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WHO Seeks Experts for Technical Advisory Group on Biosafety

The TAG-B provides independent advice to the WHO including its strategic priorities and plans of action on specific topics relating to biosafety and biosecurity.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is seeking experts to serve as members of the Technical Advisory Group on Biosafety (TAG-B). This “Call for experts” provides information about the advisory group in question, the expert profiles being sought, the process to express interest, and the process of selection.

Background

The WHO Technical Advisory Group on Biosafety (TAG-B) is composed of technical experts in various areas of biological science, evolving technology, transport, safety and security. The TAG-B provides independent advice to the WHO including its strategic priorities and plans of action on specific topics relating to biosafety and biosecurity.

The WHO Biosafety Advisory Group (BAG) with decades of service was recharted to the WHO Technical Advisory Group on Biosafety (hereinafter called the “TAG-B”), which will succeed the BAG and act as an advisory body to the WHO in this field.

Functions of the TAG-B

In its capacity as an advisory body to WHO, the TAG-B shall have the following functions:
  1. To provide, review and make recommendations to the WHO of the scientific, technical and strategic aspects of the WHO biosafety programme.
  2. To recommend priorities to the WHO e.g. revision of documents, most important areas of biosafety and biosecurity on which to focus.
  3. To advise the WHO on specific topics relating to biosafety and biosecurity.
  4. To advise the WHO on opportunities, international initiatives and partnerships appropriate to the WHO Biosafety programme.
  5. To review and makes recommendations to the WHO on biosafety and biosecurity guidance.

Operations of the TAG-B

The WHO TAG-B shall normally be expected to meet once each year. However, WHO may convene additional meetings.  TAG-B meetings may be held in person (at WHO headquarters in Geneva or another location, as determined by WHO) or virtually, via video or teleconference. Meetings will usually last between 2-3 days each time.
TAG-B meetings may be held in open and/or closed session, as decided by the Chairperson in consultation with the WHO.
(a) Open sessions: Open sessions shall be convened for the sole purpose of the exchange of non-confidential information and views, and may be attended by Observers.
(b) Closed sessions: The sessions dealing with the formulation of recommendations and/or advice to WHO shall be restricted to the members of the AG and essential WHO Secretariat staff.
Interim teleconferences may be required of the members. The working language of the group will be English.

Who can express interest?

The TAG-B will be multidisciplinary, with members who have a range of technical knowledge, skills and experience relevant to biosafety and biosecurity. Approximately 15 members may be selected.
WHO welcomes expressions of interest from:
  • Scientists, biological safety/security professionals with expertise in one or more of the following areas:
    • National and international biosafety/biosecurity policy/regulation/guidance;
    • Safe storage and transportation of biological agents/infectious substances;
    • Biological containment facilities and primary containment devices;
    • Biological risk assessment;
    • Personal protective equipment (PPE) for use when handling biological agents;
    • Biological laboratory design and maintenance;
    • Decontamination and waste management of biological materials;
    • Outbreak preparedness and resilience;
    • New and emerging technologies in biological science; and/or
    • New and emerging/re-emerging pathogens.

Submitting your expression of interest

To register your interest in being considered for the WHO TAG-B, please submit the following documents by the 28th of February 2022, 21.00 Geneva time to kojimak@who.int using the subject line “Expression of interest for the TAG-B”:

  • A cover letter, indicating your motivation to apply and how you satisfy the selection criteria. Please note that, if selected, membership will be in a personal capacity. Therefore, do not use the letterhead or other identification of your employer;
  • Your curriculum vitae; and
  • A signed and completed Declaration of Interests (DOI) form for WHO Experts, available at https://www.who.int/about/ethics/declarations-of-interest.

After submission, your expression of interest will be reviewed by WHO.  Due to an expected high volume of interest, only selected individuals will be informed.

Read more at WHO

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