Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Research Program

EPA's National Center for Environmental Research (NCER) is interested in stimulating and nurturing environmental research and educational opportunities at educational institutions that are not highly funded for development of environmental research capacity.

Increased resources not only will enable
such institutions to better serve their student populations, but also use the strategic positions in their communities to provide critical information and to develop and implement risk communication strategies.

Funding Priority - Fiscal Year 2008: At this time, it is not anticipated that there will be a new funding opportunity for FY 2008.
Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

1.

Develop nanofiber chitosan membranes using an electro-spinning process with the capacity to treat aqueous and gaseous environments.

2.

Support the development of fluorescent detectors for a common seafood poison- saxitoxin.

3.

Demonstrate the feasibility of using an internally-cooled machining tool that can perform at the same level as a conventional externally-cooled machine tool and thus eliminate the use of metalworking fluids.

4.

Develop the technology, commercial applications, and life cycle assessments for high-performance microcellular (nano-) composites that use sustainable biobased materials via an environmentally benign manufacturing process.

5.

Develop unit operations for the leather processing industry based on the use of liquid carbon dioxide.

See Web Page (http://www.epa.gov/ncer) for additional information on previously funded grants.


Agency - Environmental Protection Agency

The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency is to protect human health and the environment. Since 1970, EPA has been working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people.

Office - Applicants are encouraged to communicate with the appropriate EPA Regional Office listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog or the contact listed in the solicitation.

The solicitation may be found at: http://www.epa.gov/ncer.


Program Accomplishments

Applications received for the Greater Research Opportunities (GRO): Research Program- FY 07: 5; FY 08: 0. New awards for the Greater Research Opportunities (GRO): Research Program- FY 07: 3. Abstracts of current grant awards, and annual interim and final summary results of the research are available on the EPA/ORD/NCER homepage: http://www.epa.gov/ncer.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Awards are made in response to an announced competitive request for applications (RFA).

Funds awarded via grant agreements are available for allowable direct cost expenditures incident to the performance of research plus allocable portions of allowable indirect costs of the institutions, in accordance with established EPA policies and regulations.

Assistance agreement awards under this program may involve or relate to geospatial information.

Further information regarding geospatial information may be obtained by viewing the following website: http://geodata.epa.gov.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

For certain competitive funding opportunities under this CFDA description, the Agency may limit eligibility to compete to a number or subset of eligible applicants consistent with the Agency's Assistance Agreement Competition Policy.

Fully accredited four year U.S.

institutions of higher education are eligible to apply.

These schools must be among those that are not highly funded for development of environmental research capacity.

For the purposes of this CFDA, EPA considers such institutions to be those listed in the National Science Foundation's publication, "Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions: FY 2004," Table 11.

Institutions identified as receiving $35 million or less in annual federal research and development funding, as designated in column 2 of Table 11, are eligible.

These data can be found at: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsf07316/pdf/tab11.pdf.

Table 11 is a broad representation of institutions, and includes schools that also receive more than $35 million annually in Federal research assistance.

Letter of Institute GRO Eligibility: Applicants must submit a letter stating that their institution is GRO eligible.

Data to be used in determining eligibility can be accessed at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsf07316/pdf/tab11.pdf.

Multiply the figure in the second column by 1000.

Then submit a statement according to the following guidelines: "According to the National Science Foundation's report Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions: Fiscal Year 2004, Table 11, column two, this institution received $xx (place amount from Table 11, column 2 here) million in Federal Research and Development expenditures in fiscal year 2004.

Since this is $35 million or less, this institution is GRO eligible." The full NSF report is available at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsf07316/pdf/nsf07316.pdf.

EPA will verify institution eligibility prior to scientific review.

Proposals submitted by ineligible institutions will be rejected.

Eligible institutions with substantial minority enrollment are particularly encouraged to apply.

Examples of such schools are those that the Department of Education lists as "Accredited Postsecondary Minority Institutions" consistent with Executive Orders 13125 (Increasing Participation of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders), 13230 (Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans), 13256 (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), and 13270 (Tribal Colleges and Universities), which encourage building of the capacity of minority serving institutions to provide high quality education.

