes the EPA to make grants for research, training, studies, and demonstrations relating to the causes, diagnosis, treatment, control, and prevention of physical and mental diseases and other impairments of man resulting directly or indirectly from contaminants in water, or to the provision of a dependably safe supply of drinking water, including (A) improved methods: (i) to identify and measure the existence of contaminants in drinking water (including methods which may be used by State and local health and water officials), and (ii) to identify the source of such contaminants; (B) improved methods to identify and measure the health effects of contaminants in drinking water; (C) new methods of treating raw water to prepare it for drinking, so as to improve the efficiency of water treatment and to remove contaminants from water; (D) improved methods for providing a dependably safe supply of drinking water, including improvements in water purification and distribution, and methods of assessing the health related hazards of drinking water; and (E) improved methods of protecting underground water sources of public water systems from contamination.

FIFRA: Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act--Section 20:
Section 20 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act authorizes the EPA to make grants for pesticide-related research, development, monitoring, public education, training, demonstrations, and studies.

SWDA: Solid Waste Disposal Act--Section 8001:
Section 8001 of the Solid Waste Disposal Act authorizes the EPA to make grants for research, investigations, experiments, training, demonstrations, surveys, public education programs, and studies relating to: (1) adverse health and welfare effects from solid waste; (2) solid waste management programs; (3) resource recovery and conservation, and hazardous waste management systems; (4) production of usable forms of recovered resources; (5) waste reduction; (6) improved solid waste collection and disposal methods; (7) identification of solid waste components; (8) small scale and low technology solid waste management systems; (9) methods to improve performance of recovered solid waste; (10) improvements in land disposal practices; (11) methods for sound disposal of resources, including sludge and coal slurry; (12) methods of hazardous waste management; and (13) air quality impacts from the burning of solid waste.

TSCA: Toxic Substance Control Act--Section 10:
Section 10 of the Toxic Substance Control Act authorizes the EPA to make grants for research, development, monitoring, public education, training, demonstrations, and studies directed toward the development of the fundamental scientific basis of screening and monitoring techniques used to detect toxic chemical substances and quantify the effects of toxic chemical substances and mixtures in the environment.

NEPA: National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)--Section 102(2)(F):
For research with an international aspect, the above statutes are supplemented, as appropriate, by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Section 102(2)(F) which authorizes support to foreign recipients and international work/travel by domestic recipients. (NEPA cannot be the sole supporting statute for a proposed project.)

2. Applicable regulations
Additional applicable regulations include: 2 CFR Part 200, 2 CFR Part 1500, and 40 CFR Part 40 (Research and Demonstration Grants).

D. Expected Outputs and Outcomes
Note to applicant: The term “output” means an environmental activity, effort, and/or associated work products related to an environmental goal or objective, that will be produced or provided over a period of time or by a specified date. The term “outcome” means the result, effect or consequence that will occur from carrying out an environmental program or activity that is related to an environmental or programmatic goal or objective.

EPA identifies, assesses, conducts, and applies the best available science to address current and future environmental hazards, develop new approaches, and improve the scientific foundation for environmental protection decisions. EPA conducts problem-driven, interdisciplinary research to address specific public health and environmental risks. The P3 Program is committed to using science and innovation to support EPA programs, regions, states, and tribes in accomplishing their top priorities for improved air quality, clean and safe water, sustainable and healthy communities, and chemical safety. EPA accomplishes this in part by supporting the development and demonstration of emerging technologies.

EPA’s draft FY 2018-2022 Strategic Plan is available at the Planning, Budget, and Results website. The activities to be funded under this announcement are intended to further EPA’s current priorities supporting robust science for:
air quality; safe and sustainable water resources; sustainable and healthy communities; or chemical safety. Applicants must explain in their proposal how their project will further these current priorities.

The P3 Program supports these priorities by funding multi-disciplinary, faculty-led student teams that use the best available scientific knowledge and research results to address environmental problems identified by EPA’s program offices, states and tribal partners as being important, including small, rural, tribal, and disadvantaged communities. As a result, the P3 Program provides tested innovative solutions that stakeholders can use to help solve these problems.

EPA also requires that grant applicants adequately describe environmental outputs and outcomes to be achieved under assistance agreements (see EPA Order 5700.7A1, Environmental Results under Assistance Agreements,). Applicants must include specific statements describing the environmental results of the proposed project in terms of well-defined outputs and, to the maximum extent practicable, well-defined outcomes that will demonstrate how the project will contribute to the priorities described above.

The P3 program aims to generate research outputs in the form of innovative, inherently benign, integrated, and interdisciplinary designs that will advance the scientific, technical, and policy knowledge necessary to enhance the human condition—e.g., in small, rural, tribal, and disadvantaged communities. The desired outcomes of the research conducted via this program address the three components of the P3 approach. Through the use of P3-supported technologies, this research aims to simultaneously: (1) maintain or improve human health and well-being; (2) advance economic competitiveness; and (3) protect and preserve the environment by effectively and efficiently using water, materials, and energy and minimizing the generation or emission of pollution or minimizing the use of hazardous substances.

The outputs and outcomes of the research efforts conducted via the individual P3 grants contribute directly to accomplishing the P3 Program goals presented in Section I.B of this solicitation.

E. Research Areas

Research Areas and Topics

Applicants should address one of the research areas listed below in their Phase I proposals. Note that each application must be submitted using a single Funding Opportunity Number (FON). Within the selected research area, applicants should select one of the listed topics to be the focus of their project. If applicants propose a project that does not address one of these topics, they may not be evaluated as highly during the relevancy review, and therefore may not be recommended for an award.

Review criteria specific to the P3 Program and against which the Phase I proposals will be evaluated are presented in Section V.A.2. To fulfill Agency requirements for a research grant, all proposals should clearly articulate how the proposed project/design will result in pollution prevention and/or control. The link to pollution prevention should be direct such as reduction in air emissions from a more efficient engine design. Proposals should also consider the lifecycle environmental impacts of the project, including (if applicable) materials management, minimizing toxicity of materials, efficient use of water and energy, minimizing pollution, and minimizing the impacts of disposal.

Air Quality (Funding Opportunity Number: EPA-G2018-P3-Q1)
EPA supports research that advances the science and provides the information critical to improving air quality.

EPA seeks projects that would support research and demonstration of innovative and cost-effective solutions for the following topics:

  1. emission reduction strategies for stationary sources
  2. approaches to prevent and reduce pollution
  3. cost-effective and innovative multi-pollutant approaches
  4. measurement and monitoring methods to enable informed air quality decision-making at the state and local level
  5. emission control technology to reduce mobile-source-related air pollution
  6. technology that converts emissions from mobile sources that use internal combustion engines into harmless substances and/or materials and products that have economic value
  7. technology that reduces the level of air toxics in disadvantaged communities
  8. simple, inexpensive technology that can protect people from smoke inhalation

Safe and Sustainable Water Resources (Funding Opportunity Number: EPA-G2018-P3-Q2)
EPA supports developing innovative, cost-effective solutions to current, emerging, and long-term water resource challenges for complex chemical and biological contaminants.

EPA seeks projects that would support the development and demonstration of innovative and cost-effective solutions for the following topics:

  1. technological solutions for preventing or mitigating harmful algal/cyanobacteria toxins in recreational waters and drinking water sources
  2. technology for point-of-use removal of Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) families of Per- and poly fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from drinking water for homes and/or from wastewater
  3. methods for detecting and monitoring waterborne pathogens
  4. technologies that address stormwater and wastewater infrastructure needs in small, rural, and disadvantaged communities
  5. prevention and mitigation approaches to increase reuse of potable and non-potable water supplies, such as desalination units for small communities that are not based on reverse osmosis
  6. basic sanitation and drinking water for homes in tribal and disadvantaged communities
  7. technologies to reduce exposure to lead in drinking water systems, such as
    1. developing a simple, inexpensive test strip for use in homes to check for lead in tap water
    2. developing water pipes that do not contain lead, that prevent the growth of biofilms, and that prevent corrosion and scaling

Sustainable and Healthy Communities (Funding Opportunity Number: EPA-G2018-P3-Q3)

EPA supports developing and demonstrating technologies to prevent contamination by toxic materials and to reduce solid waste that goes to landfills.

EPA seeks projects that support research and demonstration of innovative and cost-effective solutions for the following topics:

  1. replacement for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyethylene (PE) water pipes which currently have a high probability of being discarded to landfills
  2. less toxic plastic bags that biodegrade in less than 12 months
  3. remediation of PFAS-contaminated soil and sediment
  4. exterior construction materials that are less-toxic, lighter, more compact, stronger, more durable, longer-lasting, at least as affordable, and can more easily be reused and recycled than currently-used materials
  5. less toxic materials for use in floors, walls, and ceilings
  6. electronic components that are less toxic and/or easier to reuse and recycle
  7. technologies that divert food waste from landfills and recover valuable resources

Chemical Safety (Funding Opportunity Number: EPA-G2018-P3-Q4)
EPA supports evaluating and predicting impacts from chemical use and disposal and providing states and industries with information, tools, and methods to make better informed and more timely decisions about the thousands of chemicals in the United States.

EPA seeks projects that would support research and demonstration of innovative and cost-effective solutions for the following topics:

  1. non-toxic chemicals that can replace toxic chemicals that are now used in the manufacture of plastics
  2. plastic products that are totally made from non-toxic materials
  3. dyes and inks from non-toxic components
  4. non-toxic paints and coatings
  5. inherently flame retardant materials—i.e., that do not use a flame retardant coating
  6. new chemicals that cause less depletion of stratospheric ozone than currently-used substances

It is recognized that some proposals may be appropriate for more than one FON/research area, but the applicant must identify a primary FON/research area for application submission purposes. The primary FON/research area is used to determine the appropriate peer review panel. Applicants should also select one of the topics in that research area as the focus for their P3 project.

