Executive Branch Host Agencies: Energy, Environment & Agriculture Program
- Department of Agriculture
- Department of Energy
- Environmental Protection Agency
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration
- National Oceanic Atmospheric Association
- National Science Foundation
- U.S. Geological Survey
Department of Agriculture
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management. Fellows work on a variety of issues at USDA and specific assignments will vary by placement, but could include work on domestic and international aspects of food safety and food security; providing guidance and technical assistance throughout the risk analysis process including during the risk assessment, risk communication, economic analysis and regulatory processes; analyzing proposed USDA regulations; and coordination of risk assessment
Fellows may choose to work in any one of several agencies within USDA.
- Agricultural Research Service (ARS) - USDA’s principal in-house research agency works to ensure that Americans have reliable, adequate supplies of high-quality food and other agricultural products.
- Economic Research Service (ERS) - ERS provides economic research and information to inform public and private decision making on economic and policy issues related to agriculture, food, natural resources, and rural America.
- Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) - The OCS provides scientific leadership to the Department by ensuring that research supported by, and scientific advice provided to the Department and external stakeholders is held to the highest standards of intellectual rigor and scientific integrity as well as identifying and prioritizing Department-wide agricultural research, education, and extension needs.
- USDA Food Safety Inspection Service - The Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) is the public health agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture responsible for protecting the public from food-borne illness and ensuring that the nation’s commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged.
- The Office of Public Health Science (OPHS) - Provides scientific analysis, advice, data, and recommendations regarding matters involving public health and science that is of concern to FSIS.
- Risk Assessment Division - The Division develops and performs quantitative risk assessments of biological/chemical hazards in meat, poultry and egg products in support of the Agency’s policy development activities.
- The Office of Public Health Science (OPHS) - Provides scientific analysis, advice, data, and recommendations regarding matters involving public health and science that is of concern to FSIS.
- Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) - The FAS links U.S. agriculture to the world to enhance export opportunities and global food security. One of its tasks is to expand and maintain access to foreign markets for U.S. agricultural products by removing trade barriers and enforcing U.S. rights under existing trade agreements.
- Office of Agreements and Scientific Affairs (OASA)
- Office of Global Analysis
- Office of Science and Technical Affairs
Web site: www.usda.gov
Department of Energy
The Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) over arching mission is to discover the solutions to power and secure America’s future. DOE strives to accomplish this by promoting energy security through reliable, clean, and affordable energy technologies; strengthening U.S. scientific discovery, economic competitiveness, and improving quality of life through innovations in science and technology; ensuring America’s nuclear security; ensuring the environmental cleanup of the national nuclear weapons complex; and enabling the mission through sound management. Working alongside program managers, program analysts, and senior management officials, Fellows will participate in key activities and shape science and technology policy in support of the DOE mission and national goals.
DOE delivers on its mission through support of cutting-edge scientific research, technology development, and technology demonstration and deployment. These activities are executed primarily through DOE’s basic research programs within the Office of Science, DOE’s seven applied technology program offices, and the National Nuclear Security Administration. Four of the seven applied technology program offices are the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability; the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; the Office of Fossil Energy; and the Office of Nuclear Energy. Relatively new to the AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowship Program, only two of DOE’s program offices have previously hosted Fellows thus far: The Office of Science and The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. However, opportunities are available for Fellows in program offices throughout DOE.
- Office of Science - Supports large-scale research programs in high energy and nuclear physics, plasma physics and magnetic fusion energy sciences, condensed matter and materials physics, chemistry, biology, environmental sciences, applied mathematics, and computational science.
- Nuclear Physics Program - Its mission is to discover, explore, and understand all forms of nuclear matter.
- High Energy Physics Program - Its mission is to understand how our universe works at its most fundamental level.
- Fusion Energy Sciences Program - Its mission is to expand the fundamental understanding of matter at very high temperatures and densities and the scientific foundations needed to develop a fusion energy source.
- Biological and Environmental Research Program - Its mission is to understand complex biological, climatic, and environmental systems across spatial and temporal scales ranging from sub-micron to the global, from individual molecules to ecosystems, and from nanoseconds to millennia.
