Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Fellowships For Undergraduate Environmental Study

The National Center for Environmental Research (NCER) offers undergraduate fellowships to students in environmentally related fields of study.

This program is intended to strengthen the environmental research capacity of institutions of higher education that receive limited funding to build such

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Funding Priority - Fiscal Year 2015: The Greater Research Opportunities Fellowship Program will support undergraduate fellowships in the following areas: Natural and Life Sciences, Environmental Sciences and Interdisciplinary Programs, Engineering, Social Sciences, Physical Sciences and Earth Sciences, and Mathematics and Computer Science.

A portion of the resources appropriated in FY 2015 will be awarded in FY 2016.

Funding Priority - Fiscal Year 2016: No funding opportunity is planned.

Expected obligations for FY 2016 are associated with funds appropriated in FY 2015.

Funding Priority - Fiscal Year 2017: No funding opportunity is planned.

Fiscal Year 2018 ? EPA did not include funding for this activity in the FY 2018 budget request.
Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

Fiscal Year 2016: 1.

The goal of this study is to assess contamination by quantifying the pathogens Salmonella and Aeromonas in comparison to fecal indicators in an impaired stream.

The results of this study will inform management of impaired waters. 2.

The fellow will investigate volatile organic compounds found in ambient air samples in order to monitor local air quality.

This will be achieved through analyzing aerosol filter samples by gas chromatography- mass spectrometry (GC-MS). 3.

The fellow will investigate the effects of drainage tiles on sub-surface erosion rates through isotopic analysis of fallout radionuclides in samples of river sediment in the Vermillion River watershed in northeast Ohio.

Understanding the sources and magnitude of sediment pollution is of critical importance in the Great Lakes watershed, as sediment and the contaminants it may carry has a detrimental effect on aquatic ecosystems and drinking water quality. 4.

Biofuels are potentially promising alternatives to conventional petrofuels, as they are renewable and release substantially lower emissions than their fossil fuel counterparts.

Although there has been much progress made with respect to biofuel research, there are many setbacks that make it hard for these fuels to be fully implemented.

This research works to optimize biofuels by studying properties of fuel synthesis and fuel cold flow behavior, while considering interactions with the environment. 5.

The ecological context of chemical pollutant exposure can enhance susceptibility to chemical toxicity, and variation in environmental conditions ? such as shifts in temperature resulting from climate change ? may heighten the adverse impacts of pollutants.

This research will examine the interactions between chemical exposure and environmental context by testing how the adverse reproductive effects of exposure to 4-nonylphenol in an estuarine fish model are influenced by thermal regime.

Fiscal Year 2017: No new projects will be funded during FY 2017.

Fiscal Year 2018: No content available.

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 - See Regional Agency Offices.

Applicants are encouraged to communicate with the appropriate EPA Regional Office listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog or the contacts listed in the solicitations.

Solicitations are located at:

Relevant Nonprofit Program Categories

Program Accomplishments

Fiscal Year 2016: New awards for the Greater Research Opportunities Undergraduate Fellowship Program-FY 16: 33. Fiscal Year 2017: No content available. Fiscal Year 2018: No content available.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Fellowship awards are made in response to a competitive solicitation.

Funds are to provide resources to allow for fellowships related to environmental issues.

No matching funds are required.

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: Grant recipients and sub-recipients are encouraged to adopt and enforce policies that ban text messaging while driving company-owned or -rented vehicles or government-owned vehicles, or while driving privately-owned vehicles when on official government business or when performing any work for or on behalf of the government.

Grant recipients and sub-recipients are encouraged to conduct initiatives of the type described in section 3(a) of the Federal Leadership on Reducing Text Messaging While Driving Executive Order that was signed on October 1, 2009.

Generally this program makes Federal awards on a discretionary basis.

For further information, please contact the Headquarters or regional office.

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.

Applicants must attend a fully accredited four-year U.S.

college or university (located in the U.S.

or its territories) for the fellowship period.

Individuals must be citizens of the U.S.

or its territories or possessions, or be lawfully admitted to the U.S.

for permanent residence.

You must have your green card at the time of application to be eligible for this Fellowship opportunity.

Do not provide the green card number with your application; however, you may be asked to provide it at a later time to verify eligibility with the U.S.

Citizenship and Immigration Service of the Department of Homeland Security. The GRO Undergraduate Fellowship is intended for students entering their last two years of full time study before obtaining their first bachelor's degree.

Students who have already earned one bachelor's degree and are pursuing additional degrees are not eligible.

The fellowship tenure is for 2 full academic years (9 months each) with a required paid summer internship after their first year.

Thus, only students who will be entering their last two years of college will be considered eligible.

In order to receive the fellowship, the student must attend a fully accredited four-year U.S.

institution of higher education.

This school must be among those that are not highly funded for research and development capacity.

For the purposes of this solicitation, students attending those institutions receiving more than $35 million in annual federal research and development funding are ineligible to apply under this solicitation.

Institutions who exceed this threshold can be identified in the National Science Foundation's publication 'Federal Science and Engineering Support to Universities, Colleges, and Nonprofit Institutions: FY 2012,' Page 37, Table 12, column 2.

These data can be found at Students attending those institutions either not listed, or listed as having received $35 million or less as designated in column 2 of Table 12 are eligible to apply. Students attending two-year institutions, community colleges, and those not in attendance at an institution of higher education at the time of application submittal may be eligible to apply.