Note however, that not all of these schools receive less then $35 million annually in Federal Research and Development expenditures.

See "The Extent of Federal S&E Funding to Minority-Serving Institutions", at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf04325/.

Eligible nonprofit organizations include research institutes, corporations or foundations that are part of a fully accredited four year U.S.

institution of higher education that receive $35 million or less in annual federal research and development funding, as designated in column 2 of Table 11 (see http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsf07316/pdf/tab11.pdf).

However, nonprofit organizations described in Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code that lobby are not eligible to apply.

National laboratories funded by federal agencies (Federally-funded Research and Development Centers, "FFRDCs") may not apply.

FFRDC employees may cooperate or collaborate with eligible applicants within the limits imposed by applicable legislation and regulations.

They may participate in planning, conducting, and analyzing the research directed by the principal investigator but may not direct projects on behalf of the applicant organization or principal investigator.

The principal investigator's institution, organization or governance mayprovidefundsthroughits grant from EPA to a FFRDC for research personnel, supplies, equipment, and other expenses directly related to the research.

However, salaries for permanent FFRDC employees may not be provided through this mechanism.

Federal agencies may not apply.

Federal employees are not eligible to serve in a principal leadership role on a grant, and may not receive salaries or in other ways augment their agency's appropriations through grants made by this program.

Profit-making firms are not eligible to receive assistance agreements from the EPA under this program.

The applicant institution may enter into an agreement with a Federal Agency to purchase or utilize unique supplies or services unavailable in the private sector.

Examples are purchase of satellite data, census data tapes, chemical reference standards, analyses, or use of instrumentation or other facilities not available elsewhere.

A written justification for federal involvement must be included in the application.

In addition, an appropriate form of assurance that documents the commitment, such as a letter of intent from the Federal Agency involved, should be included.See RFA at: http://www.epa.gov/ncer for additional information pertaining to eligibility requirements.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Public Nonprofit Institutions/Organizations, Private Nonprofit Institutions/Organizations, Anyone/General Public, Education Professional, Student/Trainee, Graduate Student, Scientists/Researchers.

Credentials/Documentation

EPA may request that principal investigators document their affiliation with an eligible institution. The EPA may also request that applicants demonstrate they have appropriate background, academic training, experience in the field, and necessary equipment to carry out the research. EPA may ask applicants or principal investigators to provide curriculum vitae and relevant publications. EPA may ask principal investigators for information documenting past performance.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Regarding pre-application/pre-proposal assistance with respect to competitive funding opportunities under this program description, EPA will generally specify the nature of the pre-application/pre-proposal assistance, if any, that will be available to applicants in the competitive announcement.

For additional information, contact the individual(s) listed as "Information Contacts" or see Appendix IV of the Catalog.

When applicable, an environmental impact assessment is made by the Office of Research and Development as required by the National Environmental Protection Act.

The standard application forms as furnished by the EPA and required by OMB Circulars No.

A-102 and No.

A-110 must be used for this program.

This program is eligible for coverage under E.O.

12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.

Application Procedures

For regular mail, completed paper applications must be submitted to the following address: Environmental Protection Agency, Peer Review Division (8725F), Funding Opportunity Number: (include appropriate number as shown in the solicitation), 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20460. For express mail and couriers, completed paper applications must be submitted to the following address: Environmental Protection Agency, Peer Review Division (8725F), Funding Opportunity Number: (include appropriate number as shown in the solicitation), 1025 F Street, NW (Room 3500), Washington, DC 20004,Phone: (202) 233-0686. Specific details on the application process is described in the solicitation which is located at: http://www.epa.gov/ncer. Applicants may be able to use http://www.grants.gov to electronically apply for certain grant opportunities under this CFDA.