- Basic Energy Sciences Program - Its mission is to support fundamental research to understand, predict, and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and molecular levels in order to provide the foundations for new energy technologies and to support other aspects of DOE missions in energy, environment, and national security.
- Advanced Scientific Computing Research Program -This program’s mission is to to discover, develop, and deploy the computational and networking tools that enable researchers in the scientific disciplines to analyze, model, simulate, and predict complex phenomena important to the Department of Energy
- Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) -This Agency was created as a result of the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology (America COMPETES) Act in 2007. ARPA’s objectives are: bring a sense of mission to energy research, focus on creating “out-of-the-box” transformational energy research, and to create a tool to bridge the gap between basic research and development/industrial innovation.
- Office of the Chief Financial Officer: Office of Program Analysis & Evaluation -Provides independent analytical advice to the Secretary, through the Chief Financial Officer, on planning, execution, measurement and evaluation of the Department’s program activities; to plan and manage the Department’s strategic planning effort; to manage the Department’s resource allocation process; and to facilitate improved effectiveness and efficiency of programs.
DOE’s Applied Technology Offices:
- Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy - Works to strengthen the United States’ energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality in public-private partnerships through enhancing energy efficiency and productivity; bringing clean, reliable and affordable energy technologies to the marketplace; and making a difference in the everyday lives of Americans by enhancing their energy choices and their quality of life.
- Biomass Program
- Building Technologies Program
- Solar Energy Technologies Program
- Vehicle Technologies Program
- Wind & Hydropower Technologies Program
- Geothermal Technologies Program
- International Program
- Fuel Cells Technologies Program
- Industrial Technologies Program
- Federal Energy Management Program
- Weatherization & Intergovernmental Program
- Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Office of Strategic Programs
Other opportunities may be available in the DOE include:
Environmental Protection Agency
The mission of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment – air, water and land – upon which life depends. EPA leads the nation’s environmental science, research, education and assessment efforts by developing and enforcing regulations; providing financial assistance through research grants and graduate fellowships, and supporting environmental education projects and services; performing environmental research at EPA laboratories located throughout the nation; and sponsoring voluntary partnerships and programs.
EPA’s interests and jurisdictions are wide ranging. Fellows may seek a placement in any of the EPA offices that are physically located in Washington, DC. They may propose or negotiate projects that address any environmentally relevant issue that is within the jurisdiction of EPA.
In a given year, the potential to be placed in a particular office depends upon current and emerging needs, compatibility between the goals of the applicant and the potential host office, and availability of resources to support a Fellow.
Below are summaries of some offices where past Fellows have served.
- Office of the Administrator (OA) - Provides executive and logistical support for the EPA Administrator and support and overall supervision for the Agency programs and activities.
- Office of Children’s Health Protection (OCHP)
- Office of Policy, Economics, and Innovation (OPEI) - Strives to continuously improve environmental protection systems by: 1) Testing innovative ideas that promise better environmental and public health protection than existing policies; 2) Evaluating innovations to determine their potential for broader application; and 3) Encouraging adoption of successful innovations so their value can be realized on a broader scale.
- National Center for Environmental Economics (NCEE) - Analyzes relationships between the economy, environmental health, and environmental pollution control.
- Office of Strategic Environmental Management (OSEM) - Promotes new ways to achieve better environmental results by focusing on creating a results-oriented regulatory system, promoting environmental stewardship across society, and building capacity for innovative problem solving.
- Office of Air and Radiation (OAR) - Develops national programs, technical policies, and regulations for controlling air pollution and radiation exposure.
- Office of Radiation and Indoor Air (ORIA) - Develops protection criteria, standards, and policies to protect the public and the environment from the risks of radiation and indoor air pollution.
- Office of Policy Analysis and Review (OPAR) - Analysts undertake diverse activities to ensure that OAR policies are consistent, effective in protecting health and the environment, and economically efficient.
- Office of Air Quality and Planning Standards (OAQPS) - Programs protect the ozone layer, address climate change, and improve regional air quality through market based programs such as the Acid Rain Program and public/private partnership programs such as ENERGY STAR.
