California Stem Cell Agency Awards $271M For 12 New Facilities
On Wednesday, California's stem cell agency awarded $271 million to 12 public and private research institutions for the construction of new stem cell research facilities, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The funding is provided through Proposition 71, a 2004 ballot initiative that approved the sale of $3 billion in state bonds over 10 years to fund stem cell research (Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/8). Proposition 71 limits the amount of funding for the construction projects to 10% of the total funding, or $300 million (Somers, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/8).
The ballot initiative arose in response to President Bush's 2001 executive order that restricted federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research, although the New York Times reports that the policy might change when a new president takes office.
All three remaining presidential candidates -- Democratic Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) and Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) -- have expressed support for expanding federal funds for stem cell research (Pollack, New York Times, 5/7).
The Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee, the administering board of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, awarded:
- About $43.6 million for Stanford University;
- $43 million for the San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, representing UC-San Diego, the Burnham Institute, the Salk Institute and the Scripps Research Institute;
- $34.8 million for UC-San Francisco;
- $27.2 million for UC-Irvine;
- About $27 million for USC;
- $20.5 million for the Buck Institute for Age Research;
- About $20.2 million for UC-Berkeley;
- About $20.1 million for UC-Davis;
- About $19.8 million for UCLA;
- $7.2 million for UC-Santa Cruz;
- $4.4 million for UC-Merced; and
- $3.2 million for UC-Santa Barbara (Leuty, San Francisco Business Times, 5/7).
As a condition of receiving the grants, each recipient must raise at least 20% of their grant in matching funds (San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/8). The construction projects total $831 million and will add about 800,000 square-feet of research facilities statewide for nearly 2,200 scientists (New York Times, 5/7).
Including expenses beyond construction, the 12 projects will generate about $1.1 billion in spending (San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/8).
Grant applications exceeded the amount that Proposition 71 allocated for facilities construction by $18 million (California Healthline, 5/7). To address that gap, eight institutions agreed to have their grant awards reduced by 9% and have the award paid to them early.
The eight institutions will be able to invest the money and collect interest on it while the projects are taking shape.
The eight institutions are Stanford, UCSF, UC-Berkeley, UC-Davis, UC-Irvine, UC-Santa Barbara, UCLA and USC (San Francisco Business Times, 5/7).