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EPA/NSF PARTNERSHIP FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCHInteragency Announcement of Opportunity for Grants in Environmental Statistics
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
Introduction | Environmental Statistics| Eligibility | Instructions for Application Submission | How to Apply | Review and Selection | Grant Administration | Appendix | About NSF
- Water and Watersheds
- Technology for a Sustainable Environment
- Decision-making and Valuation for Environmental Policy
- Environmental Statistics
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) announce their intent to continue to support an extramural grants program in fundamental environmental research in Fiscal Year (FY) 1999. This EPA/NSF competition has been developed based on a Memorandum of Understanding between the agencies which establishes a partnership emphasizing the support and merit review of fundamental environmental research. This is the fifth year of the joint awards competition. Information on awards made in the FY 1995 through FY 1998 competitions may also be found on the Internet through: http://www.nsf.gov
The four research areas targeted this year are:
This announcement solicits applications for Environmental Statistics. Awards made through this competition are dependent upon responsiveness of the proposals to the announcement, the quality of the proposed research, and the availability of funds. EPA and NSF each anticipate awarding approximately $1 million ($2 million total for the two agencies) for Environmental Statistics, with a projected award range from $60,000 to $150,000 per award per year, and an approximate duration of 2 to 3 years. Subject to the availability of funds, EPA and NSF plan to continue this program through FY 2000.
Proposals in response to this announcement must be received by March 10, 1999. It is anticipated that awards will be made by Fall 1999. Awards resulting from this competition may be made by either EPA or NSF, at the option of the agencies, not the grantee.
Further information, if needed, may be obtained from the EPA and NSF officials indicated below. E-mail inquiries are preferred.
General Information on the Competition:
Information on Environmental Statistics:
EPADr. Chris Saint firstname.lastname@example.org voice (202) 564-6909
FastLane and General Questions:Dr. Keith Crank email@example.com voice (703) 306-1885
Statistical Questions:Dr. James L. Rosenberger firstname.lastname@example.org voice (703) 306-1883
Social Science Questions:Dr. Cheryl Eavey email@example.com voice (703) 306-1729
FastLane Questions:Ms. Florence Rabanal firstname.lastname@example.org voice (703) 306-1998
The Environmental Statistics competition seeks to increase understanding of the physical and human dimensions of environmental policies and issues by supporting the development of innovative statistical methods and models for environmental research. Although primarily geared to the statistical sciences, this competition invites proposals from qualified researchers across the statistical, social, behavioral, and physical sciences. Because problems in environmental research are complex and often require a deep understanding of both the substantive issues and possible statistical approaches, multidisciplinary collaborations involving statisticians and researchers from the social, behavioral, and physical sciences are especially welcome.
In FY 1998, the Environmental Statistics competition invited proposals on research in the following areas: (1) Statistical models and methods for environmental social science research; (2) Physical environmental statistics research; and (3) Research which either combines or is fundamental to both items (1) and (2). Specific topics supported from that competition include Bayesian space-time models, low stream flow estimation models, models for drinking water supplies, methods for analyzing global and regional environmental data, and statistical methods applicable for environmental justice issues.
In FY 1999, the Environmental Statistics competition invites proposals in the following areas: (1) Statistical models and methods for environmental social science research; (2) Environmental statistics research to improve risk assessment; and (3) Physical environmental statistics research. Proposals are particularly welcome that further the development of statistical methods for environmental social science research, including research in the area of risk assessment.
2.2 Statistical Models And Methods For Environmental Social Science Research
Environmental social science research seeks to increase our understanding of the social and behavioral processes that define the complex interactions between human and physical systems. Research is sought on statistical models and/or methods that illuminate how humans impact the environment, how the environment affects human activities, and the complex dynamics of human and physical systems. Environmental social science research covers a range of topics, including but not limited to:
This announcement invites proposals that advance the methodological foundation for understanding these and other issues in environmental social science research. Potential methodological topics include parametric and semiparametric methods, methods for detecting structural change, methods for handling data at different scales, and strategies for resolving conflicting and multiple priorities and goals. Proposals submitted under this heading should include clear applications to environmental social sciences questions.
