Thursday, September 10, 2015

Text of McCormack's Response to Questions

Here is the text of remarks today from Kevin McCormack, senior director of communications for the California stem cell agency, concerning changes involving this month's governing board meeting. He made the comments in response to questions by the California Stem Cell Report.  One of the questions involved the agency's strategic plan, which was scheduled to be discussed at the meeting this month.
"The reason we switched from an in-person to a teleconference Board meeting is simple, the agenda for this meeting consisted of just a few items that could probably be handled in one hour. We can’t justify the cost of an in-person meeting in San Diego – which includes transportation for all those going there, plus hotel rooms, meals and the cost of the ballroom for the day - for one hour’s worth of business. As a state agency we are always mindful of how we spend our money so we made the change.
 "The elimination of the dates in the Discovery and Translational programs is simply to give the CIRM Team more flexibility. As we say in the documents that will be presented to the Board – available on our website here
"In  order  for  CIRM  to  operate  efficiently  and  to  respond  to  changing  circumstances  and  needs,  CIRM  must  be  nimble  and  flexible.   To  ensure  that  the  CIRM  team  has  the  ability  to  make  adjustments  to  the  program  schedule  to  meet  these  needs,  we  propose  to  eliminate  the  specificity in  the translation  and  Discovery  Program  concept  plans  regarding  the  schedule  for  the  submission  of  applications  in  response  to  program  announcements  issued  under these programs.”  (McCormack's boldface) 
"As for the Strategic Plan, we have already conducted extensive outreach, through both on-line surveys and in-person meetings, with Patient Advocates (including meetings in San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco), researchers, Board members and the public. We are now working on bringing all those thoughts and suggestions together in order to be able to present them to Board. 
"And the Board agenda will be posted ten days ahead of the meeting as usual." 
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