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For Immediate Release
Tuesday, August 2, 2005
For More Information:
Michelle Ruess
(609) 984-1671

Highest Standards Guide Stem Cell Research Grant Program
NJCST pledges public meetings, independent ethics and science reviews

West Orange – The New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology, chaired by Medarex CEO Donald Drakeman, today was named by Governor Richard J. Codey to administer the new $5 million Stem Cell Research Grant program. 

 “Grant applications will undergo a thorough and independent peer review,” Governor Codey said. “Our ethics review board will ensure the research complies with our ethics laws. And grants will be awarded based on science, not politics.”

Dr. Drakeman, chairman of the Commission on Science and Technology, appeared with the Governor at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation and explained how the grant program will work.

“The Stem Cell Research Grant program will use a system that meets the public’s demand for accountability and transparency,” Dr. Drakeman said.

The Commission on Science and Technology will make grant applications available to New Jersey researchers in August. Proposals will be reviewed along parallel tracks -- science and ethics – and then discussed and voted on during an open, public meeting of the Commission. The Commission expects to make awards by the end of the year.

The Stem Cell Research Grant program will support the full range of stem cell research, including basic research to determine the properties of stem cells and their process of change, translational research to turn promising research into potential therapies and clinical research involving patients.

The Stem Cell Research Grant program also will support training for researchers and technicians to learn the specific techniques required by this rapidly advancing new science.

Entities eligible to apply for the Stem Cell Research Grant program will include all New Jersey academic and nonprofit institutions, as well as for-profit companies collaborating with nonprofit organizations. Such collaborations help guarantee that intellectual property developed in nonprofit institutions is rapidly and efficiently transferred to the marketplace for the benefit of the community and the economy.

Recipient organizations will be required to file scientific progress reports that will be made available to the public. In addition, the state will receive a direct financial benefit from any commercial licensing resulting from research supported by state grants, in addition to any indirect benefits from job creation and economic growth.

In terms of the science, only research proposals which meet the highest scientific standards, as established by the federal government’s Public Health Service, will be funded. In terms of ethical standards for research on stem cells, only proposals which meet the standards set forth in the 2005 Guidelines for Stem Cell Research by the National Academy of Science will be funded. 

“Governor Codey has given the Commission an opportunity to help advance New Jersey’s position as a leader in scientific research,” said Dr. Drakeman.  “The public should feel confident knowing the Commission on Science and Technology will use the highest standards of science to promote stem cell research in New Jersey.”


NJCST, established in 1985, is responsible for the development and oversight of policies and programs promoting science and technology research and entrepreneurship in New Jersey.  Commission members include business leaders, university leaders, scientists, the Secretary of Commerce and Economic Growth Commission, the Commissioner of Education, a representative of the Governor and four legislators.