December 14, 2010


Representative Adrian Smith (R-NE) recently launched a campaign to have the public weigh in on 'wasteful' research grants funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The initiative, which is part of the House GOP's "You Cut" initiative, calls into question the value of some grants funded by NSF.

"Help us identify grants which do not support the hard sciences or which you don't think are a good use of taxpayer dollars," says Smith in a video promoting the initiative. The public is asked to search NSF's grant database for 'questionable' research grants and to submit the grants for inclusion in a report on wasteful government spending.

As reported in an article published by USA Today on the campaign: "Since 1950, when NSF was founded, a tension has existed between the decision made then that peer review -- scientists scoring each other's work to fund the most worthy efforts -- would be the way to fund research, rather than doling it out as earmarks from politicians, which was the other big idea favored by some then."

Policymakers and the public need to understand that research proposals funded by NSF have been carefully screened and selected through the peer review process and that successful proposals have been judged based on the merit of their science.

Help to defend NSF's peer review system by writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. You can send one of our pre-written letters or write your own at

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