We propose a CIRM Creativity Award program that builds on our existing summer research program for undergraduate and high school students by offering additional elements tailored to Creativity Award students, including: (a) a lecture series highlighting local young investigators, ethical issues, and future undergraduate educational opportunities, (b) a series on “The Art in Science”, and (c) a project challenging their creativity and executed individually or in small groups. The CIRM Creativity Award program will expose the next generation of California professionals to evidence-based stem cell research at an early time in their scientific development. The actual practice of scientific research will broaden their general education at the pre-college stage. CIRM Creativity Award students may not necessarily gravitate to scientific research, but their understanding of stem cell biology and scientific research will shape their thinking as they move into the diverse career options that will be available to them.
Statement of Benefit to California:
The mission of the CIRM Creativity Award program is to provide a research opportunity for high school students in the fundamental biology of stem cells and developmental biology, and to provide an opportunity for mentored creative activity executed individually or in small groups. This training will enhance stem cell-based biomedical research efforts, promote the development of novel therapies for previously intractable conditions, and give a new perspective on the contributions of stem cell research to the health of Californians. These contributions include, but are not limited to, maintaining California’s leading position in stem cell research and the state’s biotechnology industry. In addition, we will have a special emphasis on identifying and selecting under represented minority students with outstanding potential to do biomedical research related to stem cells.
Reviewers agreed that this is an outstanding and well-conceived proposal for a program with a very long and successful history. Reviewers found no significant weaknesses and were extremely impressed by the exceptionally strong proposal. Significant strengths included a well described recruitment process, a highly qualified and experienced Program Director, a very creative set of activities and integration of the second discipline. One of the unique features of the recruitment process cited by reviewers is that student selection will be based on student potential rather than past achievment. Additionally, reviewers praised the proposed program activities that include discussions of ethical issues and clinical trials, education career talks, field trips including visiting a Biotech company and a poster session at the conclusion of the program. Overall, reviewers agreed that this proposal strongly meets the objectives of this RFA. Particular highlights include the inclusion of students from underrepresented groups, excellent hands-on stem cell science training and encouragement of creativity through a resourceful and integrated set of activities in the second discipline.
- A motion was made to recommend this application for funding. The motion carried.