Wednesday, June 17, 2009

CIRM Training Programs Receive a $41 Million Boost

SAN DIEGO -- The board of California stem cell agency tonight pumped $41 million into 15 California institutions to support training programs for stem cell researchers.

The grants were approved last January, but the board deferred funding because of CIRM's financial woes. Those problems have now been eased for the next 18 months. However, the funding decision will add $9 million to CIRM grant outflows for the coming fiscal year.

The 29-member board voted 6-0 to go ahead with funding. Only six of the members in attendance were able to vote or even participate in discussion because of conflicts of interest.

The CIRM staff made a strong case for funding the program beginning July 1. The CIRM board was told that the 221 trainees already in training programs have accounted for two-thirds of the published research papers linked to CIRM funding.

Art Torres, vice chair of the CIRM board and a former state legislator, said that letters would be sent to all 120 state lawmakers, pointing out the benefit of the training programs in their districts. The funding comes as state legislators are trying to make up a mammoth $24 billion state budget deficit.

The training program was the first grant round approved by CIRM in 2005. The names of the insitutions can be found here. Sphere: Related Content

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