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National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Md. 20892

Board of Scientific Counselors Charter


The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI; also referred to as "Institute") was established by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (Secretary) on October 1, 1989. NHGRI led the NIH's contribution to the Human Genome Project, which was successfully completed in April 2003. Although the completion of the Human Genome Project was a magnificent achievement, it was just the first step toward fulfilling the goal of improving human health through genetics-based studies.

In 1993, anticipating the need for a robust research program to translate genomic advances into the detection, prevention, and treatment of genetic disorders, the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) established a new Intramural Program within the then-named National Center for Human Genome Research to serve as the focal point for genetics and genomics research at NIH and worldwide. It was envisioned that this program would develop novel genomic expertise, technologies, and approaches that other research institutions, including other NIH Institutes, could then use for studying the various hereditary disorders afflicting humankind. Today, the NHGRI Division of Intramural Research (DIR) is one of the premier research programs working to unravel the genetic basis of human disease. In its short existence, the NHGRI Intramural Program has made many seminal contributions to the fields of genetics and genomics.

The Director, NIH, is mandated under Section 492(b) of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act, as amended, to establish procedures for periodic technical and scientific peer review of research at the National Institutes of Health. These procedures should consider the work - past, present, and future - conducted by an entire laboratory or a section of a laboratory as well as the research projects of individual investigators. To that end, the NHGRI Board of Scientific Counselors ("Board") is charged with reviewing and evaluating the Intramural Program, providing regular evaluations and scientific peer review of the work of the individual investigators within the DIR.


42 U.S.C. 282(b)(6), Section 402(b)(6) of the PHS Act, as amended. This Board is governed by the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. Appendix 2), which sets forth standards for the formation and use of advisory committees.


The Board shall advise the Director, NIH, the Deputy Director for Intramural Research, NIH, the Director, NHGRI, and the Scientific Director, NHGRI, concerning the Institute's intramural research programs through periodic visits to the laboratories to assess the research in progress and evaluate the productivity and performance of the staff scientists.

The Board shall be provided with a written description of the overall research to be reviewed. This written description should present the past accomplishments of the laboratory and its investigators since the last review was conducted. The written description might also present the general aims, objectives, and projected directions of the research projects to be conducted; appropriate background information on possible future research projects; a brief summary of the general research plan; and an indication of the importance of the research project.

The Board, after conducting the review, will submit a written description of the research, the results of the review, and the recommendations of the Board to the Director, NHGRI, and the Scientific Director of the Institute. The Scientific Director will report at least annually to the National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research the results of the review.

As necessary, and with the approval of the Executive Secretary, the Board and subcommittees may call upon special consultants, assemble ad hoc working groups, and convene conferences and workshops.


The Board shall consist of nine members, including the Chair, appointed by the Director, NIH, from authorities knowledgeable in the fields of, genomics, medical genetics, human and mammalian genetics, cancer biology, molecular biology, developmental biology, biochemistry, chemical genomics and translational research, bioinformatics, and social and behavioral research. Members shall be invited to serve for overlapping terms of up to five years. The term for a member who is to serve as Chair may include a fifth year. None of these members serve as Representatives. The quorum for the conduct of business by the full Board shall consist of a majority of the currently appointed members. A quorum for each subcommittee shall be three members.

As necessary, subcommittees may be established by the Executive Secretary or other designated Government official within the Board's jurisdiction. The advice/recommendations of a subcommittee must be deliberated by the parent advisory committee. A subcommittee may not report directly to a Federal official unless there is statutory authority to do so.

Subcommittee membership may be drawn in whole or in part from the parent advisory committee. All subcommittee members may vote on subcommittee actions and all subcommittee members count towards the quorum for a subcommittee meeting. Ad hoc consultants do not count towards the quorum and may not vote. Subcommittee members who are not members of the parent committee may attend closed sessions of the parent committee meeting but they may not count towards the quorum of the parent committee and they cannot vote on committee actions. The Department Committee Management Officer shall be notified upon establishment of each standing subcommittee and shall be provided information on its name, membership, function, and estimated frequency of meetings.

The Director, NHGRI, will assign a full-time permanent part-time NHGRI employee to serve as the Executive Secretary (also known as a Designated Federal Official or designated Government official) of the committee. Management and support services shall be provided by the Office of the Scientific Director, NHGRI.


Meetings shall be held approximately twice a year at the call of the Executive Secretary, or other designated Government official. A Government official shall give advance approval of the agenda and be present at all the meetings of the Board and its subcommittees.

Meetings shall be open to the public unless determined otherwise by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in accordance with subsection (c) of section 552b of Title 5 U.S.C. Notice of all meetings shall be given to the public.

Meetings shall be conducted and records of the proceedings kept, as required by applicable laws and Departmental policies.


Members shall be paid at the rate of $200 per day, plus per diem and travel expenses, as authorized by Section 5703, Title 5 U.S.C., as amended, for persons in the Government service employed intermittently. Members who are officers or employees of the United States Federal Government shall not receive compensation for service on the Board.

Annual Cost Estimate

The estimated annual cost for operating the Board, including compensation and travel expenses for members, but excluding staff support is $80,811. The estimate of annual person-years of staff support required is 0.3, at an estimated annual cost of $51,446.


In the event a portion of a meeting is closed to the public, as determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in accordance with the Government in the Sunshine Act (5 U.S.C. 552b(c)) and the Federal Advisory Committee Act, a report shall be prepared which shall contain, as a minimum, a list of members and their business addresses, the Board's functions, the dates and places of meetings, and a summary of Board activities and recommendations made during the fiscal year. A copy of the report shall be provided to the Department Committee Management Officer.

Termination Date



September 22, 2008

Dr. Elias Zerhouni
Director, NIH

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Last Reviewed: March 19, 2012