“In order for us to maintain our edge, we’ve got to protect our rigorous peer review system,” Obama said.

His support comes on the heels of draft legislation, dated 18 April, that ScienceInsider reports is being discussed by the chairman of the US House of Representatives Science Committee, Lamar Smith (Republican, Texas). That legislation would overhaul peer review of grants submitted to the National Science Foundation (NSF) and require the NSF director to certify each funded project as benefitting the economic or public health of the United States.

The effort by Smith follows a stream of recent attacks on science funding and the peer-review system, including legislation in the 2013 spending bill from Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, a Republican, that requires the NSF director to certify that all funded political-science research is crucial to national security or the US economy.