The World Health Organization (WHO) is seeking experts to serve as members one of the Vector Control Advisory Group (VCAG). 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.
Independent evaluation of the public health value of new interventions for vector control is needed to enable WHO to develop evidence-based recommendations aimed at informing the development of vector-borne disease control strategies by WHO Member States. These recommendations, published in WHO guidelines, are essential to ensure the optimal use of scarce resources available for vector-borne disease control.
In order to assist WHO guidelines development groups in developing recommendations on new interventions for vector control, VCAG provides guidance to manufacturers and researchers on developing the evidence base required to inform assessment of public health value, and provides an assessment of the evidence-base once it has been generated. Based on the VCAG assessment, WHO will then consider initiating the guidelines development process to support formulation of a recommendation, if warranted.
VCAG is jointly managed by the Global Malaria Programme, the Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases, and the WHO Prequalification Team for Vector Control Products.
Functions of the Vector Control Advisory Group
The VCAG has the following specific functions:
- To support WHO in providing guidance to applicants, via the WHO VCAG secretariat, on study designs for the generation of epidemiological data, intended to allow assessment of the public health value of new vector control interventions.
- To support WHO in the evaluation the public health value of new vector control intervention classes, based on epidemiological studies submitted to WHO.
- To advise WHO (i.e.: the relevant technical departments) on whether public health value has been demonstrated for a new vector control intervention.
→ See the full Terms of Reference for the Advisory group.
Operations of the Vector Control Advisory Group
VCAG members will be expected to meet, and to actively participate in convenings two times per year to meet with applicants, provide feedback on submissions and evaluate whether interventions under formal evaluation by WHO provide public health value against the targeted diseases. Meetings may be held in-person (in Geneva, Switzerland) or virtually, and usually run for three to four days (depending on the number of submissions to be reviewed and on whether the meeting is held virtually or in person).
VCAG members are required to review submissions in advance of the meetings, as well as contribute to drafting the meeting report, which constitutes the formal advice from the advisory group to WHO and provides a public record of each assessment.
Teleconferences in preparation of meetings or to support off-cycle reviews may be required and VCAG members are expected to participate in these. The working language of the group will be English.
Who can express interest?
VCAG is a multidisciplinary team, with members having a broad range of technical knowledge, skills and experience relevant to the evaluation of novel vector control interventions.
WHO welcomes expressions of interest from relevant technical experts (e.g. scientists, programme managers, regulators) involved in vector control and vector borne disease management, with expertise in the following areas:
- Study design and statistics
- Vector biology and medical entomology
- Vector ecology and population biology
- Molecular biology/genetics and genetic modification of vectors
- Pesticide products and insecticide resistance
- Product development and regulation
- Evaluation of public health products
Individuals from member states of EMRO, SEARO and WPRO, women, and those with expertise in Epidemiology, study design and statistics, are particularly encouraged to submit an application.
VCAG has ongoing member rotation, with members nominated following an open call. It is anticipated that between two to five new members will be selected annually to become members of the group, allowing a phased transition of the group membership. Selection of members following the call is outlined in the VCAG TOR.
Submitting your application
There are two components to the submission. To register your interest in being considered for the Vector Control Advisory Group, please:
Both the form and your CV should be received before 21 July 2023, 23:59pm CEST (UTC+2). Incomplete applications (those that do not comprise the two components) will not be considered.
Within the form, you will be asked for:
- Personal details (e.g. your name, contact details nationality and gender)
- Your professional experience (e.g. areas of expertise and the vector-borne diseases with which you have experience)
- Your motivation to apply for the advisory group. There is a limit of 4000 characters for this response; it is recommended that you prepare your motivation in advance, as the form cannot be saved once begun.
Your CV should be sent at the same time as you submit the form, with the email subject heading:
“VCAG – application to open call – [your surname]”.
After submission, your expression of interest will be reviewed by WHO. Due to an expected high volume of interest, only selected individuals will be contacted, and will then be requested to submit a Declaration of Interest form.
Data collected in this form will be used for the purpose of reviewing and shortlisting potential candidates for advisors to Vector Control Advisory Group. Data will not be shared with those external to WHO.
Important information about the selection processes and conditions of appointment
Members of WHO advisory groups must be free of any real, potential or apparent conflicts of interest. To this end, applicants are required to complete the WHO Declaration of Interests for WHO Experts, and the selection as a member of an advisory group is, amongst other things, dependent on WHO determining that there is no conflict of interest or that any identified conflicts could be appropriately managed (in addition to WHO’s evaluation of an applicant’s experience, expertise and motivation and other criteria).
All advisory group members will serve in their individual expert capacity and shall not represent any governments, any commercial industries or entities, any research, academic or civil society organizations, or any other bodies, entities, institutions or organizations. They are expected to fully comply with the Code of Conduct for WHO Experts (https://www.who.int/about/ethics/declarations-of-interest). Advisory group members will be expected to sign and return a completed confidentiality undertaking, and their declaration of interests prior to the beginning of the first meeting, and future meetings thereafter.
The selection of members of the advisory groups will be made by WHO in its sole discretion, taking into account the following (non-exclusive) criteria: relevant technical expertise; experience in international and country policy work; communication skills; and ability to work constructively with people from different cultural backgrounds and orientations. The selection of advisory group members will also take account of the need for diverse perspectives from different regions, especially from low and middle-income countries, and for gender balance.
At any point during the selection process, telephone interviews may be scheduled between an applicant and the WHO VCAG Secretariat to enable WHO to ask questions relating to the applicant’s experience and expertise and/or to assess whether the applicant meets the criteria for membership in the relevant AG.
If selected by WHO, proposed members will be sent an invitation letter and a Memorandum of Agreement. Appointment as a member of an advisory group will be subject to the proposed member returning to WHO the countersigned copy of these two documents.
WHO reserves the right to accept or reject any expression of interest, to annul the open call process and reject all expressions of interest at any time without incurring any liability to the affected applicant or applicants and without any obligation to inform the affected applicant or applicants of the grounds for WHO’s action. WHO may also decide, at any time, not to proceed with the establishment of the advisory group, disband an existing technical advisory group or modify the work of the advisory group.
WHO shall not in any way be obliged to reveal, or discuss with any applicant, how an expression of interest was assessed, or to provide any other information relating to the evaluation/selection process or to state the reasons for not choosing a member.
WHO will publish the names and a short biography of the VCAG members on the WHO VCAG website.
Advisory group members will not be remunerated for their services in relation to the advisory group or otherwise. Travel and accommodation expenses of advisory group members to participate in face-to-face advisory group meetings will be covered by WHO in accordance with its applicable policies, rules and procedures.
Appointment to the advisory group will be limited in time; the membership term for the group is three years, with the possibility of renewal for a second term, upon decision of the Secretariat.
If you have any questions about this call for experts, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org well before the applicable deadline, indicating in the subject line “VCAG call for experts – enquiry”.