2.3 Environmental Statistics Research To Improve Risk Assessment
The assessment of environmental risks to humans and ecosystems is an inherently uncertain activity. Every step from hazard identification through risk characterization calls upon analysts to make sense of uncertain and variable information. Ultimately, the challenge of interpretation falls to the decision makers for whom the assessments are performed. Because risk assessment is a relatively young application of statistical tools and scientific principles, it is critical that methodologies be developed for addressing, quantifying, and presenting the uncertainty and variability in the models, the model inputs, and the outputs upon which the field relies.
Examples of such research include, but are not limited to: methods for representing and communicating the limits and uncertainty of environmental data; approaches for characterizing and reducing uncertainty in environmental exposure and risk assessment; probabilistic methods for assessing multi-pathway exposures; methods for linking information about contaminant source, transport, human and ecosystem interactions and adverse effects; methods for extrapolating small data sets to estimate population level exposure and effects; and methods to expand the use of epidemiological data in risk assessment.
2.4 Physical Environmental Statistics Research
Research on the physical environment is important for understanding and responding to threats such as air and water pollution, ozone depletion, and hazardous waste disposal. While we have a good understanding of many of the components that make up the physical environment, we have much less knowledge about the interactions between components. Such an understanding is imperative for finding acceptable responses to threats to the environment. Recognizing and responding to threats to the environment requires the use of statistics, from sampling and data collection to modeling and analysis. This announcement invites proposals for statistical research that improves the methodology or theory of statistics relevant to environmental research. Examples of such research include, but are not limited to, the design, evaluation, and placement of environmental monitoring networks; research on quality assurance methods for environmental and ecological data and data products; accounting for meteorological and co-pollutant effects on estimation of status and trends in air toxins; spatial sampling designs for hazardous waste site characterization; statistical environmental epidemiology and toxicology; and development and evaluation of ecological indicators and indexes, including issues of aggregation and scale.
Academic and not-for-profit institutions located in the U.S., and State or local governments are eligible. Profit-making firms and federal agencies are not eligible to apply to this program. However, personnel in profit-making firms may participate as non-funded co-investigators or through sub-contracts with the awardee institution.
Federal employees may cooperate or collaborate with eligible applicants within the limits imposed by applicable legislation and regulations. However, federal agencies, national laboratories funded by federal agencies (FFRDCs), and federal employees are not eligible to submit applications to this program and may not serve in a principal leadership role on a grant. Under exceptional circumstances the principal investigator's institution may subcontract to a federal agency or FFRDC to purchase unique supplies or services unavailable in the private sector. Examples are purchase of satellite data, census data tapes, chemical reference standards, unique analyses or instrumentation not available elsewhere, etc. A written justification for such federal involvement must be included in the application, along with an assurance from the federal agency which commits to supply the specified service. Federal employees may not receive salaries or in other ways augment their agency's appropriations through grants made by this program. Potential applicants who are uncertain of their eligibility should contact Dr. Robert E. Menzer (listed in Section 1.0).
EPA and NSF welcome applications on behalf of all qualified scientists, engineers, and other professionals and strongly encourage women, members of underrepresented groups, and persons with disabilities to compete fully in any of the programs described in this announcement.
In accordance with Federal statutes and regulations and EPA and NSF policies, no person on grounds of race, color, age, sex, national origin, or disability shall be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving financial assistance from the Environmental Protection Agency or the National Science Foundation.
4.1 Sorting Codes
In order to facilitate proper assignment and review of applications, each applicant must identify the topic area in which the application is to be considered. It is the responsibility of the applicant to identify correctly the proper sorting code. Failure to do so may result in delay or an improper review assignment. The Sorting Codes correspond to the topic areas within the announcement and are shown below:
- Applications to the Social Sciences Code: Method, Measure and Stats
- Risk Assessment Code: Statistics
- Physical Environmental Statistics Research Code: Statistics
The Sorting Code must be placed at the top of the proposal cover sheet (NSF Form 1207) in the section titled "For Consideration by NSF Organizational Unit." EPA or NSF may reassign proposals to other or multiple sorting categories to ensure optimal review of proposals.