  • Please note the following Agency requirements for P3 research proposals:
  • All proposals should clearly articulate how the proposed project/design will result in pollution prevention and/or control or describe how the proposed project/design proposes research within the scope of the statutes described in Section I.C.1. above. (NEPA is a secondary supporting statute for projects with an international component and cannot be the sole supporting statute for a proposed project.)
  • The P3 Program is intended to address domestic U.S. needs. For this reason, P3 projects should primarily perform their research in the U.S. and the benefits of the research should primarily accrue to the U.S. Applications that do not meet these requirements may not be evaluated as highly during the relevancy review, and therefore may not be recommended for an award.
  • Generally, a proposal to this solicitation should address the causes, effects, extent, prevention, reduction, and elimination of air pollution, water pollution, solid/hazardous waste pollution, toxic substances control, or pesticide control. Proposals should not focus on fixing an environmental problem via a well-established method, but instead highlight their innovative research aspects. The first instance of the application of a pollution-control technique or an innovative application of a previously used method would be considered appropriate for the P3 Program.
  • To the extent practicable, research proposals must embody innovation and sustainability. Reviewers will draw from the following definitions of innovation and sustainable solutions in the review/evaluation process of applications (see sections V.A and V.B). Research proposals must include a discussion on how the proposed research is innovative (see Section IV.C.5.a). Innovation for the purposes of this RFA is defined as the process of making changes; a new method, custom or device. Innovative research can take the form of wholly new applications or applications that build on existing knowledge and approaches for new uses. The goal of sustainability, derived from the U.S. National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), is to, “create and maintain conditions, under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations.” Research proposals must include a discussion on how the proposed research will seek sustainable solutions that protect the environment and strengthen our communities (see Section IV.C.5.a).

F. References
Journals

Mihelcic, J.R., Crittendan, J.C., Small, M.J., Shonnard, D.R., Hokanson, D.R., Zhang, Q. 2003. Sustainability science and engineering: The emergence of a new metadiscipline. Environmental Science and Technology, 37, 5314-5324.  4.

Reports

United Nations. 2012.  Rio +20 United Nationals Conference on Sustainable Development Outcome Document. United Nations. (https://uncsd2012.org/thefuturewewant.html)Exit

United States Environmental Protection Agency. 2007.   Sustainability Research Strategy.  EPA 600/S 07/001 (https://www.epa.gov/sustainability/pdfs/EPA-12057_SRS_R4-1.pdf (72 pp, 1.38 MB)

Books

Benyus, J. 2002. Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. William Morrow Paperbacks. ISBN 978-0060533229.

Braungart, M. & McDonough, W. 2002. Cradle to Cradle. North Point Press. ISBN 978-0865475878.

Lakhtakia, A. & Martín-Palma, R.J. (Eds.) 2013. Engineered Biomimicry. Elsevier.
ISBN: 978-0-12-415995-2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/book/9780124159952 (E-book) Exit

McDonough, W. & Braungart, M. 2013. The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability—Designing for Abundance. North Point Press. ISBN 978-086547748

World Commission on Environment and Development.  1987.  Our Common Future. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

G. Special Requirements

Agency policy and ethical considerations prevent EPA technical staff and managers from providing 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 EPA RFAs. EPA employees cannot endorse any particular application.

P3 Award projects (both Phase I & II) will not accommodate a multiple PI application. P3 Award projects should be submitted as a single lead PI application.

These awards may involve the collection of “Geospatial Information,” which includes information that identifies the geographic location and characteristics of natural or constructed features or boundaries on the Earth or applications, tools, and hardware associated with the generation, maintenance, or distribution of such information. This information may be derived from, among other things, a Geographic Positioning System (GPS), remote sensing, mapping, charting, and surveying technologies, or statistical data.

This solicitation provides the opportunity for the submission of applications for projects that may involve human subjects research. All applications must include a Human Subjects Research Statement (HSRS; described in Section IV.C.5.b of this solicitation). If the project involves human subjects research, it will be subject to an additional level of review prior to funding decisions being made as described in Sections V.C and V.D of this solicitation.

A P3 project may involve intellectual property (IP). If that is the case, P3 teams are encouraged to ensure that their institution’s technology transfer office reviews any IP-related materials before making them public. This is to ensure that any concerns related to patent filings or adjustments to IP strategies, if needed, can be addressed prior to any public display.

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 $600,000 will be awarded under this announcement for Phase I and Phase II grant awards, depending on the availability of funds, quality of applications received, and other applicable considerations.  The EPA anticipates funding approximately 20 grants for Phase I under this RFA.  The projected EPA award amount for each Phase I grant is up to $15,000 for its one-year duration. Requests for amounts in excess of a total of $15,000, including direct and indirect costs, will not be considered. The total project period for an application submitted for a Phase I grant may not exceed one year.

Phase II proposals should further develop and demonstrate the project/design created in Phase I. EPA will select approximately four P3 Award winners from among recipients of Phase I funding, depending on the availability of funds and other applicable considerations. These P3 Phase II awardees will be eligible to receive up to $75,000 each. Proposals for Phase II grants with total budget requests exceeding $75,000, including direct and indirect costs, will not be considered.  The total project period for a Phase II grant may not exceed two years.

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.

In appropriate circumstances, EPA reserves the right to partially fund proposals/applications by funding discrete portions or phases of proposed projects. If EPA decides to partially fund a proposal/application, it will do so in a manner that does not prejudice any applicants or affect the basis upon which the proposal/application, or portion thereof, was evaluated and selected for award, and therefore maintains the integrity of the competition and selection process.

EPA intends to award only grants 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.

III. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

A. Eligible Applicants
Public and private institutions of higher education (limited to degree-granting institutions of higher education) located in the U.S. (includes eligible institutions of higher education located in U.S. territories and possessions) are eligible to apply to be the recipient of a grant to support teams of undergraduate and/or graduate students. Profit-making firms are not eligible to receive assistance agreements from the EPA under this program.

The students on the teams supported by the institution receiving the grant must be enrolled in the college, university, or post-secondary educational institution they will be representing at the time the proposal is submitted. Institutions are allowed to submit more than one application where each application represents a unique design concept and student team. For the purposes of grant administration, the team's faculty advisor will be designated the Principal Investigator throughout the P3 grant award and competition process. In addition to the Principal Investigator, each team selected for award will also be asked to provide contact information for a student lead.

Non-profit organization, as defined by 2 CFR Part 200, means any corporation, trust, association, cooperative or other organization that: (1) is operated primarily for scientific, educational, service, charitable or similar purposes in the public interest; (2) is not organized primarily for profit; and (3) uses its net proceeds to maintain, improve and/or expand its operations. Note that 2 CFR Part 200 specifically excludes the following types of organizations from the definition of “non-profit organization” because they are separately defined in the regulation: (i) institutions of higher education; and (ii) state, local and federally-recognized Indian tribal governments. While not considered to be a “non-profit organization(s)” as defined by 2 CFR Part 200, Institutions of Higher Education are, nevertheless, eligible to submit applications under this program. State, local and federally-recognized Indian tribal governments are not eligible to submit applications under this program. Under this competition, eligible nonprofit organizations are limited to research institutes and foundations that are part of or affiliated with a U.S. institution of higher education. For-profit colleges, universities, trade schools, and hospitals are ineligible. Nonprofit organizations described in Section 501(c) (4) of the Internal Revenue Code that lobby are not eligible to apply.

Foreign governments, international organizations, and non-governmental international organizations/institutions 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 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. Federal employees may not receive salaries or augment their Agency’s appropriations through awards made under this program unless authorized by law to receive such funding.

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 to the extent authorized by law. Examples are purchase of satellite data, 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 Ron Josephson in NCER, Phone: 202-564-7823, Email: josephson.ron@epa.gov.

B. Cost-sharing
Institutional cost-sharing is not required for Phase I or Phase II.

C. Other
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. In addition, applications must be submitted through Grants.gov as stated in Section IV of this announcement (except in the limited circumstances where another mode of submission is specifically allowed for as explained in Section IV) on or before the application submission deadline published in Section IV of this announcement. Applicants are responsible for following the submission instructions in Section IV of this announcement (see Section IV.F. “Submission Instructions for Phase I Applications and Other Submission Requirements” for further information) to ensure that their application is timely submitted. Applications submitted after the submission deadline will be considered late and deemed ineligible without further consideration unless the applicant can clearly demonstrate that it was late due to EPA mishandling or because of technical problems associated with Grants.gov or relevant SAM.gov system issues. An applicant’s failure to timely submit their application through Grants.gov because they did not timely or properly register in SAM.gov or Grants.gov will not be considered an acceptable reason to consider a late submission.

Also, applications exceeding the funding limits or project period term described herein will be rejected 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.

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

As mentioned above, the competitors for the P3 Phase II grants for further development and demonstration will be limited to those selected to receive support as a result of the competition under this RFA (Phase I).

IV. APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

Additional provisions that apply to this solicitation and/or awards made under this solicitation, including but not limited to those related to confidential business information, contracts and subawards under grants, and proposal assistance and communications, can be found at EPA Solicitation Clauses.

These, and the other provisions that can be found at the website link, are important, and applicants must review them when preparing applications for this solicitation. If you are unable to access these provisions electronically at the website above, please communicate with the EPA contact listed in this solicitation to obtain the provisions.

Formal instructions for submission through Grants.gov are in Section F.

A. Grants.gov Submittal Requirements and Limited Exception Procedures
Applicants, except as noted below, must apply electronically through Grants.gov under this funding opportunity based on the Grants.gov instructions in this announcement. If an applicant does not have the technical capability to apply electronically through Grants.gov because of limited or no internet access which prevents them from being able to upload the required application materials to Grants.gov, the applicant must contact OGDWaivers@epa.gov or the address listed below in writing (e.g., by hard copy, email) at least 15 calendar days prior to the submission deadline under this announcement to request approval to submit their application materials through an alternate method.

