"NSF's mission mandates attention to the entire spectrum of science. Emphasizing some sciences at the expense of others handicaps discovery and compromises innovation."
NSF Director Subra Suresh, PCAST, 1/7/11
"Clearly, drug addiction is a serious problem facing our country, and finding new medical treatments is a high priority,"... "I don't know if the critics want us to experiment with humans, or just give up on the problem of drug addiction, but we aren't going to do either."
NIH Director Francis Collins, 8/5/2010
"You can make a case that if we just hire people to dig a ditch to nowhere we'd put a lot of people to work, but it wouldn't be laying much of a foundation for the future.
Rep. Bart Gordon (D., Tenn.) WSJ 2010
“We are all sick because of AIDS - and we are all tested by this crisis. It is a test not only of our willingness torespond, but of our ability to look past the artificial divisions and debates that have often shaped that response. When you go to places like Africa and you see this problem up close, you realize that it's not a question of either treatment or prevention – or even what kind of prevention – it is all of the above. It is not an issue of either science or values – it is both. Yes, there must be more money spent on this disease. Bu there must also be a change in hearts and minds, in cultures and attitudes. Neither philanthropist nor scientist, neither government nor church, can solve this problem on their own - AIDS must be an all-hands-on-deck effort.”
Barack Obama, World AIDS Day Speech, Lake Forest, CA, Dec. 11, 2006
“When you look at a cursory
examination of the title or an abstract [of a grant] you don’t have an idea. That’s why we have peer review...Prohibiting specific grants sets a dangerous precedent for scientific research that
has progressed and advanced for decades through freedom of inquiry into a broad spectrum of subjects…second
guessing peer-review in this way could compromise the fabric of our public research enterprise one thread at a
Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA), Chairman of the House Science Committee’s Basic Research Subcommittee on the House floor, May 2, 2007
meritorious grants on the floor of Congress is unjustified
scientific censorship. It undermines the historical strength of
American science which is based on our world renowned,
apolitical and transparent peer review process."
Elias Zerhouni 6/23/05
we looked at the public-health relevance, there was no question that these
projects should have been funded and should continue to be funded."
NIH Director Elias Zerhouni
The Chronicle of Higher
strongly urge the Members to resist the temptation to select a few
grants for defunding because they do not like the sound of
them based on one paragraph out of what probably was a number of pages of
information. It would set a dangerous precedent and put a chill on medical
research if we start to micromanage individual NIH grants.
has worked well over the years. We have had enormous progress because of
these grants in achieving medical knowledge and giving the public a
better health care system. I do not think this body, this committee,
wants to get into the process of reviewing 120,000 grants and trying to
pick 40,000 out of that group for funding."
Rep. Ralph Regula --
Labor, Health and
Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee,
July 11, 2003
served on the subcommittee that deals with NIH for a long time, and the
one thing I came to understand very quickly is that the day that we
politicize NIH research, the day we decide which grants are going to be
approved on the basis of a 10-minute horseback debate in the House of
Representatives with 434 of the 435 Members in this place who do not
even know what the grant is, that is the day we will ruin science
research in this country. We have no business making political judgments
about those kinds of issues."
Rep. David Obey --
Ranking Member, House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education
Appropriations Subcommittee, House floor
July 11, 2003
you look at the impact of sexually transmitted disease, you're talking
about HIV/AIDS and many others that affect millions of people and their
NIH Director Elias Zerhouni
USA Today, Jan. 13, 2004
"Decisions about medical research should be made by scientists, not by
politicians promoting an ideological agenda.”
Democratic House Leader
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, July
have people saying, 'I don't like how that disease was contracted, so I
don't want to study that disease.' It's equivalent to sticking
your head in the sand. It's very important that the scientific community
rises up and objects to the imposition of ideology in these areas."
Alan Leshner, President and CEO, AAAS,
“Obviously, in areas such as HIV/AIDS, it’s a sexually-transmitted
disease, it’s a disease that is transmitted by injection drug use, by a
variety of other mechanisms . . . we cannot avoid addressing the issues
that are at the very foundation of why millions and millions of people
are getting infected.
Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, House
Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, June 2, 2004
"Central to the NIH peer-review process is objective evaluation based on
a proposal's scientific merit. . . Many would argue that it is the
scientific objectivity of this process and the fact that scientists --
not politicians, political appointees, advocacy groups, or lobbyists --
who decide what gets funded, that is in large part responsible for the
nation's world leadership in science."
