Washington, DC - July 24, 2014 - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, announces the posting of the Request for Applications (RFA), Air Pollution Monitoring for Communities. EPA is seeking applications that create knowledge to empower communities and individuals to take action to avoid and reduce air pollution exposure, using low-cost portable air pollution sensors. This research is aiming to advance community usage of low-cost portable sensors, identify the ways communities and individuals interact with air pollution sensors and their data, understand and manage the quality of data from air pollution sensors, and compare community-driven sensor networks to existing state-of-the-art air quality monitoring methods. Particularly of interest is research that will identify sustainable solutions that protect community partners such as local environmental organizations, public health organizations, local public health departments, health professional associations, or non-governmental organizations. This RFA supports the research, deployment and/or demonstration of air pollution sensors to engage and inform communities of their exposure to air pollution, providing them with scientific and technical tools traditionally not available to them.
Applicants should respond to two or more of the following research topics:
1. Identifying how low-cost portable air pollution sensors can be used by communities to understand and reduce the pollutant concentrations to which they are exposed, in outdoor and/or indoor environments.
2. Understanding how communities and individuals interact with low-cost portable air pollution sensors; assessing effective distribution methodologies, training programs, design features, data products, and dissemination of information; and evaluating the sensors' effectiveness in helping communities understand their exposure environment.
3. Identifying effective methods for understanding, quantifying, or managing data quality from these sensors; quantifying how their accuracy and measurement precision compare to traditional monitoring techniques; and demonstrating how sustained real-world use affects performances.
4. Addressing how spatiotemporal coverage or chemical species coverage enabled by portable sensors compare to that of existing monitoring methods. Such comparison could include spatial variability of portable monitor readings relative to fixed-site monitor concentrations, concentration ratios, daily and seasonal variations in concentrations and ratios, frequency and location of elevated values, or other aspects of local-central variation.
This RFA supports the National Program, Air, Climate and Energy (ACE), which provides transdisciplinary research, which addresses the complex air quality issues that we face today. Even though air quality has improved, many continue to suffer from cardiovascular disease, asthma and other health problems that result from air pollution. One of ACE's research goals is to assess human and ecosystem exposures and effects caused by air pollutants and climate change. ACE research also wants to provide data and tools that can help prevent and reduce air pollutant emissions in ways that are sustainable, innovative and cost effective.