Universities Proceed With Plans for Stem Cell Research Programs, Facilities
Universities in California are continuing with plans for stem cell research programs despite Proposition 71 funding delays that have arisen because of legal challenges, the Los Angeles Times reports. State voters approved Proposition 71 in November 2004 to fund stem cell research.
Bob Klein, president of the Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee, said disbursement of Proposition 71 funds could be delayed by as much as one year because of the lawsuits, but he added that ICOC is seeking funding from private philanthropic groups to use until the lawsuits are resolved.
The philanthropic groups would be repaid using proceeds from Proposition 71 bond sales if the lawsuits are upheld. The loans would become gifts if the courts invalidate Proposition 71.
The University of Southern California has pledged to spend $10 million this year for hiring faculty and renovating lab space for a stem cell research program.
The University of California-Los Angeles has said it will allocate at least $20 million over five years to recruit stem cell researchers and establish laboratories, and UC-Irvine has begun planning a $60 million facility for its stem cell research program.
University officials said they would seek private funding to address shortfalls of Proposition 71 funds, but the Times reports that "[r]esearch plans would almost certainly have to be cut back" (Lin, Los Angeles Times, 1/3).