Monday, May 12, 2008

CIRM To Invest $66 Million in Intellectual Capital

The California stem cell agency will soon embark on a new, $66 million round of training grants, including some aimed at undergraduates and possibly community college students.

CIRM directors last week approved initiation of the programs, which were overshadowed by $271 million in lab construction grants. Only one news report surfaced on the training effort.

Bradley J. Fikes of the North County Times, which circulates in northern San Diego County, reported about the $18 million effort aimed at roughly 100 students below the doctoral level. He wrote:
"State universities and community colleges got an invitation last week to join California's stem cell research program."
The "Bridges to Stem Cell Research" grants aimed at undergraduates will total roughly $18 million. The program was foreshadowed by a $31 million proposal by the state college system last year, which had the effect of jump-starting the latest effort.

Also approved last week was a $48 million continuation of the training programs already underway for CIRM Scholars. Those grants were the first ever approved by CIRM.

While the training dollars are smaller than those in the lab program, they represent an important investment in intellectual capital. And they come at a time when the state is otherwise scrimping on higher education.

The "Bridges" program triggered a light moment last week at the directors meeting chaired by Robert Klein, a multimillionaire, real estate investment banker.

John M. Simpson, stem cell project director for Consumer Watchdog, reported that Ted Love(see photo), a member of the board of directors and CEO of Nuvelo, Inc., said CIRM should not judge the success of the program by only counting the number of participants that get laboratory jobs.

"Who knows?" asked Love. "Maybe one of these students will end up being a multimillion dollar real estate mogul who supports stem cell research."

"It brought the house down," Simpson said.

Requests for applications for the training program are expected to be posted on the CIRM website in June. Cash should start flowing in 2009. Sphere: Related Content

No comments:

Post a Comment