U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Research and Development
National Center for Environmental Research

CLOSED - FOR REFERENCES PURPOSES ONLY

EPA/NSF Partnership for Environmental Research

EPA/NSF Joint Competition
Interagency Announcement of Opportunity

  • Water and Watersheds
  • Technology for a Sustainable Environment
  • Decision Making and Valuation for Environmental Policy

DEADLINE FOR PROPOSALS: MAY 7, 1996

1.0 INTRODUCTION

The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announce their intent to support a special awards competition in Fiscal Year (FY) 1996. This NSF-EPA competition has been developed based on a Memorandum of Understanding signed on December 8, 1994 which establishes a partnership between the two agencies emphasizing the support and merit review of fundamental, extramural environmental research. As EPA's Office of Research and Development expands its extramural grants program in FY 1996, NSF is providing assistance and consultation. This is the second year of the joint special awards competition. Information on the FY 1995 competition may be found on the Internet through: http://www.nsf.gov/stratare/egch/envresop.htm or https://www.epa.gov. The three research areas targeted by this Announcement of Opportunity are:

2.0 TOPIC A : Water and Watersheds

3.0 TOPIC B: Technology for a Sustainable Environment

4.0 TOPIC C: Decision Making and Valuation for Environmental Policy


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. Under this announcement, NSF and EPA anticipate awarding:
  • Approximately $6 million for Water and Watersheds, with a projected award range from $75,000 to $500,000 per award per year, and an approximate duration of 2 to 3 years.
  • Approximately $5 million for Technology for a Sustainable Environment, with a projected award range from $75,000 to $150,000 per award per year, and an approximate duration of 2 to 3 years.
  • Approximately $2.5 million for Decision Making and Valuation for Environmental Policy, with a projected award range from $60,000 to $100,000 per award per year, and an approximate duration of 2 to 3 years.

Proposals in response to this announcement must be received by 7 May 1996. It is anticipated that awards will be made by Fall 1996. Awards resulting from this competition may be made by either NSF or EPA, at the agencies' option, not the grantee's.

Further information, if needed, may be obtained from the NSF and EPA officials indicated below. E-mail inquiries are the preferred communication method.

 Information on Proposal Submission
 Information on Proposal Review
 Grant Administration

Contacts

GENERAL INFORMATION ON THE COMPETITION:

Dr. James L. Edwards
NSF Directorate for Biological Sciences
Internet: jledward@nsf.gov
voice (703) 306-1400

Dr. Elbert L. Marsh
NSF Directorate for Engineering
Internet: emarsh@nsf.gov
voice (703) 306-1301

Mr. Jeff Fenstermacher
NSF Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences
Internet: jfenster@nsf.gov
voice (703) 306-1741

Dr. Robert E. Menzer
EPA National Center for Environmental Research and Quality Assurance
Internet: menzer.robert@epamail.epa.gov
voice (202) 260-5779

Dr. Melinda L. McClanahan
Internet: mcclanahan.melinda@epamail.epa.gov
fax (202) 260-0450
voice (202) 260-7474

Information on Water and Watersheds:

Dr. Penny Firth
Internet: pfirth@nsf.gov
voice (703) 306-1480

Dr. Ian MacGregor
Internet: imacgreg@nsf.gov
voice (703) 306-1553

Ms. Barbara Levinson
Internet: levinson.barbara@epamail.epa.gov
fax (202) 260-0211
voice (202) 260-5983

Information on Technology for a Sustainable Environment

Dr. Robert Wellek
Internet: rwellek@nsf.gov
fax (703) 306-0319

Dr. Marge Cavanaugh
Internet: mcavanau@nsf.gov
voice (703) 306-1842

Mr. Stephen A. Lingle
Internet: lingle.stephen@epamail.epa.gov
voice (202) 260-5748

Information on Decision Making and Valuation for Environmental Policy

Dr. Robin Cantor
Internet: rcantor@nsf.gov
voice (703) 306-1757

Mr. Gregory C. Ondich
Internet: ondich.greg@epamail.epa.gov
fax (202) 260-4524
voice (202) 260-5753

Dr. Mary Jo Kealy
Internet: kealy.mary@epamail.epa.gov
fax (202) 260-5732
voice (202) 260-5728

Dr. Alan Carlin
Internet: carlin.alan@epamail.epa.gov
fax (202) 260-5732
voice (202) 260-5499

5.0 ELIGIBILITY

Proposals submitted in response to this solicitation will be accepted from colleges, universities, and other not-for-profit institutions in the U.S. Organizations affiliated with local, state, or federal government units (including FFRDCs) are not considered eligible. Personnel associated with entities such as national labs, state agencies, and FFRDCs are encouraged to participate as co-investigators on proposals originating at eligible institutions, within the limits imposed by applicable legislation and regulations. Federal employees may not receive salaries or in other ways augment their agency's appropriations through grants made by this program.

