Policy Considerations for States Supporting Stem Cell Research: Evidence from a Survey of Stem Cell Scientists


Aaron D. Levine is an assistant professor in the School of Public Policy at Georgia Tech. His research explores the intersection between public policy, bioethics, and biomedical research and focuses on understanding how the policy environment influences the development of ethically-contentious new technologies. He is the author of Cloning: A Beginner’s Guide (Oneworld Publications, 2007), an introduction to the science of cloning and embryonic stem cells and the ethical and policy controversies this science inspires. He holds a PhD in public affairs from Princeton University and a master of philosophy from the University of Cambridge, where, as a Churchill Scholar, he studied computational biology and developed algorithms to help analyze the human genome sequence.
E-mail: aaron.levine@pubpolicy.gatech.edu


Five states now provide funding for stem cell research, and many states are developing or debating stem cell research policies. Despite this interest, little data exist to help policy makers design policies or forecast the impact of new legislation. This article reports novel data from two surveys: one directed at those most affected by these policies—stem cell scientists—and one at a group of biomedical researchers working in less contentious fields. These data identified relatively high mobility among stem cell scientists, particularly in states with restrictive policies, and a strong preference for states with permissive policies. These findings suggest that state-specific policies may prove to be effective recruiting tools. They also suggest specific recruitment strategies and highlight the importance of first-mover advantage as states compete for the same limited pool of mobile scientists. This research aims to provide a factual basis to support ongoing policy formulation in the area.