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Research Groups Urge Changes to GRANT Act

February 17, 2012—AAMC joined 80 other scientific and research organizations on a Feb. 15 letter  to all members of the House of Representatives, urging changes to the Grant Reform and New Transparency (GRANT) Act of 2011 (H.R. 3433) because of the “adverse effects” the bill could have on the scientific research enterprise.

The GRANT Act, introduced Nov. 16, 2011, by Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.), seeks to increase transparency in the evaluation and selection of federally funded proposals by establishing new standards for awarding federal grants. Among other provisions, the bill would require federal agencies to use merit-based procedures in awarding grants, directs the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to create a public Web site for all federal grant opportunities, and requires that OMB post to the Web site specific information about funded projects, including a copy of the submitted proposal and the identity of peer reviewers.

Acknowledging accountability and transparency as “worthy goals” that the current science grants process strives toward, the letter expresses concern that mandating full proposals be posted on a public Web site would compromise the intellectual property of researchers and their institutions. The groups note that such action would “reduce incentives for technology transfer and enable competitors, including those in foreign countries, to steal cutting-edge intellectual property.”  Instead, the letter recommends posting abstracts for funded proposals to the Web site to make research information available to taxpayers while protecting researchers’ work.

Additionally, the groups explain that disclosing the identity of peer reviewers will lessen “the willingness of qualified reviewers to be candid and critical as needed in the evaluation of research proposals,” and may discourage researchers from serving as reviewers.

In addition to Rep. Lankford, House Oversight and Government Reform Chair Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.), and Rep. Pedro Pierluisi (D-P.R.), are co-sponsors of the bill. The House Oversight Committee approved the measure Nov. 17, 2011.


Tannaz Rasouli
Sr. Director, Public Policy & Strategic Outreach
Telephone: 202-828-0525

Alexandra Khalife
Legislative Analyst
Telephone: 202-828-0418


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
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Telephone: 202-903-0806