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NIEHS and U.S. EPA Children's Environmental Health Centers Program - Renewed and New Funding Opportunities

By Eddy Ball
March 2009

New grants for children's researchNIEHS and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announce the release of two linked funding opportunities - the Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Centers (P01) RFA-ES-08-002 ( Exit NIEHS and the Formative Centers (P20) RFA-ES-08-004 ( Exit NIEHS. Applications are due April 30, 2009 and will be reviewed in July by a special emphasis panel convened by the NIEHS Scientific Review Branch. The earliest anticipated start date is September 1, 2009 for the P01 program and December 1, 2009 for the P20 program.

NIEHS and EPA intend to award a total of up to $9 million each year for five years to fund up to five Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Centers (P01s) and intend to award a total of up to $3 million each year for three years to support up to four Formative Centers (P20s).

Applications funded from RFA-ES-08-002 ( Exit NIEHS will form a multidisciplinary program of basic and applied research to examine the effects of environmental factors on children's health and wellbeing. Research conducted through the Centers should include substantive areas of science in children's health while incorporating innovative technologies and approaches and links to the environment. The revised program encourages strong links between disciplines in the basic, applied, clinical and public health sciences to prevent disease and promote health in all children.

The new Formative Centers program RFA-ES-08-004 ( Exit NIEHS runs in parallel with the P01 program and solicits applications under the P20 mechanism. This opportunity will allow development of new research teams and connections with communities and other stakeholders. The program will obtain preliminary data on childhood diseases and disorders where the evidence of an environmental contribution has yet to be fully established or appreciated.

Together these funding opportunities give increased flexibility to create a more dynamic network of Centers that will pursue research about the complex interaction of environmental, social and genetic factors that predispose children who experience harmful exposures to a myriad of medical and behavioral conditions over their lifetimes.

Contact: Dr. Kimberly Gray,

Background of the Children's Environmental Health Centers

In 1998, NIEHS and U.S. EPA launched the Centers for Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Program, also known as the Children's Environmental Health Centers (CEHCs). The CEHCs currently examine the interaction between key environmental exposures and a range of child health outcomes, including overall growth and development, asthma and respiratory health, and neuro-developmental disorders such as autism. Collectively, these Centers comprise a national network of scientific and community leaders, health care providers and government officials - with the common goals of preventing and reducing childhood diseases in the research areas under study and translating the findings to the affected communities and the broader public. The two agencies have been equal partners in promoting and sustaining this program throughout the last decade.

In 2007, NIEHS and EPA separately convened two independent evaluations of the CEHC Program. The NIEHS group evaluated the use of the program project mechanism as a research mechanism to facilitate children's environmental health over the past decade while the EPA-established workgroup, comprised of members of the Children's Health Protection Advisory Committee (CHPAC) and Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC), assessed the program's effectiveness in translating research results into public health decisions. Results and materials related to both evaluations can be found at the following websites:

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