NSF and EPA welcome proposals on behalf of all qualified scientists, engineers, and other professionals, and strongly encourage women, minorities, and persons with disabilities to compete fully in any of the programs described in this announcement.

In accordance with Federal statutes and regulations and NSF and EPA 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 National Science Foundation or the Environmental Protection Agency.


6.0 INSTRUCTIONS FOR PROPOSAL SUBMISSION

Proposals submitted in response to this Announcement must be prepared and submitted in accordance with the guidelines provided in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) (NSF 95-27) with the exceptions and additional considerations noted in the topic-specific sections above (sections 2.3, 3.4 and 4.3). The GPG may be found in most university offices of sponsored research or may be obtained electronically via the Science and Technology Information System (STIS). Instructions for obtaining documents through STIS are printed on the inside front cover of this announcement.

Single copies of the GPG brochure and other NSF publications referenced in this announcement are available at no cost from: NSF Publications and Supplies Unit, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Room P-15, Arlington, VA 22230, (703) 306-1130, or via e-mail from: pubs@nsf.gov. EPA documents referenced in this announcement are available through the Government Printing Office (S/N 055-000-00466-8), or electronically through the EPA-sponsored CLU-IN Clean-up Information Bulletin Board, system operator (301) 589-8368, modem access (301) 589-8366.

PLEASE NOTE:

For purposes of administration of the competition, applicants are requested to indicate one of the three topics (A, B, or C) in the box in the upper left corner of the cover page printed at the end of this announcement. If the cover page provided in the GPG is used instead, please write in one of these three topic areas in the box labeled: "FOR CONSIDERATION BY NSF ORGANIZATIONAL UNIT(S)."

A. Water and Watersheds

B. Technology for a Sustainable Environment

C. Decision Making and Valuation for Environmental Policy

Collaborative proposals involving more than one institution should be submitted as a single administrative package from one of the institutions involved. The package should include one project summary, one table of contents, one results from prior support, one project description, one section for references, and one copy of special information as specified in GPG section II.D.10. Additionally, the package should include, for each university and its PI/co-PIs, a signed cover sheet, budget pages and explanation, biographic sketches, current and pending support for each PI, and facilities and other resources unique to each institution. Group proposals, as described in GPG section II.D.12.b, will not be accepted for the three component competitions described in this announcement.

The "Results from Prior Support" section should include information on prior Federal awards most closely related to the proposal, (i.e. not limited to NSF awards). The information requested in GPG Section II.D.4 should be supplied for the most relevant federal awards received in the past five years. Please note the authorized exception to the GPG for Water and Watersheds proposals detailed in Section 2.3 of this announcement.

Twenty stapled copies of each proposal package, including one copy bearing original signatures from all institutions, should be mailed to:

Announcement No. NSF 96-45
National Science Foundation
Room P-60 - PPU
4201 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22230

The closing date for proposal submission for this competition is 7 May 1996. Proposals submitted in response to this announcement must be:

1) received at the address given above no later than 7 May 1996; or,

2) be postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service no later than 2 May 1996.

NOTE: The 7 May 1996 deadline is final. Proposals received after 7 May, or postmarked later than 2 May 1996 will not be accepted .

For those proposals selected for funding by EPA, supplemental information will be needed to fulfill EPA regulatory requirements that differ from those of NSF. EPA will provide the applicant institution with the requisite forms at the appropriate time.

7.0 PROPOSAL REVIEW

EPA and NSF use similar general criteria in review of competitive grant proposals. NSF's criteria are described in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (NSF 95-27). For this joint NSF-EPA announcement, proposals will be evaluated through the standard NSF merit review process, as conducted jointly by NSF and EPA. Compliance with Federal certification requirements is a prerequisite for receiving awards under this program.

General criteria used in the evaluation of proposals are:

  • Overall merit of the proposal, including unique and innovative methods, approaches, or concepts demonstrated in the proposal.
  • The qualifications and capabilities of the investigators.
  • Potential to contribute to the advancement of the specific topic areas of the program in particular.
  • Potential to enhance training and information transfer in the topic areas of this program.

Additional considerations important to the proposal review process are described in the topic-specific sections of this announcement (see Sections 2.3, 3.4 and 4.3).

