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In the past year, an increasing number of individual academic institutions have lobbied in Congress for new science facilities funds thus circumventing the traditional peer review process of evaluating the merits of such facilities. As an attempt to stem this rising tide, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) governing council and the Association of American Universities (AAU) recently and independently issued strong statements condemning lobbying by individual universities and enthusiastically supporting the peer review system.

“Informed peer judgments on the scientific merits of specific proposals, in open competition, should be a central element in the awarding of all federal funds for science,” the NAS resolution stated. AAU, meanwhile, implored “scientists, leaders of America's universities, and members of Congress” to “refrain from actions that would make scientific decisions a test of political influence rather than a judgment on the quality of the work to be done.” Roughly 50 research institutions constitute AAU; the two AAU Canadian members did not vote on the consortium's statement.