4.2 The Application
Proposals submitted to the Environmental Statistics competition must conform to NSF proposal submission requirements. The NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG, NSF 99-2 or current issuance) provides detailed proposal preparation guidance. All proposals should be prepared in accordance with the GPG, except as modified in this announcement. (Especially, see section 4.3 below.) All forms needed to apply are available in the GPG and in the Proposal Forms Kit. The GPG and Forms Kit are available electronically through the NSF Home Page at http://www.nsf.gov. Paper copies can be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, 301-947-2722 or by e-mail from email@example.com.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to prepare their proposals for full electronic submission using the FastLane system. Proposals may also be prepared for paper-copy submission; in that case, the cover sheet and project summary must be submitted through FastLane. For further information, see 4.5 How to Apply and Appendix 1 below.
To fulfill the requirements of section 4.3 below, applicants submitting through FastLane should place these additional pages, clearly labeled, at the end of the Project Description section. Paper-copy submissions should place these pages, clearly labeled, in Section I, Special Information and Supplementary Documentation, as identified in the GPG. Other than these additional pages, the 15 page limit on the Project Description section is in effect.
It is important that the application contain all the information requested in the formats described. If it does not, the application may be eliminated from review on administrative grounds. Once an applicant is chosen for award (i.e., after external peer review and internal programmatic review), EPA or NSF program officers may request additional documentation and forms.
4.3 Additional Pages ? Project Description
If the project will produce data and information of value to the broader research community, the applicant should also include a discussion titled "Data and Information Availability." This discussion, not to exceed two additional pages, should describe the data and information products, the management plans for their validation, quality control, archiving, costs for these activities, and whether and under what conditions the data will be made available to interested parties. For awards that involve environmentally related measurements or data generation, these two pages should describe a quality system that complies with the requirements of ANSI/ASQC E4, "Specifications and Guidelines for Quality Systems for Environmental Data Collection and Environmental Technology Programs." ANSI/ASQC E4 is available for purchase from the American Society for Quality Control, phone 1-800-248-1946, item T55. Only in exceptional circumstances should it be necessary to consult this document. Proposals involving interviews or surveys should include up to three additional pages with information about these instruments, titled "Protocols."
These additional pages do not count against the 15-page limit NSF has established for the Project Description section of proposals.
4.4 Additional Budgetary Guidance
Subcontracts for research to be conducted under the grant which exceed 40% of the total direct cost of the grant for each year in which the subcontract is awarded must be especially well justified.
Researchers may be invited to participate in an annual All-Investigators Meeting with EPA and NSF scientists and other grantees to report on research activities and to discuss areas of mutual interest. Budget requests should include travel funds to accommodate that eventuality.
A. Proposal Closing Dates
For paper submission of the proposals, ten copies of the proposal MUST be received by 5:00PM, ET, March 10, 1999. Copies of the proposal must be made and submitted to NSF according to the normal procedures for paper proposals identified in the GPG. The cover sheet and projects summary are still REQUIRED to be submitted using FastLane. (See Appendix 1 for additional information.)
For electronic submission of proposals, the proposal MUST be submitted by 5:00 PM, local time, March 10, 1999. Copies of the signed proposal cover sheet must be submitted in accordance with the instructions identified below.
Submission of Signed Cover Sheets. For proposals submitted electronically via the NSF FastLane Project, the signed proposal Cover Sheet (NSF Form 1207) should be forwarded to the following address and received by NSF by March 17, 1999:National Science Foundation DIS-FastLane Cover Sheet 4201 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA 22230
Informal, incomplete, or unsigned proposals will not be considered. A proposal may not be processed until the complete proposal (including signed Cover Sheet) has been received by NSF.
