Wednesday, October 29, 2008

UCI Defends Lab Press Notice

The University of California, Irvine takes umbrage at our item that pointed out that the school did not credit the California stem cell agency (the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine) specifically by name in its press notice on the Oct. 24 ground-breaking for a stem cell lab financed in part with $27 million in agency funds.

The omission occurred in a news release sent out widely to the media. We characterized the omission as a minor PR gaffe and noted that one page on the UCI site carried a photo caption describing the lab as a "CIRM institute.'

Jennifer Fitzenberger, assistant director of media relations, sent us an email that said,
"Our stem cell center website and event invitation make very clear the new building will be a CIRM institute: CIRM is very clearly listed on more than one UC Irvine webpage in connection with our groundbreaking event, not just one as your blog item states."
The ground-breaking received extremely limited media coverage(three items in advancing of the event), based on a Google news search to this morning.

Here is a link to the news release that was issued on the day of the event. That release did mention the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine by its full name. Here is a link to the Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center at UCI, which is the name of the stem cell research operation at the campus.

As we noted in the item below, this is not a major issue, at least for us. But CIRM directors have retained the power to approve the names of labs that they help finance – one indication of the importance that they attach to naming and the credit it implies. The reality is that none of these labs are going to be commonly known as CIRM facilities. Rather they will be referred by the names of the donors or some piece of vernacular originating on campus.

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