Final selection of awardees by NSF and EPA will be based on recommendations by peer reviewers and programmatic considerations. It is expected that grant awards will be made by Fall 1996. Appropriate officials may be contacted after 15 September 1996 regarding proposal status.

8.0 GRANT ADMINISTRATION

Upon conclusion of panel merit review, meritorious proposals may be recommended for funding by either NSF or EPA, at the agencies' option, not the proposer's. Subsequent grant administration procedures will be in accordance with the individual policies of the awarding agency.

8.1 NSF GRANT ADMINISTRATION

NSF grants awarded as a result of this announcement will be administered in accordance with the terms and conditions of NSF GC-1, "Grant General Conditions," or FDP-II, "Federal Demonstration Project General Terms and Conditions," depending on the grantee organization.

For NSF awards, more comprehensive information on the administration of NSF grants is contained in the Grant Policy Manual (NSF 95-26, July 1995), 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.

Organizations applying to NSF for the first time, or which have not received an NSF award within the preceding 2 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.

Upon completion of an NSF project, a Final Project Report (NSF Form 98A) form will be sent to the grantee. Applicants should review this form prior to proposal submission so that appropriate tracking mechanisms are included in the proposal plan to ensure that complete information will be available at the conclusion of the project.

Activities described in this publication are in the following categories in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA): 47.041 Engineering; 47.049 Mathematical and Physical Sciences; 47.050 Geosciences; 47.074 Biological Sciences; 47.075 Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences.

8.2 EPA GRANT ADMINISTRATION

The funding mechanism for all EPA awards made in response to this announcement will consist of a grant agreement between EPA and the recipient institution. In accordance with Public Law 95-224, a grant is used to accomplish a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by Federal statute rather than acquisition for the direct benefit of the Agency.

EPA grants awarded as a result of this announcement will be administered in accordance with 40 CFR Part 30 and 40 , or FDPII 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.

(NOTE: A complete proposal forms kit is provided in the Grant Proposal Guide , NSF 95-27)


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2.0 TOPIC A : Water and Watersheds

3.0 TOPIC B: Technology for a Sustainable Environment

4.0 TOPIC C: Decision Making and Valuation for Environmental Policy


Water and Watersheds

EPA/NSF Joint Competition
Interagency Announcement of Opportunity

2.0 TOPIC A : WATER AND WATERSHEDS

2.1 INTRODUCTION

The goal of the Water and Watersheds competition is to develop an improved understanding of the natural and anthropogenic processes that govern the quantity, quality, and availability of water resources in natural and human-dominated systems, and an understanding of the structure, function, and dynamics of the coupled terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems that comprise watersheds.

Human activities have made access to clean water and healthy aquatic ecosystems paramount issues in the U.S. and throughout the world. The integrated nature of watersheds-the landscape units that integrate terrestrial, aquatic, geologic, and atmospheric processes-provides a strong rationale for supporting interdisciplinary science and engineering research that uses a systems approach. Such research is needed for decisionmaking that balances restoration, long-term protection, and informed management of water and watersheds with socioeconomic considerations.

As we assess the relative risks faced by the nation's aquatic resources, and evaluate the natural capital represented in water and watersheds, we need a better knowledge base regarding how humans and their infrastructure interact with water and watersheds. Information on water and watersheds should be assessed and integrated with the needs of management and policy decisionmakers as a base for identifying areas where improved understanding is needed and for developing the multifaceted and interactive models needed for research and management of entire watersheds.

2.2 DESCRIPTION

This competition emphasizes multidisciplinary, fundamental research on important scientific, engineering, and socioeconomic principles for understanding, protecting, and restoring water resources and watershed processes in the U.S. and other regions of the world. A systems approach and general applicability of the research to watershed-scale questions are required in each proposal. Investigators are encouraged to bring together formerly disparate, state-of-the-art approaches to address watershed-scale issues and explore new paradigms that draw widely from different disciplines.

Three overarching research components related to water and watersheds provide the framework for this competition. The degree to which these three components are integrated in a systems approach will be a review criterion. The most competitive proposals will be those that help integrate multiple goals of NSF and/or EPA programs and address questions that are comprehensive in scale and transferable in scope. Appropriate and innovative statistical methodologies and modeling are encouraged. Research that explores questions of spatial and temporal scaling is appropriate in the context of all components.

The three overarching components are:

  • Ecological research that links diversity and vitality of aquatic biota and ecological processes, relationships among populations and communities of organisms, and landuse or other anthropogenic factors.
  • Hydrologic, biogeochemical, and engineering research that addresses the physical, chemical, and biological processes and mechanisms which govern the interactions of nutrients, metals, toxic materials, and organisms within and among surface waters, groundwaters, sediments, soils, and the atmosphere.
  • Social science research that develops a systemic perspective on, and predictive understanding of, the impacts and spatial aspects of human behavior and social and economic systems on surface and ground water resources and watersheds.

