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In a first in its 18-year history, the California stem cell agency has begun posting on its website a list of its governing board members who have conflicts of interest as they award hundreds of millions of dollars.

The most recent example comes next Tuesday in a $48 million round that will benefit at least 16 public and private colleges in the Golden State and up to 400 students at a cost of $58,220 each.

The latest list shows that 25 members of CIRM’s 35-member governing board have conflicts in the round to be considered Tuesday.

The public conflict postings reflect an awareness of the need for transparency at the $12 billion agency, officially known as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). The research effort was created by voters in 2004 via a ballot initiative, Proposition 71The measure gave many of the potential beneficiaries a seat at the table where the money is handed out.

Since CIRM’s inception, about 80 percent of its awards — now totaling $3 billion — have gone to institutions that have... see more