$15.6 Million Operating Budget Slated for California's Stem Cell Agency

California's 14-year-old stem cell research program is set this week to approve a $15.6 million operating budget as its funding is drawing to a close.Cash for new research awards is expected to run out later this year. But the agency, known formally as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). still needs to administer multi-year awards for the next few years. It has set aside money to wind down those existing programs.The proposed operating budget for the 12 months beginning July 1 totals $15.6 million, up from an expected $14.9 million in spending in the 2018-19 fiscal year. The budget is slated to taper down to $1.8 million in 2023-24.For the new fiscal year, employee salary and benefits consume most of the budget, accounting for $11.4 million, up slightly from $11.3 million this year.  The most recent body count at CIRM shows about 45 employees. The second largest spending category for next year is "external services," largely…

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