Ya gotta love Illinois politicians
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has sent letters to about 80 Missouri scientists promising them a warm welcome, great laboratories and a shot at government funding for their research.I don't know if it'll work. It's not like he's actually offering them jobs, or has any direct power to give them a job in Illinois if they wanted it. But it takes moxie to go poaching the brain trust from other states, and it takes some courage to pick a fight over stem cells.
Among those sent the letter are scientists at such Kansas City research centers as the Stowers Institute, Midwest Research Institute, St. Luke’s Health System, the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine and the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences.
Letters also went to scientists at St. Louis institutions, including the Washington University School of Medicine.
“Here in Illinois, we’re advancing medical science by providing resources that will help stem-cell researchers continue their groundbreaking work,” Blagojevich and Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes told them in the letter sent Aug. 29.
“We encourage you to explore the possibility of moving to Illinois and leveraging our great research institutions, where many of your colleagues have found the freedom to explore the promise of stem-cell research.”
Blagojevich has signed an executive order that provides for $10 million in grants to further stem-cell research, said Gerardo Cardenas, the governor’s press secretary in Chicago.
Illinois’ attempt to recruit Missouri scientists is a clear indication of how competitive this research has become, said Bill Duncan, president of the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute, a consortium of research institutions.
“If the feeling is that it’s an unfriendly environment for mainstream science, that’s what you can expect,” Duncan said. “Scientists will go where their research is supported.”
I'd love to see more of this, and not just so that salaries will rise in the biology departments of America. It's time there was serious attention given to the scientific future of the nation, and competition won't hurt anyone.