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EPA Water and Air Quality Policy Assessment Internship

*Applications may be reviewed on a rolling-basis and this posting could close before the deadline. Click here for information about the selection process.
EPA Office/Lab and Location: A research training opportunity is currently available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Policy (OP)/National Center for Environmental Economics (NCEE), located at EPA Headquarters in Washington, DC.
Research Project: The participant will be involved with NCEE economists on research projects that will improve methodologies to assess the benefits and costs of environmental policies that improve water and air quality. The projects will involve significant data analysis and coding. One component of the water quality project is an evaluation of affordability metrics for costs of drinking and wastewater that are passed on to customers through water bills. With guidance and direction from an NCEE economist, the participant will review the literature on proposed affordability metrics (including those for similar services, such as electricity), apply these metrics to existing data, and evaluate their performance. The participant will also contribute to the evaluation of the effect of changes in water bills on outcomes such as household and government finances. Finally, the participant will engage in a study of the effectiveness of compliance assurance (inspections and enforcement) in the context of water quality. This project will involve the use of large, administrative data sets.
Additionally, to improve its ability to evaluate the contributions of voluntary programs, NCEE has a project underway to pursue case studies that examine the potential role that voluntary programs have played in participant actions to improve environmental outcomes. One potential case study involves assessing, in the supermarket industry, refrigerant gas emissions that have high global-warming-potential and that may deplete the ozone.
Allocation of time across the different components of the project is flexible. The participant will also have the opportunity to participate in additional research projects that are mutually beneficial.
Learning Objectives: This research project will provide the participant the opportunity to gain skills to compile, link, manage, and analyze large environmental, economic, and administrative datasets to facilitate analysis of the costs, benefits, and other economic impacts of environmental policies. The participant will have the opportunity to gain experience applying strong quantitative and computer coding skills to analysis of environmental policies. The participant is also expected to gain skills in applying econometric techniques to analyze relationships between the economy and the environment utilizing Stata, R, and/or other statistical programming languages. This training opportunity will provide an early career economist or data analyst with knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to conduct policy-relevant evidence-based research through collaboration with PhD environmental economists.
Mentor(s): The mentor for this opportunity is Will Wheeler ( If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor(s).
Anticipated Appointment Start Date: Late Summer/Fall 2020. All start dates are flexible and vary depending on numerous factors. Click here for detailed information about start dates.
Appointment Length: The appointment will 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.
Participant Stipend: The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. Click here for detailed information about full-time stipends.
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.
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.