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Research Opportunity Description

Sustainable Synthesis and Applications of Nanomaterials and Nanocomposites
Research Participation Program
Office of Research and Development
National Risk Management Research Laboratory
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Cincinnati, OH


Project Description:

A postdoctoral research project training opportunity is currently available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Research and Development (ORD), National Risk Management Research Laboratory (NRMRL). This appointment will be served with NRMRL’s Sustainable Technology Division (STD) in Cincinnati, Ohio.

STD’s mission is to advance the scientific understanding, development, and application of technologies to address a variety of areas related to sustainability, including systems analysis, environmental management, clean processes, green chemistry, and green engineering.

This research opportunity interfaces organic/material chemistry to study the synthesis and toxicological properties of novel nanoparticles and identification of applications for their use in areas such as chemical catalysis. The research project focuses on developing efficient methods to generate nanomaterials, nanocomposites and catalysts, and process improvements utilizing newer approaches such as alternate energy inputs (microwave, mechanochemical mixing or ultrasound).

With guidance from the mentor, the research participant may be involved in one or more of the following interdisciplinary opportunities:

  • Conceiving, planning and developing new approaches for the preparation and study of nanomaterials and catalysts in a wide range of media, including using alternative conditions.
  • Researching studies entailing theoretical and experimental knowledge, optimization of reaction parameters, and literature reviews.
  • Preparing and executing quality assurance project plans and health and safety plans.

 Through the research project, the research participant will learn how to:

  • Critically evaluate the literature and summarize key results.
  • Develop environmentally sound methodologies that are applicable to general synthesis of molecules of interest (organics and nanomaterials).
  • Collaborate in an interdisciplinary setting.

The research participant will be exposed to and interact with a large team of researchers from a variety of backgrounds across EPA, including the Office of Water and Office of Air and Radiation, and other government and non-government institutions. S/he will also learn new skills and concepts from experts in other disciplines. The research participant will have latitude in exercising independent initiative and judgment in the research commensurate with the level of training and may also have the opportunity to present research findings at conferences. Collaborating on project-related manuscripts will be encouraged.


Applicants must have received a doctoral degree in materials or analytical chemistry within five years of the desired starting date, or completion of all requirements for the degree should be expected prior to the starting date.

The program is open to all qualified individuals without regard to race, sex, religion, color, age, physical or mental disability, national origin, or status as a Vietnam era or disabled veteran. U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent resident status is preferred (but can also hold an appropriate visa status, however, an H1B visa is not appropriate).

The appointment is full-time for one year, and may be renewed for up to two additional years upon recommendation of EPA, contingent on the availability of funds. The participant will receive a monthly stipend. The participant must show proof of health and medical insurance. This can be obtained through ORISE. The participant does not become an EPA employee.

Funding may be made available to reimburse a participant’s travel expenses to present the results of his/her research at scientific conferences. No funding will be made available to cover travel costs for pre-appointment visits, relocation costs, tuition and fees, or a participant's health insurance.

Technical Questions:

The contact for this project is Dr. Rajender S. Varma. He may be contacted at

How to Apply:

An application can be found at Please reference Project #EPA-ORD/NRMRL-STD-2013-04 when calling or writing for information.