Science To Achieve Results (STAR) Fellowship Program

The National Center for Environmental Research (NCER), as part of its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, offers graduate fellowships for master's and doctoral level students in environmentally related fields of study.

The purpose of the fellowship program is to encourage promising students
to obtain advanced degrees and pursue careers in environmentally related fields.

This goal is consistent with the mission of EPA, which is to provide leadership in the nation's environmental science, research, education, assessment, restoration, and preservation efforts.

This program will benefit both the public and private sectors which will need a steady stream of well-trained environmental specialists if society is to meet the environmental challenges of the future.

These fellowships are intended to help defray costs associated with advanced environmentally-oriented study leading to a master's or doctoral degree.

Funding Priority - Fiscal Year 2015: The STAR Fellowship Program will support graduate fellowships in the following areas: Emerging Environmental Approaches & Challenges: Environmental Innovation, Information Science, Synthetic Biology for Environmental Purposes; Air, Climate & Energy: Clean Air, Global Change, Green Energy/Natural Resources Production & Use; Chemical Safety for Sustainability: Adverse Impacts from Exposures to Endocrine Disrupting Compounds, Environmental Health and Safety of Engineered Nanomaterials, Computational Chemistry for Predictive Toxicology, Communicating and Translating Emerging Science for Evaluating Impacts of Chemicals; Human Health Risk Assessment: Public Health, Risk Assessment and Risk Management; Safe and Sustainable Water Resources: Drinking Water, Water Quality--Coastal and Estuarine Processes, Water Quality - Hydrogeology and Surface Water; Sustainable and Healthy Communities: Multidisciplinary Approaches To Optimize Decision Outcomes, Tribes and American Indian/Alaska Native/Pacific Islander Communities.

A portion of the resources appropriated in FY 2015 will be awarded in FY 2016.

Funding Priority - Fiscal Year 2016: No funding opportunity is planned.

Expected obligations for FY 2016 are associated with funds appropriated in FY 2015.

Funding Priority - Fiscal Year 2017: No funding opportunity is planned.

Funding Priority - Fiscal Year 2018: EPA did not include funding for this activity in the FY 2018 budget request.
Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

Fiscal Year 2016: 1.

The research will investigate the mechanisms of anaerobic bacterial lignin degradation to improve paper pulping processes and the use of lignin as a biofuel feedstock.


In the proposed research, pathogens being transmitted through small rural drinking water systems will be identified using molecular biology.

This data will then be used to conduct a quantitative microbial risk assessment to estimate the health risks attributable to small drinking water systems and develop risk management strategies.


The fellow will design, build and deploy an instrument to measure up to thousands of distinct organic compounds and gain insight into what aerosols from fires are made of and how they form.


The research will apply modern econometric techniques to climatological and socioeconomic datasets to uncover the causal relationship between climate variation and global labor productivity, a fundamental building block of economic development that is vulnerable to warming through biophysical and cognitive constraints imposed by higher temperatures.


The research will use stable carbon isotopes to study organic reactions that occur in fog and clouds to assess the effects of these processes on particulate matter mass.

This will help in understanding the atmospheric organic carbon budget, as existing models underestimate the concentration of aerosol particulate matter.

Fiscal Year 2017: No new projects will be funded during FY 2017.

Fiscal Year 2018: No content available.

Agency - Environmental Protection Agency

The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency is to protect human health and the environment. Since 1970, EPA has been working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people.

Office - See Regional Agency Offices.

Applicants are encouraged to communicate with the appropriate EPA Regional Office listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog or the contact listed in the solicitation.

The solicitation is located at:

Selected Recipients for this Program

RecipientAmount Start DateEnd Date
University Of Maryland College $ 35,901   2008-08-152011-08-15
Cornell University $ 32,172   2007-01-012010-01-01
University Of California Santa $ 35,742   2006-09-012009-09-30
University Of Washington $ 37,124   2006-09-012009-09-30
University Of California Berke $ 33,782   2006-09-282009-09-28
Oregon State University $ 35,640   2006-09-252009-09-25
University Of California Los A $ 33,241   2006-09-252009-09-25
Stanford University $ 37,344   2006-09-252009-09-24
Oregon State University $ 37,344   2006-09-252009-09-24
Stanford University $ 37,344   2006-09-232009-09-23

Program Accomplishments

Fiscal Year 2016: Applications received for the STAR Fellowship Program: FY 16: 0. New Awards for the STAR Fellowship Program: FY 16: 45. Fiscal Year 2017: No applications were received during FY 2017. No new projects will be funded during FY 2017. Fiscal Year 2018: No content available.

