Coalition to Protect Research
The scientific community needs your help. Over the last year, there has been a steady increase in attacks on peer-reviewed research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In July 2003, the House of Representatives even voted on an amendment that would have cut off funding from five specific peer-reviewed grants that some members of Congress decided were not scientifically relevant or deserving of federal funds. While the vote failed, attacks on NIH and its funding decisions continue, with little regard for the integrity of the peer- review process or the thousands of scientists who volunteer their time and expertise to ensure that only scientific proposals of the highest quality are approved for funding.
In response to congressional inquiries, NIH Director Elias Zerhouni conducted a comprehensive review of the NIH's human sexuality research portfolio. He concluded that the more than 150 grants under question were appropriately reviewed and that NIH's human sexuality portfolio, the main target of congressional inquiries, is not funded disproportionately to the public health burden of diseases linked to sexual behavior and sexual function such as HIV/AIDS, STD's or infertility.
While the organizations representing scientists, researchers and those advocating for federally funded research on a wide range of health concerns are doing their best to defend peer review and the NIH's decision-making process, Congress needs to hear from you. We encourage you to join your fellow scientists and health care professionals in signing a petition supporting scientific principles. We would like to share this petition with your Representatives and Senators in Congress to show them that you, their constituents, are paying attention to their votes on these issues and that the scientific peer-review process should be free from political interference.