Superfund Research Program

This webpage provides information on current and upcoming SRP funding opportunities, as well as basic information for those interested in applying for SRP grants.

Multiproject Center Grants (P42)

The NIEHS proposes the continuation of the Superfund Hazardous Substance Research and Training Program (P42) Request for Applications (RFA) to address the broad, complex health and environmental issues that arise from hazardous waste sites. SRP Center grants support problem-based, solution-oriented research Centers that consist of multiple, integrated projects representing both the biomedical and environmental science disciplines. The Center cores are also tasked with administrative and research translation, data management and analysis, community engagement, training, and research support functions.

The most recent RFA was released April 17, 2023, and the application deadline will be October 2, 2023. For materials related to RFA-ES-23-001, please see the following links:

Additional Resources

The following links provide information for Superfund Research Program Center (P42) applicants in developing robust and relevant research projects and core activities.

SRP and NIEHS Resources

  • Superfund Research Program Strategic Plan 2020-2025 (1MB)
  • NIEHS Strategic Plan 2018-2023
  • Superfund Research Program Webpage: contains information about the NIEHS Superfund Research Program including currently supported research areas (e.g., Who We Fund, Research Briefs, Science Digest, e-Posted newsletter, etc.)
  • SRP Search Tool: SRP maintains a searchable website that includes access to currently-funded SRP grants and topics being investigated by SRP Centers. Applicants are encouraged to identify unique topic areas that are not currently represented among SRP Centers.
  • SRP Materials for Grantees: although not all information found in this section is applicable to new applicants, applicants should review these materials which include the "SRP Data Collection Form", "How to Gain and Maintain Access to Superfund Sites", "CareerTrac", and other important resources.
  • NIEHS Partners for Environmental Public Health (PEPH): a network that brings together scientists, community members, educators, health care providers, public health officials, and policy makers in the shared goal of advancing the impact of environmental public health research at local, regional, and national levels. Resources useful for applicants, such as information about best practices for establishing partnerships as well as suggestions for assessing efficacy of community engagement and translation activities, can be found on this website.
  • PEPH Evaluation Metrics Manual: provides examples of tangible metrics that can be used for both planning and evaluation. For example, logic models are used to develop evaluation metrics for cross-cutting PEPH themes such as Partnerships, Leveraging, Products and Dissemination, Education and Training and Capacity Building. A link to the evaluation manual can be found on this website. 

US EPA and ATSDR Resources

  • Superfund Remedy Report (SRR; formerly called "Annual Status Report"): The SRR follows trends in remedy selection using past data as far back as 1982. The SRR analyzes remedies selected or modified in 594 decision documents; includes brief project highlights related to green remediation, in situ bioremediation, and high-resolution site characterization; and includes downloadable appendices with data for several key tables and figures in the report and new appendices that summarize all the remedy components. A link to the most recent report can be found on this website.
  • Next Generation Compliance calls for detection technologies that are easy to use: see environmental data collection for compliance.
  • National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES): NHANES is a survey that examines a nationally representative sample of about 5,000 persons each year. Participants complete a survey (includes demographic, socioeconomic, dietary, health-related questions), receive a medical examination, and provide biospecimens for laboratory tests including several environmental contaminants or contaminant metabolites. Results are reported in the National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals. The report also includes laboratory methods for both preparative and analytic chemical methods currently used on NHANES samples.
  • End-user Points of Contact: SRP recognizes the value of coordinating with stakeholders during the application development process to maximize the relevancy of the proposed research. Although making contact with regional representatives is generally encouraged, it is particularly important that researchers proposing to work on Superfund Sites contact the site’s EPA Remedial Project Manager as well as regional EPA and ATSDR contact persons as outlined in the Best Practice Tips for SRP Grantees: How to Gain and Maintain Access to Superfund Sites (437KB) (437KB). The following websites may be useful in finding appropriate contacts for the EPA and ATSDR within your region:
    • EPA Community Involvement Offices in each region
    • EPA Superfund and Technology Liaisons facilitate the use of sound science and technology in decision making for hazardous waste programs.
    • The ATSDR Division of Community Health Investigations fulfills the Agency's directives at the regional level by staffing an ATSDR Regional Office within each of the 10 EPA Regional Offices. The ATSDR regional representatives provide the Agency with a unique expertise that combines special technical and field experience from their assigned regions. Regional Directors may be found by accessing the appropriate link on the ATSDR Regional Offices website
  • EPA Office of Land and Emergency Management’s map of cleanup sites.
  • Sustainability Initiatives: EPA’s sustainability paradigm incorporates 3 pillars of environmental, social, and economic issues. Their Sustainability Research Grants webpage has a description of the Agency’s research programs with an emphasis on sustainability.
  • EPA maintains a spreadsheet tool titled Spreadsheet for Environmental Footprint Analysis (SEFA) to quantify the environmental footprint of remediation activities.
  • Principles of Community Engagement (Second Edition): report released by ATSDR provides guidance for best practices in community engaged research.
  • EPA Superfund Technical Support and Resource Centers: include several centers that link latest methods/approaches/research to solve problems encountered in field.
  • EPA maintains a tool to understand differences in biological response between species and/or across similar compounds (SeqAPASS).  
  • The following websites provide recently developed laboratory methods for both preparative and analytic chemical methods used on NHANES samples:
  • Strategic Research Action Plans, particularly the "Sustainable and Healthy Communities Strategic Research Action Plan", encompass Superfund Research Program relevant research topics.

