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)


Go to:

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


Decision Making and Valuation for Environmental Policy

EPA/NSF Joint Competition
Interagency Announcement of Opportunity

4.0 TOPIC C: DECISION MAKING AND VALUATION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY

4.1 INTRODUCTION

The Decision Making and Valuation for Environmental Policy competition encourages research on decision making and understanding public values in environmental policy and related public issues. Within this component, priority will be given to fundamental and methodological research on benefit-cost analysis, ecosystem valuation, and normative behaviors and environmental decision making. The goal of this competition is to support research that advances the scientific basis of valuation and decision analysis as it contributes to the formulation and evaluation of environmental policy. Funding priority will be given to research that assists environmental agencies at all levels of government to address issues of practical significance to their activities.

Theoretical and empirical research in mathematics, engineering, social and behavioral sciences, and environmental ethics have provided a number of useful analytical frameworks for organizing information on the economic and social consequences of alternative environmental policies. Benefit-cost analysis, multi-criteria decision analysis, cost-effectiveness analysis, and consensus modeling represent well known approaches in environmental decision making. At the federal level and to a more limited extent at the state level, benefit-cost analysis is required for all major regulations as well as legislative initiatives and some other decisions. A general lack of accepted methods for determining many important economic and social benefits and costs limits the use of decision-analytic frameworks, particularly for problems that involve ecosystems. This competition invites applications that address key theoretical and methodological needs associated with the use of these frameworks. Novel, collaborative, or interdisciplinary scientific efforts are especially encouraged.

4.2 DESCRIPTION

Government agencies responsible for policy analysis, statutory rules, regulatory decision making, priority setting for environmental actions, and assessment have an interest in advancing research to help develop practical approaches to estimating economic and social benefits and costs that are systematic and credible. This competition is intended to support research projects in four areas: (1) benefits of environmental policies and programs; (2) costs of environmental policies and programs; (3) ecosystem protection; and (4) normative behaviors and environmental decision making.

Benefits of Environmental Policies and Programs

Environmental policies and programs are generally intended to protect or improve the health and well being of humans and the ecosystems vital to human welfare. Policies that enhance and protect the environment provide economic value and benefits to society. Currently, there are several approaches to measuring this value, including methods that rely predominantly upon either revealed or stated preferences for health and environmental goods and services. Improvements to existing methods and the development of new methods are encouraged. Examples of areas where government agencies have significant information needs in the environmental valuation area include:

Methods to improve estimation of values for reductions in mortality and morbidity risks resulting from pollution and other environmental hazards. Research on methods to address non-cancer health benefits is particularly encouraged.

Identification and improvement of methods for measuring environmental quality influences on human welfare, including those that recognize distributional factors in addition to efficiency.

Methods to apply existing benefit estimates or valuation functions to assess the benefits of a distinct, but similar environmental change (i.e., benefits transfer methods).

Improved methods for valuing changes in the environmental quality of public resources (e.g., groundwater) regulated by multiple laws.

Methods to assess the benefits of providing environmental information to consumers, investors, and/or producers of goods and services.

Costs of Environmental Policies and Programs

The societal costs of environmental policies and programs include compliance costs, government regulatory costs, losses to consumer and producer welfare, costs of displaced resources, and other costs to the economic system arising from changes in product quality, productivity, innovation, and market structure. Industry, however, increasingly abates pollution by changes in production processes (i.e., pollution prevention) instead of waste remediation. As a consequence, traditional financial and engineering methods must be augmented by dynamic models that incorporate resource substitutions, price changes, technological change, and innovation. This component of the competition seeks to strengthen the conceptual and empirical basis for cost estimation methods. Examples of topics of interest in this area are:

Integrated approaches to modeling production technology that includes both desirable outputs and potential wastes or pollutants, including conceptual and methodological research that captures life-cycle or legacy factors.

Methodology to estimate the cost savings from using economic incentives relative to other approaches to environmental pollution control.

Empirical research that compares estimated and realized costs for pollution prevention and abatement at levels of the plant, market, industry, and economy.

Improved methods to estimate and validate aggregate and sectoral costs of environmental protection programs including, for example, empirical analyses of system-wide and dynamic effects that capture plant location, productivity, and technological change.

