California initiative triggers research spending boom

Being forced to wait for the courts to clear California's stem cell institute of legal challenges gave research institutions in the state extra time to lay careful plans for a massive expansion. When the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine unleashed a torrent of $271 million in grants days ago, it laid the stage for nearly $1.2 billion in new lab space as institutions put up an additional $900 million of their own funds. According to, that money will finance an additional 800,000 square feet of lab space. And most of the competing institutions elected to take their grants up front at a nine percent discount rather than obtain the full amount in two years time.

One reason why new lab space is needed for human ESC work is federal law, which expressly forbids the use of any federal funding for most of the work being done in the field. Once built, the new labs are likely to trigger a new migration of scientific talent, further advancing the state's reputation in the field.

Stanford, for example, qualified for the biggest single grant of $43 million by matching it with $156 million in new money. And the money will be used to build a 200,000 square foot research facility devoted to stem cell science.

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ALSO: In an example of the way that California's stem cell institute is spurring a building boom of new research facilities, the San Diego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine is pushing ahead with plans to construct a $115 million research center in La Jolla, helped with $43 million in state money. Report