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Research Project Description

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


Project Description:

Graduate student, postgraduate or postdoctoral research project training opportunities are currently available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA). Appointments will be served in Arlington, Virginia; Research Triangle Park, North Carolina; or Cincinnati, Ohio.

NCEA is responsible for scientific assessment activities related to the health effects of chemical pollutants in the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program, as well as in the development of Integrated Science Assessments for the major air pollutants. These assessments provide key scientific support for EPA policy and regulatory decisions.  These assessment activities are very broad and typically have significant implications for national and international environmental policy development and implementation.  Through collaboration with scientists in NCEA’s assessment teams, the research participants will engage in evaluation or analyses of data or epidemiologic study findings, and present the results in scientific meetings and in publications including EPA assessment documents.

These research opportunities are to analyze, evaluate and integrate scientific evidence for the development of scientific assessments that support EPA policy and regulatory decisions.

The participants may be engaged in one or more of the following training opportunities: 

  • Reviewing and analyzing epidemiologic 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 evaluating study quality for epidemiologic studies, identifying critical studies and effects for use in human health assessment, summarizing and extracting epidemiologic study information, and evaluating concentration- or exposure-response relationships from epidemiologic data. The research participants may learn how to synthesize and communicate various kinds of scientific information in health assessment.
  • 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 research participants will benefit by learning approaches for the evaluation, analysis and integration of epidemiologic evidence on the health effects of environmental pollutant exposures that inform EPA’s scientific assessments. The research participants will have the opportunity to be involved in a variety of projects that can include qualitative or quantitative analyses of epidemiologic study findings and data, and to synthesize the findings to create policy-relevant assessments. The research participants will gain understanding of how scientific evidence is used to inform EPA decision-making processes.

The research participants will be involved with scientific staff in NCEA, and potentially scientists from other EPA Labs, Centers or Offices, in the evaluation of epidemiologic evidence. Participants may have the opportunity to publish his/her findings in peer-reviewed publications or contribute to EPA scientific assessments.


Applicants must be a graduate student or have received a master’s or doctoral degree within five years of the desired starting date, or completion of all requirements for the degree should be expected prior to the starting date.  Degree disciplines for this project include epidemiology, statistics, or closely related science relevant to human health risk assessment. Graduate students must be currently enrolled in a degree granting program at an accredited U.S. college or university.  Proof of enrollment will need to be provided each semester.

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 upon recommendation of EPA and subject to availability of funds. The participant will receive a monthly stipend. 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.

Technical Questions:

Contacts for this project are Michael Wright (, Cincinnati; Krista Christensen (, Arlington; and Amanda Persad (, Research Triangle Park.

How to Apply:

An application can be found at Please reference Project # EPA-ORD-DC-2013-02 when calling or writing for information.