Friday, May 18, 2012

Burnham's Lipton Appeals Rejection of $5 Million Grant Application

Sanford-Burnham researcher Stuart Lipton is seeking to overturn rejection of his application for a $5 million grant from the California stem cell agency, declaring that reviewers misinterpreted the proposal and relied partly on "grantsmanship" instead of science.

Lipton's proposal deals with strokes and is one of 22 rejected by CIRM's reviewers in a $95 million round that comes before the agency's directors next Thursday.

Lipton's letter to CIRM yesterday said some of the reviewers' criticism was "completely unfounded," "incorrect" or "in error." The two-page letter went into specific scientific detail.

In a cover letter to the CIRM board, CIRM President Alan Trounson said Lipton's appeal was "without merit." He did not go into details but said CIRM staff is prepared to discuss it next Thursday.

The scientific score on Lipton's grant was not disclosed by CIRM, but it appears to be between 62 and 53. Two grants ranked at 53 were approved by reviewers. Appeals from rejected scientists are included in the agenda material presented by the board, but the board does not have to act on them or discuss them. Researchers can also appear before the board to make a case.

Kristiina Vuori, president of Sanford-Burnham, is a member of the CIRM board. She will be barred from taking part in any discussion of Lipton's application or voting on it.

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