Request for Information (RFI): Developing New Tools and Approaches for Educational Outreach Related to Environmental Health Science

Notice Number: NOT-ES-16-006

Key Dates
Release Date:   March 1, 2016
Response Date:  April 2, 2016

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)


The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) recognizes that developing successful training and educational programs as well as information and educational materials for a variety of stakeholders is important for building environmental health literacy, which is the understanding of the link between environmental exposures and health (Finn and O'Fallon 2015). This effort can be supported through a number of mechanisms, including development of educational tools and resources through the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

This Request for Information (RFI) is directed toward establishing a vision for a more robust SBIR/STTR program supporting the development of products for EHS education that can be used to build EHL. NIEHS is seeking input from environmental health researchers, educators, the serious gaming community, curriculum developers, healthcare professionals, and others with a vested interest in creating commercially viable tools that can be used to educate and inform different audiences about the effects of environmental exposures on health.

NIEHS currently envisions that this effort would build upon the strengths of past and current educational programs and projects, and contribute to the advancement of EHL for:

  • General public
  • Pre-K through 12th grade students
  • Undergraduate and graduate students
  • Teachers
  • Healthcare professionals


The NIEHS has a history of supporting projects that develop educational outreach materials to increase the awareness of environmental health issues. Past work has focused on curriculum development and teacher education. Recent efforts to develop educational programs and materials fall within the Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) network at the NIEHS.

The NIEHS also supports the development of tools to improve environmental health literacy and increased awareness of environmental health sciences topics through the SBIR/STTR program. These include mobile applications and software for disseminating environmental health information, STEM education resources, and devices or platforms for reporting environmental exposures for educational purposes.

Although NIEHS has been soliciting SBIR/STTR applications on this topic for more than a decade, only a few small businesses have applied, and even fewer have received fundable scores. Therefore, we are interested in understanding what the challenges and opportunities are for developing commercially viable tools or resources for EHS education.  We also seek to identify market needs for educational institutions, community groups, and other organizations. This information will allow us to shape a new vision to promote and advance our SBIR/STTR program in educational efforts.

Information Requested

All stakeholders with an interest in EHS education and outreach are invited to provide information. All questions are optional; please respond as applicable to your interests or needs. Please comment on the following:

  • 1. High priority educational needs and opportunities related to environmental health science for different groups, such as community organizations, general public, pre-K through 12th grade students, undergraduate and graduate students, teachers, or healthcare professionals.
  • 2. Potential barriers (e.g., cost or institutional challenges) for implementing new tools or approaches for EHS STEM education, and approaches to overcome those barriers.
  • 3. Market needs for EHS resources aimed at the different groups mentioned above.
  • 4. Opportunities for adding EHS training in medical schools or graduate education (e.g., engineering, policy, and secondary education).
  • 5. Opportunities for gaming technologies, mobile applications, and similar new technologies to advance environmental health literacy.
  • 6. Research background and other expertise needed for small business teams developing tools for EHS education.

Submitting a Response
All responses must be submitted to by April 2, 2016. Please include the Notice number NOT-ES-15-002 in the subject line. Response to this RFI is voluntary. Responders are free to address any or all of the categories listed above. The submitted information will be reviewed by the NIH staff. Submitted information will be considered confidential.

Responses to this RFI are voluntary. Please do not include any proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information in your response. The NIH will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion and will not provide comments to any responder's submission. The collected information will be reviewed by NIH staff, may appear in reports, and may be shared publicly on an NIH website.

The Government reserves the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in summaries of the state of the science, and any resultant solicitation(s). The NIH may use the information gathered by this RFI to inform the development of future funding opportunity announcements.

This RFI is for information and planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the Federal Government, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), or individual NIH Institutes and Centers. No basis for claims against the U.S. Government shall arise as a result of a response to this request for information or from the Government’s use of such information.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Daniel Shaughnessy, Ph.D.
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Telephone: 919-541-2506