States are viewing stem cell research funding as an economic development tool. Rhode Island is just one of the latest to throw its hat into the ring.
On the same day that the U. S. Senate debated federal legislation to support expanding stem cell research federal funding, newly elected Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts unveiled Rhode Island’s proposed action plan, outlining the potential that stem cell research holds for reducing human suffering and supporting economic growth in the Ocean State.
“Rhode Island stands at a crossroads for biotech research, and we must take advantage of the historic opportunity we have to decide what role we want stem cell research to play in this state’s future,” Roberts said. “I believe strongly that the potential human and economic benefits of stem cell research for Rhode Islanders are too great to be ignored. I am confident that this report will serve as a foundation for Rhode Island decision-makers to answer the essential policy questions and develop a blueprint for action.”
Her report, “Discovering Rhode Island’s Stem Cell Future: Charting the Course Toward Health and Prosperity,” educates readers about the basics of stem cell research and regenerative medicine, what other states are doing, and both the human and economic benefits that may be derived from stem cell research in Rhode Island. Policy questions identified by Roberts include whether Rhode Island should publicly or privately fund direct grants to researchers, if Rhode Island should establish and fund a statewide stem cell institute, and if Rhode Island should offer financial incentives to stem cell researchers.
Roberts does not feel the competitive economic challenges ahead for Rhode Island are insurmountable. Some of her state’s positive attributes include small size and resulting agility, an extremely advantageous geographic location, and a concentration of research-oriented institutions of higher education.
On 04/25/07, H. 5672, the resolution creating the commission to study the potential for and barriers to the advancement of regenerative medicine and related research in Rhode Island, was passed. Roberts applauded the formation of the House Regenerative Medicine and Research Advisory Study Commission as a positive step forward and plans on working closely with them and other members of the scientific, medical, community, academic, and public constituencies.
Rhode Island Government (04/10/07)
Discovering Rhode Island’s Stem Cell Future: Charting the Course Toward Health and Prosperity (04/10/07)
Providence Business News (04/16/07)
The Brown Daily Herald (04/19/07)
Rhode Island Government (04/26/07)