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Research Project Description

Research Participation Program
Office of Research and Development
National Center for Environmental Assessment
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Cincinnati, OH

EPA-ORD/NCEA-CIN-2012-03

Project Description:

Postgraduate and/or faculty research training opportunities are currently available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA). This appointment will be served at NCEA facilities in Cincinnati, Ohio.

NCEA is responsible for providing state-of-the-art science in support of the EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment. NCEA serves as the focal point to collect, evaluate, and assess national and international scientific literature on the toxic effects of pollutants, and publishes new or revised toxicological assessments and criteria documents as an input for establishing environmental standards and promoting scientifically-sound environmental decisions in the United States. NCEA research programs address the needs of regulatory clients making nationally important human health and environmental decisions (e.g., air, water, pesticides, toxics, and hazardous waste sites) as well as needs which are inherently transdisciplinary or cross-organizational in nature (e.g.,, mixtures, cumulative risk, or multi-environmental media issues). Other essential client communities include the EPA Regional Offices, states, tribal and local governments, and non-government organizations as well. More information about NCEA can be found at http://www.epa.gov/NCEA.

Participants will learn to develop and implement innovative quantitative cumulative risk assessment methods and tools by incorporating public health information with other relevant data on environmental stressors (including chemical and non-chemical stressors), characterizing real-world human exposures and risks, and investigating uncertainty and variability in exposure and risk estimates.

The participants will be mentored by an NCEA team member. Participants will have latitude in exercising independent initiative and judgment commensurate with their level of experience and education. EPA will be responsible to review completed projects for adherence to NCEA principles and policies, quality, and soundness of scientific conclusions.

The selected individuals will be exposed to many technical activities related to cumulative health risk assessment. This may include the design, development or review of prototype cumulative health risk assessments that reflect the latest advances in scientific principles and methods to characterize the risks or hazards associated with exposures to chemical and non-chemical stressors. With guidance from the mentor, participants may be involved in the following training activities:

  • Review, analysis and interpretation of biological, epidemiological, and/or toxicological data that support the qualitative and quantitative estimates of health effects from various chemical and non-chemical stressors
  • Collection of exposure and health data from online national (and other) databases
  • Application of standard, well established principles, concepts and methods in the environmental health sciences
  • Consideration of individual- and population-level susceptibilities and vulnerabilities associated with the stressors under consideration
  • Assembly and aggregation of geo-spatial data on various scales including extrapolation of individual and community-level exposure data to larger populations for cumulative risk assessment application
  • Spatial and statistical analyses related to environmental stressors and related health outcomes including environmental justice considerations
  • Statistical analysis of aggregate exposures
  • Estimation of potential cumulative health risks 

Qualifications:

Applicants must have received a master’s degree in environmental science, epidemiology, toxicology, public health, or statistics within five years of the desired starting date or be a full-time faculty member at an accredited U.S. college or university.

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 NCEA and subject to availability of funds. The participant will receive a monthly stipend. 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-CIN-2012-03 when calling or writing for information. For additional information and application materials contact: Research Participation Program/EPA-ORD, 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: betty.bowling@orau.org.

An application can be found at http://orise.orau.gov/epa/applicants/application.htm