- Office of Transportation and Air Quality (OTAQ) - Their mission is to reconcile the transportation sector with the environment by advancing clean fuels and technology, and working to promote more liveable communities.
- Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances (OPPT) - Develops national strategies for toxic substance control and promotes pollution prevention and the public’s right to know about chemical risks. Dealing with emerging issues like endocrine disrupters and lead poisoning prevention are top priorities.
- Office of Science Coordination and Policy (OSCP) - Provides coordination, leadership, peer review, and synthesis of science and science policy within the Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances (OPPTS).
- Design for the Environment Branch (DfE) - Works in partnership with a broad range of stakeholders to reduce risk to people and the environment by preventing pollution.
- Pollution Prevention Division (P2) - Is reducing or eliminating waste at the source by modifying production processes, promoting the use of non-toxic or less-toxic substances, implementing conservation techniques, and re-using materials rather than putting them into the waste stream.
- Economics, Exposure and Technology Division (EETD) - Conducts economic analyses as part of OPPT’s decision making process, for example, during strategic planning or priority setting, development of voluntary actions and regulations, and the measurement of results.
- Risk Assessment Division (RAD) - Conducts ecological risk assessments to determine what risks are posed by a pesticide and whether changes to the use or proposed use are necessary to protect the environment.
- Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) - Works on a wide range of pesticide issues including evaluating potential new pesticides and uses, providing for special local needs and emergency situations, reviewing safety of older pesticides, registering pesticide producing establishments, and enforcing pesticide requirements.
- Office of Research and Development (ORD) - This office is responsible for the research and development needs of the Agency’s operating programs and the conduct of an integrated research and development program for the Agency.
- National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA) - Provides guidance and risk assessments aimed at protecting human health and the environment.
- National Center for Environmental Research (NCER) - Runs competitions for STAR grants, graduate and undergraduate fellowships, research contracts under the Small Business Innovative Research Program, and other extramural research assistance programs.
- National Homeland Security Research Center (NHSRC) - Develops and delivers reliable, responsive expertise and products based on scientific research and evaluations of technology that are used to prevent, prepare for, and recover from public health and environmental emergencies arising from terrorist threats and incidents.
- Office of Science Advisor (OSA) - Provides leadership in cross-Agency science and science policy development and implementation to ensure the best possible use of science at the Agency.
- Office of Science Policy (OSP) - Integrates and communicates scientific information generated by or for ORD’s laboratories and centers, as well as ORD’s expert advice on the use of scientific information. EPA and the scientific community at large use this information to ensure that EPA’s decisions and environmental policies are informed by sound science.
- Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) - Provides policy, guidance, and direction for the land disposal of hazardous wastes, underground storage tanks, solid waste management, encouragement of innovative technologies, source reduction of wastes and the Superfund Program. (NOTE: Fellows cannot currently serve in certain positions that deal specifically and exclusively with hazardous substance remediation, including Superfund-related activities).
- Technology Innovation Program (TIP) - Advocates more effective, less costly approaches by government and industry to assess and clean up contaminated waste sites, soil, and groundwater. TIP provides robust technology and market information and works to remove policy and institutional impediments related to the deployment of these technologies.
- Office of Water (OW) - This office is responsible for the Agency’s water quality activities including development of national programs, technical policies, and regulations relating to drinking water, water quality, ground water, pollution source standards, and the protection of wetlands, marine, and estuarine areas. Some offices where Fellows have recently served include:
- American Indian Environmental Office (AIEO) - Coordinates the Agency-wide effort to strengthen public health and environmental protection in Indian country, with a special emphasis on helping tribes administer their own environmental programs.
- Office of Science and Technology (OST) - Applies and sponsors water research helps other EPA programs, states and tribes to protect their drinking water supplies and minimize the effects of pollutants on fish, wildlife, and the aquatic environment.
- Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds (OWOW) - Promotes a watershed approach to manage, protect, and restore the water resources and aquatic ecosystems of our marine and fresh waters.
- Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water (OGWDW) - Ensures safe drinking water and protects ground water by overseeing the implementation of the Safe Drinking Water Act, which is the national law safeguarding tap water in America.
Web site: www.epa.gov
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
NASA’s mission is to drive advances in science, technology, and exploration to enhance knowledge, education, innovation, economic vitality, and stewardship of Earth. Currently, NASA hosts AAAS fellows in the Earth Science Division, part of the Science Mission Directorate. The Earth Science Division conducts and sponsors research, collects new observations from space, develops technologies, produces applications for societal benefit derived from funded research, and extends science and technology education to learners of all ages. NASA’s goal is to enhance understanding of the Earth system and how it responds to changes, as well as to improve predictions of environmental phenomena. Through partnerships with national and international agencies, NASA enables the application of this understanding for the well-being of society. Within the Earth Science Division, fellowship opportunities currently exist within the Research & Analysis Program and the Applied Sciences Program.
- Earth Science Division - This division plans, organizes, evaluates, and implements a broad program of research on our planet’s natural systems and processes.
- Research and Analysis Program - The Research Program sponsors research to advance toward goals in each of the six Science Focus Areas and their component disciplinary programs.
- Atmospheric Composition: understanding and improving predictive capability for changes in the ozone layer, climate forcing, and air quality associated with changes in atmospheric composition;
- Weather: enabling improved predictive capability for weather and extreme weather events;
- Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems: quantifying, understanding and predicting changes in Earth’s ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles, including the global carbon cycle, land cover, and biodiversity in the terrestrial, marine, and freshwater realms;
- Water & Energy Cycle: quantifying the key reservoirs and fluxes in the global water cycle and assessing water cycle change and water quality;
- Climate Variability & Change: understanding the roles of ocean, atmosphere, land, and ice in the climate system and improving predictive capability for future evolution; and
- Earth Surface & Interior: characterizing the dynamics of the Earth surface and interior and form the scientific basis for the assessment and mitigation of natural hazards and response to rare and extreme events
- Applied Sciences Program - The Applied Sciences Program funds projects that enable innovative uses of NASA Earth science data in organizations’ policy, business, and management decisions.
Web site: www.nasa.gov
National Oceanic Atmospheric Association
NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment and conserve and manage coastal and marine resources to meet our Nation’s economic, social, and environmental needs. NOAA has a commitment to scientific excellence and looks to the AAAS Fellows program to infuse the agency with new perspectives and approaches to bringing science to the interface of management and policy. AAAS Fellows hosted within NOAA could expect to work at the science/policy interface in any of a broad range of contemporary issues including global climate change, living marine resource stewardship, integrated ocean monitoring, and ocean and coastal management.
- Climate Program Office - Manages climate activities across NOAA, including many of NOAA’s climate-related contributions to the US Climate Change Science Program.
- National Marine Fisheries Services - Dedicated to the stewardship of living marine resources through science-based conservation and management, and the promotion of healthy ecosystems.
- Office of Science and Technology -The Office advocates and ensures sound scientific basis for NOAA Fisheries science programs and resource conservation and management decisions
- National Weather Service - The NWS is tasked with providing “weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas, for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy.”
- National Ocean Service - This office helps translate science, tools, and services into action, to address threats to coastal areas such as climate change, population growth, port congestion, and contaminants in the environment, all working towards healthy coasts and healthy economies.
Web site: www.noaa.gov
National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) broad mandate authorizes it to engage in a wide range of activities relating to research and education in science, engineering and technology. Fellows will be placed in offices within NSF that will expose them to the agency’s role in the policy process. While the fellowships are primarily a learning experience, NSF values the technical expertise provided by the Fellows.
Fellows may work on programs that foster an interchange of scientific information; support the development and use of scientific methods and technologies; evaluate the status and needs of the various disciplines of science and fields of engineering; collect, interpret and analyze data; analyze federal funding for basic and applied research; initiate and support activities relating to international cooperation and national security; and recommend national policies for the promotion of basic research and education in the sciences and engineering.