The following diagram represents the intersections of these three research components, and illustrates the areas in which proposals are particularly sought. Statistical analyses, mathematical modeling, geographic information systems, and spatial and temporal scaling research cross all numbered areas.


Area 1 represents the intersection of all three research components. Proposals that fall in this area are most desirable. Examples of the kinds of studies to be encouraged include, but are not limited to: watershed management research that explores the interface between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems as related to contaminant transport, availability of nutrients, and non-point source runoff and infiltration; research on the human, biological, and geochemical impacts of exotic species introductions and fragmentation of aquatic populations; research on socioeconomic incentives and disincentives as they relate to protection of water quality and diversity/vitality of aquatic biota and ecological processes; and research on restoration of hydrological and ecological functions that includes assessment of human disturbance, including geographic impacts, and system recovery.

Areas 2, 3 and 4 in the diagram represent the intersections of paired areas as indicated. Proposals that fall in these areas are the next most desirable. Examples of the kinds of studies to be encouraged include, but are not limited to: research on microbial and other biological factors that affect the status and behavior of contaminants in sediments and wetlands; research that explores the relations among human behavior, resource and associated land use patterns, quality of drinking water sources, and aquatic populations and communities; research on the impacts of floods, droughts, urbanization, and wet weather flows on water quality and bioavailability of nutrients and contaminants; research on effects of changes in hydrologic regime and contaminant loading on risk perception and associated socioeconomic dynamics.

International opportunities for research are also available. The following types of activities are especially encouraged between U.S. and foreign scientists and engineers: 1) cooperative research, 2) joint seminars and planning visits, and 3) international research experiences for scientists at an early stage in their careers.

Proposals on the following will not be considered in this competition: industrial accidents, spills, routine monitoring projects, routine application of well-established models, projects involving site-specific remediation practices, drinking water treatment and distribution, point-source waste-water treatment and sanitary sewerage infrastructure, and research on human health effects.

More focused disciplinary projects not employing an interdisciplinary, systems approach that fall into disciplinary areas marked 5, 6 and 7 will not be considered in this competition. Proposals seeking funds for such projects should be submitted to other existing programs.

2.3 ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS

Proposers are requested to designate, in descending priority order, two or more of the following three research components emphasized in their proposed study. Please make this designation the first line of the Project Summary. These areas are described in section 2.2 of this announcement.

Biological and Ecological Research

Hydrologic, Geochemical, and Engineering Research

Social Science Research

The normal 15-page limit specified in the Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) (NSF 95-27) will be strictly enforced, with attention given to font size, margins, and other requirements. The 15 pages should be used for the project description, including figures and tables. The "Results from Prior Support" section, which under normal GPG guidelines is counted as part of the 15-page limit, should appear as a separate section up to 5 pages in length. Note: This deviation from the GPG is authorized for Water and Watersheds proposals only. The "Results from Prior Support" section should include information on prior Federal awards most closely related to the proposal, (i.e. not limited to NSF awards).

Please see Section 6.0 for complete instructions for proposal submission.

In addition to the general review criteria listed in the GPG (see Section 7.0 of this announcement), Water and Watersheds proposals will also be judged on the degree to which the three overarching research components described in Section 2.2 are integrated in a systems approach, and the likelihood that the proposed research will effectively address questions that are comprehensive in scale and transferable in scope. Attention will be given to the appropriateness of the proposed statistical and mathematical methodologies.

Proposals received by other NSF programs under normal unsolicited proposal mechanisms will NOT be considered in the FY 1996 Water and Watersheds competition.

Approximately $6 million will be made available for this competition, with a projected award range from $75,000 to $500,000 per award per year and an approximate duration of 2 to 3 years.

Final selection of Water and Watersheds awardees by NSF and EPA will be based on the evaluation of the relative merit of the proposals made by recommendations by ad hoc reviewers, additional review by a panel of peers, and programmatic considerations. It is expected that grant awards will be made by Fall, 1996. Appropriate officials may be contacted after 15 September 1996 regarding proposal status.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Penny Firth
Internet: pfirth@nsf.gov
voice (703) 306-1480

Dr. Ian MacGregor
Internet: imacgreg@nsf.gov
voice (703) 306-1553

Ms. Barbara Levinson
Internet: levinson.barbara@epamail.epa.gov
fax (202) 260-0211
voice (202) 260-5983