The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a mission agency established in 1970 to protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment. EPA’s regulatory and decision-making role requires that the agency have access to the best available science that is relevant to its mission. In an effort to improve the scientific foundation of its decision-making process, the agency established the Science To Achieve Results (STAR) research grants program in 1995.
The STAR program is a competitive, peer-reviewed, extramural research grants program created to encourage interagency collaboration and to increase EPA’s access to the nation’s best scientists and engineers in academic and nonprofit research institutions. The program supports research in a variety of fields relevant to EPA’s mission, ranging from human health protection to environmental preservation. It is designed to maximize the independence of the researchers supported and to provide an equal opportunity for all researchers to qualify for support.
In 2000, EPA asked the National Research Council to conduct an independent assessment of the STAR program. In response, the Research Council established the Committee to Review EPA’s Research Grants Program. In this report, the committee analyzes information provided by EPA, STAR grant recipients and fellows, and other sources to assess the program’s scientific merit, effect on the agency’s policies and decisions, and overall relevance to EPA’s mission. In addition, the committee compares some of the procedural aspects of the STAR program with those of basic and applied research grant programs of other agencies. Finally, the committee recom