Friday, February 18, 2011

'Nature" Blogs on Chair Selection at $3 Billion Stem Cell Research Effort

Nature magazine's blog, Spoonful of Medicine, yesterday carried an item on selection of a chair for the $3 billion California stem cell agency to replace Robert Klein, who has headed the enterprise since 2004.

In her piece,  Michelle Pflumm covered ground that was familiar to readers of the California Stem Cell Report, but offered additional material with interesting perspectives. The headline on her item read "CIRM board members at odds over future chair’s duties and salary." The item was published prior to yesterday afternoon's meeting of the board's Governance Subcommittee.

She wrote,
"Twenty of 29 board members filled in the survey(for criteria for a new chair). Of those who did, most cited leadership and a history of stem cell advocacy as the most important skills needed in the next chairperson. However, a handful of members listed scientific know-how as the prime desired qualification. Under the terms of Proposition 71, the 2004 ballot initiative that led to CIRM’s creation, the chairperson must have a 'documented history in successful stem cell research advocacy.' No mention is made of scientific proficiency."
She continued,
"Additionally, the CIRM board members had differing opinions over how much power should sit in the position of the incoming chair. Eight survey respondents said the president should report to the chair, while only three thought the chair should report to the president. The remainder called for a more collaborative arrangement.

"In the past, critics have charged Klein with exerting too heavy-handed a role on the agency and not granting the president sufficient independence. As Joel Adelson, a health-policy researcher at the University of California-San Francisco, told Nature last year: 'Klein… acted like the chief operating officer beside (CIRM President Alan) Trounson and beside [former CIRM president Zach] Hall, and I can only say that this looks like it must have been very uncomfortable for these guys.'"

1 comment:

  1. I do think that the chairman should be efficient in science and technology, so he/she can grasp the concepts of which he/she is representing. So, there's a bridge.