Sunday, September 21, 2008

A "Certain Skew" Among CIRM Reviewers

Jeff Sheehy is a patient advocate member of the CIRM board of directors and a communications director at UC San Francisco. He has served as a CIRM director since its inception and has taken part in the closed-door review of hundreds of grant applications as a member of the CIRM grant review group.

When a public appeal was made to directors last January by one applicant who received a negative review, Sheehy made an interesting comment on the review process.

Here is part of what he had to say,
"It's been my observation within the context of the working group that clinical work is not reviewed (in) the same way as basic science, that we have a certain skew towards basic science in our review process. I talked to one of the reviewers. He says it's almost the nature of the beast....One of the comments that was made is that...that they're on something, but they're not doing anything particularly innovative. But these incremental states are what happens, according to the reviewer I was talking to, who was the expert on translational research, (and that) is what typically find in a clinical program.

"If we look at the new faculty awards and if were to actually have separated out the basic scientists and the clinical scientists, there's a vast gap in the scores except for one exception. And this is because clinical science is not reviewed as highly within the context of how we do our work as basic science. Basic science is new science by definition. Clinical science is incremental steps. I think it's interesting that everyone seems to kind of just gloss over this novel blood collection technique for umbilical cord. This is the kind of things that are important for moving the science forward. This a little thing, but it actually is a very big thing."
You can find additional comments in the transcript of the meeting. Sphere: Related Content

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