National Center For Environmental Research Sciece to Achieve Results (NCER STAR)

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The National Center for Environmental Research (NCER) is one of seven research organizations that comprise EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD). NCER’s mission is to support high-quality research by the nation’s leading scientists and engineers that will improve the scientific basis for national environmental decisions. NCER and ORD mirror the National Academy of Sciences’ risk assessment paradigm by focusing research on: Exposure, Effects, Risk Assessment, and Risk Management. NCER supports leading-edge, extramural research in each of these areas through competitions for grants, fellowships, and innovative small business research contracts.

The technical staff who work for NCER have backgrounds in engineering, ecological and health sciences, communication and information management. NCER is headquartered in Washington, D.C.


Science to Achieve Results: Building a Scientific Foundation for Sound Environmental Decisions

NCER’s Science to Achieve Results or STAR program funds research grants and graduate fellowships in numerous environmental science and engineering disciplines through a competitive solicitation process and independent peer review. The program engages the nation’s best scientists and engineers in targeted research that complements EPA’s own outstanding intramural research program and those of our partners in other federal agencies.

In addition, through this same competitive process, NCER periodically establishes large research centers in specific areas of national concern. At present, these centers focus on children’s health, particulate matter, computational toxicology, and biological threats to homeland security. Research areas of previous centers have included hazardous substances, estuarine and coastal ecosystems, and environmental statistics.

One of NCER’s highest priorities is ensuring that we have an adequate and well trained scientific workforce that can address tomorrow’s complex environmental issues. To respond to this need, NCER supports several fellowship programs focusing on current and future environmental professionals.

STAR research is funded through Requests for Applications (RFAs) that are derived from the ORD Strategic Plan and from research plans for specific topics developed by ORD. RFAs are prepared in cooperation with other parts of the Agency and concentrate on areas of special significance to the EPA mission. STAR RFAs have focused on air toxics, health effects of particulate matter, drinking water, water quality, global change, ecosystem assessment and restoration, human health risk assessment, endocrine disrupting chemicals, pollution prevention and new technologies, children’s environmental health, economics and decision sciences, computational toxicology, nanotechnology, and biomarkers.

NCER receives approximately 2000-2500 proposals every year for its STAR research and graduate fellowship programs. Each year, STAR awards about 150 research grants and 125 graduate fellowships. NCER also makes awards under joint RFAs with partnering agencies. These grants and fellowships have been awarded to universities and non-profit research institutions in all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.

Project abstracts as well as annual progress reports and final summary reports for each STAR funded grant and fellowship are posted on the NCER web site. Other types of results summary reports and workshop proceedings are also available on this site. More detailed results are available in published journals articles that are identified in the project web summary reports and many of these articles are provided in full text linked to these reports. Web site users may sign-up on line to receive emails about new grant announcements as they are posted.

Applying for a STAR Research Grant or Fellowship

RFAs for STAR Grants or Fellowships are found on the announcements page of the NCER web site and on Grants.gov. Instructions and eligibility requirements for applying for any of the STAR announcements are detailed in each solicitation. In general, solicitations are open for at least 90 days. Applications may be submitted electronically or by hardcopy.

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