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EPA Research

EPA Enterprise Vocabulary

EPA Enterprise Vocabulary

EPA has developed a vocabulary of scientific, technical and regulatory terms spanning EPA's areas of interest, with definitions, provenance and relationships provided. EPA Enterprise Vocabulary v1 was released in April 2018.

Purpose: Scientific terminology poses challenges to research and regulation. Many terms and acronyms are documented in disparate resources within EPA and other communities. A term could have different meanings for different disciplines, or conversely different terms could have essentially the same meaning. Publishing these terms and their definitions in EPA Enterprise Vocabulary -- and facilitating consensus-building on meaning and usage -- improves communication throughout EPA disciplines.

Development Efforts: EPA Enterprise Vocabulary was created with input from researchers, science managers, and regulators from across EPA. Initially developed as the EPA Science Vocabulary, terms were identified and definitions captured to support EPA scientific and engineering disciplines. When the scope of the vocabulary grew to include regulatory topics, the vocabulary was renamed as EPA Enterprise Vocabulary. This vocabulary will continue to grow with community input and with the incorporation of new terms generated by innovative projects and evolving disciplines.

Benefits: EPA Enterprise Vocabulary improves users' ability to access, use, exchange and map accurate terms and their definitions, and thus:

  • Increase the ability to find and track resources such as publications and regulations
  • Increase data accessibility to find and track resources such as publications
  • Strengthen collaborative research
  • Support regulation management
  • Supports tools and models that integrate data


Once a term is identified as suitable, it is assigned to one or more topics (tiers), depending on its definition and use. There are high-level topics based on EPA mission areas and fields of interest, and second- and third-level topics that provide more specificity. Below are the high level topics. The vocabulary has been made available through Terminology Services. Access any of the specific topics directly by using the links listed below. See Accessing EPA Enterprise Vocabulary to explore all topics and sub-topics. Follow the instructions on the page to browse or search the terms associated with each topic.

Biological Substances

Fields of Study

Built Environments


Chemical Substances


Commercial Processes

Natural Environments

Content Types

Organizations and Industries



Environmental Events

Regulatory Activities

Environmental Technologies


EPA Operations

Social and Economic Factors

Accessing the Vocabulary

EPA Enterprise Vocabulary is available to the public to examine and utilize. To view the vocabulary, navigate to the EPA Enterprise Vocabulary web site hosted by Terminology Services where you can:

  • Browse the 100+ topics (tiers) used to organize the terms
  • Search all terms within the EPA Enterprise Vocabulary
  • Export browse and search results in various formats (Excel, XML, PDF, RTF)