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Research Project Description

Postgraduate Internship Program Opportunity
Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response
Policy Analysis and Regulatory Management
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Washington, DC


Project Description:

A postgraduate research project is available with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER). This internship will be served with the Policy Analysis and Regulatory Management (PARM) Science Team.

EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) provides policy, guidance and direction for the EPA's emergency response and waste programs. OSWER develops guidelines for the land disposal of hazardous waste and underground storage tanks and provides technical assistance to all levels of government to establish safe practices in waste management. OSWER also administers the Brownfields program, which supports state and local governments in redeveloping and reusing potentially contaminated sites and manages the Superfund program, which responds to abandoned and active hazardous waste sites and accidental oil and chemical releases. Finally, OSWER encourages innovative technologies to address contaminated soil and groundwater.

Within OSWER, the Science Team of the Policy Analysis and Regulatory Management Staff (PARMS) has the lead responsibility for oversight and coordination of science activities across OSWER’s many program offices, as well as primary responsibility for representing and coordinating OSWER science activities with other EPA program offices.  Some recent activities in which Science Team members have been involved include:  assessing OSWER’s research needs and representing those  needs to EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD); developing with other program office scientists EPA policies regarding scientific integrity, evaluation of cumulative risk, and dose-response extrapolation; developing OSWER guidance regarding the assessment of vapor intrusion at hazardous waste sites; evaluating and providing comments on draft IRIS chemical hazard assessments; and evaluating the impact of recent developments in nanotechnology on OSWER regulatory programs.

The research participant will be involved in a variety of scientific activities with the PARMS Science Team. Team activities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Monitoring recent developments in the area of nanotechnology, and assessing their potential impact on OSWER programs;
  • Identifying and updating research needs of OSWER programs;
  • Developing methods for cumulative risk assessment, exposure assessment, or other types of OSWER risk assessments;
  • Improving the utility of research products for OSWER.

Activities may include the scientific analysis and development of documents or reports in multiple, concurrent projects in accordance with a plan developed in collaboration with the Science Team mentor.  The research participant will also learn by interactions with other individuals and teams on cross-cutting scientific issues relevant to OSWER’s legal and scientific mandates. 

The research participant will have the opportunity to become familiar with EPA guidance materials, including relevant EPA science policies, risk assessment policies, Quality Assurance procedures and protocols, and document development and record-keeping procedures and protocols, leading to increased understanding of the ways in which scientific research efforts influence and support scientific policy and EPA scientific activities.


Applicants should have received a master’s or doctoral degree in environmental health science, toxicology, biology, pharmacology, or a related field within five years of the desired starting date, or completion of all requirements for the degree should be expected prior to the starting date. Applicants should have an interest in the area of risk assessment, health effects of exposure to hazardous waste, or evaluation of exposure to hazardous substances in the environment. 

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 for one year and may be renewed upon recommendation of EPA and subject to availability of funds. The participant will receive a monthly stipend. Housing, transportation, or relocation costs will not be paid by EPA. The intern must show proof of medical insurance. The intern does not become an EPA employee.

How to Apply:

The Internship Program for EPA OSWER is administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE). Please reference Project # EPA OSWER/PARM 2012-01 when calling or writing for information. For additional information and application material contact: Internship Program - EPA OSWER, Attn: Betty Bowling - MS 36, ORISE, P.O. Box 117, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831 Phone: (865) 576-8503 Fax: (865) 241-5219 email:

An application can be found at