Scientific Review of Research Facilities Funding

(Adopted by Council on April 21, 1991)

(Originally adopted by Council on 20 January l985)

We deplore the inclusion in the federal budget of major scientific projects that have not been subjected to the normal process of proposal submission and expert review. The consequences go beyond the diversion of scarce resources from projects of higher priority. Institutions are increasingly persuaded that political maneuvering is more important than scientific justification in securing federal funds. Yet each year many worthy scientific projects must be abandoned or deferred for lack of funds. The developing pattern of funding major projects without subjecting them to impartial expert scrutiny diminishes science.

Quite clearly Congress is responsible for considering a variety of factors -- such as geographical balance, economic need, and affirmative action -- in allocating funds for major projects of any sort. We urge, however, that review by impartial scientific experts be an important consideration prior to any allocation of funds for research facilities.