Tips for Applicants

The following links provide information for Superfund Research Program Center (P42) applicants to assist in putting together a P42 application.

Electronic Application Process

The SRP P42 is part of the multi-project application process facilitated by the Application Submission System & Interface for Submission Tracking (ASSIST). ASSIST aids the applicant with the electronic preparation and submission of multi-project applications through Grants.gov to NIH. Applications to this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) must be submitted electronically; paper applications will not be accepted. ASSIST provides many features to enable electronic multi-project application submission and improve data quality, including pre-population of organization and PD/PI data, pre-submission validation of many agency business rules, and generation of data summaries in the application image used for review.

Need help with ASSIST? Please visit the Preparing for Complex Multi-Project Applications section on NIH’s Applying Electronically webpage.

Applicants also should refer to the NIH Office of Extramural Research SF424 (R&R) Application Guide webpage for additional guidelines to prepare these complex multi-project/core applications

Other Attachments for RFA-ES-23-001

Applicants should include the following items as part of their "Other Attachments":

  • Center Organizational Structure. Applicants should include a diagram of the organizational structure of the Center. This diagram should demonstrate how the interactions between the different Center components achieve integration and the mandate-driven goals of the Center and list the names of the respective component leads including the Research Translation Coordinator. In this diagram, applicants should clearly indicate which projects are BMR and which are ESE. Applicants are encouraged to use a systems approach to represent the linkages between projects/cores. The diagram should be provided as a pdf file titled "Center Organizational Structure".  
  • Table of Integration with Center. To assist the reviewers in determining the relationship between components, a table should be provided showing interactions between projects and cores (by project title and project/core leader) and the purpose of the interaction for the achievement of the Center's overall objectives. Applicants are encouraged to use a systems approach to identify problem-solving leverage points the Center will address. This table should be provided as a pdf file titled "Table of Integration with Center".
  • Table of End-user Engagement and Field Sites. To assist the reviewers in identifying significant project and core interactions with key end-users and field sites, a table should be provided showing which projects and cores interact with which end-users/field sites as well as the type of interaction/activity. End-users would include local/state/federal government organizations, non-government organizations, community organizations/groups with significant ongoing and/or planned interactions. Field sites would include Superfund or other hazardous waste sites or other study/research sites. Applicants are encouraged to cross-reference sections of the application where more details are provided. Applicants may wish to use an asterisk (*) to note if a letter of support is provided in the application. This table should be provided as a pdf file titled "Table of End-users and Field Sites."
  • Table of Research Support and Data Management and Analysis Core Utilization. To assist the reviewers in determining the relationship between the Research Support Cores and the research projects, a table should be provided that indicates the percentage use of each core relative to the individual projects. Centers may include the Data Management and Analysis Core in this table. This table should be provided as a pdf file titled "Table of Research Support and Data Management and Analysis Core Utilization".
  • Table of Changes to Projects and Cores. To assist review of renewal/resubmission applications, a table should be included that lists projects and core components (by project title and project/core leader) denoting which projects are new, continuing, substantially modified, finished/completed, or discontinued. This table should coincide in order and number with the projects and cores in the current application. Also, the applicant should indicate which projects are considered BMR and which are considered ESE research (including which ESE project addresses SRP's fourth mandate). ASSIST assigns projects/cores consecutively; therefore, when numbering projects and cores, numbering must not be skipped if a project from a previous funding period is discontinued in the renewal application. Please label in the following format: new = N; continuing = C; substantially modified = M; finished/completed = F; or discontinued = D. This table should be provided as a pdf file titled "Table of Changes to Projects and Cores".
