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avian flu - news Bird flu sparks worldwide bid to prevent...

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Rex Dalton,San Diego The California Institutes for Science and Innovation — four high-profile interdisciplinary facilities built at a cost of $400 million — are going through a turbulent time just months before researchers move into the new buildings. A bleak financial outlook, caused by fiscal difficulties at state level, is widely believed to have contributed to the departure of Marvin Cassman, head of one of the new facilities — the Institute for Bioengineering, Biotechnology and Quantitative Biomedical Research (QB3). Cassman, a former director of the US National Institute of General Medical Sciences who was appointed with much fanfare in 2002, quietly quit late last month and did not respond to requests for an interview. The institutes are designed to channel expertise from across the University of California (UC) campuses into scientific discoveries that will spur statewide economic development. They were to have had an annual budget of at least $10 million each for operating costs. But California is going through a fiscal crisis. The proposed budget for the next financial year, which will be finalized by July, cuts $370 million from the total UC budget and hands the centres just $1 million each. Because scientists at the institutes will fund their research through external grants, the researchers say they are confident
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