CIRM Elevator Pitch entries are in, stay tuned for winners

A few weeks ago we announced our CIRM Elevator Pitch Challenge. In the video above you can see our own Kevin McCormack explaining the challenge–each scientist has to explain their research in 30 seconds or less in a way that a lay person would understand.

We ended up with 58 pitches, many recorded at our grantee meeting and several sent in from people who weren’t going to be attending. You can see all of the videos here.

Entries ranged widely in both length and content. Some managed to be short and to the point, others were longer, or used creative approaches to communicating the science (and here I’m thinking specifically of Asad Presente of UCSD). Several people from University of Southern California pre-recorded their pitches with the help of USC videographer Ryan Ball, who added some clever graphics to a few videos. I admit to a soft spot for an ailing liver in an entry by Toshio Miki.

Our elite panel of judges met at CIRM headquarters yesterday. Erin Allday of the San Francisco Chronicle attended the judging and wrote this story about it.

After this experience, I have more sympathy for Academy Award judges. How do you rank such vastly different entries? Paul Knoepfler of UC Davis wrote about his top picks in a blog entry today. He very politely left out his own rather creative entry in his top picks.

We’ll be announcing the winners next week. In the mean time, I’d be interested in hearing other people’s top picks. For those on Twitter, you can also follow the conversation about these videos at #sciencepitch.

(3/22/13) After posting this piece yesterday, a story by an ABC reporter who also attended the judging came out. The story gives a nice sense of the mood of the room during the judging. I think we all had fun watching our grantees struggle to condense years of painstaking work into a few simple sentences.


3 thoughts on “CIRM Elevator Pitch entries are in, stay tuned for winners

  1. Italian cabinet approves current stem cell treatments

    Health minister says that ethics demand treatments continue
    Rome, March 21 – Controversial stem-cell medical treatments that are already underway should continue, despite court rulings to the contrary, Health Minister Renato Balduzzi said Thursday. The cabinet decision means the continuation of stem-cell treatments, including that of a toddler at the Brescia hospital in northern Italy. “The (decision) is based on the ethical principle that medical treatment which has already started without serious side effects should not be stopped,” said Balduzzi. A ministerial regulation clarifying treatment details will be issued in the coming, the health ministry said.

    The decision comes after a recent ruling by a Venetian court that a life-saving treatment for local toddler Celeste Carrer should continue in the Brescia hospital. Those treatments, using stem-call transplants from her mother's bone marrow, began 18 months ago to halt the spinal muscular atrophy causes the toddler's muscles to waste away. Celeste was reportedly able to move her neck, arms, and legs following an early treatment.

    However, her treatments were halted last May when a Turin prosecutor launched an investigation into the Stamina Foundation, the stem-cell research group that carried out her treatments. Police raided the hospital, blocking treatment for numerous other patients, according to staff. Stem-cell treatment, which is legal in Italy in life-threatening instances, is contentious because it sometimes involves the destruction of a human embryo. Italy banned the use of embryos in stem cell research in 2004, but in 2007 Italian researchers obtained adult stem cells which they said were as effective as those obtained from embryos.

  2. I love the idea. With re-authorization of another round of CIRM financing in the not too distant future, it is important to make sure the voters understand what is being done and how we're making advances to important medical breakthroughs. Something all scientists should do!

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