Scientific Community Expresses Support for NIH and Its Peer Review Process

On December 2, the Coalition to Promote Research (CPR) sent letters to Congress expressing its “continued and strong support for the competitive peer review process used by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).” The letter, signed by 128 diverse organizations, noted that the scientific community is “extremely concerned about the recent criticism of the NIH’s funding decisions and the accompanying mischaracterization of NIH-supported research in the media and by some in Congress. The ongoing targeting of specific grants produces a chilling effect across the entire scientific community. These attacks inhibit the very scientific progress the critics claim to support. Our organizations strongly oppose these mischaracterizations and the associated undue criticism of the NIH peer review process.”

The signatories of the letter “agree Congress has an oversight role in ensuring that the funding provided to federal agencies is used in accordance with an agency’s mission. This oversight is essential. It is also essential that the scientific process determine project selection. [They] encourage[d] Congress to resist efforts to undermine the NIH and its peer review process. It is not in the best interest of the American public.”

CPR is led by COSSA’s deputy director, Angela Sharpe, and Patricia Kobor, senior science policy analyst for the American Psychological Association. To complement this effort, Sharpe and Kobor also published a commentary in Roll Call, “Memo to Congress: Stop Fighting Scientific Research.”

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Posted in Issue 22 (December 5), Update, Volume 33 (2014)

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