Stem cell institute gearing up to distribute research funds

By Adam Martin

Staff Writer

With two legal victories behind them, officials with the state's stem cell agency Monday began deciding how to distribute more than $3 billion in government funding over the next decade.

At the first meeting of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine's Strategic Planning Advisory Committee, a group of institute officials and experts began the process of deciding how to disburse the $300 million per year the state of California has pledged toward stem cell research over the next 10 years.

The institute's funding has been held up since two lawsuits in Alameda County Superior Court challenged the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 71. On Monday, a decision handed down by Judge Bonnie Sabraw on April 21 affirming the proposition's constitutionality became final. Unless the decision is appealed, it will clear the way for Prop. 71 money to start flowing into the institute.

The Planning Advisory Committee is tasked with creating a set of guidelines for the distribution of the state money to researchers. “How do you best spend $3 billion over 10 years? That's the question the Strategic Planning Advisory Committee is trying to answer,” institute spokeswoman Nicole Pagano said.

Committee members heard input from members of the public and several experts Monday. They are currently in the information-gathering phase of their project, and are scheduled to present a draft of the plan to the Independent Citizen's Oversight Committee in October.

During the plan's development, the committee will hold regular public meetings. Institute President Zach Hall said the institute wants to “carry out development of the plan in a transparent way.”

John Simpson, stem cell project director for the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, said he approves of the way the institute is formulating its spending plan. “It is tremendously encouraging to see that it was done in public,” he said.

Simpson said the silver lining in the delay caused by the litigation is that it gives the institute the opportunity to carefully plan how to distribute grants.

Pagano said the institute would have used the same care whether it had been delayed by litigation or not. “The strategic plan is a very important aspect of what this agency is about,” she said.

amartin@examiner.com

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Big name officials crowd race for tiny Democratic Party board

The San Francisco Democratic Party campaign clown car is rollin’ once again.… Continue reading

Legal challenge halts SFPD jurisdiction over dog attacks on federal land

Dog owners beware — canine attacks are now consequence-free on federal land… Continue reading

New drug court hearing for man who ate cookie without permission

The San Francisco Public Defender’s Office will ask the San Francisco Superior… Continue reading

49ers battle with the Saints lives up to its billing

Kittle’s 39-yard catch-and-run had placed San Francisco in prime position for a game-winning field goal as the 49ers trailed 46-45

SF police shoot burglary suspect in Mission District

Man allegedly attacked officers before being shot in first on-duty SFPD shooting since June 2018

Most Read