Selection of LSTRC Members
The Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) and a number of Federal regulations and policies govern NIH's use and management of its advisory committees, including the Literature Selection Technical Review Committee (LSTRC). The FACA requires that membership be fairly balanced in terms of points of view represented and the functions to be performed by the advisory committee. NIH ensures representation of women and minorities, diverse representation in member expertise, as well as broad representation of members from different geographic regions of the United States. Members of NIH's scientific and technical peer review committees are selected based on their expertise in the particular scientific areas for which a committee has review responsibilities. Assessment of this competence for LSTRC is based on the quality of clinical and research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals, and other significant medical and scientific activities, achievements, and honors. Usually a doctoral degree or its equivalent is required. Nonscientific members of the public may serve on scientific and technical review committees when their expertise or experience is appropriate. Service on NIH advisory committees also demands mature judgment, balanced perspective, objectivity, and ability to work effectively in a group. Membership requirements also include a commitment to accomplish work assignments, assurance that the confidentiality of applications, proposals, discussions, and recommendations will be protected and certification acknowledging they are free from conflicts of interest.
The nomination and selection of members is a major professional responsibility of each advisory committee's manager. The selection process involves long-range planning, and obtaining suggestions and information from many different sources. NIH draws upon numerous resources to select suitable nominees for membership, such as:
- personal knowledge of both the required discipline and the scientists who are making significant research contributions to the field;
- review of NIH applicant and grantee files as well as curriculum vitaes and publications of investigators;
- review of NIH's enterprise-wide database system and other databases for potential nominees with specific expertise;
- review of major scientific journals and publications in the field;
- attendance at relevant professional meetings; gaining knowledge of the interests and expertise of possible future members and consulting with eminent investigators who may be potential members;
- observance of investigators who serve as ad hoc consultants or temporary members at regular scientific and technical peer review committee meetings, and those who have provided written collateral opinions on request;
- solicitation of names of outstanding investigators from former and current committee members and other leaders in the field;
- consultation with scientific and professional staff of the various NIH Institutes and Centers as well as the Office of the Director offices;
- observation of applications reviewed by other agencies, especially those having review panels in related disciplines; and
- review of membership rosters of pertinent professional societies.
NIH's advisory committees perform a unique service to the NIH and to the Department of Health and Human Services. NIH provides remuneration to its committee members for these services during the days they participate in meetings. This includes honoraria, plus meal and travel expenses based on Government travel guidelines and rates. In general, the Exec Sec/SRA of the committee will identify nominees to replace current members a year in advance of their rotation off the committee. The following factors are considered:
- Scientific or technical expertise, interest, or knowledge;
- Committee service history;
- Current committee membership;
- Female/Minority representation;
- Membership rotation (approximately one-fourth of the committee membership retires each year); and
- Geographic representation.