Mailing Address:
OGD Waivers
c/o Jessica Durand
USEPA Headquarters
William Jefferson Clinton Building
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N. W.
Mail Code: 3903R
Washington, DC 20460

Courier Address:
OGD Waivers
c/o Jessica Durand
Ronald Reagan Building
1300 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Rm # 51278
Washington, DC 20004

In the request, the applicant must include the following information:
Funding Opportunity Number (FON)
Organization Name and DUNS
Organization’s Contact Information (email address and phone number)
Explanation of how they lack the technical capability to apply electronically through Grants.gov because of: 1) limited internet access or 2) no internet access which prevents them from being able to upload the required application materials through Grants.gov.

EPA will only consider alternate submission exception requests based on the two reasons stated above and will timely respond to the request -- all other requests will be denied. If an alternate submission method is approved, the applicant will receive documentation of this approval and further instructions on how to apply under this announcement. Applicants will be required to submit the documentation of approval with any initial application submitted under the alternative method. In addition, any submittal through an alternative method must comply with all applicable requirements and deadlines in the announcement including the submission deadline and requirements regarding proposal content and page limits (although the documentation of approval of an alternate submission method will not count against any page limits).

If an exception is granted, it is valid for submissions to EPA for the remainder of the entire calendar year in which the exception was approved and can be used to justify alternative submission methods for application submissions made through December 31 of the calendar year in which the exception was approved (e.g., if the exception was approved on March 1, 2017, it is valid for any competitive or non-competitive application submission to EPA through December 31, 2017). Applicants need only request an exception once in a calendar year and all exceptions will expire on December 31 of that calendar year. Applicants must request a new exception from required electronic submission through Grants.gov for submissions for any succeeding calendar year. For example, if there is a competitive opportunity issued on December 1, 2017 with a submission deadline of January 15, 2018, the applicant would need a new exception to submit through alternative methods beginning January 1, 2018.

Please note that the process described in this section is only for requesting alternate submission methods. All other inquiries about this announcement must be directed to the Agency Contact listed in Section VII of the announcement. Queries or requests submitted to the email address identified above for any reason other than to request an alternate submission method will not be acknowledged or answered.

B. Application Package Information

Use the application package available at Grants.gov (see Section IV.F. “Submission Instructions for Phase I Applications and Other Submission Requirements”).  Note: With the exception of the current and pending support form (available at https://www.epa.gov/research-grants/research-funding-opportunities-how-apply-and-required-forms), all necessary forms are included in the electronic application package. Make sure to include the current and pending support form in your Grants.gov submission.

An email will be sent by NCER to the 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 acknowledgement within 10 calendar days of the submission closing date, immediately inform the Electronic Submissions Contact shown in this solicitation.  Failure to do so may result in your application not being reviewed.  See Section IV.F. “Submission Instructions for Phase I Applications and Other Submission Requirements” for additional information regarding the application receipt acknowledgment.

C. 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 SF424, 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 unique entity identifier (formerly ‘DUNS number’) when applying for federal grants or cooperative agreements. Organizations may receive a unique entity identifier, at no cost, by calling the dedicated toll-free request line at 1-866-705-5711, or visiting the website at: Dun & Bradstreet Exit.

    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 Intergovernmental Review (SPOC List). /. 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 found in the Grants.gov application package. An “Additional Key Contacts” form is also available at How to Apply and Required Forms. The Key Contacts form should also be completed for major sub-agreements (i.e., primary investigators). Do not include information for consultants or other contractors. Please make certain that all contact information is accurate.

  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 (2 pages)

    The abstract is a very important document in the review process. Therefore, it is critical that the abstract accurately and understandably describe the research or new design concept being proposed and convey all the essential elements of the proposed project. Abstracts of applications that receive funding will be posted on EPA’s Research Grants website.

    The abstract should include the information described below (a-k). Examples of abstracts for previous P3 grants may be found on the P3 web site.

    1. Funding Opportunity Number(s) and Research Area(s): Enter the full name of the solicitation (15th Annual P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet) and the funding opportunity number and associated research area under which you are submitting your proposal. The funding opportunity numbers and their associated research areas are listed at the beginning of this announcement, in Section I.E. above, and in Section IV.C.9.b below.

      Please note: Include the Funding Opportunity Number to which the proposal is being submitted in the upper right side of the “header” of the Abstract page. Each application must be submitted using a single FON. Within the selected research area, applicants should select one of the listed topics to be the focus of their project (see Section I.E). If applicants propose a project that does not address one of these topics, they may not be evaluated as highly during the relevancy review, and therefore may not be recommended for an award
    2. Project Title: Use the exact title of your project as it appears in the application. The title must be brief (no more than 50 characters, including spaces) 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. Principal Investigator (P.I.): This person will serve as the faculty advisor for the P3 student team. List the name of the PI and then the names and affiliations of any co-investigators/advisors who will significantly contribute to the project. Provide a web site URL or an email contact address for each investigator. Consider including people from departments and disciplines that will help make a successful project—e.g., from business, social science, and education schools and departments.
    4. Student Team. If student investigators are known at the time of the proposal, list them, indicate whether each student is an undergraduate or graduate student, and indicate the expertise they will contribute to the P3 team. If student investigators are not yet known, provide a brief explanation of how and when the P3 student team will be formed and the areas of expertise to be recruited for the team. Include in the team students from schools and disciplines that will help make a successful project—e.g., from business, social science, and education schools or departments.
    5. Institution(s): 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.
    6. Student Represented Departments and Institutions: List the departments and institutions that will be represented by the students participating on the team.
    7. Project Period and Location: Show the proposed project beginning and ending dates. Projects will generally begin in September 2018. Also provide the performance site(s)/geographical location(s) where the work will be conducted.
    8. Proposed EPA Project Cost: Show the total dollars requested from the EPA, including direct and indirect costs. (This cannot exceed $15,000.)
    9. Project Summary: Provide the following three subsections:
      • Objective: Within the selected research area and topic, provide a definition of the technical challenge, describe how the proposed design approach will address the challenge, and identify the innovative scientific or technical aspects of the proposal. Explain how the project will benefit people—e.g., those in small, rural, tribal, and disadvantaged communities.
      • Description: Describe the project/design and how it relates to the P3 approach: people, prosperity and the planet. Also identify how the P3 Project will provide education on the project’s purpose, approach, results, and implications at the university or community level.
      • Results: Identify the expected outputs/outcomes of the project and provide a description of the strategy for measuring results, evaluation and demonstration.
    10. Contribution to Pollution Prevention or Control: Provide a brief statement describing how the proposed project/design will further the goals of pollution prevention and/or control.
    11. 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 in the P3 Abstract format provided at: How to Apply and Required Forms.

5. Research Plan, Human Subjects Research Statement, and References

a. Research Plan (12 pages)

Note: Please review the Evaluation Criteria presented in Section V.A. to ensure that your
proposal addresses all of the criteria against which it will be evaluated by the external and
internal reviewers.

This plan must not exceed twelve (12) 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 plan.

Divide your research plan into the following sections and label accordingly.

Section 1: Proposed Research

(a) Challenge Definition
  • Identify the topic (see Section I.E) the project will address.
  • Identify the technical challenge the team will research.
  • Identify the research project’s innovative aspects by describing how it shifts current research or engineering paradigms by using innovative theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation or interventions applicable to one or more fields of research.  Where appropriate, put the research in the context of current approaches (e.g., provide a literature review).
(b) Research Description
  • Describe the research and its goals and objectives.
  • Explain the scientific/technical soundness, feasibility, and trade-offs involved in the proposed design.
  • Explain the plan for engaging intended end users—e.g., those in small, rural, tribal, and disadvantaged communities.
  • State how the research relates to pollution prevention/control or link it to one of EPA’s authorizing statutes provided in Section I.C. (Put in link to Section 1.C. of solicitation.)
  • If the project has partners, describe their roles, responsibilities, and contributions to helping the project succeed*.
(c) Results (outputs/outcomes), Evaluation and Demonstration
  • Describe the expected outputs and the potential outcomes to society, the economy, and the environment (See Section I.D.; link).
  • Describe how the project supports the Agency’s priorities described in Section I.D.
  • Describe how progress toward achieving the expected outputs and outcomes will be tracked and measured.
  • Explain how the project will primarily perform its research in the U.S. and the benefits of that research will primarily accrue to the U.S. 

Section 2: Relationship of Challenge to the P3 (People, Prosperity and the Planet) Approach

  • Describe how the project embodies the P3 approach and seeks sustainable solutions that protect the environment, strengthen our communities, and create economic benefits. The sustainability primer (https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-05/documents/sustainability_primer_v9.pdf) provides examples of research activities that promote and incorporate sustainability principles.
  • Describe how the proposed environmental and economic outcomes could benefit the intended users and/or society more generally.
  • Describe the potential for implementation, adoption, concept transferability, and long-term viability of the research in the affected communities and elsewhere.

Section 3: Project Management

  • Provide schedules for key milestones and project tasks.
  • Provide the areas of expertise/experience to be represented on the project team.
  • Discuss facilities and other resources available for the project.
  • Detail how project objectives will be successfully achieved within the grant period and describe the approach, procedures and controls for ensuring that grant funds will be expended in a timely and efficient manner.
  • Describe how the project will be managed, including the roles and responsibilities of all faculty and team members.

