Monday, March 17, 2008

California's Huge Lab Construction Program Set for Public Airing

The schedule for the next step in California's $758 million(including matching funds) stem cell lab grant construction program went up today on the CIRM web site and offers a rare opportunity for the public to comment on grant applications prior to final action.

Applying for the state cash are virtually all the major players in stem cell research in California. The names of the 12 were disclosed in December in an unusual move by the agency that was aimed at helping them to raise the matching funds needed to win the CIRM cash. Over the past three years, nearly all applicants for California stem cell research funds have been shrouded in secrecy until after the grants are approved, preventing the public from making any sort of meaningful comment.

The construction grant programs are exceptions, offering public sessions during review by the facilities group.

However, CIRM meetings are in fact rarely attended by more than a handful of persons, especially those from the general public. Applicants will be out in force, however, if only to be available to answer questions and possibly plan strategy in case questions arise that might hobble final action.

The agenda for the Facilities Working Group covers two days – April 4 and 5 – at the Westin San Francisco Airport Hotel in Millbrae. The Friday session is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. and run to 9 p.m. The Saturday session runs 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Final approval by CIRM directors is slated for early May. Sphere: Related Content

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