Monday, July 19, 2010

UC Davis Scientist Praises CIRM Appeals Change

A stem cell researcher at UC Davis today said a change in the CIRM grant appeals procedure makes “a lot of sense.”

Writing on his blog in regard to "extraordinary petitions," Paul Knoepfler said,
“I think the proposed change makes a lot of sense and would greatly improve the process. Sometimes the reasons in the petitions are clearly not meritorious and as it now stands, they end up wasting CIRM's time. The last time CIRM received 9 petitions as well, which represented a remarkably large fraction of the total applications. A stricter process would discourage the submission of large numbers of petitions, an important issue given that the number of petitions received by CIRM continues to grow.

“As someone who has submitted dozens of grant applications over the years to many different funding agencies, I know how it feels to get applications unfunded and receive critiques I may not agree with. It is not fun. It is especially difficult when one is near but below the funding cutoff. However, it happens all the time.

“I think CIRM might consider a bit stronger language in their policy on appeals making it clear that appeals should only be filed in very limited circumstances and that appeals found to be without merit will be frowned upon.

“In other words, don't file an appeal simply because the rules theoretically allow you to and/or you are grumpy about how your grant application was received. Such frivolous appeals may affect your reputation.”
Knoepfler also received a comment from Jeff Sheehy, chairman of the CIRM Science Subcommittee, which will be considering the changes. Sheehy said,
“One thing that I think confuses folks is the lack of control we have over what comes to the Board.  As a public body, we're governed by State open government-Bagley-Keene rules (which I strongly support, btw).

“On any matter under consideration by the Board, any member of the public can speak to the matter or provide documents to Boardmembers.  Within that legal reality, we can only channel and not reject 'extraordinary petitions.'”
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