Section 4: Educational and Interdisciplinary Aspects of Research

  • Identify the educational benefits of the research.
  • Provide a plan for teaching the P3 approach.
  • Identify the university, community, and/or other audiences who will be taught.
  • Describe the teaching methods and materials.
  • Clearly identify the planned mix of disciplines to be represented on the team, including both the undergraduate and graduate student members and the PI and co-investigators/advisors.
* Partnerships are strongly encouraged and will be particularly important for the demonstration strategies. While formal partnerships need not be established prior to submitting the proposal, indicate any and all anticipated partnerships including the type of partner (educational institution, industry and/or NGOs). Formal letters of understanding or commitment from any and all partners should be submitted in support of the application, when available and appropriate and will be considered letters of intent/support as described in Section IV.C.9.a. below. If the applicant does not intend to partner with other groups in the performance of the project, the applicant must demonstrate how it will be able to effectively perform and complete the project without such partnership.

b. EPA Human Subjects Research Statement (HSRS) (4 pages) 

Human subjects research supported by the EPA is governed by EPA Regulation 40 CFR Part 26 (Protection of Human Subjects). This includes the Common Rule at subpart A and prohibitions and additional protections for pregnant women and fetuses, nursing women, and children at subparts B, C, and D. While retaining the same notation, subparts B, C, and D are substantively different in 40 CFR Part 26 than in the more commonly cited 45 CFR 46. Particularly noteworthy is that research meeting the regulatory definition of intentional exposure research found in subpart B is prohibited by that subpart in pregnant women, nursing women, and children. Research meeting the regulatory definition of observational research (any research that is not intentional exposure research) found in subparts C and D is subject to the additional protections found in those subparts for pregnant women and fetuses (subpart C) and children (subpart D). These subparts also differ markedly from the language in 45 CFR 46. For more information, please see: Basic Information about Human Subjects Research.

Procedures for the review and oversight of human research subject to 40 CFR Part 26 are also provided in EPA Order 1000.17A EPA Order 1000.17 Change A1).  These include review of projects for EPA-supported human research by the EPA Human Subjects Research Review Official (HSRRO).  Additional requirements must be met and final approval received from the HSRRO before the human subjects portion of the research can begin.  When reviewing human observational exposure studies, EPA Order 1000.17A requires the HSRRO to apply the principles described in the SEAOES documentSEAOES (PDF) (132 pp, 1.79 MB) and grant approval only to studies that adhere to those principles

All applications submitted under this solicitation must include a HSRS as described below. For more information about what constitutes human subjects research, please see: Basic Information about Human Subjects Research. For information on the prohibition on the inclusion of vulnerable subjects in intentional exposure research, please see:Basic Information about Human Subjects Research

Human Subjects Research Statement (HSRS) Requirements
If the proposed research does not involve human subjects as defined above, provide the following statement in your application package as your HSRS: “The proposed research does not involve human subjects.”  Applicants should provide a clear justification about how the proposed research does not meet the definition (for example, all samples come from deceased individuals OR samples are purchased from a commercial source and provided without identifiers, etc.). 

If the proposed research does involve human subjects, then include in your application package a HSRS that addresses each applicable section listed below, referencing the specific location of the information in the Research Plan, providing the information in the HSRS, or explaining why the section does not apply to the proposed research.  (Not all will apply.)  Please note that even research that has been determined to be exempt from the human subjects regulations by an IRB must be reviewed by the EPA HSRRO. Therefore, consider exempt research to include human subjects work for this EPA solicitation. Do not exceed four consecutively numbered, 8.5x11-inch pages of single-spaced, standard 12-point type with 1-inch margins. The factors below are not intended to be exhaustive of all those needed for the HSRRO to provide the final approval necessary for research to be conducted, but provide a basis upon which the human subjects oversight review may begin.

NOTE: Researchers must provide evidence of an assurance on file with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or other Federal Agency that it will comply with regulatory provisions in the Common Rule. In special circumstances where there is no such assurance, EPA will work with investigators to obtain an assurance from HHS or another source.

Complete all items below for studies involving human subjects.
Protection of Human Subjects (*Adapted from National Institutes of Health Supplemental Instructions for PHS 398 and SF424 (R&R) II-10)

  1. Risks to Human Subjects

a. Human Subjects Involvement, Characteristics, and Design

  • Describe and justify the proposed involvement of human subjects in the work outlined in the Research Strategy section.
  • Describe the characteristics of the subject population, including their anticipated number, age range, and health status, if relevant.
  • Describe and justify the sampling plan, including retention strategies and the criteria for inclusion or exclusion of any subpopulation.
  • Explain the rationale for the involvement of special vulnerable populations, such as pregnant women, children, or others who may be considered vulnerable populations.
  • If relevant to the proposed research, describe procedures for assignment to a study group. As related to human subjects protection, describe and justify the selection of an intervention’s dose, frequency and administration.
  • List any collaborating sites where human subjects research will be performed, and describe the role of those sites and collaborating investigators in performing the proposed research. Explain how data from the site(s) will be obtained, managed, and protected.

b. Sources of Materials

  • Describe the research material obtained from living individuals in the form of specimens, records, or data.
  • Describe any data that will be collected from human subjects for the project(s) described in the application.
  • Indicate who will have access to individually identifiable private information about human subjects.
  • Provide information about how the specimens, records, and/or data are collected, managed, and protected as well as whether material or data that include individually identifiable private information will be collected specifically for the proposed research project.

c. Potential Risks

  • Describe all the potential risks to subjects posed by participation in the research (physical, psychological, financial, legal, or other), and assess their likelihood and seriousness to the human subjects.
  • Where appropriate, describe alternative treatments and procedures, including the risks and potential benefits of the alternative treatments and procedures, to participants in the proposed research.

2. Adequacy of Protection Against Risks

a. Recruitment and Informed Consent

  • Describe plans for the recruitment of subjects (where appropriate) and the process for obtaining informed consent. If the proposed studies will include children, describe the process for meeting requirements for parental permission and child assent.
  • Include a description of the circumstances under which consent will be sought and obtained, who will seek it, the nature of the information to be provided to prospective subjects, and the method of documenting consent. If a waiver of some or all of the elements of informed consent will be sought, provide justification for the waiver.

b. Protections Against Risk

  • Describe planned procedures for protecting against or minimizing potential risks, including risks to privacy of individuals or confidentiality of data, and assess their likely effectiveness.
  • Research involving vulnerable populations, as described in the EPA regulations, Subparts B-D, must include additional protections. Refer to EPA guidance:
  • Where appropriate, discuss plans for ensuring necessary medical or professional intervention in the event of adverse effects to the subjects. Studies that involve clinical trials must include a general description of the plan for data and safety monitoring of the clinical trials and adverse event reporting to the IRB, the DSMB (if one has been established for the trial), the EPA and others, as appropriate, to ensure the safety of subjects.

3. Potential Benefits of the Proposed Research to Human Subjects and Others

  • Discuss the potential benefits of the research to research participants and others.
  • Discuss why the risks to subjects are reasonable in relation to the anticipated benefits to research participants and others.
  • Please note that financial compensation of subjects is not considered to be a benefit of participation in research.

4. Importance of the Knowledge to be Gained

  • Discuss the importance of the knowledge to be gained as a result of the proposed research.
  • Discuss why the risks to subjects are reasonable in relation to the importance of the knowledge that reasonably may be expected to result.

Note that an Interventional Study (or Clinical Trial) is a clinical study in which participants are assigned to receive one or more interventions (or no intervention) so that researchers can evaluate the effects of the interventions on biomedical or health-related outcomes; the assignments are determined by the study protocol.

c. References

References cited are in addition to other page limits (e.g., research plan, quality assurance statement).

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 in the Grants.gov electronic application package and also at How to Apply and Required Forms. Only complete “Section B-Budget Categories”. Provide the object class budget category (a. - k.) amounts under the “Grant Program, Function or Activity” heading. Each column reflects a separate budget year. Since P3 Phase I grants are one-year grants you will only need to fill in the Year 1 column which will automatically be copied into the total budget column (Column 5).

    Applicants may not use subagreements to transfer or delegate their responsibility for successful completion of their EPA assistance agreement. Please refer toEPA Solicitation Clauses if your organization intends to identify specific contractors, including consultants, and subawardees in your proposal.

    Please note that institutional cost-sharing is not required and should not be included.

    The budget must include expenses for the P3 team, or representatives of the P3 team, to travel in the spring of 2019 to the National Student Design Expo, which will be held in a major East Coast city.

  2. Budget Justification [3 pages in addition to the Section IV.C.5. page limitations]

    Describe the basis for calculating the personnel, fringe benefits, travel, equipment, supplies, contractual support, and other costs identified in the SF-424A. The budget justification should not exceed three 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:

       A sample budget justification is provided below followed by EPA requirements.  All funds will be used in accordance with the budget justification guidelines 
      detailed in this section.

Personnel:
5% of time for Principal Investigator to manage the project.

Below is a sample computation for Personnel:

Position/Title                      Annual Salary    % of Time Assigned to Project      Cost
Project Manager                 $50,000                 2%                                                          $1,000

Total Personnel                                                                                                              $1,000

Fringe Benefits:
Fringe benefits for Principal Investigator managing the project.

Travel: Estimated employee travel is $xxxx as shown below. See “Other,” aka Participant Support, for student travel

Table 1: Employee Travel Expenses (examples only!)

Purpose of Travel Location Item Computation Cost
EPA P3 Travel East Coast City Lodging

1 rooms x $200 x 2 nights

$400
Airfare 1 round trip at $528 $528
Per Diem 3 days at $74 $222
Total Travel $1150

Total Travel: $1150

Equipment:
Provide details such as the type of equipment, cost, and a brief narrative on its intended use.

Supplies: An estimated $xxxx is needed for materials and tools to construct a prototype as well as purchasing testing materials for a bench-scale model. Supplies (e.g., reagents, buffers) will be needed to determine optimum operating conditions (e.g., temperature, airflow).

Table 2: Materials and supplies cost
(List each item and unit cost)

Total Supplies: $xxxx

Contractual:
List professional services (e.g., sample analysis, fabrication) procured from for-profit entities (including consultants) here.

Other Direct Costs:

A. Participant Support Costs:
Estimated travel cost for three students to attend the 2019 EPA P3 National Student Design
Expo in a major East Coast city is $xxxx, as shown below.

Table 3: Non-Employee Travel Expenses (examples only!)