  • Table of Research Approaches. To facilitate the identification of projects and cores, a table should be included indicating the use of human subjects, vertebrate animals, international collaborations, large scale genomics, and stem cells. Please list all research projects and cores. This table should be provided as a pdf file titled "Table of Research Approaches".
  • Trainee List. In order to assist the review, a "Trainee List" is required in the Research Experience and Training Coordination Core (RETCC) Progress Report attachment for competitive renewal applications. In the "Trainee List," it is important that the application identify graduate student and postdoctoral researchers who participated in the RETCC during the previous funding cycle. (The SRP considers "trainees" as graduate students and post-doctoral researchers that perform research/activities that are supported by the Center.) This list should be in tabular form and include the names of the trainees, their SRP Center-associated mentor name, and project/core. Also, please indicate in the application that the trainee information has been entered into the NIH CareerTrac database. (Note: All trainees should be entered into the NIH CareerTrac database)
  • For more information and table examples for the overall Center and Training Core, see the Examples of Tables for RFA-ES-23-001 (211KB) (211KB) document.

Individual Research Grants (R01)

The Individual Research Project Program is designed to address specific issues that complement the Multiproject Center Grants (P42), meet high-priority research needs of the national Superfund program, or tackle issues of emerging concern. Grants awarded under this mechanism will be for discrete, single projects. SRP funds Individual Research Grants under two programs:

On February 13, 2020, NIH released RFA-ES-20-004 - Optimizing Natural Systems for Remediation: Utilizing Innovative Materials Science Approaches to Enhance Bioremediation (R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed). Applications were accepted through May 1, 2020. While this funding opportunity has expired, some information is retained here to inform future prospective applicants.

In October 2021, NIEHS reissued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for the ViCTER program (RFA-ES-21-007). Applications will be accepted February 1, 2022, February 1, 2023, and February 1, 2024. [NIH released Notice of Clarification of Award Budget Instructions for Specific Aims in RFA-ES-21-007, Virtual Consortium for Translational/Transdisciplinary Environmental Research (ViCTER)]. Learn more on the ViCTER Program page.

For more information about the R01 grantees, see the Currently Funded Individual Research Grants (R01) webpage.

Additional Resources

  • Funding Opportunities Webinar (747KB) (747KB): March 9, 2020, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. EDT. This webinar walked through tips for applying. Requests for the audio recording, as well as questions about scientific aims of the application, should be addressed to Heather Henry ([email protected] or 984-287-3268).
  • Citations Mentioned in the FOA:
  • Emerging Contaminants and Mixtures: The FOA encouraged applications to address emerging contaminants and mixtures.
  • CERCLA Priority List of Superfund Contaminants: The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) requires ATSDR and EPA to provide a list, in order of priority, of substances that are most commonly found at facilities on the National Priorities List (NPL) (Superfund) sites.
  • Currently Funded SRP Grantees: Applicants are encouraged to propose research that fills gaps or needs not currently addressed within the SRP (see the Who We Fund section).
  • How to Write Your ApplicationNIH's guidance may assist you in developing a strong application that allows reviewers to better evaluate the science and merit of your proposal. This webpage provides tips for demonstrating to reviewers and NIH staff the high quality of the personnel involved in your project and documenting resources and institutional support of the project.
  • Sample Applications and Summary Statements: The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) posts sample applications and summary statements, giving applicants a good sense of how to format the sections of their application.

