The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),  in collaboration with the National Science Foundation (NSF), will offer 10 grants totaling up to $32 million for research on the design of safer chemicals. Two Requests for Applications (RFAs), which focus on sustainable chemical design and assessment of the life cycle impacts of chemicals from production to disposal, are now open for submissions.

The RFAs will support research to create chemicals that are safer for people and the environment, according to the EPA.

The research resulting from these two solicitations, “Networks for Sustainable Molecular Design and Synthesis" and "Networks for Characterizing Chemical Life Cycle” are designed to enhance cooperation among the chemical sciences, materials research, geosciences, engineering, and biomedical and public health communities.

The Networks for Sustainable Molecular Design and Synthesis solicitation requests applications from trans-disciplinary research teams who want to replace toxic and expensive chemicals with greener, safer alternatives.  These safer chemical design processes could, for example, consume less water, generate less waste, or use less energy than current practices. 

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The Networks for Characterizing Chemical Life Cycle solicitation seeks research to further the understanding of chemicals (including nanomaterials, materials produced at the nano-scale) throughout the life cycle at the systems and molecular levels. As chemicals are manufactured and used, they may be altered through their interactions with people and the environment, potentially resulting in unforeseen health and environmental impacts.  The EPA believes this research has the potential to provide tools to characterize and predict these health and environmental effects.

For more information on the RFAs, visit http://epa.gov/ncer/rfa/.