U.S. nationals: Support Environmental Health and Water Quality Through Science

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Washington, DC, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
Experience Level: 
Not Specified
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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A postgraduate research project training opportunity is currently available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Water (OW). The appointment will be served with the Human Health Risk Assessment Branch (HRAB) in the Health and Ecological Criteria Division (HECD) of the Office of Science and Technology (OST) in Washington, D.C.

The Office of Water (OW) ensures drinking water is safe, and restores and maintains oceans, watersheds, and their aquatic ecosystems to protect human health, support economic and recreational activities, and provide healthy habitats for fish, plants and wildlife. Among other activities, OW is responsible for implementing the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act. The OST provides ecological and human health science support for decisions and policies that implement the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and a variety of other water related statutory programs that protect water quality, aquatic life and human health.

The research participant will gain experience in the development of water quality criteria, designing national action plans, and assisting with EPA’s efforts related to antimicrobial resistance. Additionally, he/she will have the opportunity to assist in the development of methodologies to be used in these criteria, such as microbial risk assessment.

Under the guidance of a mentor, the participant will be involved in the following team activities: 

  • Various activities with the Human Health Risk Assessment Branch
  • Collaboration with scientific experts in the Office of Water and across EPA supporting the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and a variety of other water regulatory programs
  • Collaboration with EPA employees and managers across a wide range of disciplines and EPA offices
  • Communicating complex scientific or technical information to a non-technical audience
  • Designing and implementing research workshops, webinars, meetings, and outreach both internally to EPA and with federal partners.
  • Additional discrete science and science policy projects in water quality science, e.g. understanding risks related to exposure to antimicrobial resistant microorganisms

The participant will learn to synthesize and clearly communicate science issues; negotiate competing interests; conduct effective and efficient meetings, workshops, and briefings; and will have opportunities to improve oral and written communication skills. This project will provide excellent exposure to a broad range of science, research, and science-based policy issues, resource and program decision-making.

This educational opportunity will expose the participant to regulatory, policy, technical, and research experiences related to water quality.

*Although the application deadline is March 15, applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: March 15, 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 appointment will initially be for one year and may be renewed up to three additional years upon EPA recommendation and subject to availability of funding. The participant will receive an annual stipend of $56,233. 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. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. The appointment is full-time at EPA in the Washington, DC area. Participants do not become employees of EPA, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits.


The qualified candidate should have received a master's degree in the relevant fields, with an emphasis on microbiology. Degree must have been received within five years of the appointment start date. 

Preferred skills:

  • Knowledge, familiarity and/or experience with water resources science and management
  • Experience with risk assessment 
  • Experience with MS Office (including PowerPoint)
  • Good interpersonal relationship skills
  • Skills for analysis, critical thinking and problem solving
  • Excellent written communication and oral presentation skills