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A complete application consists of:
All documents must be in English or include an official English translation.
*Applications may be reviewed on a rolling-basis. Click here for information about the selection process.
EPA Office/Lab and Location: A research training opportunity is currently available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Policy (OP)/National Center for Environmental Economics (NCEE), located at EPA Headquarters in Washington, DC.
The mission of the National Center for Environmental Economics (NCEE) is to advance the theory and practice of economics and risk analysis within EPA (www.epa.gov/aboutepa/about-office-policy-op#NCEE). NCEE serves as a center of expertise for cutting-edge policy analysis and research in environmental economics (https://www.epa.gov/environmental-economics). NCEE economists engage in both fast-paced efforts to apply economic reasoning in real-time regulatory development, and longer-term research projects to inform the Agency’s strategic direction.
Research Project: National Environmental Accounting and Natural Capital Accounting: It is well established that the national economic accounts (those that measure Gross National Product and track other metrics for the size of the economy) are not good indicators of social welfare. Many policy priorities are not tracked well by GDP. The single measure leads to many federal investments being misunderstood as pure “economic costs,” when the expenditures should instead be “written to capital holdings.”
The U.S. system of national accounting is designed to measure GDP (gross domestic product), which is important for fiscal and monetary policy decisions. However, GDP is not intended to account for U.S. wealth or well-being, and it does not. For example, GDP is not designed to include the returns from investments made through Clean Air Act-enabled regulation; however, one academic study, which slightly changes the scope of what counts as economic growth, concludes that if such investments were accounted for, economic growth may increase by 1.5-3% annually. Without a measure designed to account for these factors accordingly, federal investments are likely misplaced and may prioritize under-performing investments, in this case with respect to the marginal investments related to clean air technologies.
EPA is considering how such environmental accounts can be designed and implemented. The selectee will participate in the initial phases of this development. The project will contribute to a survey of the literature on national environmental accounting and investigate various classification systems used in environmental accounting [e.g., the National Ecosystem Services Classification System (NESCS)]. The researcher will collaborate with a small team within EPA’s National Center for Environmental Economics, on an annotated bibliography, literature review and general research collaboration with the team. The researcher will also help explore how these metrics used in environmental accounting could inform the measurement and assessment of environmental justice. This latter area is not well developed, and the researcher would collaborate closely with economists in NCEE in developing metrics for this purpose.
Learning Objectives: This training opportunity will provide the participant with knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to conduct policy-relevant evidence-based research through collaboration with Ph.D. environmental economists. The research project will provide the participant the opportunity to gain understanding of current high-level efforts to account for critical natural capital as part of the U.S. national accounts on the federal non-financial, non-produced balance sheet. Examples include: land, minerals, fish stocks, forests, water resources, air quality, and urban green space. The participant will have the opportunity to gain experience in quantitative and analysis skills in understanding and assessing the environmental-economic data for this research.
Mentor(s): The mentor for questions about this opportunity is Al McGartland (email@example.com). If you have questions about the nature of the research, please contact the mentor(s) directly.
Anticipated Appointment Start Date: May 2023. Start date is flexible and varies depending on numerous factors. Click here for detailed information about start dates.
Appointment Length: The appointment initially may be for three months in the summer but may be renewed upon EPA recommendation and subject to availability of funding.
Level of Participation: The appointment is full-time.
Participant Stipend: The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. The current stipend for this opportunity is ~$3,572 per month. Click here for detailed information about full-time stipends.
EPA Security Clearance: Completion of a successful background investigation by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is required for an applicant to be on-boarded at EPA.
ORISE Information: 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. Participants do not become employees of EPA, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.
The successful applicant(s) will be required to comply with Environmental, Safety and Health (ES&H) requirements of the hosting facility, including but not limited to, COVID-19 requirements (e.g. facial covering, physical distancing, testing, vaccination).
Questions: Please see the FAQ section of our website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process, please email ORISE.EPA.REG@orau.org and include the reference code for this opportunity.
The qualified candidate should currently be pursuing a bachelor's degree in one of the relevant fields (e.g. Economics). Only candidates with studies in economics will be considered.