Thursday, February 23, 2017

First Time: California Stem Cell Directors Open Session in CIRM HQ in Oakland

CIRM graphic showing state of its administrative budget as of today 
The governing board of the $3 billion California stem cell agency this morning opened its meeting at 9:10 a.m. PST at its Oakland headquarters, the first time such a meeting has been held at the physical offices of the 12-year-old enterprise.

In the past, the 29-member board has held meetings at hotels and university campuses. Those sessions cost thousands of dollars for room rental, audio services and more. Today's meeting is a face-to-face session of the board. About half of the directors' meetings are currently conducted via telephone and are much less expensive than the face-to-face sessions, which were standard earlier.  About 12 meetings are scheduled each year. 

Reducing administrative costs is critical for the agency, which has a lifetime, operational budget that is capped by law at $180 million, 6 percent of the $3 billion in bond funding that voters allotted when they created the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) in 2004. 

Its staff numbers slightly more than 50 persons and was in the 20s during its early days, not much more than it takes to staff a 24-hour Burger King, if that. 

The agency projects it will run out of cash for grants sometime in 2020 but will need to fund operational expenses beyond then as multi-year awards wind down.

(The CIRM graphic was not included in an early version of this item.)
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