Friday, November 03, 2006

CIRM Ripped for Secrecy

The California stem cell agency, which has sworn to uphold the highest standards of openness, has come under fire in the op-ed pages of The Sacramento Bee for its secrecy in the process of reviewing applications for tens of millions of public dollars in research grants.

John M. Simpson, stem cell project director for the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumers Rights, took on CIRM. He wrote:

"Despite mouthing high-minded slogans, the institute's leaders frequently miss the mark whenever there is a clear opportunity to transact the public's business in public."
Simpson continued:

"No useful purpose is served by CIRM's penchant for secrecy. It should disclose who applied and where they are from, enabling all concerned to track awards and dispel worries about discrimination.

"There's no need to worry about embarrassing somebody because he didn't get a grant. CIRM is planning to fund only 12.9 percent of the applicants.

"Missing this cut is no big deal. Scientists need to develop thicker skins if they want to use public money for their work, and CIRM needs to let the sun shine in.

"Bottom line: They want our money. They must tell us who they are and ask for it in public."

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