Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Stanford Reports on CIRM Finances

Stanford carried a bit of a news piece today on the California stem cell agency and its financial woes.

The headline was "State stem cell institute slows its pace of funding."

Written for the Stanford News Service by Krista Conger, the article said CIRM is deferring funding on 15 training grants, including one to Stanford. Conger reported,

"The delay will give the institute the breathing room necessary to do a private placement of bonds in an effort to shore up its financial situation."

She continued,

"'It's disappointing to hear that our funding will be delayed,' said Michael Longaker, MD, deputy director of Stanford's Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Institute and principal investigator of the CIRM-approved grant. 'However, we certainly understand that these are difficult economic times.'"

The article also touched on another round of training grants that was approved and briefly described the current financial plight of the stem cell agency.

The article seemed a bit unusual to us. Normally, in-house enterprises such as the Stanford News Service are oriented towards PR, touting the winning of grants – not their absence. However, the piece could be an outgrowth of the hard times in the traditional media, which is virtually ignoring the stem cell agency. We may see PR practitioners stepping into that information void -- one that stretches well beyond stem cell news -- to fill the gap left by the decline of newspapers. Certainly the Stanford community cannot rely on the mainstream media to report all the news that could have an impact on that university.

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