Thursday, May 23, 2013

Stem Cell Agency Approves $36 million to Recruit Six Scientists to California

The California stem cell agency today awarded $36 million to six scientists to lure them to the Golden State, in what was the agency's largest-ever recruiting round.

The awards more than doubled the amount of CIRM has spent on recruitment. Until today, the agency had awarded only $23.2 million for four awards.

Today's awards ranged from $7.5 million to $4.8 million. The agency did not immediately identify the recipients. However, testimony at the meeting indicated that two of the institutions involved were UC San Francisco and the Gladstone Institute (the $7.5 million award) and UC Santa Cruz (a $5.4 million award). (The agency later released the list, which can be found here. Here is a link to the CIRM press release.)

The differences in the size of the awards had to do with the overhead charges that are levied by the institutions at which the scientists would work, CIRM staff said. The "direct costs" of the research for each grant was $4.5 million.

Six applications were considered in the latest round, including one that was scored at 75 that was rejected by grant reviewers. However, CIRM staff recommended that application, which involved UC San Francisco and Gladstone, be funded. (See here and here.)

Previous winners of the recruitment awards were Robert Wechsler-Reya, Sanford-Burnham; Dennis Steindler, The Parkinson's Institute; Andrew McMahon, USC, and Peter Coffey, UC Santa Barbara.

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