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EPA Environmental Pollutant Fate and Transport Modeling Research Opportunity

*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 LocationA research opportunity is available at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Research and Development (ORD), Center for Environmental Measurement and Modeling (CEMM), Watershed and Ecosystem Characterization Division (WECD) located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

EPA ORD’s Research Programs include: Safe and Sustainable Water Resources (SSWR) Research Program, Chemical Safety for Sustainability (CSS) Research Program and Sustainable and Healthy Communities Research Program. Research for the SSWR focuses on developing an integrated modeling system for evaluation of policy options for water quality improvement at a large scale such as the Mississippi River Basin. Research for the CSS focuses on assessing human and environmental risk related to the use of chemicals. Both SSWR and CSS research programs require environmental pollutant fate and transport modeling, which would allow ORD to track the source and identify the most effective alternative practices for minimizing the environmental impacts of different anthropogenic activities (e.g. fertilizer and pesticide application as well as other land use/land management practices). 

Research Project: This research project will focus on environmental pollutant fate and transport modeling. Under the guidance of a mentor, the participant will be involved in the following research activities:
  • Using GIS and hydrological and water quality modeling skills to develop necessary input files for using the integrated modeling system to assist with evaluating nitrogen source, fate and transport under various scenarios
  • Reviewing and summarizing the effectiveness of BMPs/conservation practices for nutrient reduction
  • Developing and/or applying models and necessary input files for pesticide risk assessment and management
  • Interacting with a team of multi-disciplinary scientists/researchers
  • Presenting research results at national conferences 

Learning Objectives: The participant will have the opportunity to be involved in model development and application to better understand pollutant source, fate and transport in fields as well as in large river basins. The participant will also be involved in seeking the most effective alternative practices for minimizing the environmental impacts of different anthropogenic activities (e.g. land use/land management practices) leading to the sustainability of surface and subsurface water resources. Furthermore, the participant has the opportunity to publish and/or present research results at local and national conferences. 

Mentor(s): The mentor for this opportunity is Dr. Yongping Yuan ( If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor(s).

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: Summer 2021 or as soon as a suitable candidate is found. All start dates are flexible and vary depending on numerous factors. Click here for detailed information about start dates.

Appointment Length: 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.

Level of Participation: The appointment can be 20-40 hours per week, depending on the participant's availability.

Participant Stipend: The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. 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.

Questions: Please see the FAQ section of our website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email and include the reference code for this opportunity.