U.S. nationals: Postgraduate Research Opportunity in Achieving Clean Water Act Goals

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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Two research opportunities are available with the Partnership Programs Branch (PPB), within the Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds (OWOW), Office of Water (OW), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) located in Washington, DC.

The Partnership Programs Branch (PPB) supports EPA’s mission to protect and restore U.S. water resources and habitats for the health and economic benefit of all citizens, in both urban and rural communities.  PPB plays a critical role in OWOW and the national water program, serving as the focal point for the use of collaborative, stakeholder-driven approaches to help states achieve Clean Water Act goals.  The core partnership programs managed by PPB are the Urban Waters Program (UW), the National Estuary Program (NEP), and the Trash Free Waters Program (TFW).  These core programs are the facilitators of many successful water program partnerships that are led by states and localities. This catalytic role has strong support from state and local governments, the business community, citizen groups, and many others. There is broad public recognition that collaborative planning and program development through partnership programs can foster innovation, reduce adversarial barriers, and achieve beneficial and measurable outcomes.

Under the guidance of a mentor, the participant will have the opportunity to gain hands on experience through analysis and research to support development of collaborative program approaches to address water program priority issues. Project efforts will address substantive issues related to one or more of three partnership programs: Urban Waters (UW), the National Estuary Program (NEP), and the Trash Free Waters program (TFW). Research and analysis experience will focus on technical, policy, communications, and measurement issues related to these programs. The participant will learn about the use of collaborative partnership approaches to achieve EPA’s clean water goals, with a particular emphasis on the integration of multiple partnerships to improve water quality and ecosystem health in specific geographic locations across the U.S.

Applicants should have a passion for the types of issues we address in the core partnership programs of this Branch. They should appreciate the value of collaborative, public/private partnership approaches to environmental protection as an essential complement to EPA's regulatory programs. They should have a strong ability to understand water resource management issues in a multi-dimensional and holistic way, with an ability to advise on how the efforts of multiple stakeholders in many different programs can be better integrated to achieve water resource protection outcomes more effectively.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: May 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, and may be renewed upon EPA recommendation and subject to availability of funding. The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. The annual stipend will be as follows depending on educational level: $56,233 (Masters), $68,036 (PhD), $81,548 (PhD +2 years of related post graduate work). 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 or doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields, or be currently pursuing one of the degrees and will reach completion by the end of May 2019. Degree must have been received within five years of the appointment start date. 

Preferred skills:

  • Knowledge or practical experience regarding EPA programs, particularly the Clean Water Act
  • Experience working on public/private partnerships, state or urban/community programs, freshwater or estuarine programs, trash prevention programs, and/or environmental justice
  • Experience with public policy (complementary to technical skills)
  • Experience with non-governmental organization environmental work
  • Strong written and oral communication skills, and the ability to comfortably interact with internal and external stakeholders from a wide variety of programs, offices, groups, and entities. Experience with public outreach is a plus.
  • Strong analytical skills with regard to program planning, public policy, and technical issues
  • Strong time management skills and a dedication to completing high quality work on time