However, in order to be eligible to receive the fellowship, students attending two-year institutions, community colleges, or those not in attendance at the time of application will need to show evidence of having received their Associate's degree, demonstrate that they only have two years left of undergraduate studies for completion of their Bachelor's degree, and will also need to demonstrate that they have been accepted to attend an accredited eligible four-year institution.

This requirement is considered satisfied if the student is transferring to an accredited eligible four-year institution which has an Articulation Agreement with the two-year institution, thus meaning that all credits will transfer towards requirements for the Bachelor's degree.

An Articulation Agreement is a signed contract between a community or technical college and a four-year college or university that guarantees that a student who earns an associate's degree at a participating two-year institution can transfer all of the general education core credits to the four-year institution toward the completion of baccalaureate degree requirements.

More information can usually be obtained directly from the institution's Registrar.

Alternately, a student with an Associate's degree may provide a letter from the Registrar of the accredited eligible four-year institution verifying that upon matriculation, the student will only have two remaining years of undergraduate study to complete the first Bachelor's degree. Students must be pursuing a bachelor's degree in an environmentally-related field, such as biology, health, the social sciences, or engineering.

Students must have two (2) years remaining from the start of the Fall semester (Fall 2015) before receiving their initial bachelor's degree.

Students must have at least a 'B' average overall at the time of application submittal and during the tenure of the fellowship.

Applicants who currently have another federal fellowship are not eligible.

However, acceptance of a fellowship under this solicitation does not necessarily preclude acceptance of another private, state, regional, local, or non-profit scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, research assistantship, teaching assistantship, or grant aid. Employees of the U.S.

government may apply, but must be able to prove separation from Federal service before accepting this fellowship. Applications must be submitted by the student.

Applications submitted by the institution on behalf of the student will be rejected without review. The exact term (start and end dates) of the undergraduate fellowship is negotiated with the student and covers a period of nine months for each fellowship year.

Students seeking a bachelor's degree may be supported for a maximum of two academic years.

EPA recognizes that scientific, technical, engineering and mathematical (STEM) competence is essential to the Nation's future well-being in terms of national security and competitive economic advantage.

For instance, the health and vitality of the economy is predicated, in part, on the availability of an adequate supply of scientists, technicians, engineers and mathematicians, to develop innovative technologies and solutions.

In other words, this country must engage all available minds to address the challenges it faces.

Minorities, women, and persons with disabilities historically have been under-represented in the STEM fields.

For this reason, EPA strongly encourages women, minorities, and persons with disabilities to apply.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Individual/Family; Student/Trainee.


EPA may request that fellows document their affiliation with an eligible institution. The EPA may also request that applicants demonstrate they have appropriate background, academic training, and experience in the field to carry out the fellowship. This program is excluded from coverage under 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles.

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.

NCER invites applications for undergraduate fellowships in academic disciplines including engineering, environmental science, and physical science.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Environmental impact information is not required for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

This program is excluded from coverage under 2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. pecific details on the application process are described in the solicitations which are located at: Applicants, except in limited circumstances approved by the Agency, must submit all initial applications for funding through

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.


Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.


Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, Section 20, 7 U.S.C 136r; Clean Air Act, Section 103, 42 U.S.C 7403; Clean Water Act, Section 104, 33 U.S.C 1254; Solid Waste Disposal Act, Section 8001, 42 U.S.C 6981; National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, Section 102(2)(F); Safe Drinking Water Act, Section 1442, 42 U.S.C 300j-1; Toxic Substances Control Act, Section 10, 15 U.S.C 2609.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Approximately three to six months from the close of the solicitation .


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 2 CFR 1500 Subpart E, as applicable.


Not Applicable.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

This program has no statutory formula. This program has no matching requirements. This program does not have MOE requirements.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

The term of the fellowship is negotiated with the student and covers a period of nine months for each fellowship year. Students seeking a bachelor's degree may be supported for a maximum of two years. The official notification of an award will be made by the EPA's Grants and Interagency Agreement Management Division. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Assistance is fully funded (lump sum).

Post Assistance Requirements


No program reports are required.

No cash reports are required.

No progress reports are required.

No expenditure reports are required.

EPA includes reporting requirements for fellowships in the terms and conditions of the agreements.

Performance Monitoring is required under this program.


In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503. 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 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-federal entities that expend $750,000 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 $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503.


The record retention requirements of 40 CFR Part 46 are applicable. All records related to a fellowship agreement must be maintained for three years after the completion date inserted on the 'Completion of Studies Notice' (EPA Form 5770-9). EPA, the Inspector General, Comptroller General of the United States, or any of their duly authorized representatives, has the right of timely and unrestricted access to documents, papers, or other records related to a fellowship, in order to make audits, examinations, excerpts, transcripts and copies of such documents. The rights of access in this paragraph are not limited to the required retention period, but shall last as long as records are retained.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Project Grants) FY 16 $0; FY 17 est $0; and FY 18 est $0 - FY 16 $ 1.7M; FY 17 est. $0; FY 18 est. $0.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

The undergraduate fellowship provides up to $20,700 per year of academic support and $8,600 for internship support for a combined total of up to $50,000 over the life of the fellowship. Awards average $50,000.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Fellowship Regulations, Environmental Protection Agency (40 CFR Part 46).

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

See Regional Agency Offices. Applicants are encouraged to communicate with the appropriate EPA Regional Office listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog or the contacts listed in the solicitations. Solicitations are located at:

Headquarters Office

Sonja Lee Potomac Yards South 2777 Crystal Drive, Rm# S6336, Arlington, Virginia 22202 Email: Phone: 703-347-8083

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 ( for additional information on the evaluative criteria for the RFAs.

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