Sunday, September 11, 2005

Peddling the Name of the Stem Cell Scholar Program

California stem cell chairman Robert Klein is exploring the possibility of offering a major benefactor to the agency the right to have its name placed on the stem cell scholars program.

Klein discussed the plan with the Oversight Committee late in Friday's meeting in Sacramento. As a hypothetical example, he suggested an individual or foundation known as "Patent" who purchased $10 million in bond anticipation notes for the agency would be offered the right to have recipients of CIRM training grants identified as "Patent Scholars."

He said there is precedent for such a move, noting that universities and colleges have buildings and programs named after individuals.

No formal vote was taken on the suggestion, which had a mixed response from board members.

Gayle Wilson, wife of the former Gov. Pete Wilson, opposed the plan, saying she could not recall any other state agency that had such a program. Robert Price, a surrogate for Oversight Committee member Robert Birgeneau, chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley, said there could be "political problems" with some individuals or organizations that might be viewed askance.

Oversight Committee members Oswald Steward, chair and director of Reeve, Irvine Research Center University of California, Irvine, and Michael Goldberg, a general partner with Mohr, Davidow Ventures, said they supported the proposal but did not elaborate on their reasons.

Klein said he would exercise "care and sensitivity" in pursuing the matter. Sphere: Related Content

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