Occupational Health and Safety Training Education Programs on Emerging Technologies (R25)

The NIH Research Education Program (R25) supports research education activities in the mission areas of the NIH. The overarching goal of the Superfund Research Program (SRP) Occupational Health and Safety Education Programs on Emerging Technologies is to support educational activities that complement and/or enhance the training of a workforce to meet the nation's biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research needs.

Grants are awarded to Higher Education Institutions to develop and offer continuing education courses, research experiences, and academic curricula on occupational health and safety management and laboratory practices in the areas of emerging technologies, emerging contaminants, and/or disaster response.

The intent of this funding opportunity is to provide Higher Education Institutions the opportunity to develop and offer continuing education courses, research experiences, and academic curricula on occupational health and safety management and laboratory practices in the areas of emerging technologies, emerging contaminants, and/or disaster response. Target participants include industrial hygienists, graduate students, post-doctorates, and professionals involved in the research, evaluation, management, and handling of hazardous substances. The Superfund Research Program also expects that such programs will provide a unique educational opportunity to those professionals involved in the training of other personnel for careers in these new industries. These programs are also meant to expand and complement existing educational programs in occupational health and safety and industrial hygiene.

The most recent RFA was released on April 30, 2020, and the application deadline was August 3, 2020. For more information, see RFA-ES-20-011: Superfund Research Program Occupational Health and Safety Education Programs on Emerging Technologies (R25). (Note: this is a reissue of RFA-ES-15-014 .)

Please see the Currently Funded Occupational and Safety Training Education Programs on Emerging Technologies (R25) to learn more, and direct any questions to Danielle Carlin at [email protected] or 984-287-3244.

 

Small Business Innovative Research Grants (R43/R44)

Hazardous Substances Remediation and Site Characterization SBIR Program

The NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) "Hazardous Substances Remediation and Detection Program" supports Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR R43, R44) to foster the commercialization of novel, cost-competitive technologies, products, and devices for remediation and detection of hazardous substances in the environment. The SRP is specifically interested in proposals applying new engineering, materials science, and biotechnology approaches. In addition, technologies should be sustainable strategies such as offering a low carbon footprint, reduced energy consumption, utilization of renewable energy sources, resilience to weather extremes, and reuse / regeneration capabilities.

The SRP SBIR grants are made under the NIEHS Omnibus Solicitation. Please refer to the NIEHS Topics of Special Interest. Application receipt dates are April 5, September 5, and January 5. If interested in applying, please contact Heather Henry at [email protected] or 984-287-3268.

To learn more about SBIR funding opportunities, please see a recorded archive of the SBIR/STTR Funding Opportunities for Water Nanotechnologies webinar, held August 25, 2022.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

Remediation

  • Novel technologies for in situ remediation of contaminated sediments, soils, and groundwater.
  • Innovative bioremediation technologies including development and culturing/propagation of plants, bacterial strains, or fungal species for implementing bioremediation.
  • Technologies to remediate chemical mixtures in environmental media.
  • New strategies for delivery of reagents/amendments for groundwater remediation and/or recovery/extraction of contaminants in groundwater.
  • New amendments to stabilize contaminants and/or to stabilize caps for soil and sediment remediation.
  • New technologies and strategies to cleanup large complex sites with multiple sources.
  • Resilient novel remediation approaches capable of withstanding climate change-related impacts such as: fire, flooding, land use changes, and other catastrophic events.
  • Sustainable, energy efficient approaches with a net lifecycle benefit such as net zero emission technologies; technologies that reduce waste generation; processes that recycle/reuse/regenerate active components; long-term remediation approaches equipped with solar or wind energy.

