California Pops for $51 Million in Stem Cell Training

No Applications Rejected

The California stem cell agency yesterday awarded $51 million to help train students in the art of research at the Golden State’s community colleges and universities. 

All 15 applicants for awards that ran as high as $3.6 million each were approved, including Berkeley City College, which was initially rejected by anonymous reviewers who met privately prior to the ratification of their decisions by the agency’s directors. 

The closed-door sessions are standard practice for the agency, which says they are needed to provide candor in conducting the reviews. 

The program, which is called Bridges, is highly regarded by CIRM directors. It began in 2009 and has involved 1,500 students. A partial survey of those students showed that many moved on to research and development positions.

Directors of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine(CIRM), as the agency is formally known, have added a new requirement, however, for a more thorough follow-up on students' outcomes in the multi-year program.

Other new requirements in the program place a greater emphasis on diversity efforts. 

The Berkeley City College application was approved after its director wrote to the board seeking to overturn the reviewers’ objections. Three former students also filed letters. The motion to fund the effort was made by CIRM Chairman Jonathan Thomas with the stipulation that the school implement a strong mentoring program within the first year of the award. 

All of the recipient institutions have received awards in the past. Private, non-profit institutions were eligible but none applied.

Here is a list of the Bridges recipients and the amounts awarded along with the names of the program directors and listed by scores on each application.  Summaries of the closed-door reviews can be found here by searching on the application number, all of which begin with EDU.

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San Diego State University -- $3,605,500, score 97, Ralph Feuer, EDUC2-12617

Humboldt State -- $3,605,495, score 95, Amy Sprowles, EDUC2-12620

CSU Northridge -- $3,606,500, score 95, Cindy Malone, EDUC2-12718

CSU Sacramento -- $2,946,500, score 92, Kimberly Mulligan, EDUC2-12691

San Francisco State University -- $3,606,500, score 90, Lily Chen, EDUC2-12693

Pasadena City College -- $3,605,500, score 90, Pamela Eversole-Cire, EDUC2-12607

CSU San Marcos -- $3,606,500, score 90, Bianca Mothe, EDUC2-12611

CSU San Bernardino -- $3,606,500, score 90, Nicole Bournias-Vardiabasis, EDUC2-12720

San Jose State University -- $3,605,500, score 90, Tzvia Abramson, EDUC2-12677

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo -- $3,276,500, score 89, Trevor Cardinal, EDUC2-12726

CSU Long Beach -- $3,276,500, score 88, Lisa Klig, EDUC2-12638

CSU Fullerton -- $3,606,500, score 88, Nilay Patel, EDUC2-12734

CSU Channel Islands -- $3,606,500, score 85, Nitika Parmar, EDUC2-12695

City College of San Francisco -- $2,706,200, score 85, Carin Zimmerman, EDUC2-12730

Berkeley City College -- $2,806,896, score 80, Barbara Des Rochers, EDUC2-12738

Here is a link to the CIRM news release on the awards. A truncated version of this item also appeared today on Capitol Weekly.