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NYSTEM-Specific Frequently asked questions

What is NYSTEM?

NYSTEM is New York's publicly funded program to make grants for basic, applied, translational or other research and development activities that will advance scientific discoveries related to stem cell biology. Staff from the New York State Department of Health's Wadsworth Center administers the multi-million dollar initiative with advice and input from the Empire State Stem Cell Board.

What is the Empire State Stem Cell Board?

The Empire State Stem Cell Board was created to advise the Commissioner of Health regarding the NYSTEM program. The Board functions through two standing committees established in the Public Health Law. The Funding Committee oversees the solicitation, review, and award of research grants. The Ethics Committee is charged with making recommendations to the Funding Committee with respect to scientific, medical and ethical standards related to stem cell research.

What is the Empire State Stem Cell Trust Fund?

A special revenue account known as the Empire State Stem Cell Trust Fund was created in the State Finance Law. An initial appropriation of $100 million in funding was provided in state fiscal year 2007-08, with the intention to provide another $50 million each year for the subsequent 10 years.

How often does the Empire State Stem Cell Board meet?

The Funding and Ethics Committees meet at designated times throughout the year at the Department of Health's offices in New York City. The full Board meets once or twice a year. Meeting notices are posted in advance on the NYSTEM website and are sent directly to those who sign up for eAlerts. Information about past meetings, including minutes, also is posted on the website.

Are the meetings open to the public?

Yes. The Empire State Stem Cell Board welcomes interested observers to attend meetings with advance registration. In order to make these meetings as productive as possible, the Board has established certain guidelines for observers so as not to disrupt the business of the meetings. Please note, the ESSCB Chairman reserves the right to decline to admit observers and others while a meeting is in process and may temporarily excuse observers from certain portions of a meeting as required by law. Those unable to attend in person may view real-time or archived (available for 30 days) webcasts of the meetings.

Does NYSTEM fund research on human reproductive cloning?

No. The enacting statute specifically prohibits Empire State Stem Cell Trust Funds from being used directly or indirectly to support research involving human reproductive cloning.

What types of research does NYSTEM support?

NYSTEM supports basic, applied and translational research and development activities related to stem cell biology. The ESSC Board's Strategic Plan identified four research-related areas that should be supported: research, scientific training, infrastructure development, and ethical, legal, social issues and education (ELSIE). To date, awards have been recommended for institutional development; shared equipment and facilities; planning for consortia and other emerging opportunities; investigator-initiated research; consortia; and various training awards.

Who may apply for NYSTEM funding?

Each Request for Application (RFA) specifies who is eligible to apply for support under that RFA. In general, the applicant must be a not-for-profit academic institution, research institute or medical center located in New York State. Collaborators may be from public, not-for-profit and for-profit entities within or outside of New York State. To be notified of upcoming RFAs and Requests for Proposals, sign up for eAlerts.

What guidelines govern research funded by NYSTEM?

Organizations and investigators funded by NYSTEM must adhere to their home institution's rules of conduct, as well as state and federal regulations governing human subject research and the use of animals in research, as appropriate. In addition to the requirements specific to each RFA, the ESSCB's Funding Committee adopted standards recommended by the Ethics Committee that apply to all NYSTEM-supported research, including requirements unique to research involving human pluripotent stem cells.

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