Friday, June 23, 2006

Looking Inside CIRM's Planning

Embedded in the California stem cell agency site are significant documents that provide insight and information dealing with how the agency will give away $3 billion.

For example, one summary from a May 25 meeting discusses funding mechanisms involving business and nonprofits as well as whether new embryonic stem cell lines should be the focus of early funding.

The document is intended to be comprehensive concerning discussion at the meeting but does not imply any commitment by CIRM. However, if you are interested in where the $3 billion will go or want some of it, you should watch the strategic planning process carefully. And make your voice heard as well. The agency is moving rapidly.

Here is a sample of interesting themes emerging from the May planning conference on funding structures:

Partnering with other agencies, much as does the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, to extend the reach and impact of funding.

Emphasizing early phase discovery research with a strong focus on "world-class science."

Shaping the nature of grant applications prior to receiving them as do other funding organizations.

And there was this interesting caveat:
"CIRM must be aware that it will be difficult to put out large numbers of grants without potentially exhausting their review committee. For example, JDRF funds about $120M in research per year to about 500 investigators, has about 15 different types of grants, and used 150 scientific reviewers last year. That is far more reviewers than CIRM has."
At another point, the question of renewed federal support for ESC emerged, although questions were raised about the impact.
"Given the flat state of NIH funding, funding will still be tight even if the bill passes. It is not necessarily innovative to derive new ESC lines so funding may be difficult to come by," the document said.
The item below outlines several other documents as well. In the coming months, we will continue to alert you to planning documents as they are posted on the CIRM Web site. Sphere: Related Content

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