Detection Technologies

  • Machine learning, artificial intelligence, computational, geographical information system-based, or modeling products for predicting fate and transport of contaminants, rates of remediation, bioavailability, or for identifying contamination sources.
  • Real-time, field deployable, on-site analysis: soil, surface water, groundwater, subsurface, sediments, air (such as volatile releases from sites), including:
    • rapid, portable monitoring and screening of contaminants
    • multi-analyte sampling
    • remote monitoring/data capture/data processing capabilities such as time-integrated and/or repeated measures
  • Accurate and reliable new passive sampler devices.
  • Products that allow for rapid sample clean-up/preparation for analysis of environmental samples and/or technologies for rapid extraction or processing of soil for incremental sampling methodologies (ISM).
  • Non-targeted or multi-analyte field sampling devices or kits, including sample collection products that can sequester a suite of analytes for later analysis.
  • Novel techniques, sensors, and field analytical methods and real-time mapping/data visualization for development of subsurface conceptual site models.
  • Innovative tracer technologies for tracking contaminant sources.

Examples of remediation and detection technology needs:

  • Vapor Intrusion: Devices to detect and measure vapor intrusion and solutions for mitigation, including tools to determine when vapor mitigation is complete.
  • PFAS: Soil, sediment, and groundwater remediation technologies for mixtures and degradation byproducts of poly- and perfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS); including technologies for complete PFAS destruction; sustainable solutions with low energy input and/or minimal secondary waste generation; and/or PFAS removal technologies for heterogenous water chemistries.
  • Mining: Active or passive remediation technologies for mining influenced water; technologies to mitigate effects from acidic drainage; portable neutralization treatment systems; strategies to target remediation of sources such as mining waste piles; and separation technologies that remove of elements or compounds of concern from water and/or reclaim potentially valuable critical elements dissolved in contaminated fluids.
  • Complex Site/Geology:
    • Site characterization techniques and strategies for complex geology (fractured, karst and heterogeneous layered deposits) including understanding the fate of contaminants within rock matrices and properties that affect back diffusion.
    • Improved technologies for treating low permeability and heterogeneous lithology, including amendment delivery methods.
    • Devices to detect and measure non-aqueous phase liquids (NAPLs) and dense non-aqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs) in the subsurface.
    • In-well real-time and/or continuous monitoring tools to assess the efficacy of remediation; presence/absence of key factors required for remediation (e.g., biological, geological, chemical); and/or to identify rebound events.
    • Robotic sampling for highly contaminated / remote sites.
  • Disaster Response: Technologies for measuring/treating environmental contamination as part of a disaster response effort.

Applicants must demonstrate that the proposed technologies are relevant to Superfund. Per program mandates described in the Superfund Amendment Reauthorization Act (SARA), SRP does not accept applications targeting oil or gas site characterization/remediation. Applicants are strongly encouraged to stay within the statutory budget guidelines whereby total funding support (direct costs, indirect costs, fees) does not exceed $173,075 for Phase I awards and $1,153,834 for Phase II awards. Applicants are encouraged to contact NIH program officials prior to submitting any award budget for the "Hazardous Substances Remediation and Site Characterization Small Business Innovation Research Program” in excess of these amounts. Please note: the NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) "Hazardous Substances Remediation and Site Characterization Small Business Innovation Research Program" no longer accepts Small Business Technology Transfer Grant (STTR: R41, R42) applications. Funding decisions will be made based on programmatic need – hence, applicants should propose technologies/approaches distinct from current or recently-funded SBIR grantees.

Annual Application Receipt Dates are January 5, April 5, and September 5; however, applicants are encouraged to submit their applications several days in advance of the deadline.

Please see the NIH SBIR webpage for application information or visit the NIEHS SBIR webpage for other SBIR opportunities within NIEHS.

For more information, contact Heather Henry at [email protected] or 984-287-3268.

Support for Conferences and Scientific Meetings (R13)

Superfund Research Program Support for Conferences and Scientific Meetings (R13) - SRP supports investigator-initiated scientific meetings that advance the field of environmental health science related to the mission of SRP. The SRP participates in PA-16-294: NIH Support for Conferences and Scientific Meetings (Parent R13 Clinical Trial Not Allowed). SRP broadens the scientific scope of the current NIEHS R13 program to include non-biomedical environmental science topics reflected in the SRP mandates.

For more information, please see NOT-ES-12-006. Application receipt dates are April 12, August 12, and December 12. Instructions for applying may be found on the NIEHS R13/U13 webpage. Please direct any questions to Brittany Trottier at [email protected] or 984-287-3331.