Two research opportunities are currently available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Research and Development (ORD), located in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The mentors, Drs. Meyer and Smith, collaborate within a team of researchers, so these opportunities have related and overlapping descriptions.

Modeling Chemical Manufacturing, Processing, and Use to Estimate Releases for Exposure Assessments

For technical information about this opportunity, contact Dr. Raymond Smith, [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>

This research project will develop methods to rapidly estimate chemical releases for exposure and risk assessment applications, including manufacturing, processing, and use of a chemical through models known as Generic Scenarios.  A Generic Scenario is an EPA Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics term for a model that describes the release of a chemical during a well-defined industrial activity or set of activities.  These activities, in such systems as manufacturing, processing, and use of chemicals, are described by process flow diagrams, process models, stream tables, etc. with mass and energy balance and transfer equations.  The rapid estimation of chemical releases expands the system of interest beyond the equipment to worker exposure and ambient environments.  The research project answers questions about what amount and concentration of a chemical is predicted to be in environmental exposure pathways such as water releases, indoor air, on surfaces, etc.  The research project involves manufacturing process modeling, chemical use modeling, mass transfer modeling, model input estimation, uncertainty analysis, data source identification and data collection, statistics, computer programming, artificial intelligence, machine learning, knowledge discovery and data mining, and prediction of chemical releases and concentrations for exposure and risk assessment purposes.

Chemical Source Modeling Using Data Mining, Statistics, and Machine Learning
For technical information about this opportunity, contact Dr. David Meyer, [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>

This research project will develop methods to model sources of chemical releases throughout the life cycle of a chemical, including manufacturing, processing, distribution, use, and end-of-life activities, for application in human exposure models as part of the Agency's high-throughput chemical risk assessment program.  In collaboration with other ORD research, this research project will apply data mining, machine learning, and transport modeling principles to quickly and accurately estimate chemical releases.  The research project will involve the collection, curation, modeling, classification, regression, and prediction of chemical release data for risk assessment purposes.  Collection will include searching for, extracting, documenting, and warehousing data throughout the world wide web.  Curation will require evaluating and preprocessing data according to big data principles, with emphasis on data quality analysis.  Modeling will involve the use of engineering knowledge to fill gaps in release data throughout the life cycles of chemicals.  Classification refers to the use of machine learning to categorize collected data based on similarities in specified data descriptors, including physical properties, chemical quantities, and the nature of the activities involving the chemicals.  Regression and other statistical methods will be applied as fit for purpose to model trends in the data.  Prediction will be used as appropriate to extrapolate beyond the specific chemicals and circumstances studied in the previous steps.

More detail about these opportunities can be found at the above links.

Completion of a successful background investigation by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is required for an applicant to be on-boarded at EPA.  OPM can complete a background investigation only for individuals, including non-US Citizens, who have resided in the US for the past three years.

Raymond Smith
PhD Chemical Engineer, AIChE Fellow
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Center for Environmental Solutions and Emergency Response
26 W. Martin Luther King Drive
Cincinnati, OH 45268 USA