For Immediate Release
Contact: Paul Fidalgo
Phone: (207) 358-9785

Lawrence Krauss, CFI Urge Lamar Smith to Scrap Onerous Science Funding Criteria

May 16, 2013

Science advocate Lawrence Krauss of Arizona State University and the Center for Inquiry (CFI) on Thursday submitted a letter to Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), calling his draft legislative proposal altering the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) peer review system “both unnecessary and potentially harmful to science research supported by the United States government.”

The draft bill proposed by Rep. Smith, chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, would require the NSF director to certify that a research project meet three new criteria before awarding a grant. It must advance national health, prosperity, welfare, or defense; it must be “groundbreaking” or solve problems of the utmost importance; and it must not be duplicative of other government-funded research projects. It also suggests these requirements be considered for all federal science agencies.

“These requirements represent a serious misunderstanding of the nature of scientific inquiry and discovery and, if approved, would not facilitate, but instead obstruct productive scientific research,” reads the letter. 

“It would burden [the NSF’s] process with standards that politicize science and fail to give proper weight to the importance of basic scientific research.”

The letter is signed by Krauss, Foundation Professor at Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, and an Honorary Board Member at the Center for Inquiry; Ronald A. Lindsay, CFI’s President and CEO; and Michael De Dora, director of CFI’s Office of Public Policy.

CFI’s full letter is available as a PDF here:

Rep. Smith’s draft bill is available here:

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to both the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the Council for Secular Humanism. The mission of CFI is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. CFI‘s web address is