Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Stem Cell Directors Putting Off More Recruitment Grant Decisions

Directors of the California stem cell agency will meet for two days at Stanford University Aug. 18 and 19, and they are not scheduled to give away any money.

The board orginally was scheduled this month to approve some new, multimillion dollar recruitment packages for star researchers from out-of-state. The grant review group met in July to consider applications in the $44 million program. However, the matter is not on next week's agenda.

We are querying the agency concerning the absence of the awards. A number of possibilities exist. One is that no applications were of sufficient quality. Another is that the matter was delayed until a researcher is actually signed. That would avoid the awkward situation that occurred with the first recipient of the awards, Robert Wechsler-Reya of Duke. The board approved $6 million for him in April, although he had not yet made a decision to come to California and the Sanford-Burnham institute. He did not actually make a decision until last month.

Don Gibbons, chief communications officer for CIRM, said the award was postponed because "the candidate being brought forward wanted more time to notify their current

home institution."
(Editor's note: The preceding comment from Gibbons was not contained in an earlier version of this item.)


The board is also considering a proposal for another round of disease team grants, commissioning an expensive, Institute of Medicine study of CIRM and approving a policy that could lead to compensation of up $15,000 annually to patient advocate members of the board.

With only five business days remaining before the meeting, CIRM has listed only cryptic descriptions of the matters to be considered next week. It has failed to post on the agenda any material explaining exactly what the directors are planning to act on. Sphere: Related Content

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