As reported by The Hartford Courant, May 10, 2006.

Stem Cell Grants Now Available

By William Hathaway

Connecticut scientists today can begin applying for $20 million in state money to conduct stem cell research.

On Tuesday, the Connecticut Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee approved long-awaited guidelines for scientists seeking a share of the funds to be awarded in the first two years of the 10-year, $100 million commitment the state legislature approved last spring.

Preference will be given to research conducted with human embryonic stem cells. Most such research projects are ineligible for federal funding.

Under a timeline adopted by the committee, the competitive grants will be awarded to scientists as early as September.

Connecticut joined California and New Jersey as the first states to authorize state funding for human embryonic stem cell research.

The guidelines also allow grants for building facilities where human embryonic stem cell research can be conducted. Separate laboratory space is needed because President Bush ordered that no federal funds be used to study human embryonic stem cell lines created after August 2001.

Groups of scientists can apply for up to $4 million for collaborative research programs. The committee decided that in grants for group projects, priority will be given to scientists working together from different disciplines or from different universities.

Established researchers not involved in group projects can apply for grants worth up to $1 million, and young scientists starting their careers are eligible for seed grants of up to $250,000.

Scientists will have three weeks to deliver a letter of intent to apply for a grant and until July 10 to submit a grant application. The board will award final grants after they are reviewed by an international panel of scientists.

The committee's work was delayed briefly by a State Ethics Commission opinion last month that people with financial ties to institutions applying for grant money should not serve on the stem cell research advisory committee. A majority of the eight-member committee had ties to either the University of Connecticut or Yale University, which are expected to submit most of the applications.