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Research Councils withdraw support for ISSCR 2009 Annual Conference

30 November 2007

It is with regret that three UK Research Councils have decided to withdraw their support for the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) Annual Conference 2009 to be held in London. The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) have withdrawn their previous offer to underwrite and sponsor the 2009 ISSCR conference following a breakdown in negotiations with Sherwood Group, the Society’s US-based representatives.

The Research Councils made the offer to underwrite the event, and bring the conference to London, on the understanding that public money was to be used as a small amount of sponsorship while larger sums were available to fund the event should the relatively higher costs associated with a London venue result in a drop in numbers. Since London was named as the venue for the 2009 conference early this year, the ISSCR’s representatives have not been able to produce satisfactory attendance projections or a business plan for the event despite repeated requests.

In these circumstances BBSRC, MRC and ESRC feel that they are no longer able to offer UK public funds for this event. The ISSCR and its representatives may still wish to discuss funding arrangements with other potential funders and organisations to continue to hold the conference in the UK.

The three Research Councils involved remain committed to facilitating collaboration and interaction among stem cell scientists from across the world. However as recipients of public money the research councils have an obligation to ensure that this money is spent responsibly.

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External Relations Unit