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AAMC Joins in Defense of NIH Peer Review

December 5, 2014—The AAMC joined more than 120 research institutions and scientific societies in a Dec. 2 letter  to all members of Congress expressing “continued and strong support for the competitive peer review process used by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).”

The letter, organized by the Coalition to Promote Research (CPR), expresses extreme concern with “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.”

The letter states, “The NIH's peer review process, which is rigorous and highly competitive, rates applications to determine which are most likely to advance science. Even then, highly rated projects are only chosen for funding by the institutes if they clearly reflect program priorities or fit the institutes’ mission. After those two criteria are met, there is still a final review conducted by the national advisory councils of the institutes and centers.”

“These processes, developed and honed over many years, have made NIH the premier health research agency in the world,” the letter continues, adding, “The research that emerges from these competitive processes is scientifically meritorious and relevant to public health.”

Noting that Congress has an essential “oversight role in ensuring that the funding provided to federal agencies is used in accordance with an agency's mission,” the letter concludes, “It is also essential that the scientific process determine project selection. We encourage Congress to resist efforts to undermine the NIH and its peer review process. It is not in the best interest of the American public.”


Dave Moore
Senior Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-828-0559


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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
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806