EPA Announces Research Grant for Early Life Exposures

September 17, 2020

From the Announcement:

Center for Early Life Stage Vulnerabilities to Environmental Stressors Request for Applications and Informational Webinar

Background: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, is seeking applications for a new Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Center, the Center for Early Lifestage Vulnerabilities to Environmental Stressors. EPA is interested in supporting a transdisciplinary research center to better understand potential causal relationships among cumulative exposures to chemicals and non-chemical environmental stressors during early life stages and modifying factors that result in adverse developmental health effects during early childhood.

Prenatal and early life exposures to pollutants such as methyl mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and lead have shown a relationship to adverse cognitive and behavioral outcomes, demonstrating links to ADHD, reduced IQ, lessened self-regulatory capacities, anxiety, depression, attention problems, lower memory function, or structural changes to the brain. However, in order to develop and implement meaningful effective intervention or prevention measures for pregnant women and infants, more research is needed to advance the scientific knowledge beyond correlations or trends. Researchers need to develop quantitative methods, inclusive of all relevant chemical and non-chemical environmental stressors and modifying factors, to establish more conclusive exposure-outcome links. Key insights may be in identifying specific vulnerabilities at early life stages and their relationships to specific health outcomes (later in early childhood) through innovative analyses of existing epidemiological (and other) data pertaining to early child development.

Applications should include the following research topics of interest: Early life stage (prenatal, perinatal) vulnerabilities from exposures to environmental chemical stressors which will determine health during early childhood development.

This RFA is supported by EPA’s Sustainable and Healthy Communities (SHC) national research program, which sponsors research that promotes healthy and resilient communities.

The STAR Program’s goal is to stimulate and support scientific and engineering research that advances EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment. It is a competitive, peer-reviewed, extramural research program that provides access to the nation’s best scientists and engineers in academic and other nonprofit research institutions. STAR funds research on the environmental and public health effects of air quality, environmental changes, water quality and quantity, hazardous waste, toxic substances, and pesticides.

Application information

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