B. FastLane Submission
The NSF FastLane system is available for electronic preparation and submission of a proposal through the Web at the FastLane Web site at http://www.fastlane.nsf.gov. The Sponsored Research Office (SRO or equivalent) must provide a FastLane Personal Identification Number (PIN) to each Principal Investigator (PI) to gain access to the FastLane "Proposal Preparation" application. PIs that have not submitted a proposal to NSF in the past must contact their SRO to be added to the NSF PI database. This should be done as soon as the decision to prepare a proposal is made.
In order to use NSF FastLane to prepare and submit a proposal, the following is required:
Browser (must support multiple buttons and file upload)
- Netscape 2.0 or greater
- Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 or greater
PDF Reader (needed to view/print forms)
- Adobe Reader 3.0 or greater
PDF Generator (needed to create project description)
- Adobe Acrobat 3.01 or greater
- Aladdin Ghostcriipt 5.10 or greater
A list of registered institutions and the FastLane registration form are located on the FastLane Web page.
C. Paper Submission
Submission of paper copies still requires the use of FastLane. See the additional instructions in Appendix 1.
The original and ten (10) copies of the fully developed application must be received by NSF no later than 5:00 P.M. EST on the closing date, March 10, 1999.
Completed applications should be sent via regular or express mail to:U.S. National Science Foundation Proposal Processing Unit P060 4201 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA 22230 Phone: 703-306-1118
5.1 Review Procedures
A. Merit Review
All grant applications are initially screened by EPA and NSF to determine their compliance with legal and administrative requirements. Acceptable applications are then reviewed by an appropriate peer review group. This review is designed to evaluate each proposal according to its scientific and technical merit.
The NSF National Science Board approved revised criteria for evaluating proposals submitted to NSF at its meeting on March 28, 1997 (NSB97-72). The revised criteria are designed to be useful and relevant across NSF's many different programs; however, NSF will continue to employ special criteria as required to highlight the specific objectives of certain programs and activities. The two revised merit review criteria are listed below. Following each criterion are potential considerations that reviewers may employ in the evaluation. These are suggestions and not all will apply to any given proposal. Reviewers will address only those that are relevant to the proposals and for which they are qualified to make judgments.
In evaluating the responsiveness of proposals to the research needs set forth in this announcement, the review group will consider:
- What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity?
How important is the proposed activity to advancing knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields? How well qualified is the proposer (individual or team) to conduct the project? (If appropriate, the reviewer will comment on the quality of prior work.) To what extent does the proposed activity suggest and explore creative and original concepts? How well conceived and organized is the proposed activity? Is there sufficient access to resources?
- What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity?
How well does the activity advance discovery and understanding while promoting teaching, training, and learning? How well does the proposed activity broaden the participation of underrepresented groups (e.g., gender, ethnicity, disability, geographic, etc.)? To what extent will it enhance the infrastructure for research and education, such as facilities, instrumentation, networks, and partnerships? Will the results be disseminated broadly to enhance scientific and technological understanding? What may be the benefits of the proposed activity to society?
Although budget information is not used by the reviewers as the basis for their evaluation of scientific merit, the reviewers are asked to provide their input on the appropriateness and/or adequacy of the proposed budget and its implications for the potential success of the proposed research. Input on requested equipment is of particular interest.
B. Integration of Research and Education
One of the principal strategies in support of this program?s goals is to foster integration of research and education through the programs, projects and activities it supports at academic and research institutions. These institutions provide abundant opportunities where individuals may concurrently assume responsibilities as researchers, educators, and students and where all can engage in joint efforts that infuse education with the excitement of discovery and enrich research through the diversity of learner perspectives. PIs should address this issue in their proposal to provide reviewers with the information necessary to respond fully to both merit review criteria. Program staff will give it careful consideration in making funding decisions.
C. Integrating Diversity into Program, Projects, and Activities
Broadening opportunities and enabling the participation of all citizens -- women and men, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities -- is essential to the health and vitality of science and engineering. NSF and EPA are committed to this principle of diversity and deems it central to the programs, projects, and activities it considers and supports. PIs should address this issue in their proposal to provide reviewers with the information necessary to respond fully to both merit review criteria. Program staff will give it careful consideration in making funding decisions.
