Bylaws of the NCI Cohort Consortium


Article I - Name and Purpose

Section 1: Name: The name of the organization shall be the NCI Cohort Consortium.

Section 2: Purpose: The NCI Cohort Consortium is organized to promote and foster scientific discovery and scientific collaborations among Principal Investigators (PI) engaged in cohort studies assessing potential causes of cancer and/or outcomes after cancer such as recurrence, long term sequelae, and death. To accomplish this purpose it:

  • Fosters communication among investigators leading and participating in cohort studies of cancer;
  • Promotes collaborative research projects for topics not easily addressed in a single study; and
  • Identifies common challenges in cohort research and searches for solutions

The NCI Cohort Consortium has the potential to foster the development of young investigators in cancer epidemiology as well as to develop collaborations and strategic partnerships with other like-minded organizations and initiatives to foster greater scientific innovation, productivity, efficiency, and synergy.

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Article II - Membership

Section 1 - Eligibility for membership: Application for voting membership shall be open to the Principal Investigator of any cancer epidemiology cohort:

  • That has a minimum of 10,000 study participants, in which cancer occurrence is accurately assessed, and has available some risk factor data
  • Who commits to scientific collaboration by being willing to contribute data for scientific research and consider participating in pooling studies

Membership is granted after completion and receipt of a membership application. All memberships shall be granted upon a majority vote of the Steering Committee. A PI may designate a scientific member of the team responsible for managing the cohort infrastructure in lieu of the PI to serve as the official representative of the cohort. With the exception of Article IV, Section 5, throughout this document the term PI will refer to the person who the PI designates to represent and vote on behalf of the cohort. Continued membership is contingent upon a continuing commitment to collaboration.

Section 2- Rights of members: Each member shall be eligible to appoint one voting representative to cast the member's vote in NCI Cohort Consortium elections.

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Article III - Meetings of Members

Section 1 - Regular meetings: Regular meetings of the members shall be held annually, at a time and place and method designated by the Steering Committee.

Section 2 - Annual meetings: An annual meeting of the members shall take place usually in the Fall, the specific date, time and location of which will be designated by the National Cancer Institute with the concurrence of the Steering Committee. At the annual meeting the members shall receive reports on the activities of the consortium and determine the consortium's direction for the coming year.

Section 3 - Quorum: The members present at any properly announced meeting (including a virtual meeting) shall constitute a quorum.

Section 4 - Voting: All issues to be voted on shall be decided by a simple majority of those voting.

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Article IV - Steering Committee

Section 1 - Steering Committee role, size, and composition: The Steering Committee is responsible for overall policy, management, and scientific direction of the Cohort Consortium and delegates responsibility of day-to-day operations to the Scientific Director and Executive Director (See Article VI, which describes these positions). The Steering Committee shall have up to 13, but not fewer than 9voting members including three voting Ex-Officio members from NCI (i.e., the Directors of the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS) and Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG) and the Associate Director of DCCPS's Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program). The Steering Committee shall be composed of:

  • 6-9 PIs representing cohorts for cancer research who collectively represent the diversity of the cohorts that make up the Cohort Consortium in terms of geographical distribution or decade when initiated, among other characteristics. At least one of the PIs must be from a cohort supported by the NCI Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program, and one, to be designated by the Director, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, must be from a cohort infrastructure supported by the Intramural Program of the NCI. Consideration should be given to inclusion of a junior investigator among the PIs on the Steering Committee. The PI on the Steering Committee must be the same person as the one representing the cohort.
  • The Director of the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, NCI
  • The Associate Director of the Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program in the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, NCI
  • The Director of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, NCI
  • Up to two members who each have a vote, but are not extramural cohort PIs, who are selected by the Steering Committee for a renewable two year appointment and who bring a perspective or expertise required by the Steering Committee as appropriate and at its discretion

Section 2 - Terms: All extramural or DCEG cohort Principal Investigator Steering Committee members shall serve three-year terms, but are eligible for re-election for up to three consecutive terms.

Section 3 - Meetings and notice: The Steering Committee shall meet in person or virtually on a teleconference at least quarterly, at an agreed upon time and manner.

Section 4 - Steering Committee elections: The Steering Committee shall decide on the method used for elections of the extramural members (for example, online voting). New members of the Steering Committee will be elected by a simple majority of members who voted.

Section 5 - Election procedures: The Steering Committee shall be responsible for nominating a slate of prospective Steering Committee members representing the NCI Cohort Consortium's diverse extramural constituency. The cohort PI may nominate

  • Her or himself or another PI of his/her cohort if the leadership is a multi-PI type or someone in their cohort's scientific leadership group
  • A PI of another cohort

to serve on the Steering Committee. In addition the Steering Committee may nominate, with the permission of the cohort PI, someone in the cohort's scientific leadership group, to help ensure that there is an opportunity for the Steering Committee to reflect the diversity of the types of cohorts and PIs. Each cohort has one vote on the slate of candidates. In the event of ties, the Steering Committee will select the new member from among the ties. It is expected that elections will take place in the Fall of each year and the new members will assume their positions on January 1 of the next year.

