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Research Project Description

Human Health Assessment Development Research Project
Research Participation Program
National Center for Environmental Assessment
Office of Research and Development
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Arlington, VA, Research Triangle Park, NC, or Cincinnati, OH


Project Description:

Graduate student, postgraduate, postdoctoral and/or faculty research project training opportunities are currently available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA). The appointments may be served with the Effects Identification and Characterization Group (EICG) in Arlington, Virginia, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, or Cincinnati, Ohio.

Participants will have the opportunity to participate with EPA scientists on cross-cutting scientific issues relevant to the development of human health assessments for the Integrated Risk Information System (see Activities will particularly concern analyses of the mode of action of environmental agents in health risk assessments. The principal focus will be on evaluating and interpreting mutagenicity and genotoxicity data related to environmental exposures, as well as analysis of other modes of action of toxic responses in EPA human health assessments. The selected individuals will be trained in research activities/projects related to EPA human health risk assessments. Activities may include scientific analysis of mode of action, developmental toxicity, reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity as well as carcinogenicity and mutagenesis data in relation to human health risk assessment, interaction with other scientists to identify and resolve scientific issues related to human health risk assessments.  

With guidance from an NCEA mentor and other EPA team members, the participant may be involved in the following training activities.

  • Reviewing and analyzing biological and/or toxicological data supporting the qualitative and quantitative estimates of health effects from various chemical substances.
  • Developing analyses into logical, credible health assessment documents for NCEA that reflect current scientific principles and risk assessment methodologies. Daily activities may involve providing a perspective for interpretation of data on potential fate/metabolism and mode(s)/mechanism(s) of action of chemical agents. The participant may learn how to synthesize and communicate various kinds of scientific information in health assessment.
  • Arranging peer review for his/her scientific research, and responding to peer review comments by scientists in NCEA, other parts of EPA, and external reviewers.
  • Identifying and researching cross-cutting scientific issues that arise in EPA risk assessment, such as application of methodologies and procedures for calculations.
  • Devising scientific approaches for the NCEA’s risk assessment process, and interacting with EPA scientists to improve risk assessment methodologies.

The participant will have latitude in exercising independent initiative and judgment in the research commensurate with the level of training. EPA will review completed papers for adherence to NCEA principles and policies, quality, and soundness of scientific conclusions.


Applicants must have received a doctoral degree in a related science discipline within five years of the desired starting date or be a full-time faculty member at an accredited U.S. college or university. Graduate students currently pursuing a degree in public health, biological sciences, bioinformatics or epidemiology are also eligible to apply. Students must show proof of enrollment each semester. Knowledge and understanding of mutagenicity and the modes of action of carcinogenesis and other endpoints of toxicity, particularly in relation to human health risk assessment, are desirable.

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 may be part- or full-time for one year and may be renewed for up to two additional years upon recommendation of EPA and subject to availability of funds. The participant will receive a monthly stipend. A faculty member would receive a stipend commensurate with his/her regular university salary. Funding may be made available to reimburse a research 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. The participant must show proof of health and medical insurance. The participant does not become an EPA employee.

How to Apply:

The Research Participation Program for EPA is administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. Please reference Project # EPA-ORD/NCEA-DC-2012-02 when calling or writing for information. For additional information and application materials contact: Research Participation Program/EPA, Attn: Betty Bowling, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, P.O. Box 117, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831-0117, Phone: (865) 576-8503 FAX: (865) 241-5219 e-mail:

An application can be found at