EPA Water Quality Criteria Implementation Support Fellowship

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Reference Code
How to Apply
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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. Click here for detailed information about recommendations.
All documents must be in English or include an official English translation.
Application Deadline
11/7/2022 3:00:00 PM Eastern Time Zone

*Applications may be reviewed on a rolling-basis and this posting could close before the deadline. Click here for information about the selection process.

EPA Office/Lab and Location: A postgraduate research project training opportunity is currently available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Water (OW), in its Office of Science and Technology (OST) located in Washington, D.C.

The Standards and Health Protection Division (SHPD), located in EPA’s OST, directs the national water programs for water quality standards (WQS) to protect the quality of lakes, rivers, estuaries, and other water bodies, and directs programs regarding advisories for safe fishing and swimming. Research and analysis experience will focus on the science and policy questions surrounding the implementation of water quality criteria in WQS, primarily criteria to protect aquatic life.

Research Project: The primary goal of this research project is to support science and policy analysis on water quality standards program issues that have national implications, particularly those pertaining to the implementation of water quality criteria for pollutants such as metals and PFAS. 

Learning Objectives: The ORISE participant will be trained in SHPD’s National Branch, the branch that develops national guidance on implementation of ambient water quality criteria and provides technical support on implementation of WQS to EPA, regions, states, and tribes. The participant will learn about the role of water quality standards in achieving the goals of the Clean Water Act, and the relationship between standards and related core Clean Water Act programs such as the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit program and the Section 303(d) listing and Total Maximum Daily Load programs. The participant will learn how to evaluate state-developed criteria to determine their protectiveness in light of Clean Water Act requirements. In addition, the participant will gain familiarity with relevant EPA regulations and guidance documents.

This opportunity will provide excellent exposure to:

  1. A broad range of water pollution control technical and policy issues;
  2. The process of applying technical data and information to policy development;
  3. Interpretation of statutory and regulatory language and its application to state-specific water quality standards proposals and submissions;
  4. Synthesizing technical and policy information for presentation to EPA senior managers and appropriate stakeholder groups, including honing the skill of communicating complex scientific or technical information to a nontechnical audience; and
  5. Forming and facilitating technical and policy workgroups with members from both EPA and states.

The participant will be exposed to decision-making discussions with EPA managers, including opportunities to brief those managers. The participant will also be able to meet and collaborate with EPA employees and managers across a wide range of disciplines and EPA offices. The participant will also hone the skill of communicating complex scientific or technical information to a non-technical audience.

Mentor(s)/Coordinator: The mentor for this opportunity is Lars Wilcut (wilcut.lars@epa.gov). If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor(s) or program coordinator.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: October 2022.  All start dates are flexible and vary depending on numerous factors. Click here for detailed information about start dates.

Appointment Length: The appointment initially may be for one year and 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 stipends for this opportunity are $61,947/year (MS) and $74,950/year (Ph.D.). Funding may be made available to reimburse the participant’s travel expenses to travel to workshops, trainings, or conferences related to their participation with the EPA. 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.

ORISE offers all ORISE EPA graduate students and Postdocs a free 5 year membership to the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA).

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.OW@orau.org and include the reference code for this opportunity.


The qualified candidate should be currently pursuing or have received a master's or doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields. Degree must have been received within the past five years.

Preferred skills:
  • Familiarity and/or experience with aquatic toxicology, water treatment, or ambient water monitoring;
  • Ability to conduct assignments on multiple projects under tight deadlines;
  • Experience with R; and,
  • Experience with MS Office.
Eligibility Requirements
  • Citizenship: LPR or U.S. Citizen
  • Degree: Master's Degree or Doctoral Degree received within the last 60 months or currently pursuing.
  • Discipline(s):
    • Communications and Graphics Design (6 )
    • Computer, Information, and Data Sciences (4 )
    • Earth and Geosciences (1 )
    • Engineering (5 )
    • Environmental and Marine Sciences (14 )
    • Life Health and Medical Sciences (48 )
    • Mathematics and Statistics (2 )
    • Other Non-S&E (1 )
    • Other Physical Sciences (6 )
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences (4 )