An official website of the United States government.

EPA Research

Scientific and Technological Achievement Award (STAA)

About STAA

The EPA's Science and Technological Achievement Awards (STAA) program promotes and recognizes scientific and technological achievement by EPA employees. STAA is among the most prestigious of EPA's scientific awards programs.

The STAA program is an agency-wide competition sponsored by the Office of Research and Development (ORD) that recognizes outstanding scientific and technological papers published by EPA employees. Each year since 1980, EPA scientists and engineers have submitted their publications to be evaluated by a panel convened by EPAs Science Advisory Board (SAB). The SAB convenes an experienced group of scientists and engineers who review and evaluate the nominations. The SAB review panel then produces a set of recommendations used to select the actual awards.

Eligibility Criteria

Publications are now eligible for five (5) years based on publication date.  To be eligible, the nominated research must be published in a peer-reviewed journal, initiate or revise a scientific principle or procedure, and be recognized as a major achievement within its field of study. Publication date limits are set each year at the time of the formal announcement. The competition is EPA-wide and only EPA employees are eligible. Each award cycle identifies several categories to recognize for that particular year. In the past, categories have included:

  • Control Systems and Technology
  • Ecological Research
  • Health Effects Research and Human Health Risk Assessment
  • Monitoring and Measurement Methods
  • Transport and Fate
  • Review Articles
  • Risk Management and Ecosystem Restoration
  • Integrated Risk Assessment
  • Social Sciences
  • Environmental Futures
  • Environmental Statistics

STAA Awards

Four award levels are granted in each research category:

  • Level I: Level I awards are for those who have accomplished an exceptionally high-quality research or technological effort. The awards recognize the creation or general revision of scientific or technological principle or procedure, or a highly significant improvement in the value of a device, activity, program, or service to the public. Awarded research is of national significance or has high impact on a broad area of science/technology. The research has far reaching consequences and is recognizable as a major scientific/technological achievement within its discipline or field of study.
  • Level II: Level II awards are for those who have accomplished a notably excellent research or technological effort that has qualities and values similar to, but to a lesser degree, than those described under Level I. Awarded research has timely consequences and contributes as an important scientific/technological achievement within its discipline or field of study.
  • Level III: Level III awards are for those who have accomplished an unusually notable research or technological effort. The awards are for a substantial revision or modification of a scientific/technological principle or procedure, or an important improvement to the value of a device, activity, program, or service to the public. Awarded research relates to a mission or organizational component of the EPA, or significantly affects a relevant area of science/technology.
  • Honorable Mention: Honorable Mention awards acknowledge research efforts that are noteworthy but do not warrant a Level I, II or III award. Honorable Mention applies to research that: (1) may not quite reach the level described for a Level III award; (2) show a promising area of research that the Subcommittee wants to encourage; or (3) show an area of research that the Subcommittees feels is too preliminary to warrant an award recommendation at this time.

Contact

Kathi Wiser (wiser.kathi@epa.gov) U.S. EPA, Office of Research and Development, Washington, DC; Telephone: (202) 564-6961