STEM CELL INSTITUTE AWARDS FIRST SCIENTIFIC GRANTS 16 California Institutions Share $12.1 Million

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) announced today that 16 California non-profit institutions have received $12.1 million to train the next generation of stem cell researchers. They are the first grants awarded by the California stem cell agency.

Funding for the grants was drawn from the sale of $14 million of bond anticipation notes (BANs) to six California philanthropic entities. The California Stem Cell Research and Cures Finance Committee approved the BANs this past week.

Robert Klein, Chairman of the Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee, expressed optimism about nearing his goal of $50 million for the BANs program reporting, “CIRM is currently processing another $32 million of commitments with foundations to lift the institute beyond the reach of the current litigation and to begin an additional round of funding for scientific and medical research.”

“This is an exhilarating day for the scientists, patients and the millions of Californians who support stem cell research,” Klein continued. “CIRM was created to fund science in the service of therapies, and today we’re making our first grants. These grants are an investment in human capital. They will train the next generation of scientists. Patients can celebrate today because the flow of funds has started to the physicians and scientists who have dedicated their lives to this pioneering field that holds such promise for reducing human suffering.”

“Stem cell researchers around the globe are keeping a close eye on California. I am very pleased for these research institutions,” said Stuart Orkin, M.D., Chair of the CIRM Research Funding Working Group and the David G. Nathan Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. “Even more gratifying is to see the undaunted commitment of Californians who understand the urgency of funding this research.”

Arlene Chiu, Ph.D., CIRM Director of Scientific Programs, said, “These awards are especially important because they are the first investment in stem cell research for this agency. We are starting from the ground up—building the intellectual foundation to establish a strong and vibrant community and prepare the next generation of Californian scientists for discovery in this vital field.”

“For patients suffering from chronic illness and injury, this training program is an important signal of hope to come from California,” said patient advocate and ICOC board member Jonathan Shestack. “The rising tide of knowledge from stem cell science will lift all those suffering with chronic conditions. We look forward to brighter days ahead. Still, it’s important to know that this is just the beginning. Those of us who have cast our vote and live with people we love who are suffering and cut off from the world wait the full funding of Proposition 71. I don’t want my son’s future held hostage to someone else’s ideology anymore.”

  Approved Trainee Slots    
Institution Pre-Doctoral Post-Doctoral Clinical 1st Year Budget
 Burnham Institute 0 6 0  $445,500
 California Institute of Technology  0  10  0  690,608
 Children’s Hospital Los Angeles  0  7  3  784,006
 Scripps Research Institute  3  3  0  347,160
 Stanford University  6 5 5  1,221,694
 The J. Gladstone Institutes  0 7 3  799,080
 The Salk Institute for Biological Studies  0 6 0  481,010
 University of California, Berkeley  6 4 2  815,990
 University of California, Davis  4 4 4  896,082
 University of California, Irvine  8 4 0  674,482
 University of California, Los Angeles  5 5 6  1,231,802
 University of California, San Diego  6 4 6  1,203,207
 University of California, San Francisco  6 6 4  1,152,431
University of California, Santa Barbara 2 4 0 393,091
University of California, Santa Cruz 3 3 0 374,730
University of Southern California 5 2 2 601,379
54 80 35 $12,112,252



CIRM Training Program

The Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee (ICOC) approved training grant applications on September 9, 2005, but they could not be awarded due to litigation impeding the State’s ability to sell approved General Obligation bonds.

Three levels of awards will accommodate 169 trainees in programs at small and large institutions throughout California:

• Comprehensive training programs will educate scholars at the pre-doctoral, post-doctoral and clinical levels. A Type I institutional grant will support up to 16 CIRM Scholars and operate on a total budget of up to $1.25 million per year.

• Intermediate training programs will offer training at two of the three levels of education mentioned above. Type II grants may support up to ten CIRM Scholars at a given institution with a total budget of $800,000.

• Specialized training program will fund up to six CIRM Scholars at a total budget of $500,000.

Designed to take advantage of the different strengths of California research institutions, the CIRM Training Program will educate fellows from a variety of scientific backgrounds, including computation and molecular biology, nanotechnology, and clinical medicine.

All programs are required to offer at least one course in stem cell biology and disease as well as a course in the social, legal and ethical implications of stem cell research. Institutions were explicitly encouraged to promote interaction among trainees from different fields, especially those trained in basic science and clinical medicine. Because of the diversity of the California population, the CIRM also placed a premium on training a diverse pool of investigators.

About CIRM
CIRM was established in 2004 with the passage of the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Act. The institute is responsible for disbursing $3 billion in State funds for stem cell research to California universities and research institutions over the next ten years and is overseen and governed by the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee (ICOC). For more information, please visit CIRM’s Web site at


CIRM Contact: Nicole Pagano
  (415) 396-9100