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EPA Postdoctoral Fellowship in Environmental Economics

*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 LocationA research training opportunity is available at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Research and Development (ORD), Center for Public Health and Environmental Assessment (CPHEA), Pacific Ecological Systems Division (PESD) in Corvallis, Oregon.

Research Project: This project is part of a larger agency-wide effort to improve the capacity to evaluate environmental protection policies and to estimate economic benefits associated with the protection of water and other aquatic resources. The research participant will have the opportunity to collaborate closely with principal investigators within the ORD/PESD laboratory in Corvallis, Oregon and with colleagues at the National Center for Environmental Economics and the Office of Water in Washington, D.C. to assist in the development of a nonmarket valuation study focused on estimating the effect of water quality on several housing markets across the country. This research project will explore how preferences for environmental amenities vary across markets and sociodemographic dimensions.

The research participant will have the opportunity to:
  • Assist the development of analytical approaches that contribute to the capacity to evaluate economic benefits resulting from environmental protection.
  • Collaborate with an interdisciplinary team of researchers on the development and implementation of a nationwide study examining the effects of water quality on housing values.
  • Learn how to collect and manage large spatially-explicit datasets that combine parcel-level property value data with water and natural amenity characteristics derived from satellite imagery and other large data repositories.
  • Assist in the development of econometric models using quasi-experimental designs that are focused on both the internal and external validity of the results.
  • Summarize research findings in the form of peer-reviewed journal articles, oral presentations, and reports to the EPA and other stakeholders.

Learning Objectives: Throughout this project, the participant will further develop skills to:
  • Identify challenging data-analytics and statistical issues and potential solutions.
  • Collect and combine large datasets – structured and unstructured – from different sources.
  • Conduct cleaning, validation, exploratory analysis of data to identify appropriate solutions.
  • Build and apply statistical models and algorithms to answer policy relevant questions.
  • Further develop programming and coding skills in R and Python.
  • Construct projects that are accessible, replicable and easily understood by wider audiences.

Mentor(s): The mentor for this opportunity is Michael Papenfus ( Michael is an environmental economist with EPA’s Office of Research and Development, Center for Public Health and Environmental Assessment. His current research focuses on estimating the economic benefits associated with protecting water quality, wild salmon populations, and human health. Michael holds a Ph.D. in environment and resources (environmental economics) from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor for more information.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: Fall 2021. 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 four 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 (EPA-ORD-CPHEA-PESD-2021-02).