John Edward Porter -- Former Chairman, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and
Human Services and Education in JAMA September 21, 2005.
For more information
about the Coalition contact:
(COSSA) at email@example.com, (202)
at firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 336-5585
The United States benefits from the finest system of biomedical and behavioral health research in the world. Health and other research supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) has been guided by far-sighted policymakers who understand the value of long-term investments in research to improve health, and who have set up a system of the highest quality that allows good science to flourish. Effective policy planning and appropriate, stable funding levels are essential to producing outcomes that save lives and health care costs; enhance the quality of life of our families and children; and improve systems of health care delivery.
We urge the U.S. Congress to uphold the quality of our nation's research enterprise by embracing the following fundamental values that have supported its development and quality. Diminishing these principles can only cause harm to the American people and the rest of the world, by undermining the collective efforts of researchers and clinicians to improve health. We strongly urge Congress and the Executive Branch to support:
1) Relying on scientific merit review (also called 'peer review') to judge the quality and relevance of research proposals. Hundreds of scientists and clinicians from universities and research institutions across the country, representing a wide range of disciplines, volunteer their time and expertise to make the system work. In the competition for funding, fewer than 30 percent of high-quality scientific proposals receive support. This merit review, combined with a second-level review by the scientific and lay (public) members of health advisory councils ensures that scientific merit and public values work together to fund only the best science.
2) Researching all behaviors and conditions that impact public health and all populations who are burdened by that impact. Protection of the public's health requires that all diseases/conditions and relevant behaviors be investigated without the burden of ideological prejudice.
3) Basing health policies on the best available scientific data and knowledge.
4) Including public participation in scientific priority setting. Through established formal mechanisms and public debate, members of Congress and private citizens contribute valuable ideas and expertise to the development of NIH research priorities. As an agency funded with public dollars, NIH and the scientists it entrusts with support work hard to maintain the public trust.
July 19, 2011 -- The National Instiutes of Health (NIH) has once again come under attack for its support of specific research grants that have gone through the NIH peer review process. A NIH training grant is currently creating a media firestorm. The Grant:BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES TRAINING IN DRUG ABUSE RESEARCH (Grant Number: 5T32DA007233-28).
The first author of this paper, Dr. Christian Grov, was supported as a postdoctoral research fellow at the time this research was conducted by a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)-funded training grant, which focuses on preparing behavioral scientists, especially racial/ethnic minorities, to conduct research in the areas of drug abuse, HIV/AIDS, and crime. The NIDA grant was awarded to the National Development and Research Institutes Inc. (NDRI)
NIH did not fund the research described in the paper “The Association between Penis Size and Sexual Health among Men Who Have Sex with Men.”
The NIH has issued the following statement: “The National Institutes of Health did not fund or approve the research described in the paper. This study was funded by the Hunter College Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training. Dr. Christian Grov was supported as a postdoctoral research fellow at the time the research was conducted by a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)-funded training grant, which focuses on preparing behavioral scientists, especially racial/ethnic minorities, to conduct research in the areas of drug abuse, HIV/AIDS, and crime. These funds can only be used to support expenses like stipends, tuition and fees. These funds cannot be used to support research projects.”
Since 2003, there continues to be a steady
increase in attacks on peer-reviewed research funded by the National
Institutes of Health (NIH) and more recently, the National Science Foundation (NSF). Congress needs to hear from you.
NIH Peer Review Revealed
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Center for Scientific Review (CSR) has produced a series of videos designed to give an inside look at how scientists from across the country review NIH grant applications for scientific and technical merit.
NIH Peer Review Revealed provides a front-row seat to a NIH peer review meeting. Real scientists from the scientific community review fictional but realistic grant applications for scientific merit.
CSR created the video below for new applicants and others who want to know how the NIH evaluates the more than 80,000 grant applications it receives each year. With the majority of NIH's budget supporting grants to researchers, these reviews are key to future advancements in science and health.
The 21st century is an exciting time — a revolutionary period for the life sciences. We have learned a lot about the biological parts and systems that make up all living things. We also realize that it is just as important to understand how behavior and society affect health and can help fight disease. Combining information from both biomedical and behavioral and social sciences research will lead to the most effective interventions.
Fact Sheets on the NIH website tell the stories of research discovery, current treatment status, and future expectations for the prevention and treatment of diseases and conditions affecting the nation's health. The NIH also include Fact Sheets that describe NIH policies and organizations in place to enhance public health safety and the public understanding of health science.