Bylaws of the NCI Cohort Consortium
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- Article I - Name and Purpose
- Article II - Membership
- Article III - Meetings
- Article IV - Steering Committee
- Article V - Other Committees
- Article VI - Scientific Director and Executive Director of the NCI Cohort Consortium
- Article VII - Amendments
Cohort delegate - a person who represents the cohort officially on voting matters
Cohort member - a person who is part of a cohort’s research team, as designated by the cohort delegate
Early stage investigator - an investigator affiliated with a cohort who obtained their terminal degree (e.g., Ph.D., M.D.) within the past 10 years
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 collaborations among investigators engaged in large cohort studies focused on cancer risk and outcomes by fostering communication among investigators associated with cohort studies in order to facilitate collaborative research projects that require a consortium approach and providing a scientific forum in which to discuss common challenges in cohort research and identify solutions.
Article II - Membership
Section 1 - Eligibility for membership: Membership refers to the cohort entity. There is one vote per cohort.
Cohorts meeting the following criteria are eligible for membership in the consortium:
- Minimum enrollment of 10,000 participants with associated risk factor data at baseline and followed for cancer occurrence.
- Willingness to share data and actively participate in consortium activities.
Membership shall be granted to a cohort by a majority vote of the Steering Committee, based on the cohort completing and submitting a membership application form that documents that the cohort meets the eligibility criteria.
Upon membership, the cohort must designate a delegate who will represent the cohort on voting matters and serve as the primary contact for the cohort.
Continued membership is contingent upon evidence of participation in activities such as consortium meetings and working groups, including sharing data. The Steering Committee will evaluate a cohort’s participation in activities biennially.
The NCI Cohort Consortium requires that any consortium project acknowledge the consortium in all publications, by either including it in the title (e.g., “Study title: a study within the NCI Cohort Consortium”) or in the acknowledgment section of the publication (e.g., “This pooling study was a coordinated effort of the NCI Cohort Consortium” or “The data used for this study were contributed by the NCI Cohort Consortium).
Section 2 - Rights of cohorts: Each cohort has one vote in elections and other business that require a vote.
Article III - Meetings
Section 1 - Regular meetings: Regular meetings shall be held at a time and place designated by the National Cancer Institute with the concurrence of the Steering Committee. At the meeting the activities of the consortium will be reported and the consortium's direction for the coming year determined.
Section 2 - Issues requiring a vote: Voting may be conducted in person at a meeting or virtually via e-mail ballot. All issues to be voted on shall be decided by a simple majority of cohort delegates voting.
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 NCI Cohort Consortium and delegates responsibility of day-to-day operations to the Scientific Director and Executive Director (See Article VI, which describes these positions). Some of the duties of Steering Committee members are to review collaborative project proposals, to organize the regular meetings, to identify new scientific opportunities that could be addressed by the consortium and ways to implement them, and to help identify strategies for addressing challenges experienced by the consortium working groups.
The Steering Committee shall have no less than 9 and no more than 13 voting members total. This will include:
- Up to seven elected cohort members, one of which will be an early stage investigator.
- Three voting Ex-Officio members from NCI (i.e., the Directors of the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences [DCCPS] and the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics [DCEG] or their designees, and the Associate Director of DCCPS's Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program [EGRP]).
- Up to two members who each have a vote, but are not cohort delegates, who are selected by the Steering Committee for a two-year appointment renewable by the Steering Committee 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 members on the Steering Committee shall serve three-year terms and are eligible for re-election for an additional three-year term.
Section 3 - Meetings and notice: The Steering Committee shall meet in person or on a teleconference at least quarterly, at an agreed upon date and time. Steering Committee members must attend two-thirds of the Steering Committee meetings in each calendar year.
Section 4 - Steering Committee elections: The Steering Committee shall conduct elections to the Steering Committee through online voting.
Section 5 - Election procedures: The Steering Committee shall generate, as outlined below, a slate of prospective Steering Committee members to be voted on by the cohort delegates.
The Executive Director will solicit nominations from the cohort delegates. Any cohort delegate may be nominated by another cohort delegate or be self-nominated to be on the slate for voting. If the nomination is for a cohort member other than the official cohort delegate, the nominee must be approved by the cohort delegate before being placed on the ballot. As part of the nomination process, the Steering Committee shall obtain concurrence of each nominee to appear on the slate before the ballot is finalized and sent to all cohort delegates for voting. Only one vote per ballot is allowed and can only be cast by the official cohort delegate. There may not be more than one member from a cohort on the Steering Committee.
In the event of tied votes, the Steering Committee shall select the new member(s) from among the ties. Elections should be held in time for new Steering Committee members to assume their positions on January 1. It is expected that elections will take place in the Fall of each year to replace members rotating off. New Steering Committee members will assume their positions on January 1 of the year following elections.
Section 6 - Resignation, termination, vacancies, 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.
When a vacancy on the Steering Committee exists mid-term, the Executive Director must receive nominations for new members from the present Steering Committee members two weeks in advance of a Steering Committee meeting. These nominations shall be sent out to Steering Committee members, to be voted upon at the next Steering Committee meeting. Those elected will fill the vacant position until the end of that calendar year.
Section 7 - Quorum: A quorum of at least one-third of Committee members must be present during Steering Committee meetings for business transactions to take place and motions to pass.
Section 8 - Officers and Duties of the Steering Committee: There shall be two officers of the Steering Committee, consisting of a Chair and Chair-Elect from a member cohort, elected by the Steering Committee and from among the Steering Committee members and who will serve 1-year terms. Their duties are as follows:
- The Chair shall convene regularly scheduled Steering Committee meetings and 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 a period of less than one year as Acting Chair or Acting Chair-Elect as circumstances warrant, such as the resignation of the Chair or Chair-Elect.
In addition to the Chair and Chair-Elect, officers designated by the Associate Director of EGRP (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 9 - Handling matters in intervals between Steering Committee meetings: Except for the power to amend the Articles of Incorporation and bylaws, the Chair, Chair-Elect, 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 10 - Special meetings: Special meetings of the Steering Committee shall be called 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.
Article V - Other Committees
Section 1 - Committee formation: The Steering Committee may create ad-hoc committees as needed, drawing on individuals with relevant expertise from among the consortium membership. 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.
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 NCI Cohort Consortium membership related to those goals; and developing, implementing, and evaluating scientific and scientific support initiatives and activities to achieve those goals.
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 will organize and attend all Steering Committee and annual meetings, report on the progress of the organization, answer questions of the Steering Committee members, and 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 Executive Director and Scientific Director work collaboratively to facilitate the work of the NCI Cohort Consortium.
Article VII - Amendments
Section 1 - Amendments: These bylaws may be amended by a simple majority of the cohort delegates voting. In addition, the Steering Committee shall review the bylaws every other year and may choose to solicit feedback from the membership.
These bylaws, as they existed on January 1, 2019, were approved by two thirds of the members of the NCI Cohort Consortium in January 2019.