COSSA/CPR Sponsor “NIH 101” Congressional Briefing

yamamotoOn February 27, the COSSA-led Coalition to Promote Research (CPR) organized a Congressional briefing designed to provide an overview of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) peer review process and the types of grants funded by the agency.

The briefing’s speaker, Keith Yamamoto, vice chancellor for research and executive vice dean of the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, is a leading molecular biologist and has served on the NIH’s Center for Scientific Review’s advisory committee, as well as other NIH advisory panels and peer review committees. Using contemporary biology, Yamamoto discussed the NIH priority-setting process for determining research priorities as well as its methods for soliciting input from the scientific community and the public.

Yamamoto explained what he characterized as the complexities of peer review and the limits of knowledge; NIH peer review acknowledges and manages intrinsic conflicts of interests, operates on a massive scale across a broad scope, incorporates complex metrics for merit and success, and is imperfect, but continues to evolve and improve. “By any measure, NIH peer review is best,” Yamamoto concluded.

The American Psychological Association’s (APA) acting executive director for science, Howard Kurtzman, moderated the briefing, which was attended by more than 60 congressional staff members and representatives of organizations that support the NIH.

The briefing sponsors included the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, APA, Association of American Medical Colleges, Coalition for Life Sciences, CPR, COSSA, Population Association of America, and Research!America.

CPR is a coalition of national organizations committed to promoting public health, innovation and fundamental knowledge through scientific research. The organizations represent hundreds of thousands of scientists, physicians, health care providers, and patients who support federal investments in basic and applied biomedical and behavioral research.

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