Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Interests At Stake at the California Stem Cell Agency

Another look at the conflicts of interest – all legal – in the operations of the California stem cell agency came recently in the San Jose Mercury News.

John M. Simpson, stem cell project director for the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumers Rights, wrote an op-ed piece involving the upcoming, nearly $300 million in grants for stem cell research facility.

Needless to say, the money will be hotly pursued by all of California's leading universities and research instititutions. Thirteen of those have voting members on the 29-member board that will make decisions on the grants. They are barred from voting directly on grants applications from their instititutions.

But coming up next week, they will make some decisions on the ground rules for those grants. Don't look for them to vote against the institutional interests of their employers. Simpson explored some of the ins and outs of the rules and the issues.

His conclusion:
"Those representing the institutions that want the money ought not set the rules for how they get it. Unfortunately, that's not what Prop. 71 provides."
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