Uses and Use Restrictions

All STAR fellowship awards are made in response to a competitive solicitation.

Funds are to provide resources to allow for fellowships related to environmental issues.

No matching funds are required.

Assistance agreement awards under this program may involve or relate to geospatial information.

Further information regarding geospatial information may be obtained by viewing the following website: Grant recipients and sub-recipients are encouraged to adopt and enforce policies that ban text messaging while driving company-owned or -rented vehicles or government-owned vehicles, or while driving privately-owned vehicles when on official government business or when performing any work for or on behalf of the government.

Grant recipients and sub-recipients are encouraged to conduct initiatives of the type described in section 3(a) of the Federal Leadership on Reducing Text Messaging While Driving Executive Order that was signed on October 1, 2009.

Generally this program makes Federal awards on a discretionary basis.

For further information, please contact the Headquarters or regional office.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

For certain competitive funding opportunities under this CFDA description, the Agency may limit eligibility to compete to a number or subset of eligible applicants consistent with the Agency's Assistance Agreement Competition Policy.

Applicants must attend a fully accredited U.S.

college or university (located in the U.S.

or its territories) for their graduate studies.

Individuals must be citizens of the U.S.

or its territories or possessions, or be lawfully admitted to the U.S.

for permanent residence.

Resident aliens must have their green card at the time of application to be eligible for this fellowship opportunity.

Do not provide the green card number with your application; however, you may be asked to provide it at a later time to verify eligibility with the U.S.

Citizenship and Immigration Service of the Department of Homeland Security. Applicants do not need to be enrolled in or formally accepted into a full time graduate program at the time they apply for a fellowship, but proof of enrollment or acceptance must be produced prior to the award of the fellowship.

To be eligible for this fellowship, applicants must be pursuing a master's or doctoral degree in an environmentally-related topic area at a fully accredited U.S.

college or university (based in the U.S.

or its territories). Applicants who are in a graduate program at the time of application and meet either of the following two criteria as of the solicitation closing date ARE NOT eligible to receive a fellowship: 1) have completed more than one year in their current master's program; or 2) have completed more than four years in their current doctoral program.

However, applicants enrolled in a master's program who intend to pursue a doctoral degree beginning in the fall of 2015 may apply for a doctoral fellowship. Applicants who currently have another federal fellowship are not eligible.

However, acceptance of a fellowship under this announcement does not necessarily preclude acceptance of another private, state, regional, local, or non-profit scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, research assistantship, teaching assistantship, or grant aid. Employees of the U.S.

government may apply, but must be able to prove separation from Federal service before accepting this fellowship. Applications must be submitted by the student.

Applications submitted by the institution on behalf of the student will be rejected without review. EPA recognizes that scientific, technical, engineering and mathematical (STEM) competence is essential to the Nation's future well-being in terms of national security and competitive economic advantage.

For instance, the health and vitality of the economy is predicated, in part, on the availability of an adequate supply of scientists, technicians, engineers and mathematicians, to develop innovative technologies and solutions.

In other words, this country must engage all available minds to address the challenges it faces.

Minorities, women, and persons with disabilities historically have been under-represented in the STEM fields.

For this reason, EPA strongly encourages women, minorities, persons with disabilities and MAI applicants as described in Section I.A.

of the solicitation ( to apply.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Individual/Family; Student/Trainee and Graduate Student.


EPA may request that fellows document their affiliation with an eligible institution. The EPA may also request that applicants demonstrate they have appropriate background, academic training, and experience in the field to carry out the fellowship. This program is excluded from coverage under 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Regarding pre-application/pre-proposal assistance with respect to competitive funding opportunities under this program description, EPA will generally specify the nature of the pre-application/pre-proposal assistance, if any, that will be available to applicants in the competitive announcement.

For additional information, contact the individual(s) listed as 'Information Contacts' or see Appendix IV of the Catalog.

NCER invites applications for graduate fellowships in academic disciplines relating to environmental research including engineering, public health, and ecological sciences.

An application provides the information needed for the review of its merit.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Environmental impact information is not required for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

This program is excluded from coverage under 2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. Specific details on the application process are described in the solicitations which are located at: Applicants, except in limited circumstances approved by the Agency, must submit all initial applications for funding through

Award Procedures

For competitive awards, EPA will review and evaluate applications, proposals, and/or submissions in accordance with the terms, conditions, and criteria stated in the competitive announcement. Competitions will be conducted in accordance with EPA policies/regulations for competing assistance agreements.


Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.


Solid Waste Disposal Act, Section 8001, 42 U.S.C 6981; Clean Air Act, Section 103, 42 U.S.C 7403; Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, Section 20, 7 U.S.C 136r; National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, Section 102(2)(F); Safe Drinking Water Act, Section 1442, 42 U.S.C 300j-1; Toxic Substances Control Act, Section 10, 15 U.S.C 2609; Clean Water Act, Section 104, 33 U.S.C 1254.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Approximately three to six months from the close of the solicitation.


Assistance agreement competition-related disputes will be resolved in accordance with the dispute resolution procedures published in 70 FR (Federal Register) 3629, 3630 (January 26, 2005). Copies of these procedures may also be requested by contacting the individual(s) listed as 'Information Contacts.' Disputes relating to matters other than the competitive selection of recipients will be resolved under 2 CFR 1500 Subpart E, as applicable..


Not Applicable.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

This program has no statutory formula. This program has no matching requirements. This program does not have MOE requirements.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

The term of a graduate fellowship is negotiated with students and customarily covers a period of 9 to 12 months for each fellowship year. Students seeking a master's degree may be supported for a maximum of two years. Students seeking doctoral degrees may receive support for a maximum of three years, available over a period of four years. If selected to receive a fellowship, the fellow will be contacted no later than 3-6 months after the close of the solicitation and should subsequently receive official notification of award by no later than 3-6 months after the close of the solicitation for the fall term. Please note that this schedule may be changed without notification due to factors that were not anticipated at the time of announcement. The official notification of an award will be made by the EPA's Grants and Interagency Agreement Management Division. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Assistance is incrementally funded on an annual basis.

Post Assistance Requirements


No program reports are required.

No cash reports are required.

Fellowship recipients must provide annual progress reports in order to retain their funding, and must provide a final report upon termination of the award.

In the spring of each fellowship year, the fellow will need to provide documentation (letter from sponsor, current copy of transcript, updated project synopsis, updated technical abstract, etc.).

No expenditure reports are required.

EPA includes reporting requirements for fellowships in the terms and conditions of the agreements.

Performance Monitoring is required under this program.


In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503. Grants and cooperative agreements are subject to inspections and audits by the Comptroller General of the United States, the EPA Office of Inspector General, other EPA staff, or any authorized representative of the Federal government. Reviews by the EPA Project Officer and the Grants Specialist may occur each year. In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-federal entities that expend $750,000 or more in a year in Federal awards shall have a single or a program specific audit conducted for that year. Non-federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503.


The record retention requirements of 40 CFR Part 46 are applicable. All records related to a fellowship agreement must be maintained for three years after the completion date inserted on the 'Completion of Studies Notice' (EPA Form 5770-9). EPA, the Inspector General, Comptroller General of the United States, or any of their duly authorized representatives, has the right of timely and unrestricted access to documents, papers, or other records related to a fellowship, in order to make audits, examinations, excerpts, transcripts and copies of such documents. The rights of access in this paragraph are not limited to the required retention period, but shall last as long as records are retained. In the spring of each fellowship year, the fellow will need to provide documentation (letter from sponsor, current copy of transcript, updated project synopsis, updated technical abstract, etc.).

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Project Grants) FY 16 $6,700,000; FY 17 est $0; and FY 18 est $0 - FY 16 $6.7M; FY 17 est. $0; FY 18 est. $0.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

A maximum of $88,000 ($44,000/year) will be provided for master's fellows (two years) and up to $132,000 (three years) for doctoral fellows. Awards range from $88,000 to $132,000 total per fellowship and average $120,000.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Fellowship Regulations, Environmental Protection Agency (40 CFR Part 46).

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

See Regional Agency Offices. Applicants are encouraged to communicate with the appropriate EPA Regional Office listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog or the contact listed in the solicitation. The solicitation is located at:

Headquarters Office

Brandon Jones, USEPA, Potomac Yards South, 2777 Crystal Drive, Rm# S11772, Arlington, Virginia 22202 Email: Phone: 703-347-8053

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

The evaluation and selection criteria for competitive awards under this CFDA description will be described in the competitive announcement. See the Web page ( for additional information on the evaluative criteria for this RFA.

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Edited by: Michael Saunders

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