Ecosystem Valuation and Protection

Traditional valuation approaches have focused on changes in the individual services or functions of ecosystems to identify benefits or costs of environmental policy or regulation. Comprehensive assessments of changes in ecosystem functions are often limited by inadequate knowledge of the relationships among ecosystem inhabitants, functions, and services. Another limiting factor is the poorly understood relationship between keystone species or critical biological functions and human activities. Scientific advances in ecosystem valuation and cost analysis require better understanding of the interconnectedness among social, economic, physical, and biological systems. Proposals submitted to this component of the competition should emphasize these interdependencies in their research and focus on how comprehensive or critical ecosystem changes can be measured in terms of social welfare. Examples of the topics of interest in this component include:

Core concepts of comprehensive ecosystem function, including research that characterizes and quantifies the natural environment and links measures of ecosystem productivity and sustainability with economic activities and changes in human welfare. Improved understanding of the economic-ecological relationships in areas such as wetlands, timber, watersheds, minerals, wildlife/fish, and grasslands are of particular interest.

Methods for valuing biodiversity, populations of native species, amounts of protected areas and open space, and other critical ecosystem attributes, including research that illuminates the interactive and synergistic role of these attributes and their economic and social implications.

Methods for defining the scope of ecosystem restoration that reflect the cost to restore the quality and service characteristics.

Methods for valuation, including research that identifies ecosystem functions of value to society and addresses issues of time, scale, and natural and political boundaries.

Normative Behaviors and Environmental Decision Making

This research opportunity area encourages research to identify and examine behavioral and institutional factors that influence the development, implementation, and evaluation of environmental policies. Research is expected to be theoretically and methodologically sophisticated and to contain an empirical component. Psychological attitudes, socio-cultural, legal, and ethical norms, economic forces, and political and communication activities, in isolation and altogether, affect the development and use of environmental policy. Better understanding of these factors, and the ways in which they can improve or interfere with social negotiations about environmental issues is needed. Potential topics for consideration here include, but are not limited to:

Identification and characterization of communities and the values and normative behaviors that influence their responses to new environmental information, proposed development plans and regulations, and of processes to involve communities in developing and assessing criteria for decision making about environmental and economic investments and problems.

Identification and analysis of social, political, and ethical factors relevant to environmental problem-solving in a trans-jurisdictional context, and effective mechanisms for addressing those factors.

Implications of geographical and political boundaries and personal, group, and organizational characteristics, behaviors, and attitudes for environmental problem solving.

Comparative analysis of different models of environmental decision making that emphasizes their descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive implications.

4.3 ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS

To assist in the evaluation of how the research contributes to the decision needs of environmental agencies, proposals must include a special information and supplementary documentation section (Proposal Section I) titled "Policy Relevance." Section I is described in detail on page 10 of the GPG, and is not counted in the 15-page Project Description limitation. For the purposes of this solicitation, the Policy Relevance discussion is limited to two pages and must contain an explicit statement on the policy relevance of the proposed research. In particular, the principal investigator (PI) must identify the "target group," or set of policy makers and/or policy analysts who are likely to benefit from this research. Once identified, the PI must elaborate on the potential benefits of this research for the designated target group. The PI should also address ways that members of the research team intend to communicate the results to the relevant target group.

In addition, if the project will produce data and information of value to the broader research community, Section I also must include a discussion of "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, and archiving, costs for these activities, and whether and under what conditions the data will be made available to interested parties.

The GPG normally limits the number of pages for the Project Description to fifteen. However, for this announcement, any proposal submitted under the Decision Making and Valuation for Environmental Policy component which involves a survey is hereby authorized to deviate from the requirement that all information be contained in Sections A through I of the proposal: proposers should append the survey instrument as an appendix to their proposal (see GPG, Section C.11., Appendices -- Proposal Section J).

Please see Section 6.0 for complete instructions for proposal submission.

Proposals received by NSF under its normal unsolicited proposal mechanisms may also be deemed appropriate for consideration by the Decision Making and Valuation for Environmental Policy competition, and may be funded under this joint program.

Approximately $2.5 million is expected to be available for this competition. The projected award range is $60,000 to $250,000 per award per year, with a duration of up to 3 years. Laboratory and field experiments and survey research, and multi-investigator projects may be considered for a higher funding level. Depending on the quality of proposals and the recommendations from merit review, the sponsoring agencies expect more than half the resources to be allocated to the component area of benefits of environmental policies and programs.

For more information please contact:

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

Return to NSF 96-45 NSF/EPA Partnership for Environmental Research FY 1996