Postgraduate Research Opportunity in Environmental Sciences

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Reference Code
How to Apply

A complete application consists of:

  • An application
  • Transcript(s) – For this opportunity, an unofficial transcript or copy of the student academic records printed by the applicant or by academic advisors from internal institution systems may be submitted. All transcripts must be in English or include an official English translation. Click here for detailed information about acceptable transcripts.
  • A current resume/CV, including academic history, employment history, relevant experiences, and publication list
  • Two educational or professional recommendations

All documents must be in English or include an official English translation.

If you have questions, send an email to Please include the reference code for this opportunity in your email.

Application Deadline
9/9/2019 3:00:00 PM Eastern Time Zone

*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis.

A research opportunity is available with the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Water (OW), Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water (OGWDW), Technical Support Center (TSC) located in Cincinnati, Ohio. Under the guidance of a mentor, the participant will gain experience and educational benefits from this project performed at TSC.

The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), as amended in 1996, requires the U.S. EPA to monitor up to 30 emerging contaminants in drinking water every five years. The U.S. EPA implements this requirement through the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR). The data assists the U.S. EPA Administrator in determining whether to regulate an emerging contaminant. TSC implements the UCMR program and manages the key components of this complex regulatory effort. Currently, implementation of the fourth UCMR (UCMR 4) is taking place through 2021. TSC started the development of the rule for the fifth UCMR (UCMR 5) in 2018 and anticipates publishing the proposed rule in summer 2020. We anticipate that EPA will publish the final rule in December 2021.

The participant will carry out various research projects related to implementing UCMR 4, assessing UCMR 4 data, and developing and implementing UCMR 5. This includes research on the performance of analytical methods so that EPA can establish appropriate reporting limits and evaluate the accuracy and precision of the methods. The participant will evaluate nationwide drinking water occurrence data submitted by approved laboratories during the monitoring period. The participant will also develop problem solving skills through involvement in various areas of the UCMR program, and by encountering complex issues that arise during the development and implementation of an environmental rule. Additional research and project opportunities include:

  • Learning about the SDWA, the UCMR program and the UCMR web-based data-reporting system
  • Participating on the UCMR 5 Workgroup, learning about methods development and the regulatory development process
  • Researching ways to develop and improve the database that supports UCMR 5
  • Analyzing, reviewing and evaluating environmental monitoring data in a database, including contaminant occurrence and exposure estimates, and responding to technical issues associated with these data
  • Learning how to perform on-site laboratory and data audits for newly developed analytical methods, and addressing data reporting issues
  • Writing a formal paper and presenting the information gathered from the research projects

Please see the UCMR Website for more information:

The mentor for this opportunity is Brenda Bowden (

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: October-December 2019

This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and EPA. The initial appointment is for one year, but may be renewed upon recommendation of EPA and is contingent on the availability of funds. The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. The annual stipend will range between $43,704 and $77,523, depending on educational level and previous experience. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. The appointment is full-time at EPA in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area. Participants do not become employees of EPA, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits.

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 is required.

While ORISE participants are not U.S. EPA employees, nor does the opportunity culminate in U.S. EPA employment, participants are certainly welcome to apply for federal positions that may be advertised during the course of the research opportunity.


The qualified candidate should have received a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields, or be currently pursuing one of the degrees and will reach completion by the appointment start date. Degree must have been received within three years of the appointment start date.

Preferred skills:

  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Strong technology skills and skillful in Microsoft Office, especially Word, Excel and PowerPoint

The participant will be selected based upon academic records, recommendations, research interests, compatibility of interests with research programs/projects at TSC, and interview(s) with TSC staff.

Eligibility Requirements
  • Citizenship: U.S. Citizen Only
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree, Master's Degree, or Doctoral Degree received within the last 36 months or anticipated to be received by 12/31/2019 11:59:00 PM.
  • Discipline(s):
    • Earth and Geosciences (20 )
    • Engineering (27 )
    • Environmental and Marine Sciences (15 )
    • Life Health and Medical Sciences (46 )
    • Other Physical Sciences (12 )