Committee of Scientific Advisors Terms of Reference

The following Terms of Reference were developed by the SSM Committee of Scientific Advisors. They were approved by the Committee on 16 January 2012 and submitted to the SSM Board of Governors on 27 November 2012 and approved on 4 December 2012.

The Role of the Committee of Scientific Advisors

  1. To advise the Board of Governors on scientific matters.
  2. To assure that the information used by the Board of Governors in any decisions taken is based on the best available scientific information.
  3. To review scientific material for accuracy before it is posted on the Society website with the exception of material vetted by a standing committee of the Society.
  4. To manage and administer the Society’s “Small Grant in Aid of Research” program.

Standard Operating Procedures

  1. The chair of the committee is recommended by the President and approved by the elected officers of the Board of Governors.
  2. The chair serves a two-year term and may be reappointed for any number of terms.
  3. The committee will consist of at least ten (10) members at any time, at least two of whom are students and at least 25% are from outside North America.
  4. All committee members must be members of the Society.
  5. Committee members are recommended to the Board of Governors by the committee chair and approved by the Board of Governors.
  6. The committee should have a biennial turnover of at least two members.
  7. The chair has the authority to invite other Society members or individuals outside the Society to temporarily advise the committee on specific issues within their field of expertise.
  8. Communications between committee members will primarily be by e-mail.
  9. Records of all decisions, with supporting documentation, will be maintained in the Society’s archives.

Duties and Responsibilities of a Member

Members must be active participants in the discussion and resolution of any items that come before the committee. They must provide their best advice on any issues arising from an unbiased, scientific perspective.

Much of the annual work of the committee relates to the evaluation of research proposals submitted by young researchers from developing and emerging countries. Members are responsible for prompt and fair evaluation of the proposals assigned to them.

Members are required to disclose any conflict of interest and to recuse themselves from evaluating any proposal on which they have a conflict of interest. A conflict of interest includes, but is not limited to, proposals from individuals with whom the reviewer:

  1. has a personal relationship beyond that of a scientific colleague
  2. has conducted joint work, published papers, or shared grants
  3. has a mentor-mentee relationship

One of the goals of the Small Grant in Aid of Research program is to provide feedback to young investigators on how to improve their research design and proposal writing ability. Thus committee members have a responsibility to provide such comments on the proposals they evaluate.