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Stem cell network seeks new funders

The four research councils that fund the UK National Stem Cell Network want the organisation to seek other sources of funding.

The organisation announced in a statement on 29 June that it has been asked to produce a “robust proposal for [its] future structure, governance and funding.”

This is to be published in September.

For the past five years, the network has received its core funding from the Medical Research Council, the Biotechnology, the Biological Sciences Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council, and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Speaking on their behalf in a statement, Colin Miles of the BBSRC, and chairman of the UKNSCN said: “we felt that it was now right to examine new models of funding and governance for UKNSCN. We are therefore asking the stem cell community to restate the rationale and business case for UKNSCN. We would also like to see the community take on a more proactive role in the management and oversight of the Network’s activities.”

Cathy Prescott, chairwoman of the UKNSCN advisory committee, said the panel is “optimistic” that it can develop a business case “which will still attract, at least in part, funding from the public purse”.

The network was set up in 2006 to connect stem-cell researchers with other scientists as well as the wider society.