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EPA Postdoctoral Fellowship in Non-compliance on e-Commerce Platforms

EPA Office/Lab and LocationA postdoctoral research opportunity is available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) located in Lakewood, Colorado.

OECA pursues pollution problems that impact American communities through vigorous civil and criminal enforcement. These enforcement activities target the most serious water, air, and chemical hazards.  

Research Project: This appointment will be at the Waste and Chemical Enforcement Division (WCED) is located in the Office of Civil Enforcement (OCE). WCED implements compliance monitoring and enforcement programs for the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA), as well as other statutes. The specific area of research for this opportunity is under the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA).

The selected participant will help to identify and capture information pertaining to illegal products offered for sale on eCommerce platforms. This may involve a variety of tasks including researching, developing, integrating, and deploying commercial off-the-shelf and custom developed software that will facilitate the identification and characterization of non-compliance on e-Commerce platforms to facilitate the enforcement of environmental laws in support of the EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment. The resulting tool shall be designed to capture, archive, analyze, display, and share information in accordance with applicable statutes, regulations, and policies. 

These searches shall be able to integrate EPA-identified keywords, search terms, and other metrics to guide web scraping activities.  

Data gathered shall be to a level of granularity which may include information such as product names, product descriptions, item numbers, country of origin, Uniform Resource Locators, seller profile information, product categories, product manufacturer(s), seller history, sales history, image text, specific safety claims, efficacy claim. These data elements may exist in a variety of formats including text, images, and video. These tools shall be designed to provide the user with the ability to evaluate the data based on a variety of factors. Scoring elements may include, but not be limited to other systems such as Pesticide Product Labeling System (PPLS), EPA List N pesticides, EPA registration and establishment numbers, EPA FIFRA Section Seven Tracking System, TSCA public and private databases etc.

Learning ObjectivesThe selected participant will have the opportunity to collaborate with a multi-disciplinary team of inspectors, case developers and attorneys as well as contractors and the use of the data in Administrative and/or Judicial enforcement cases. This includes tasks such as running scrapes of many e-Commerce Platforms, adjustment of search terms, quality assurance and quality checks of generated lists, and other evidence and meta-data gathering.
Mentor(s)The mentor for questions about this opportunity is Royan Teter ( If you have questions about the nature of the research, please contact the mentor(s).

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: March 2023.  All start dates are flexible and vary depending on numerous factors. Click here for detailed information about start dates.

Appointment LengthThe appointment may 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 ParticipationThe appointment is full-time.

Participant StipendThe participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. The annual stipend will range from $74,000 to $97,000, depending on education and experience. Travel/training allowance will be available during the appointment but will be based on priority needs. 

EPA Security ClearanceCompletion of a successful background investigation by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is required for an applicant to be on-boarded at EPA.

ORISE InformationThis 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.

ORISE offers all ORISE EPA graduate students and Postdocs a free 5-year membership to the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA).

The successful applicant(s) will be required to comply with Environmental, Safety and Health (ES&H) requirements of the hosting facility, including but not limited to, COVID-19 requirements (e.g. facial covering, physical distancing, testing, vaccination).

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.

The qualified candidate should have received a doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields. Degree must have been received within the past five years. 

Preferred skills:

  • Ability to write for both a technical and non-technical audience
  • Web Scraping, Database Management, Data Mining, Data Analytics
  • Data Visualization, Machine Learning