November 28, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

“Solomonic” CIRM Proposal: Institutional Board Members Would not Vote on Grants

I just received a copy of CIRM’s proposed response to the IOM recommendations.

Regarding what I believe to be the most important element, revamping the CIRM Board (aka ICOC), I was interested to see that CIRM (via President Jonathan Thomas) recommended that all institutional members of the Board no longer vote on whether to fund grants.

To quote the CIRM response (full PDF here):

Have 13 institutional members voluntarily abstain from voting on all grants brought before the Board for approval

This is a very dramatic proposed change.

By institutional members, I believe CIRM means the Board members from the UCs and other California research organizations.

This proposed change in the ICOC by CIRM raises many questions beyond whether one thinks it is philosophical a good idea.

For example, if only 13 or 16 voting board members remained, would that constrain the voting process and reduce the number of independent voices going into decision making?

Board Member Jonathan Shestack just called the CIRM proposal “Solomonic” referring to King Solomon who proposed cutting a baby in half to settle a dispute. Would it make sense to cut the CIRM Board in half making about half the members non-voting on grants?

What do you think?