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Research Project Description

Air Quality and Health Linkage Studies
Research Participation Program
Office of Research and Development
National Exposure Research Laboratory
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Research Triangle Park, NC


Project Description:

A student research project training opportunity is currently available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Exposure Research Laboratory (NERL). This appointment is in the Atmospheric Modeling and Analysis Division (AMAD) located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

This research opportunity will focus on evaluating the intersection between air quality modeling results, emission and meteorological data, and human health studies. The selected participant will be mentored by an AMAD team member, and will have the opportunity to analyze, manipulate and combine air quality model output and other air quality data for use in human health risk analyses and epidemiology studies, including the following two main activities:

  • Climate change air quality studies: As a rapidly growing area of research at AMAD, climate and air quality interactions offer many opportunities to investigate future scenarios of climate, emissions, and air quality with advanced modeling tools. The participant will post-process down-scaled regional climate change model runs or future scenarios simulated with a regional air quality model to characterize and deliver surfaces at the needed spatial and temporal resolution for use in vulnerability studies.
  • Human health studies: Several human health studies are ongoing at EPA to understand the association between air quality, meteorology and human health. The participant will collaborate with the air quality and health scientists to understand the needed spatial and temporal resolution and to conduct quality assurance of delivered data. The participant will also contribute to reports that document the quality assurance performed and results, and that help characterize the variables of interest by performing analyses, such as examining distributions and correlations, performing time series analysis and calculating significant statistical differences across multiple years for various temporal [e.g., daily, seasonal, annual] and spatial [e.g., 12 km grid, county-level, state-level] resolutions.

The above activities will include analyzing and post-processing air quality data, such as running Fortran scripts to convert data formats, subsetting the spatial domain of data, calculation of data fields, combination of observed and modeled air quality data fields, quality assurance of data, and recording and documenting results for reports and possible publication. This experience will expose the participant to advanced air quality and human health research personnel, on a national and international basis.


Applicants must be a student in good standing and currently enrolled in an accredited U.S. college or university pursuing a degree in science or engineering with courses in atmospheric sciences, mathematics, or statistics. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and have completed one year of college.

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 will be part-time (60 percent) for approximately four months ending September 30, 2013. The participant will receive a monthly stipend. Funding may be made available to reimburse the 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 interviews, relocation costs, costs of tuition/school 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 ORD is administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. Please reference Project # EPA-ORD/NERL-AMAD-2013-02 when calling or writing for information.