A new Boalt fellowship that will focus on legal issues connected with stem cell research is part of a broad, innovative UC Berkeley training grant that won a projected three-year, $2.5 million grant on Friday.
The Independent Citizen’s Oversight Committee, the executive body in charge of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine created by voter approval of Proposition 71 last fall, approved the UC Berkeley proposal at a meeting in Sacramento on Friday. The Berkeley program, to dovetail with a new stem cell center on campus, would combine training of students and post-doc professionals in the science, medical application, and technology of stem cell research with education of lawyers and humanists competent to address the unique bioethical, sociological and legal issues raised by stem cell research.
In its review, the committee praised the Berkeley proposal and applauded its law, ethics and humanities programs as “stellar.” With its vote, the panel approved a grant for 12 fellowships across the Berkeley campus over three years. The Boalt stem-cell research fellowship is expected to total $50,000 a year, to be split between two third-year law students each year. The Boalt fellowship will focus on such legal issues as intellectual property rights, donor consent, ownership of tissue, management of research conflicts of interest, distribution of royalties, access to health care applications and financial returns to the state.
Professor Marjorie Shultz, who helped develop the Boalt fellowship proposal, said the Berkeley program will take advantage of the campus’s intellectual richness. “With its strengths across the life sciences, humanities and law, Berkeley is uniquely positioned to address the myriad interdisciplinary issues that arise from stem cell research,” Shultz said.
Friday’s vote came as the committee considered a wide range of proposals for training scientists and other specialists in stem cell research. The panel awarded a total of $38.9 million over three years.