Award Procedures

For competitive awards, EPA will review and evaluate applications, proposals, and/or submissions in accordance with the terms, conditions, and criteria stated in the competitive announcement. Competitions will be conducted in accordance with EPA policies/regulations for competing assistance agreements. Customarily, applicants are notified of award decisions within six months of the close of the RFA. After being recommended for award, applicants will be required to submit additional certifications and an electronic version of the revised project abstract, and may be requested to provide responses to comments or suggestions offered by the peer reviewers, a revised budget, past performance documentation, and/or make appropriate proposal revisions. EPA Project Officers will contact Principal Investigators to obtain these materials. The official notification of an award will be made by the Agency's Grants and Interagency Agreement Management Division. Before or after award, certain applicants will be expected to provide additional quality assurance documentation.

Deadlines

As shown in the solicitation, which is accessible through the EPA/ORD/NCER Web site at http://www.epa.gov/ncer.

Authorization

National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, Section 102(2)(F); Clean Air Act, Section 103, 42 U.S.C. 7403; Clean Water Act, Section 104, 33 U.S.C.; Solid Waste Disposal Act, Section 8001, 42 U.S.C. 6981; Safe Drinking Water Act, Section 1442, 42 U.S.C. 300j-1; Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, Section 20, 7 U.S.C. 136r; Toxic Substances Control Act, Section 10, 15 U.S.C. 2609.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Approximately 180 days.

Appeals

Assistance agreement competition-related disputes will be resolved in accordance with the dispute resolution procedures published in 70 FR (Federal Register) 3629, 3630 (January 26, 2005). Copies of these procedures may also be requested by contacting the individual(s) listed as "Information Contacts." Disputes relating to matters other than the competitive selection of recipients will be resolved under 40 CFR 30.63 or 40 CFR 31.70, as applicable.

Renewals

None. A standard grant application should be prepared and submitted as a new grant, which will be reviewed in the same manner as the original application and will compete for available funds.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Not applicable.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Grants are normally funded for a minimum of 2 years. Total approved project period may not exceed 5 years. Grants are generally fully funded or incrementally funded (on a yearly basis).

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

A grant recipient must agree to provide annual progress reports, with associated summaries for posting on NCER's web site, and a final report with an executive summary for web posting.

A grant recipient must agree to provide copies of any peer reviewed journal article(s) resulting from the research during the project period.

The recipient also agrees to provide expenditure and invention reports as appropriate.

Audits

Grants and cooperative agreements are subject to inspections and audits by the Comptroller General of the United States, the EPA Office of Inspector General, other EPA staff, or any authorized representative of the Federal government. Reviews by the EPA Project Officer and the Grants Specialist may occur each year. In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," non-federal entities that expend $500,000 or more in a year in Federal awards shall have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-federal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in OMB Circular No. A-133.

Records

The record retention requirements of 40 CFR Part 30 are applicable. Financial records, including all documents to support entries on accounting records and to substantiate charges to each grant, must be kept available to personnel authorized to examine EPA grant accounts. All records must be maintained until three years from the date of submission of the final expenditure report. If questions still remain, such as those raised as a result of audit, related records should be retained until the matter is completely resolved.

Financial Information

Account Identification

68-0107-0-1-304.

Obigations

FY 07 $1,152,700; FY 08 est $1,152,700; and FY 09 est. $0. FY 08 funding was placed on awards made in response to FY 07 funding priorities.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

New awards range from $300,000 to $400,000 total per grant and average $335,000.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

General Grant Regulations and Procedures, Environmental Protection Agency (40 CFR Part 30) and Research and Demonstration Grant Regulations, Environmental Protection Agency (40 CFR Part 40).

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Applicants are encouraged to communicate with the appropriate EPA Regional Office listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog or the contact listed in the solicitation. The solicitation may be found at: http://www.epa.gov/ncer.

Headquarters Office

To obtain further information via the Internet for the Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Research Program, click on "Grants & Funding" at http://www.epa.gov/ncer. RFAs will be posted as available. Further information, if needed, may also be obtained from Nora Savage; Telephone: (202) 343-9858; Fax: 202-233-0680; E-mail: savage.nora@epa.gov.; 1025 F Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20004. E-mail inquiries are preferred.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

The evaluation and selection criteria for competitive awards under this CFDA description will be described in the competitive announcement. See the Web page (http://www.epa.gov/ncer) for additional information on the evaluative criteria for this RFA.



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