To be built at public and private universities across the state,the research facilities will total nearly 800,000 sf. Theaccelerated construction schedule is expected to create thousandsof construction jobs in an otherwise unstable economic climate.

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The Institute was established in 2004 with the passage ofProposition 71, the California Stem Cell Research and CuresInitiative, and is funded through the sale of 30-year stem cellresearch bonds. The Institute was set up to distribute $3 billionin state funds for stem cell research to California universitiesand research institutions over 10 years.In 2005, 250 King St. inSan Francisco was selected as the Institute's headquarters. Thecity's incentive package included free hotel and conferencefacilities, with architectural design services donated by Genslerand tenant improvements provided by Hathaway Dinwiddie. Thebuilding owner, Terry Francher, and the state Department of GeneralServices executed the no-cost lease for the space.

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The Institute's Major Facilities Grant program was launched inAugust 2007. That fall, the Institute evaluated the scientificmerit of 17 proposals and early in 2008 invited 12 institutions toadvance to the second and final part of the application process.The proposals were then evaluated for the technical aspects oftheir building program and how their scientific program aligns withthe CIRM's objectives, and why the program represents a good valuefor California taxpayers' investment.

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The 12 institutions had originally requested $336 million infunding from CIRM. CIRM scored each proposal on set criteria andthen reduced each institution's request by the percentage theirscore was below 100. To help reduce the funding gap, CIRM offeredthe institutions the opportunity to receive their award thissummer, minus 9%, rather than two years from now at projectcompletion as was initially contemplated. Eight institutionsdecided to take the award now.

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To be built specifically for stem cell research, the buildingsare expected to be a draw for researchers outside California whosework is hindered by the lack of federal support. Indeed,researchers working with human embryonic stem cells are restrictedfrom using federally funded facilities or equipment in any workwith stem cell lines created after Aug. 9, 2001.

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Stanford University received the Institute's biggest award,$43.57 million, which it will combine with $156.4 million fromdonors and university coffers to build a four-floor, 200,000-sfbuilding to be located on the south side of the medical schoolalong Campus Drive. Designed by Zimmer Gunsul Frasca, it will bringtogether under a single roof researchers working with adult,embryonic, cancer and reprogrammed stem cells that currently arespread between buildings on campus and an off-campus satellitelab.

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The University of California at San Francisco will receiveapproximately $34.9 million from the Institute. It will combine thegrant it with $100 million from its own coffers to construct a74,000-sf building off Medical Center Way on its Parnassus campus,which has not seen a new research facility since the mid-1960s. Thebuilding is being designed by Rafael Viñoly of New York.

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Nine other state universities received grants from theInstitute, as well as Buck Institute for Age Research and the SanDiego Consortium for Regenerative Medicine. The facilities grantsmark CIRM's sixth round of funding. Previous grants have gone topostdoctoral researchers, scientists just starting stem cellprojects, established stem cell researchers, new faculty and sharedresearch spaces.

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