Scientific Review of Research Facilities Funding

(Adopted by Council on April 21, 1991)

(Originally adopted by Council on 20 January l985)

It is essential that major scientific facilities projects included in the federal budget be subjected to the normal process of proposal submission and impartial, expert review. This ensures that scarce funds for science be allocated to projects of the highest quality and highest scientific priority. The consequences of not following this important practice go beyond the diversion of resources from the best projects. Institutions can be persuaded that political maneuvering is more important than scientific justification in securing federal resources, and worthy scientific projects are abandoned or deferred for lack of funds. This diminishes science and impedes progress.

Congress considers a variety of factors such as geographical balance, economic need, and inclusiveness in allocating funds for major projects of any sort. We urge, however, that review by scientific experts be an important additional consideration prior to any allocation of funds for research facilities.