Stem Cell Agency Should Become More Transparent
When the oversight committee of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine meets on Wednesday to consider grant recipients for building research facilities, "the committee should direct that scientific review of building projects be handled ... in public," John Simpson, stem cell project director for the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, writes in a Sacramento Bee opinion piece.
Unless the committee makes the grant review process more transparent, Simpson writes, "grant awards again will be shrouded in unnecessary secrecy, thus continuing to undermine public trust in a process that suffers the stigma of a board designed by law with built-in conflicts of interest."
If the stem cell agency wants the public's "hard-earned tax dollars, they should justify the scientific merit of their plans in public," according to Simpson.
"Putting scientific review on a pedestal behind closed doors does nothing to help the public's understanding of, and therefore faith in, the process," Simpson writes.
The current review process "is apparently premised on the notion that it's unwise to risk embarrassing an institution for its lack of scientific ability, but it's all right to say it doesn't know how to construct a decent building," according to Simpson.
He adds, "That approach serves neither scientist nor architect, but especially not the public" (Simpson, Sacramento Bee, 8/7).