U.S. nationals: Research and Analysis on Issues Related to National Water Programs

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Washington, DC, US


*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis. EPA is looking to select an applicant as soon as possible so apply early.

A research opportunity is available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the Office of Water (OW), Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds (OWOW), Partnership Programs Branch (PPB) located in Washington, DC. 

The Partnership Programs Branch 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.

Project research will primarily address substantive issues related to the Trash Free Waters Program (TFW), though some research may also address issues related to the Urban Waters (UW) program and/or the National Estuary Program (NEP).  Research and analysis will focus on technical, policy, communications, and measurement issues related to these programs. Specific research topics will focus primarily on the use of collaborative partnership approaches to achieve EPA’s clean water goals, with a particular emphasis on the integration of partnership programs to improve water quality and ecosystem health, ensure water equity among all communities, and address major water resource management challenges in specific geographic locations across the U.S. 

With guidance and support from the mentor, plus office managers and staff members, the participant will learn about a wide range of issues related to EPA’s water programs. The participant also will have ample opportunity for participatory learning about the use of geographically-based and issues based collaborative partnership programs that play critical roles in support of the Agency’s mission to protect and restore the nation’s water resources. The participant will be involved in research that enhances their analytical, communication, and strategic planning skills, addressing technical, policy, and programmatic issues on a daily basis. The participant will engage with a wide range of government and non-governmental stakeholders, gaining valuable and diverse perspectives and developing valuable skill sets for collaborative problem solving.

We welcome applicants with a passion for the types of issues we address in the core partnership programs of this Branch, including the value of collaborative, public/private partnership approaches to environmental protection as an essential complement to EPA’s regulatory programs. We welcome applicants with a passion to understand water resource management issues in a multi-dimensional and holistic way, with an interest in analyzing how the work of multiple stakeholders in many different programs can be better integrated to achieve water resource protection outcomes more effectively.

The mentor for this opportunity is Robert Benson ([email protected]).

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: Spring 2020

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 be as follows depending on education level: $59,534 (Master’s) and $72,030 (Doctoral). 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 be currently pursuing or have received a master’s or doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields. 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 with public policy (complementary to technical skills)
  • 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
  • Strong analytical skills with regard to program planning, public policy, and technical issues
  • Experience with public/private partnerships, trash prevention programs, state or urban/community programs, freshwater or estuarine programs, water regulatory programs, and/or environmental justice
Eligibility Requirements
  • Citizenship: U.S. Citizen Only
  • Degree: Master’s Degree or Doctoral Degree received within the last 60 months or currently pursuing.
  • Discipline(s):
    • Communications and Graphics Design (1 )
    • Earth and Geosciences (23 )
    • Environmental and Marine Sciences (13 )
    • Life Health and Medical Sciences (8 )
    • Other Physical Sciences (1 )
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences (31 )
  • Veteran Status: Veterans Preference, degree received within the last 120 month(s).





IHE Delft Institute for Water Education - MSc in Water and Sustainable Development