The National Center for Environmental Research, a grant program within the Environmental Protection Agency that helps fund tests ascertaining the effect of chemical exposure on adults and children, will discontinue, the EPA told The Hill on Monday. The program is “best known for its handling of fellowships that study the effects of chemicals on children’s health.”
It will close as three EPA offices—NCER, the Office of Administrative and Research Support, and the Office of Program Accountability and Resource Management—merge. A spokesperson for the EPA said that the scientists working for the NCER won’t be fired, but will instead be absorbed by other offices in the agency. That reorganization “could result in a change of positions or functions.”
NCER’s most beloved and well-known program, Science To Achieve Results, distributes grants to the Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers, 30-year-old programs dedicated to studying the impact of environmental impacts—like air pollution and climate change—on children.
The spokesperson continued:
“EPA’s Office of Research and Development is one of the world’s leading environmental and human health research organizations. In order to maintain the quality and focus of our research, senior leaders from the research and development office are proactively taking steps to create management efficiencies within the organization,” the spokesperson said. “These changes will help EPA’s Office of Research and Development be more responsive to agency priorities and funding realities.”
The White House has proposed totally cutting funding to the NCER in its 2018 and 2019 budgets.