EPA Office/Lab and Location: A research opportunity is currently available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA), Office of Water (OW), Immediate Office of the Assistant Administrator (IOAA), Water Economics Center (WEC) located in Washington, DC.
Research Project: The goal of this research project is for the participant to conduct research on water quality modeling and water quality valuation. This research may support the development of tools such as the Hydrologic and Water Quality System (HAWQS), a nationwide Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) based water quality modeling system, and the Benefits Spatial Platform for Aggregating Socioeconomics and H2O Quality (BenSPLASH), a nationwide water quality valuation model.
For more information on BenSPLASH, see: Corona, J.; Doley, T.; Griffiths, C.; Massey, M.; Moore, C.; Muela, S.; Rashleigh, B.; Wheeler, W.; Whitlock, S.D.; and Hewitt, J. 2020. “An Integrated Assessment Model for Valuing Water Quality Changes in the United States,” Land Economics 96 (4): 478–492.
Learning Objectives: With guidance from the mentor, the research participant may be involved in in the following training and team activities:
- Join relevant EPA teams to learn and develop expertise on HAWQS (https://epahawqs.tamu.edu/) and SWAT (https://swat.tamu.edu/software/) hydrologic and water quality models through online documentation, training, and weekly team meetings, including calibration and validation
- Learn and develop expertise on BenSPLASH (Benefits Spatial Platform for Aggregating Socioeconomics and H2O Quality) through BenSPLASH development meetings
- Conduct research to explore impacts and outcomes of policy choices and communicate results, including quantifying and valuing changes in water quality
- Collaborate on developing methodologies to incorporate and apply new or existing modeling and valuation approaches and data to HAWQS and BenSPLASH on a national scale
- Contribute to research leveraging National Aquatic Resource Surveys (NARS) data in the water quality index.
The ORISE participant will collaborate with interdisciplinary teams of water quality modelers, environmental assessors, environmental economists, and analysts across EPA, including EPA’s Office of Water, Office of Research and Development, and Office of Policy’s National Center for Environmental Economics.
The research participant will have the opportunity to publish and present their research. Travel funds will be available for participants to present their work at appropriate workshops or conferences (following COVID protocols).
Appointment Length: The 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 Participation: The appointment is full-time.
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.
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).