In the past, Fellows have been involved in the development of new funding programs (e.g., Cognitive Neuroscience, Public Understanding of Research); efforts to increase the participation of women, underrepresented minorities and persons with disabilities in science and technology; and communication of the Foundation’s programs, policies and activities to Congress, state and local governments, other federal agencies, the research and education communities, and the general public.
Fellows may choose to work in any one of several offices within NSF. Below are summaries of agencies and offices where past Fellows have served.
- Office of the Director (OD) - This office uses the Foundation’s top leadership, and oversees all Foundation activities from the development of policy priorities to the establishment of administrative and management guidelines, including long-range planning.
- Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE) - Promotes the development of an integrated, Foundation-wide international strategy, and manages international programs that are innovative, catalytic, and responsive to a broad range of NSF interests.
- Office of Legislative and Public Affairs (OLPA) - Communicates information about the activities, programs, research results and policies of the National Science Foundation.
- Office of Polar Programs (OPP) - Manages and initiates National Science Foundation funding for basic research and its operational support in the Arctic and the Antarctic.
- Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) - Provides support for research to advance understanding of the underlying principles and mechanisms governing life.
- Division of Integrative Organismal Biology (IOB) - Supports research aimed at integrative understanding of organisms as units of biological organization, with particular emphasis on their development, form, function, and evolution.
- Directorate for Computer and Information Sciences & Engineering (CISE) - Supports investigator initiated research in all areas of computer and information science and engineering, helps develop and maintain cutting-edge national computing and information infrastructure for research and education generally, and contributes to the education and training of the next generation of computer scientists and engineers.
- Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) - Its mission is to achieve excellence in U.S. science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education at all levels and in all settings (both formal and informal) in order to support the development of a diverse and well-prepared workforce of scientists, technicians, engineers, mathematicians and educators and a well-informed citizenry that have access to the ideas and tools of science and engineering.
- Division of Elementary, Secondary & Informal Education (ESIE) - Supports the National Science Foundation’s mission of providing leadership and promoting development of the infrastructure and resources needed to improve preK-12 STEM education throughout the United States.
- Division of Graduate Education (DGE) - Leads the National Science Foundation’s efforts to attract the most talented US students into graduate studies, and to support them in their quest to become the leading scientists and engineers of the future.
- Directorate for Engineering (ENG) - The Division of Engineering Education & Centers (EEC) encourages the integration of engineering research and education to accelerate technological and educational innovation and improve the quality and diversity of engineering graduates entering the technical workforce.
- Directorate for Geosciences (GEO) - Its mission is to support research in the atmospheric, earth, and ocean sciences. GEO addresses the nation’s need to understand, predict, and respond to environmental events and changes to use Earth’s resources wisely.
- Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) - The Division of Astronomical Sciences (AST) mission is to help ensure the scientific excellence of the U.S. astronomical community by supporting forefront research in ground-based astronomy and the development of new instrumentation and key facilities.
- Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) - Supports the research that underlies such findings, as well as other research that builds fundamental knowledge of human behavior, interaction, and social and economic systems, organizations and institutions.
- Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS) - Supports research to develop and advance scientific knowledge on human cognition, language, social behavior and culture, as well as research on the interactions between human societies and the physical environment.
Web site: www.nsf.gov
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
The USGS is a science organization that provides impartial information on the health of our ecosystems and environment, the natural hazards that threaten us, the natural resources we rely on, the impacts of climate and land-use change, and the core science systems that help us provide timely, relevant, and usable information. It is nation’s largest water, earth, and biological science and civilian mapping agency; the USGS collects, monitors, analyzes, and provides scientific understanding about natural resource conditions, issues, and problems. The diversity of our scientific expertise enables us to carry out large-scale, multi-disciplinary investigations and provide impartial scientific information to resource managers, planners, and other customers.
- Mineral Resources Program - This program provides scientific information for objective resource assessments and unbiased research results on mineral potential, production, consumption, and environmental effects.
- Biological Resources Discipline - This division works with others to provide the scientific understanding and technologies needed to support the sound management and conservation of our Nation’s biological resources.
Web site: www.usgs.gov