Training Tomorrow's Scientists

Investing in the next generation of stem cell scientists creates a trained workforce for California, ensures that the state has young scientists ready to continue the search for cures. Altogether, we've helped thousands of young people pursue their dream—a dream which would otherwise not have come true—as well as supporting dozens up and coming faculty members as they establish their careers in California.

    High School (SPARK)

    Precious few people will go on to become scientists and doctors, but everybody--including future teachers, lawyers or police—should have a chance to understand a field of science that is changing the course of medicine. This is why we created a stem cell curriculum for high school classes. Now teachers in California and across the country have resources and hands-on activities to teach their students the fundamentals of regenerative medicine, a field that stands to be responsible for the therapies those students and their descendants may receive in the future.

    And with our SPARK Awards (formerly Creativity Awards), high school students interested in a career in science can get a head start on their dream. We support high school students throughout California in stem cell research summer internships. Last year, we asked those students to show us the value of their experiences in blogs, videos and images.

    You can see their enthusiasm in action on our Through their Lens series.

    Undergraduate and Master's Students (Bridges)

    For our undergraduate and masters-level students, Bridges to Stem Cell Research Awards provide coursework and internships at California state schools and community colleges. These programs train young scientists to fill jobs in California’s growing stem cell research sector—filling a void predicted by both BayBio and the California Public Policy Institute. The programs’ first graduates are already being hired into skilled research technician positions and being accepted into medical and graduate schools in large numbers.

    Graduate and Students

    Our first round of funding in 2006 was to support Training grants to make sure California had scientists with the training needed to develop stem cell based therapies. These awards support graduate students and post-graduate students carrying out stem cell research in California institutions. Many of our training grant recipients have gone on to start their own stem cell research labs as faculty members and are carrying forward stem cell advances for the next generation of therapies.

    New Faculty

    Although their formal education is over, new faculty members need support while they are starting up their labs. CIRM provides a stable source of funding for the best young faculty members, helping them to establish their stem cell research programs. Our recurring New Faculty Awards support faculty for five years while they launch their stem cell research careers.