Purpose of Travel

Location

Item

Computation

Cost

EPA P3 Travel

East
Coast
City

Lodging

2 rooms x $200 x 2 nights

$800

Airfare

6 people x $528

$3168

Per Diem

6 people x $74 x 3 days

$1332

Field Sampling

Field Sites

Vehicle Mileage

Current reimbursement rate of $0.xxx per mile

$288

Total Travel:

$5588

Total EPA P3 Event Participant Support $5588

B. Facilities rental (if any):
This project will be based at (facility). (Explain rental cost)

C. Shipping, (if any):
(Note: This includes shipping a prototype to the Expo.)

D. Analysis, (if any):
For work such as sample analysis or fabrication done by the recipient institution.

Indirect Costs:
(Institution’s) approved indirect cost rate is currently xx% and is set by the (Cognizant Agency, e.g., Office of Naval Research).

EPA Budget Requirements

  1. Personnel: List all staff positions by title. Give annual salary, percentage of time assigned to the project, total cost for the budget period, and project role. Compensation paid for employees engaged in grant activities must be consistent with payments for similar work within the applicant organization. Note that for salaries to be allowable as a direct charge to the award, a justification of how that person will be directly involved in the project must be provided. General administrative duties such as answering telephones, filing, typing, or accounting duties are not considered acceptable.
     
    Note this budget category is limited to persons employed by the applicant organization ONLY. Those employed elsewhere are classified as subawardees, program participants, contractors or consultants. Contractors and consultants should be listed under the “Contractual” budget heading. Subawards made to eligible subrecipients are listed under the “Other” budget heading. Participant support costs such as stipends or travel assistance for trainees (e.g. interns or fellows) are listed under the “Other” budget heading.
     
  2. Fringe Benefits: Identify the percentage used and the basis for its computation. Fringe benefits are for the personnel listed in budget category (i) above and only for the percentage of time devoted to the project. Fringe benefits include but are not limited to the cost of leave, employee insurance, pensions and unemployment benefit plans. The applicant should not combine the fringe benefit costs with direct salaries and wages in the personnel category.
     
  3. Travel: Be certain to include travel costs for an estimated number of P3 team members to travel to the National Student Design Expo to present their research in the spring of 2019. Specify the estimated number of trips, purpose of each trip, number of travelers per trip, destinations, and other costs for each type of travel. Explain the need for any travel, paying particular attention to travel outside the United States. Foreign travel includes trips to Mexico and Canada but does not include trips to Puerto Rico, the U.S. territories or possessions. If EPA funds will not be used for foreign travel, the budget justification must expressly state that the applicant will not use EPA funds for foreign travel without approval by EPA.
     
  4. Equipment: Identify all tangible, non-expendable personal property to be purchased that has an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more per unit and a useful life of more than one year. Equipment also includes accessories and services included with the purchase price necessary for the equipment to be operational. It does not include: (1) equipment planned to be leased/rented; or (2) separate equipment service or maintenance contracts. Details such as the type of equipment, cost, and a brief narrative on the intended use of the equipment for project objectives are required. Each item of equipment must be identified with the corresponding cost. Particular brands of equipment should not be identified. General-purpose equipment (office equipment, etc.) must be justified as to how it will be used on the project. (Property items with a unit cost of less than $5,000 are considered supplies.)
     
  5. Supplies: “Supplies” means tangible property other than “equipment.” Identify supplies to be used under the project. This may include: software, office supplies, and laboratory supplies such as reagents, chemicals and glassware. Specifically identify computers/laptops to be purchased or upgraded.
     
  6. Contractual: List the proposed contractual activities along with a brief description of the scope of work or services to be provided, the proposed duration of the contract/procurement, the estimated cost, and the proposed procurement method (competitive or non-competitive). Any procurement of services from individual consultants or commercial firms (including space for workshops) must comply with the competitive procurement requirements of 2 CFR Part 200.317-200.326. Please see https://www2.epa.gov/grants/epa-solicitation-clauses#Contracts and Subawards for more details.
     
  7. Examples of Contractual costs include:
    • Consultants – Consultants are individuals with specialized skills who are paid at a daily or hourly rate. EPA’s participation in the salary rate (excluding overhead) paid to individual consultants retained by recipients or by a recipient's contractors or subcontractors is limited to the maximum daily rate for a Level IV of the Executive Schedule (formerly GS-18), to be adjusted annually.
    • Speaker/Trainer Fees – Information on speakers should include the fee and a description of the services they are providing.
       
  8. Other: List each item in sufficient detail for the EPA to determine the reasonableness of its cost relative to the research to be undertaken. “Other” items may include equipment rental, long distance telephone charges, and photocopying costs. Note that subawards, such as those with other universities or nonprofit research institutions for members of the research team, are included in this category. Provide the total costs proposed for subawards as a separate line item in the budget justification and brief description of the activities to be supported for each subaward or types of subawards if the subrecipients have not been identified. Subawards may not be used to acquire services from consultants or commercial firms. Please see https://www2.epa.gov/grants/epa-solicitation-clauses#Contracts and Subawards for more details. The “Other” budget category also includes participant support costs such as stipends or travel assistance for trainees (e.g. interns or fellows). Provide the total costs proposed for participant support costs as a separate line item in the budget justification and brief description of the costs. If EPA funds will not be used for foreign travel by program participants, the budget justification must expressly state that the applicant will not use EPA funds for foreign travel without approval by EPA.
     
  9. Indirect Costs: If your organization does not have a cognizant agency, and does not intend to use the 10% de minimis indirect cost rate authorized by 2 CFR 200.414(f) please note that in the budget justification and provide a brief explanation for how you plan to obtain an indirect cost rate.

7. Resumes

Provide resumes for each investigator and important co-worker. You may include resumes from staff of subawardees such as universities. Do not include resumes of consultants or other contractors. The resume is not limited to traditional materials, but should provide materials to clearly and appropriately demonstrate that the investigator has the knowledge needed to perform their component of the proposed research. 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.

Alternative to a standard resume, you may use a profile such as an NIH BioSketch that can be generated in SciENcv (see SciENcv for information on SciENcv; also see My NCBI Curriculum Vitae Web Application: SciENcv).  These materials should generally conform to the requirements for a resume (e.g., content and page number).

8. Current and Pending Support

Complete a current and pending support form (Research Funding Opportunities: How to Apply and Required Forms) for each investigator and important co-worker.  Do not include current and pending support for consultants or other contractors.  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.
  • 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. EPA employees are not permitted to provide letters of intent for any application.

      Letters of support do not commit a resource vital to the success of the proposal. A letter of support is written by businesses, organizations, or community members stating their support of the applicant's proposed project.  EPA employees are not permitted to provide letters of support for any application.

      Note:  Letters of intent or support must be part of the application; letters submitted separately will not be accepted.  Any letter of intent or support that exceeds one brief paragraph (excluding letterhead and salutations), is considered part of the Research Plan and is included in the 15-page Research Plan limit.  Any transactions between the successful applicant and parties providing letters of intent or support financed with EPA grant funds are subject to the contract and subaward requirements described here EPA Solicitation Clauses.

    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. Applicants should identify one topic within that research area that will be the focus of their project (see Section I.E). If applicants propose a project that does not address one of these topics, they may not be evaluated as highly during the relevancy review, and therefore may not be recommended for an award.

      The Funding Opportunity Numbers and associated research areas for this RFA are listed below:

      15th Annual P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet

    • EPA-G2018-P3-Q1 – Air Quality
    • EPA-G2018-P3-Q2 – Safe and Sustainable Water Resources
    • EPA-G2018-P3-Q3 – Sustainable and Healthy Communities
    • EPA-G2018-P3-Q4 – Chemical Safety

      Additional detail for each FON is provided above in Section I.E.

    c. 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.

D. Submission Dates and Times

Applications must be transferred to Grants.gov no later than 11:59:59 pm Eastern Time on the solicitation closing date. Applications transferred after the closing date and time will be returned to the sender without further consideration. EPA will not accept any changes to applications after the closing date.

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 EPA's Research Grants web site (Research Grants) and a modification posted on Grants.gov. 

Solicitation Closing Date: February 7, 2018, 11:59:59 pm Eastern Time (applications must be submitted to Grants.gov by this time, see Section IV.F “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.

E. Funding Restrictions

The funding mechanism for all awards issued under the P3 solicitation will consist of assistance agreements from the EPA. All award decisions are subject to the availability of funds. In accordance with the Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act, 31 U.S.C. 6301 et seq., the primary purpose of 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).

EPA award recipients may incur allowable project costs 90 calendar days before the Federal awarding agency makes the Federal award. Expenses more than 90 calendar days pre-award require prior approval of EPA. All costs incurred before EPA makes the award are at the recipient's risk. EPA is under no obligation to reimburse such costs if for any reason the recipient does not receive a Federal award or if the Federal award is less than anticipated and inadequate to cover such costs.

If you wish to submit applications for more than one EPA 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.

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.

F. Submission Instructions for Phase I and Other Submission Requirements
Please read this entire section before attempting an electronic submission through Grants.gov. 

If you do not have the technical capability to utilize the Grants.gov application submission process for this solicitation, see Section IV.A above for additional guidance and instructions.

Note:  Grants.gov submission instructions are updated on an as-needed basis.  Please provide your Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) with a copy of the following instructions to avoid submission delays that may occur from the use of outdated instructions.

  1. Preparing for Submission. The electronic submission of your application must be made by an official representative of your institution who is registered with Grants.gov and is authorized to sign applications for Federal assistance.  For more information on the registration requirements that must be completed in order to submit an application through Grants.gov, go to Grants.gov and click on “Register” at the top right corner of the page. If your organization is not currently registered with Grants.gov, please encourage your office to designate an Authorized Organization Representative (AOR) and ask that individual to begin the registration process as soon as possible. Please note that the registration process also requires that your organization have a unique entity identifier (formerly ‘DUNS’ number) and a current registration with the System for Award Management (SAM) and the process of obtaining both could take a month or more. Applicants must ensure that all registration requirements are met in order to apply for this opportunity through Grants.gov and should ensure that all such requirements have been met well in advance of the submission deadline. Registration on Grants.gov, SAM.gov, and unique entity identifier assignment is FREE

    Applicants need to ensure that the AOR who submits the application through Grants.gov and whose DUNS number is listed on the application is an AOR for the applicant listed on the application. Additionally, the DUNS number listed on the application must be registered to the applicant organization’s SAM account. If not, the application may be deemed ineligible.

