Monday, October 04, 2010

Public and Scientists Left in Lurch on Proposals Affecting $2 Billion in Taxpayer Funds

A key panel of directors of the California stem cell agency met late last month to consider changes in its grant procedures that will affect hundreds if not thousands of scientists in California to the tune of $2 billion.

The Science Subcommittee discussed the proposals at a session on Sept. 29. However, the public and the affected parties had little clue in advance about the specifics of what was to be considered.

The agency withheld the details of the proposals until a mere two days before the meeting, effectively preventing the public from making any thoughtful comment, even if they knew the documents had been posted on the CIRM Web site. CIRM does not make an effort through its Web site to let the public know when important information has been added to meeting agendas. Its general practice is to wait until a day or two before a meeting to post any significant information concerning matters to be considered by its directors.

The proposals before the subcommittee or variations may come up again at another meeting of the panel or possibly the CIRM board of directors.

Here are links to the documents that were posted no earlier than Sept. 27 and Sept. 28. They deal with appeals processes on grant applications, scoring of grants and a triage process on grant proposals prior to their formal legal review.
"Extraordinary Petition Process Option A / Posting Applications"

"Extraordinary Petition Process Option B / Additional Analysis"

"Extraordinary Petition Process Option C / Limited Investigation"

"Discussion of proposal for programmatic scoring of grant applications by Patient Advocate members of Grants Working Group for inclusion in discussions and decisions regarding applications."

 "Discussion of Pre-Application Process, including but not limited to the process generally and scientific feedback to applicants who are not successful in the process."

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