Tuesday, August 07, 2007

FTCR: Open Up $227 Million Lab Grant Program

A watchdog of the California stem cell agency today called for making public the names of applicants for the institute's massive $227 million lab construction program.

Writing in an op-ed piece in The Sacramento Bee, John M. Simpson of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights said:

"Putting scientific review on a pedestal behind closed doors does nothing to help the public's understanding of, and therefore faith in, the process. Looming over it all is the legally mandated, conflicted structure of the board. Virtually all of the university and research institutes represented on the board will seek money for buildings. It behooves members in their own best interest to demonstrate pure motives by keeping the process completely transparent.

"The stem cell committee should direct that scientific review of building projects be handled like the facilities review -- in public. As it stands now, the two-step process is apparently premised on the notion that it's unwise to risk embarrassing an institution for its lack of scientific ability, but it's all right to say it doesn't know how to construct a decent building. That approach serves neither scientist nor architect, but especially not the public."
Simpson's position echoes ours. We sent a letter last week to the Oversight Committee, asking it to take action on the matter at its meeting Wednesday in San Francisco. Sphere: Related Content

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