State Stem Cell Funding
In 2006, responding to the federal restrictions on the creation of new stem cell lines for research, the Connecticut General Assembly passed legislation that was signed into law by Gov. M. Jodi Rell, authorizing the use of public funds to finance human stem cell research. The law commits $100 million over a period from 2007 to 2017 to support this highly promising area of bioscience research.
In taking this remarkable and forward-thinking action, Connecticut joined California, New Jersey, Maryland and Illinois as the only states to have passed legislation, by 2006, to use public funds for embryonic stem cell research. Connecticut, however, has set a new standard by becoming the first state to actually implement a structured, ongoing research grant program of this type.
In order to ensure that the funds are distributed fairly and also to maximize the likelihood of productive return on the investment, the law also established a competitive process for awarding research grants. An impartial Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee, chaired by the Connecticut Commissioner of Public Health, was appointed to distribute the funds based on the scientific, legal and ethical integrity of the research being done.
In the three rounds of funding disbursements for human embryonic stem cell research conducted by the Connecticut Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee, UConn has been awarded a total of $20.7 million that has provided support to more than 125 investigators at the Storrs and UConn Health campuses.