    To begin the application process under this grant announcement, go to Grants.gov and click on “Applicants” on the top of the page and then “Apply for Grants” from the drop-down menu and then follow the instructions accordingly. Please note: To apply through Grants.gov, you must use Adobe Reader software and download the compatible Adobe Reader version. For more information about Adobe Reader, to verify compatibility, or to download the free software, please visit Grants.gov Adobe Software Compatability

    Search Grants” at the top of the page and enter the Funding Opportunity Number, EPA-G2018-P3-Q1, Q2, Q3, or Q4, or the CFDA number that applies to the announcement (CFDA 66.516), in the appropriate field under “Basic Search Criteria”. 

    Note: Applications submitted through Grants.gov beginning January 1, 2018 must be submitted through the “Workspace” feature. Information on the Workspace feature can be found at the Grants.gov Workspace Overview Page.

  2. Acknowledgement of Receipt. The complete application must be transferred to Grants.gov no later than 11:59:59 pm Eastern Time on the solicitation closing date (see “Submission Dates and Times”). Applications submitted through Grants.gov will be time and date stamped electronically. Grants.gov provides an on-screen notification of successful initial transfer as well as an email notification of successful transfer from Grants.gov to EPA. While it is advisable to retain copies of these Grants.gov acknowledgements to document submission, the only official documentation that the application has been received by NCER is the email acknowledgement sent by NCER to the 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 receipt.application@epa.gov has not been received within 10 calendar days of the solicitation closing date, immediately inform the Electronic Submissions Contact shown in this solicitation. Failure to do so may result in your application not being reviewed.

  3. Application Package Preparation.  Your organization’s AOR must submit your complete application package electronically to EPA through Grants.gov (Grants.gov) no later than February 7, 2018, 11:59:59 pm Eastern Time. Please allow for enough time to successfully submit your application and allow for unexpected errors that may require you to resubmit.   

    Please submit all of the application materials described below using the grants.gov application package that you downloaded using the instructions above. For additional instructions on completing and submitting the electronic application package, click on the “Show Instructions” tab that is accessible within the application package itself.

    The application package consists of the following mandatory documents. 

    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 (d) below.
    3. SF-424A Budget Information for Non-Construction Programs: Only complete “Section B-Budget Categories.”   Provide the object class budget category (a. - k.) amounts under the “Grant Program, Function or Activity” heading.  Each column reflects a separate budget year. Since P3 Phase I grants are one-year grants you will only need to fill in the Year 1 column which will automatically be copied into the total budget column (Column 5).
    4. Project Narrative Attachment Form (click on “Add Mandatory Project Narrative”):  Attach a single electronic PDF file labeled “Application” that contains the items described in Section IV.C.3. through IV.C.9.a (Table of Contents, Abstract, Research Plan, Human Subjects Research Statement, References, 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 https://www.epa.gov/research-grants/research-funding-opportunities-how-apply-and-required-forms) are needed, place them before the Table of Contents (Section IV.C.3.).

    Once the application package has been completed, the “Submit” button should be enabled.  If the “Submit” button is not active, please call Grants.gov for assistance at 1-800-518-4726.  Applicants who are outside the U.S. at the time of submittal and are not able to access the toll-free number may reach a Grants.gov representative by calling 606-545-5035.  Investigators should save the completed application package with two different file names before providing it to the AOR to avoid having to re-create the package should submission problems be experienced or a revised application needs to be submitted.  Note:  Revised applications must be submitted before the solicitation closing date and time.

  4. Submitting the application.  The application package must be transferred to Grants.gov by an AOR.  The AOR should close all other software before attempting to submit the application package.  Click the “submit” button of the application package. Your Internet browser will launch and a sign-in page will appear.  Note:  Minor problems are not uncommon with transfers to Grants.gov.  It is essential to allow sufficient time to ensure that your application is submitted to Grants.gov BEFORE 11:59:59 pm Eastern Time on the solicitation closing date.  The Grants.gov support desk operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except Federal Holidays.

    A successful transfer will end with an on-screen acknowledgement.  For documentation purposes, print or screen capture this acknowledgement.  If a submission problem occurs, reboot the computer – turning the power off may be necessary – and re-attempt the submission. 

    Note:  Grants.gov issues a “case number” upon a request for assistance.

  5. Transmission Difficulties. If transmission difficulties that result in a late transmission, no transmission, or rejection of the transmitted application are experienced, and following the above instructions do not resolve the problem so that the application is submitted to Grants.Gov by the deadline date and time, follow the guidance below. The Agency will make a decision concerning each late submission on a case-by-case basis as to whether it should be forwarded for peer review. All emails, as described below, are to be sent to jones.debram@epa.gov with the FON in the subject line

    Be aware that EPA will only consider accepting applications that were unable to transmit due to Grants.gov or relevant www.Sam.gov system issues or for unforeseen exigent circumstances, such as extreme weather interfering with internet access. Failure of an applicant to submit timely because they did not properly or timely register in SAM.gov or Grants.gov is not an acceptable reason to justify acceptance of a late submittal.

    Please note that if the application you are submitting is greater than 70 MB in size, please call or send an email message to the Electronic Submissions Contact listed for this RFA. The Agency may experience technical difficulty downloading files of this size from Grants.gov. Therefore, it is important that the Agency verify that the file can be downloaded. The Agency will provide alternate submission instructions if the file cannot be downloaded.

    1. If you are experiencing problems resulting in an inability to upload the application to Grants.gov, it is essential to call Grants.gov for assistance at 1-800-518-4726 before the application deadline.  Applicants who are outside the U.S. at the time of submittal and are not able to access the toll-free number may reach a Grants.gov representative by calling 606-545-5035.  Be sure to obtain a case number from Grants.gov. If the problems stem from unforeseen exigent circumstances unrelated to Grants.gov, such as extreme weather interfering with internet access, contact Debra M. Jones (jones.debram@epa.gov).
    2. Unsuccessful transfer of the application package: If a successful transfer of the application cannot be accomplished even with assistance from Grants.gov due to electronic submission issues or unforeseen exigent circumstances, send an email message to Debra M. Jones (jones.debram@epa.gov) by 11:59:59 pm Eastern Time on the solicitation closing date. The email message must document the problem and include the Grants.gov case number as well as the entire application in PDF format as an attachment.
    3. Grants.gov rejection of the application package:  If a notification is received from Grants.gov stating that the application has been rejected for reasons other than late submittal, promptly send an email to Debra M. Jones (jones.debram@epa.gov) with the FON in the subject line within one business day of the closing date of this solicitation.  The email should include any materials provided by Grants.gov and attach the entire application in PDF format.

Please note that successful submission through Grants.gov or via email does not necessarily mean your application is eligible for award.

G. Submission Instructions for Phase II Applications

Additional submission instructions for the Phase II competition will be provided to the Phase I awardees in the award terms and conditions.

Those receiving funding via a P3 Phase I grant are encouraged to apply for funding for a Phase II grant.  Phase II proposals require many of the same documents as submitted for the Phase I grant.  Phase II awards are separate grant awards.  The proposal for a P3 Phase II grant, which is a component of the Phase I Project Report, will be due in March of 2019.

V. APPLICATION REVIEW INFORMATION

A. Review Process for Phase I Applications

  1. Peer Review

    All eligible grant applications are reviewed by appropriate external technical peer reviewers based on the criteria and process described below.  This review is designed to evaluate each application according to how well it meets the criteria listed below.  The individual external peer reviewers include 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.

    Prior to the external technical peer review panel meeting, all reviewers will receive electronic copies of all applications, as well as a full set of abstracts for the applications. Each application will be assigned to a minimum of three primary peer reviewers, one of whom will be assigned the role of Rapporteur.  Each reviewer will be assigned up to approximately 10 applications on which to serve as a primary reviewer. During the review period leading up to the panel meeting, primary reviewers will read the full set of abstracts and entire application package for each application they are assigned. They will also prepare a written individual evaluation for each assigned application that addresses the peer review criteria described below and rate the application with a score of highly recommend, recommend, or not recommend. 

    At the beginning of the panel meeting, each primary reviewer will report their ratings for the applications they reviewed.  Those applications receiving at least two ratings of Recommend or one rating of Highly Recommend from among the primary reviewers will then be further discussed by the panel in terms of the peer review criteria below.  In addition, if there is one Recommend rating among the primary reviewers of an application, the primary reviewer, whose initial rating is the Recommend, may request discussion of the application by the peer review panel.  All other applications will be declined for further consideration. 

    After the discussion of an application by the panel, the primary reviewers may revise their initial ratings, and if they do so, this will also be documented. The final ratings of the primary reviewers will then be translated by EPA into the final peer review score (highly recommend, recommend, or not recommend) for the application. This is reflected in a peer review results document developed by the Rapporteur, which combines the individual initial and final evaluations of the primary reviewers and captures any substantive comments from the panel discussion.  This score will be used to determine which applications undergo the internal relevancy and past performance review discussed below.  A peer review results document is also developed for applications that are not discussed. However, this document is a consolidation of the individual primary reviewer initial evaluations, with an average of the scores assigned by the primary reviewers. 

  2. Criteria for External Peer Review of Phase I Awards

    All eligible grant applications for Phase I awards will be peer reviewed by an external peer review panel based on the criteria below. Each of the four criteria categories are equally weighted.