D. Additional Review Requirements
Applications that receive high merit scores from the peer reviewers are subjected to a programmatic review within EPA, the object being to assure a balanced research portfolio for the Agency. Scientists from the ORD Laboratories and EPA Program and Regional Offices review these applications in relation to program priorities and their complementarity to the ORD intramural program and recommend selections to NCER.
Copies of the evaluations by the technical reviewers will be provided to each applicant. Funding decisions are the sole responsibility of EPA and NSF. Grants are selected on the basis of technical merit, relevancy to the research priorities outlined, program balance, and budget.
5.2 Proprietary Information
By submitting an application in response to this announcement, the applicant grants EPA and NSF permission to share the application with technical reviewers both within and outside the Agencies. Applications containing proprietary or other types of confidential information will not be reviewed.
Upon conclusion of the review process, meritorious applications may be recommended for funding by either EPA or NSF, at the option of the agencies, not the applicant. Subsequent grant administration procedures will be in accordance with the individual policies of the awarding agency.
6.1 EPA Grant Administration
The funding mechanisms for all awards issued under this announcement will consist of grant agreements between EPA and the recipient. In accordance with Public Law 95-224, grants are used to accomplish a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by Federal statute rather than acquisition for the direct benefit of the Agency. In using a grant agreement, EPA anticipates that there will be no substantial involvement during the course of the grant between the recipient and the Agency.
EPA grants awarded as a result of this announcement will be administered in accordance with 40 CFR Part 30 and 40 or the most recent FDP terms and conditions, depending upon the grantee institution.
EPA provides awards for research in the sciences and engineering related to environmental protection. The awardee is solely responsible for the conduct of such activities and preparation of results for publication. EPA, therefore, does not assume responsibility for such findings or their interpretation.
6.2 NSF Grant Administration
NSF grants awarded as a result of this announcement will be administered in accordance with the terms and conditions of the most recent NSF GC-1, "Grant General Conditions," or the FDP-III, "Federal Demonstration Partnership General Terms and Conditions," depending on the grantee organization.
More comprehensive information on the administration of NSF grants is contained in the Grant Policy Manual (NSF 95-26, July 1995), Chapter II, available electronically on the NSF Web site. The GPM is also for sale through the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office (GPO), Washington, D.C. 20402. The telephone number at GPO is (202) 512-1800 for subscription information; the GPM can also be ordered through the GPO Web site at http://www.gpo.gov.
Organizations applying to NSF for the first time, or which have not received an NSF award within the preceding two years, should refer to the NSF Grant Policy Manual, Section 500, for instructions on specific information that may be requested by NSF. First time NSF awardees will be required to submit organizational, management, and financial information, including a certification of civil rights compliance, before a grant can be made. One copy of the Grant Policy Manual will be provided free of charge to new grantees.
For all multi-year grants (including both standard and continuing grants), the PI must submit an annual project report to the cognizant program officer at least 90 days before the end of each budget period. Within 90 days after expiration of a grant, the PI must submit a final project report. Approximately 30 days before expiration, NSF will send a notice to remind the PI of the requirement. Failure to provide final technical reports delays NSF review and processing of pending proposals for that PI. PIs should examine the formats of the required progress and final reports in advance, to assure that they are keeping adequate data and records. Effective October 1, 1998, PIs are required to use the new formats for these reports, and are strongly encouraged to submit their reports electronically via FastLane. For those PIs who cannot access FastLane, paper copies of the new formats may be obtained from the NSF Clearinghouse, 301-947-2722. NSF expects to require electronic submission of all reports via FastLane beginning in October 1999.
If you are submitting your proposal using paper copies rather than electronically, you are required to submit the proposal cover sheet and the project summary to NSF using FastLane. To access FastLane, go to the NSF Web site at http://www.nsf.gov, then select "FastLane," or go directly to FastLane (https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov).
Instructions for the Principal Investigator (PI):
Contact your institution?s Sponsored Research Office (SRO) for a PIN number to gain access to the FastLane "Proposal Preparation" module. If you have not submitted a proposal to NSF in the past, you must contact your SRO to be added to the NSF Principal Investigator (PI) database. Please do this as soon as you decide to prepare an Environmental Statistics proposal.