Section 6 - Quorum: A quorum of at least one third of Steering Committee members is needed for business transactions to take place and motions to pass.

Section 7 - Officers and Duties: There shall be two officers of the Steering Committee, consisting of a chair and chair-elect elected by the Steering Committee and from among the Steering Committee members who are Cohort Consortium PIs who will serve 1 year terms. Their duties are as follows:

  • The Chair shall convene regularly scheduled Steering Committee meetings, shall preside or arrange for the Chair elect to preside.
  • The Chair Elect shall chair committees on special subjects as designated by the Steering Committee.

The Steering Committee may appoint an NCI Ex-Officio member of the Steering Committee to serve for periods less than one year as Acting Chair or Acting Chair Elect as circumstances warrant such as helping provide temporary leadership due to the resignation of the Chair or Chair Elect.

In addition to the Chair and Chair Elect, officers designated by the Associate Director of the NCI Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program (whose duties are described in Article VI) will include:

  • The Scientific Director of the NCI Cohort Consortium
  • The Executive Director of the NCI Cohort Consortium

Section 8 – Handling matters in intervals between Steering Committee meetings: Except for the power to amend the Articles of Incorporation and bylaws, the Chair and Chair elect and the Scientific Director and Executive Director of the NCI Cohort Consortium jointly shall have all the powers and authority of the Steering Committee in the intervals between meetings of the Steering Committee.

Section 9 - Vacancies: When a vacancy on the Steering Committee exists mid-term, the Executive Director must receive nominations for new members from present Steering Committee members two weeks in advance of a Steering Committee meeting. These nominations shall be sent out to Steering Committee members with the regular Steering Committee meeting announcement, to be voted upon at the next Steering Committee meeting, to fill the position for until the end of that calendar year.

Section 10 - Resignation, termination, and absences: Resignation from the Steering Committee must be in writing and received by the Executive Director. A Steering Committee member shall be terminated from the Steering Committee at the discretion of the Chair, Chair Elect, Executive Director and Scientific Director acting jointly.

Section 11 - Special meetings: Special meetings of the Steering Committee shall be called upon at the request of the Chair, or one-third of the Steering Committee. Notices of special meetings shall be sent out by the Executive Director to each Steering Committee member at least two weeks in advance.

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Article V - Other Committees

Section 1 - Committee formation: The Steering Committee may create other committees as needed, such as for strategic planning, data collection, and other activities of interest to cohort members. The Steering Committee chair appoints all committee chairs. Committees are assigned by the Steering Committee for a specified time period to work on specific issues facing the organization. Committee Chairs shall provide regular updates on their committee work to the Steering Committee at scheduled Steering Committee meetings.

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Article VI - Scientific Director and Executive Director of the NCI Cohort Consortium

Section 1 – Scientific Director of the NCI Cohort Consortium: The Scientific Director of the NCI Cohort Consortium is a member of the NCI staff designated by the Associate Director of EGRP. The Scientific Director has responsibility for identifying EGRP, DCCPS, and NCI scientific opportunities and EGRP strategic and scientific goals that could be addressed through the NCI Cohort Consortium; obtaining input and concurrence from the Cohort Consortium membership related to those goals; and developing, implementing, and evaluating scientific and scientific support initiatives and activities to achieve those goals. The Scientific Director also ensures the success of NCI Cohort Consortium's scientific projects by evaluating proposals for new NCI Cohort Consortium Projects and identifying and carrying out activities that can support and facilitate those projects. The Scientific Director and Executive Director work collaboratively to facilitate the work of the NCI Cohort Consortium.

Section 2 – Executive Director of the NCI Cohort Consortium: The Executive Director of the NCI Cohort Consortium is a member of the NCI staff designated by the Associate Director of EGRP. The Executive Director has day-to-day responsibilities for the organization, including carrying out the organization's goals and policies. The Executive Director manages the budget and reports on the budget to the Steering Committee annually. The Executive Director will organize and attend all Steering Committee and annual meetings, report on the progress of the organization, and answer questions of the Steering Committee members, and shall be responsible for keeping records of Steering Committee actions, including overseeing the taking of minutes at all Steering Committee meetings, sending out meeting announcements, distributing copies of minutes and the agenda to each Steering Committee member, and assuring that historical records are maintained. The Executive Director is also responsible for all communication activities and for managing the type and flow of information and data to and from the cohorts, the Steering Committee, and NCI. The Scientific Director and Executive Director work collaboratively to facilitate the work of the NCI Cohort Consortium.

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Article VII - Amendments

Section 1 - Amendments: These bylaws may be amended when necessary by two-thirds majority of the Steering Committee.

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Certification

These bylaws were approved by two thirds of the members of the Cohort Consortium as it existed on April 25, 2014 and who voted during April 2014.

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