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Stem Cell Agency 'Disclosure' Makes Mockery of Claims of Openness and Transparency
Date:12/14/2007

d could reject them, move institutions into different categories or invite some of the five that didn't pass muster by the scientific panel to continue their applications.

The organizations recommended are the University of California campuses at Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Merced, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and San Francisco, Stanford University, the University of Southern California, the Buck Institute and the San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, which includes UC San Diego, the Burnham Institute for Medical Research, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the Scripps Research Institute.

"All of the institutions which applied -- the best universities and research organizations in the state -- should have been identified from the beginning," said Simpson. "I don't agree with the position, but I understand the argument that individual researchers aren't identified when they apply for grants. This is different: we're talking about large institutions, not individuals."

FTCR said the only way to track the grant award process and ensure fairness is if the entire process is open. Transparency is even more imperative given recent conflict of interest problems, FTCR said.

Conflict problems involving young faculty grants resulted in 10 applications being rejected for consideration by the ICOC this week. Under the law, ICOC members cannot take part in decisions about grants to their institutions. Despite those rules some board members who are university deans wrote letters supporting applicants from their schools.

Earlier it was discovered that John Reed, board member and president of the Burnham Institute, had improperly intervened seeking to overcome the rejection of a $638,000 grant to his institution. California's Fair Political Practices Commission agreed to investigate a conflict of interest complaint against Reed brought by FTCR. He as recused himself from all ICOC activity during the investigatio
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SOURCE Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights
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