    1. Proposal Quality (the subcriteria identified within this criteria are essentially equally weighted) - The degree to which the application includes a plan for scientifically sound, feasible, and appropriate research and describes trade-offs involved in the proposed design; clearly expresses its innovative aspects (supported by a literature review where appropriate) as well as challenges and shifts current research or engineering paradigms by using innovative theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation or interventions (see Section I.E for definition of innovation for purposes of this RFA); lists clear, achievable goals, and objectives; identifies and suitably engages end users—e.g., those in small, rural, tribal, and disadvantaged communities; and if partners are identified, describes their roles, responsibilities, and contributions to helping the project succeed. Applicants that do not plan on partnering with other groups in the performance of the project will be evaluated based on the extent to which they demonstrate how they will be able to effectively perform and complete the project without such partnership.
    2. Robustness of Sustainability Approach (the subcriteria identified within this criteria are essentially equally weighted) – The degree to which the proposed research embodies the P3 approach and offers solutions that protect the environment, strengthen communities, and create economic benefits; demonstrates how its environmental and economic outcomes will benefit the intended users and/or society; and describes its potential for implementation, adoption, transferability and long-term viability in the affected communities and elsewhere. (See Section I.E for definition of sustainability for purposes of this RFA. The sustainability primer(PDF) (2 pp, 195 K) describes sustainability concepts in more detail.)
    3. Education and Teamwork - (the subcriteria identified within this criteria are essentially equally weighted) – The degree to which the project clearly identifies the educational benefits of the research; provides a plan for teaching the P3 approach; identifies the university, community, and/or other audiences who will be taught; adequately describes the teaching methods and materials; and demonstrates it is appropriate for an interdisciplinary team of undergraduate and graduate students.
    4. Budget and Project Management (the subcriteria identified within this criteria are essentially equally weighted)- The degree to which the application provides a reasonable and appropriate budget; includes approaches, procedures, and controls for ensuring timely and efficient expenditure of awarded grant funds; adequately describes expertise/experience to be represented on the project team; describes facilities and other resources to be used on the project; provides a schedule with milestones for ensuring successful achievement of project objectives; describes how progress toward achieving outputs and social, economic, and environmental outcomes will be tracked and measured; and describes how the project will be managed, including the roles and responsibilities of all faculty and team members.
  3. Relevancy Review

Applications receiving final peer review scores of highly recommend or recommend will then undergo an internal relevancy review, as described below, conducted by experts from the EPA, including individuals from the Office of Research and Development (ORD). All other applications are automatically declined. The purpose of the relevancy review is to ensure an integrated research portfolio for the Agency and help determine which applications to recommend for award.

Prior to the relevancy review panel meeting, all relevancy reviewers will receive electronic copies of all applications that passed peer review as well as a full set of abstracts for the applications. Each application will be assigned to a minimum of three primary relevancy reviewers, one of whom will be assigned the role of Rapporteur. Each reviewer will be assigned up to approximately 10 applications on which to serve as a primary relevancy reviewer. During the review period leading up to the relevancy review panel meeting, all reviewers will be instructed to read the full set of abstracts and the entire application package for each application they are assigned. They will also prepare a written individual evaluation for each assigned application that addresses the relevancy review criteria described below and rate the application with a score of A, high relevance to EPA mission; B, relevant to EPA mission; C, moderately relevant to EPA mission; D, possibly relevant to EPA mission; or E, not relevant to EPA mission.

All applications that pass peer review will be discussed by the relevancy review panel with the Rapporteur initiating the discussion. If the primary relevancy reviewers revise their initial scores after the discussion by the panel they will document the reasons for the revisions. After the discussion, the primary relevancy reviewers will provide their final score for the applications they are assigned. The final ratings of the primary reviewers will then be translated by EPA into the final relevancy review score (A, B, C, D, or E) for the application.

The final relevancy review score (A, B, C, D, or E) and final peer review score (Highly Recommend or Recommend) will be used to place each application in one of 6 ranking tiers: Tier 1 = A/ Highly Recommend; Tier 2 = A/Recommend or B/ Highly Recommend; Tier 3 = B/Recommend or C/Highly Recommend; Tier 4 = C/Recommend or D/Highly Recommend; Tier 5 = D/Recommend; Tier 6 = E/Highly Recommend or E/Recommend.

The internal relevancy review panel will assess the following criteria that are listed in descending order of importance (i.e., Criteria a has the heaviest weight):

  1. The degree to which the proposed research is relevant to EPA’s current priorities supporting robust science for: air quality; safe and sustainable water resources; sustainable and healthy communities; or chemical safety.
  2. The degree to which the research is primarily performed in the U.S. and the benefits of the research primarily accrue to the U.S.
  3. The degree to which the project focuses on one of the topics listed under the research area selected in Section I.E.

4. Past Performance History Review

Those applicants who received final scores of Highly Recommend or Recommend as a result of the peer review process will be asked to provide additional information for the past performance history review pertaining to the proposed PI’s "Past Performance and Reporting History."  The applicant must provide the EPA Project Officer with information on the proposed 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 and documenting progress towards achieving the expected results under each agreement

This information is required only for the proposed PI's performance under Federal assistance agreements performed within the last five years that were similar in size and scope to the proposed project.

Past performance history review scores are satisfactory (S), nothing to report (NTR), or unsatisfactory (U). For purposes of consideration of an award, scores of S will be considered favorable, NTR will be considered neither favorable nor unfavorable, and scores of U will be considered unfavorable and unlikely to result in an award recommendation. Scores of S and U must be justified by the reviewer, with scores of U clearly documented to explain why past performance history cannot be considered satisfactory.

The specific information required for each agreement is shown below, and must be provided within one week 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 PI's past performance in reporting on progress towards achieving the expected results (outputs/outcomes) under the agreement and meeting reporting requirements under the agreement. Include the history of submitting acceptable and 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 Email address (if available).

In evaluating applicants under the past performance history factor, EPA will consider the information provided by the applicant and may also consider relevant information from other sources, including information from EPA files and from current/prior grantors (e.g., to verify and/or supplement the information provided by the applicant). If you do not have any relevant or available past performance or past reporting information, please indicate this in your response and you will receive a nothing to report (NTR) score for these factors. If you do not provide any response for these items, you may receive an unsatisfactory (U) score for these factors.

The past performance history review will be conducted by the EPA and will assess the following criteria which are of equal weight:

1. History of successfully managing and completing these prior Federal assistance agreements, including whether there is a satisfactory explanation for any lack of success.

2. History in meeting reporting requirements under the prior agreements and reporting progress toward achieving results (outputs/outcomes) under these agreements, including the proposed PI's history of submitting acceptable and timely progress/final technical reports that adequately describe the progress toward achieving the expected results under the agreements. Any explanation of why progress toward achieving the results was not made will also be considered.

B. Review Process for Phase II Applications

1. External Peer Review
It is expected that Phase II projects/designs will be evaluated in accordance with the process and criteria described below. Phase II applicants will be notified if any changes are made to the review process or criteria. All Phase II projects/designs will be evaluated by external technical peer reviewers made up of non-EPA scientists, engineers, social scientists, economists and/or other professionals who are accomplished in their respective disciplines and proficient in the technical subjects they are evaluating. All Phase I teams will submit a written Project Report which will summarize their Phase I activities and include their proposed Phase II activities. All Phase II projects/designs are reviewed by appropriate external technical peer reviewers based on the criteria and process described below.

Prior to the external technical peer review panel meeting, all reviewers will receive electronic copies of all applications, as well as a full set of abstracts for the applications. Each application will be assigned to a minimum of three primary peer reviewers, one of whom will be assigned the role of Rapporteur. Each reviewer will be assigned up to approximately 10 applications on which to serve as a primary reviewer. During the review period leading up to the panel meeting, primary reviewers will read the full set of abstracts and entire application package for each application they are assigned. They will also prepare a written individual evaluation for each assigned application that addresses the peer review criteria described below and rate the application with a score of excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor.

At the beginning of the panel meeting, each primary reviewer will report their ratings for the applications they reviewed. Those applications receiving at least two ratings of very good or one rating of excellent from among the primary reviewers will then be further discussed by the panel in terms of the peer review criteria below. In addition, if there is one very good rating among the primary reviewers of an application, the primary reviewer, whose initial rating is the very good, may request discussion of the application by the peer review panel. All other applications will be declined for further consideration.

After the discussion of an application by the panel, the primary reviewers may revise their initial ratings; and if they do so this will also be documented. The final ratings of the primary reviewers will then be translated by EPA into the final peer review score (excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor) for the application. This is reflected in a peer review results document developed by the Rapporteur, which combines the individual initial and final evaluations of the primary reviewers and captures any substantive comments from the panel discussion. This score will be used to determine which applications undergo the internal relevancy review discussed below. A peer review results document is also developed for applications that are not discussed. However, this document is a consolidation of the individual primary reviewer initial evaluations, with an average of the scores assigned by the primary reviewers.

2. Criteria for External Review of Phase II Grant Awards
The external technical peer reviewers will base their evaluations of the written Project Report on the criteria below. Each of the four criteria categories are equally weighted.

