The Irish Stem Cell Foundation is one of the good guys in the stem cell universe. It works to promote stem cell research and education in an at times hostile environment with fired up opponents who don’t hesitate to fire it up against stem cell advocates.
It is therefore exciting that the Foundation has launched a new website.
I asked Stephen Sullivan, Chief Scientific Officer, Irish Stem Cell Foundation, about the development and he was kind enough to provide some context as well:
Background Ireland is about to take over the European presidency, and it is expected that during the tenure of that presidency, many key decisions will be made and announced as to how Europe funds its stem cell research (LINK http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/15/us-stemcells-europe-idUSBRE85E0JC20120615 ).
To raise the suspense level even higher, Europe’s Minister for Research is also Irish (LINK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%A1ire_Geoghegan-Quinn). One of the USA’s key strengths in science funding is the large number of private Foundations that fund research with a range of priorities – this is less well developed in Europe. Such Foundations result in the USA having a broader spectrum of research activity than Europe.
Development. The Irish Stem Cell Foundation is now entering an exciting development phase which will see it directly fund stem cell research. This is particularly important as the Irish Government funding agencies Science Foundation Ireland and the Health Research Board (think NSF and NIH respectively) has refused to fund many areas of stem cell research despite such work being legal, of scientific merit, and in response to grave societal need. We may be smaller than CIRM or the HSCI but we will be doing our best to row in a similar direction – excellent science with a view to developing new treatments and cures for patients. We won’t be doing this on our own and we will be happy to accept support from home and abroad.And just to clarify, the new website will allow donors to support the stem cell research and education in Ireland.
Cheers to the Irish Stem Cell Foundation!