As early as possible, enter your cover-sheet and project-summary information using the FastLane "Proposal Preparation" module. In the field labeled "Program Announcement" on the cover sheet type in "NSF 99-40" exactly as shown, with no additional spaces or characters. The Sorting Code must be put in the section titled "For Consideration by NSF Organizational Unit."
Click on the "Allow SRO Access" button. Contact your SRO to inform it of your FastLane temporary proposal ID. Allow time for your SRO to approve, copy and mail the proposal to meet the deadline.
Instructions for the Sponsored Research Office (SRO):
Print the second page of the cover sheet in time to obtain the required institutional signatures.
Before assembling the proposal for copying, submit the cover sheet to NSF via Fastlane using the "Submit Proposal" function within the "Institutional Management of FastLane" module. This will generate a proposal number. Print a copy of the cover sheet from FastLane; it will have the proposal number on it. Substitute the first page of the cover sheet for the one produced by the PI. Make copies of the proposal and submit to NSF according to the usual procedures for a paper proposal.
For FY 1999, the paper copies of the proposal MUST be received at NSF by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on March 10, 1999, in order to be eligible. PIs and SROs should allow sufficient time to be sure that all material will reach NSF in time. For this competition only, you may direct questions concerning FastLane or problems utilizing FastLane to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
The Foundation provides awards for research and education in the sciences and engineering. The awardee is wholly responsible for the conduct of such research and preparation of the results for publication. The Foundation, therefore, does not assume responsibility for the research findings or their interpretation.
The Foundation welcomes proposals from all qualified scientists and engineers and strongly encourages women, minorities, and persons with disabilities to compete fully in any of the research and education related programs described here. In accordance with federal statutes, regulations, and NSF policies, no person on grounds of race, color, age, sex, national origin, or disability shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any program or activity receiving financial assistance from the National Science Foundation.
Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities (FASED) provide funding for special assistance or equipment to enable persons with disabilities (investigators and other staff, including student research assistants) to work on NSF projects. See the program announcement or contact the program coordinator at (703) 306-1636.
The National Science Foundation has TDD (Telephonic Device for the Deaf) capability, which enables individuals with hearing impairment to communicate with the Foundation about NSF programs, employment, or general information. To access NSF TDD, dial (703) 306-0090; for FIRS, 1-800-877-8339.
PRIVACY ACT AND PUBLIC BURDEN STATEMENTS
The information requested on proposal forms and project reports is solicited under the authority of the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended. The information on proposal forms will be used in connection with the selection of qualified proposals; project reports submitted by awardees will be used for program evaluation and reporting within the Executive Branch and to Congress. The information requested may be disclosed to qualified reviewers and staff assistants as part of the application review process; to applicant institutions/grantees to provide or obtain data regarding the application review process, award decisions, or the administration of awards; to government contractors, experts, volunteers and researchers as necessary to complete assigned work; to other government agencies needing information as part of the review process or in order to coordinate programs; and to another Federal agency, court or party in a court or Federal administrative proceeding if the government is a party. Information about Principal Investigators may be added to the Reviewer file and used to select potential candidates to serve as peer reviewers or advisory committee members. See Systems of Records, NSF-50, "Principal Investigator/Proposal File and Associated Records," 63 Federal Register 267 (January 5, 1998), and NSF-51, "Reviewer/Proposal File and Associated Records," 63 Federal Register 268 (January 5, 1998). Submission of the information is voluntary. Failure to provide full and complete information, however, may reduce the possibility of receiving an award.
Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 120 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions. Send comments regarding this burden estimate and any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to: Suzanne Plimpton, Reports Clearance Officer; Information Dissemination Branch, DAS; National Science Foundation; Arlington, VA 22230.
OMB 3145-0058 NSF99-40
CFDA 47.075, SBE; 47.049, MPS; and 66.500 EPA
K.W.: 0404050 1010013 1010017Last Updated: February 1, 2000