  1. Proposal Quality (the subcriteria identified within this criteria are essentially equally weighted) – The degree to which the application includes a plan for scientifically sound, feasible, and appropriate research and describes trade-offs involved in the proposed design; clearly expresses its innovative aspects (supported by a literature review where appropriate) as well as challenges and shifts current research or engineering paradigms by using innovative theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation or interventions (see Section I.E for definition of innovation for purposes of this RFA); lists clear, achievable goals and objectives; identifies and suitably engages end users—e.g., those in small, rural, tribal, and disadvantaged communities; and if partners are identified, describes their roles, responsibilities, and contributions to helping the project succeed. Applicants that do not plan on partnering with other groups in the performance of the project will be evaluated based on the extent to which they demonstrate how they will be able to effectively perform and complete the project without such partnership.
  2. Robustness of Sustainability Approach (the subcriteria identified within this criteria are essentially equally weighted) – The degree to which the proposed research embodies the P3 approach and offers solutions that protect the environment, strengthen communities, and create economic benefits; demonstrates how its environmental and economic outcomes will benefit the intended users and/or society; and describes its potential for implementation, adoption, transferability and long-term viability in the affected communities and elsewhere. (See Section I.E for definition of sustainability for purposes of this RFA. The sustainability primer, Sustainability Primer (PDF) (2 pp, 195 K), describes sustainability concepts in more detail.)
  3. Education and Teamwork (the subcriteria identified within this criteria are essentially equally weighted) – The degree to which the project clearly identifies the educational benefits of the research; provides a plan for teaching the P3 approach; identifies the university, community, and/or other audiences who will be taught; adequately describes the teaching methods and materials; and demonstrates it is appropriate for an interdisciplinary team of undergraduate and graduate students.
  4. Budget and Project Management (the subcriteria identified within this criteria are essentially equally weighted) - The degree to which the application provides a reasonable and appropriate budget; includes approaches, procedures, and controls for ensuring timely and efficient expenditure of awarded grant funds; adequately describes expertise/experience to be represented on the project team; describes facilities and other resources to be used on the project; provides a schedule with milestones for ensuring successful achievement of project objectives; describes how progress toward achieving outputs and social, economic, and environmental outcomes will be tracked and measured; and describes how the project will be managed, including the roles and responsibilities of all faculty and team members.

3. Relevancy Review

Applications receiving final peer review scores of excellent or very good will then undergo an internal relevancy review, as described below, conducted by experts from the EPA, including individuals from the Office of Research and Development (ORD). All other applications are automatically declined. The purpose of the relevancy review is to ensure an integrated research portfolio for the Agency and help determine which applications to recommend for award.

Prior to the relevancy review panel meeting, all relevancy reviewers will receive electronic copies of all applications that passed peer review as well as a full set of abstracts for the applications. Each application will be assigned to a minimum of three primary relevancy reviewers, one of whom will be assigned the role of Rapporteur. Each reviewer will be assigned up to approximately 10 applications on which to serve as a primary relevancy reviewer. During the review period leading up to the relevancy review panel meeting, all reviewers will be instructed to read the full set of abstracts and the entire application package for each application they are assigned. They will also prepare a written individual evaluation for each assigned application that addresses the relevancy review criteria described below and rate the application with a score of A, high relevance to EPA mission; B, relevant to EPA mission; C, moderately relevant to EPA mission; D, possibly relevant to EPA mission; or E, not relevant to EPA mission.

All applications that pass peer review will be discussed by the relevancy review panel with the Rapporteur initiating the discussion. If the primary relevancy reviewers revise their initial scores after the discussion by the panel they will document the reasons for the revisions. After the discussion, the primary relevancy reviewers will provide their final score for the applications they are assigned. The final ratings of the primary reviewers will then be translated by EPA into the final relevancy review score (A, B, C, D, or E) for the application.

The final relevancy review score (A, B, C, D, or E) and final peer review score (Excellent or Very Good) will be used to place each application in one of 6 ranking tiers: Tier 1 = A/Excellent; Tier 2 = A/Very Good or B/Excellent; Tier 3 = B/Very Good or C/Excellent; Tier 4 = C/Very Good or D/Excellent; Tier 5 = D/Very Good; Tier 6 = E/Excellent or E/Very Good.

The internal relevancy review panel will assess the following criteria that are listed in descending order of importance (i.e., Criteria a has the heaviest weight):

a. The degree to which the proposed research is relevant to EPA’s current priorities supporting robust science for: air quality; safe and sustainable water resources; sustainable and healthy communities; or chemical safety.

b. The degree to which the research is primarily performed in the U.S. and the benefits of the research primarily accrue to the U.S.

c. The degree to which the project focuses on one of the topics listed under the research area selected in Section I.E.

C. Human Subjects Research Statement (HSRS) Review

Phase I applications being considered for funding after the relevancy and past performance review that involve human subjects research studies will have their HSRS reviewed prior to award. The local EPA Human Subjects Officer (HSO) will review the information provided in the HSRS and the Research Plan to determine if the ethical treatment of human subjects is described in a manner appropriate for the project to move forward. The HSO may consult with the EPA Human Subjects Research Review Official (HSRRO) as appropriate. The HSRRO may determine that an application cannot be funded if it is inconsistent with EPA’s regulations at 40 CFR Part 26.

Phase II applications being considered for funding after the relevancy review that involve human subjects research studies will have their HSRS reviewed prior to award. The local EPA Human Subjects Officer (HSO) will review the information provided in the HSRS and the Research Plan to determine if the ethical treatment of human subjects is described in a manner appropriate for the project to move forward. The HSO may consult with the EPA Human Subjects Research Review Official (HSRRO) as appropriate. The HSRRO may determine that an application cannot be funded if it is inconsistent with EPA’s regulations at 40 CFR Part 26.

D. Funding Decisions
Phase I funding decisions are made by the NCER Director based on the ranking tier, the past-performance history review, and, where applicable, the assessment of the applicant’s human subjects research (see Section IV.C.5.b). 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.

Phase II funding decisions are made by the NCER Director based on the ranking tier and, where applicable, the assessment of the applicant’s human subjects research (see Section IV.C.5.b). 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.

E. Additional Provisions for Applicants Incorporated into the Solicitation
Additional provisions that apply to this solicitation and/or awards made under this solicitation including the clause on Reporting and Use of Information Concerning Recipient Integrity and Performance can be found at EPA Solicitation Clauses. These, and the other provisions that can be found at the website link, are important, and applicants must review them when preparing proposals for this solicitation. If you are unable to access these provisions electronically at the website above, please communicate with the EPA contact listed in this solicitation to obtain the provisions.

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.

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 and/or submit a revised budget. EPA Project Officers will contact the PI to obtain these materials. Before or after an award, applicants may be required to provide additional quality assurance documentation for Phase II grants.

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. For example, statutory authorization, funding, or other issues discovered during the award process may affect the ability of EPA to make an award to an applicant. The award notice, signed by an EPA grants officer, is the authorizing document and will be provided through electronic or postal mail.

B. Disputes
Disputes related to this assistance agreement competition will be resolved in accordance with the dispute resolution procedures set forth in 70 FR 3629, 3630 (January 26, 2005) which can be found at Dispute Resolution Procedures.  Questions regarding disputes may be referred to the Eligibility Contact identified below.

C. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
Additional provisions that apply to this solicitation and/or awards made under this solicitation, including but not limited to those related to unique entity identifier, SAM, copyrights, disputes, and administrative capability, can be found at EPA Solicitation Clauses

These, and the other provisions that can be found at the website link, are important, and applicants must review them when preparing applications for this solicitation.  If you are unable to access these provisions electronically at the website above, please communicate with the EPA contact listed in this solicitation to obtain the provisions.

Expectations and responsibilities of NCER grantees are summarized in this section, although the terms grant and grantee are used. 

  1. Meetings: Principal Investigators will be expected to budget for, and present their research at a location to be determined in the eastern U.S. in the spring of 2019. 

  2. Approval of Changes after Award: Prior written approval of changes may be required from EPA. Examples of these changes are contained in 2 CFR 200.308. Note: prior written approval is also required from the EPA Award Official for incurring costs more than 90 calendar days prior to award.

  3. Human Subjects: A grant applicant must agree to comply with all applicable provisions of EPA Regulation 40 CFR Part 26 (Protection of Human Subjects).  In addition, grant applicants must agree to comply with EPA’s procedures for oversight of the recipient’s compliance with 40 CFR Part 26, as given in EPA Order 1000.17A (Policy and Procedures on Protection of Human Research Subjects in EPA Conducted or Supported Research).  As per this Order, no human subject may be involved in any research conducted under this assistance agreement, including recruitment, until the research has been approved or determined to be exempt by the EPA Human Subjects Research Review Official (HSRRO) after review of the approval or exemption determination of the Institutional Review Board(s) (IRB(s)) with jurisdiction over the research under 40 CFR Part 26. Following the initial approvals indicated above, the recipient must, as part of the annual report(s), provide evidence of continuing review and approval of the research by the IRB(s) with jurisdiction, as required by 40 CFR 26.109(e).

    Guidance and training for investigators conducting EPA-funded research involving human subjects may be obtained here:

    Basic Information about Human Subjects Research
    Basic EPA Policy for Protection of Subjects in Human Research Conducted or Supported by EPA

  4. Data Access and Information Release: After award, all data produced under the award must be made available to the NCER Project Officer upon request 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 Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility and Integrity of Information Disseminated by the Environmental Protection Agency.  These procedures may apply to data generated by grant recipients if those data are disseminated as described in the Guidelines.

  5. Reporting: 

    A P3 Phase I grant recipient must agree to provide a written Project Report with an Executive Summary. A final report is also required if the project is extended beyond one year. A P3 Phase II grant recipient must agree to provide annual performance reports with associated summaries and a final report with an executive summary. The summaries will be posted on EPA’s Research Grants website. The reports and summaries should be submitted electronically to the Technical Contact named in Section VII of this announcement.

    A grant recipient must agree to provide copies of, or acceptable alternate access to (e.g., web link), any peer reviewed journal article(s) resulting from the research during the project period. In addition, the recipient should notify the NCER 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 EPA’s Research Grants website.
  6. Acknowledgement of EPA Support: EPA’s full or partial support must be acknowledged in journal articles, oral or poster presentations, news releases, interviews with reporters and other communications. Any documents developed under 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 developed under Assistance Agreement No.________ awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to [name of recipient]. It has not been formally reviewed by EPA. The views expressed in this document are solely those of [name of recipient or names of authors] and do not necessarily reflect those of the Agency. EPA does not endorse any products or commercial services mentioned in this publication.

VII. AGENCY CONTACTS

Technical Contact: Angela Page; Phone: 202-564-7957; Email: page.angelad@epa.gov
Eligibility Contact: Ron Josephson; Phone: 202-564-7823; Email: josephson.ron@epa.gov
Electronic Submissions: Debra M. Jones; Phone: 202-564-7839; Email: jones.debram@epa.gov