$1 077 819
Recommended if funds allow
Statement of Benefit to California:
The objective of this proposal is to integrate a stem cell internship into an existing biotech certificate program offered by the applicant institution. Students will be eligible to apply to this program after completing one advanced biology course. The home institution plans to provide a 9-month internship to 6 to 7 students per year in partnership with one of 17 host laboratories in a public university and at a non-profit institution in the area. Prior to internship, selected students will be required to complete a stem cell methodology course offered at a public university. After completing the internship, students will be required to pass additional course work and participate in seminars and retreats at the internship institution to earn the specialty in stem cell biology credential. The reviewers appreciated the premise of the proposal but were discouraged by the poorly described internship-training plan. The goal of integrating an internship into an existing biotech certificate program was appreciated, but reviewers were not convinced that the idea was sufficiently developed. For example, the proposal lacked details on the pool of the available potential trainees and how the students will be selected. The 9-month internship was considered to be of insufficient duration to complete a meaningful project. This concern was further deepened by the expectation that interns will be taking advanced biology classes during the internship. Layering a course on top of an intense research experience may compromise the quality of the training. The assessment program for participating students was considered to be strong and included midterm and final reports, analysis of student’s laboratory notebooks, summary of the seminars attended by the students and meetings with the faculty advisor and program director. Though this reporting system was strong, the program was criticized for the lack of details on the actual student mentoring. The letter of institutional commitment from the host institution was considered by the reviewers as generic and lacking in specifics that could confirm the enthusiasm of the host organizations. No letter of support from the host institution offering the stem cell techniques course was included in the proposal. The program director was considered to be adequately qualified and experienced to oversee the program. However, as noted above, reviewers were not clear about the institutional commitment to this program. Overall, reviewers lacked confidence that the program as presented in the proposal could achieve the goals of the training program.