Funding opportunities

CIRM STAR High School Summer Research and Creativity Program

Funding Type: 
Creativity Awards
Grant Number: 
TC1-06302
Principle Investigator: 
Funds requested: 
$264 000
Funding Recommendations: 
Recommended
Grant approved: 
Yes
Public Abstract: 
Our CIRM High School Summer Research and Creativity Program will be an 8-week hands-on inquiry based mentored research experience integrated with our existing High School Summer Research Program. Our Summer Research Program for high school students has been in existence for 22 years and has a proven track record of success in mentored scientific research and literacy, communication and advancement to top tier research universities. The programmatic components include a week-long hands-on stem cell biology workshop followed by the 10 interns joining a research team within the Stem Cell Center or one of the 50 Associate laboratories, biweekly progress update meetings, a mid-program social event to create a CIRM student network, and a program-end research seminar by all CIRM high school student interns. Using the rich resources of our institution, the local community and the CIRM network, a forum entitled “Stem Cells, Creativity and the Public” will serve as a platform to integrate stem cell biology research conducted at the bench with expression in the humanities, communication to the public and public policy decision-making. Anticipated near-term programmatic outcomes include literacy in stem cell biology, communication strategies (media, art, literature) and public policy development. Anticipated long-term outcomes include creating a pipeline of stem cell scientists, educators, clinicians and stem cell literate public policy decision makers for California.
Statement of Benefit to California: 
The CIRM High School Summer Research and Creativity Program will be an 8-week hands-on inquiry based mentored research experience integrated with our existing High School Summer Research Program. Our Summer Research Program for high school students has been in existence for 22 years and has a proven track record of success in mentored scientific research and literacy, communication and advancement to top tier research universities. In addition to research, the program will include creation of a CIRM student network. Using the rich resources of our institution, the local community and the CIRM network, a forum entitled “Stem Cells, Creativity and the Public” will serve as a platform to integrate stem cell biology research conducted at the bench with expression in the humanities, communication to the public and public policy decision-making. Anticipated near-term programmatic outcomes include literacy in stem cell biology, communication strategies (media, art, literature) and public policy development. This program will thus benefit the State of California and its citizens in multiple ways: by training a new generation of future stem cell scientists, and in increased public literacy and public policy development.
Review Summary: 
Reviewers agreed that this is a well-conceived and outstanding proposal that substantially serves an economically and socially disadvantaged student population. Reviewers found no significant weaknesses in the proposal and were highly impressed by the program’s considerable strengths. The applicant proposes an expansion of the existing 6 week program to an 8 week curriculum, with the first week involving an intense introductory course in stem cells and cell culture training. The program provides ample labs and mentors to host the interns and encourages creativity through forums to discuss communication, public policy, biotechnology and art. Reviewers were further impressed by another unique program feature, the extension of activities into the school year, whereby junior and senior high school interns will continue participating in research and helping with mentoring, tutoring and outreach. Other elements which further strenghened this application were the use of social media for tracking past trainees and assessment of program success using quantitative measures such as alumni admission into top colleges with entrance scholarships. Overall, reviewers agreed that this proposal strongly meets the objectives of the RFA, especially excelling in the inclusion of students from underrepresented groups, and will provide hands-on stem cell science training and encouragement of individual creativity.
Programmatic review: 
  • A motion was made to recommend this application for funding. The motion carried.
Conflicts: 

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