Santa Monica, CA — The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) today praised the decision to open the next meeting of the fledgling Interstate Alliance for Stem Cell Research to the public saying that an open, transparent process builds support for publicly funded science. The decision came after a closed session of the group in May and a protest from FTCR.
Warren Wollschlager, of the Connecticut Department of Health and an organizer of the association, said the group’s next meeting will be in Boston in October. He said it will be convened by the National Academy of Sciences and will be open to the public. Wollschlager will chair the session.
FTCR noted that Connecticut has been a leader among the states in making information about its stem cell program public.
An organizational meeting of the alliance, which is comprised of representatives of the various state stem-cell research funding agencies, was held at the National Academy of Sciences‘ Beckman Center in Irvine, CA. John M. Simpson, FTCR Stem Cell project director was thrown out of the meeting by Fran Sharples, NAS Board on Life Sciences Director. She told him it was a “private meeting of the National Academy of Sciences” and he had to leave.
“I’m glad to see the change of heart,” said Simpson. “Too often the scientific establishment has displayed a paternalistic ‘trust-us-we-know-best’ attitude that in fact undercuts public support for science. Scientists need to engage and educate, otherwise we end up with the know-nothing attitude too often exemplified by the current administration.”
Among the goals of the alliance are creating opportunities for collaboration among different states’ stem cell programs and harmonizing regulations from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
FTCR said that with the plan for open meetings, California’s stem cell agency, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, should definitely play an active role in the group.
“California is the leader in stem cell research funding in the world,” said Simpson. “We clearly have contributions to make to, and things to learn from, the alliance.”
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The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights is California’s leading non-profit and non-partisan consumer watchdog group. For more information visit us on the web at: www.ConsumerWatchdog.org.