Global health ethics

WHO Expert Advisory Committee on Developing Global Standards for Governance and Oversight of Human Gene editing

Call for members - Deadline 11 January 2019 - Now closed

WHO is soliciting proposals for nominations of experts to serve on its Expert Advisory Committee on Developing Global Standards for Governance and Oversight of Human Gene editing (the “Advisory Committee”).

The recent application of tools such as CRISPR-Cas9 to edit the human genome have highlighted the need for the development of standards in this area. WHO is establishing an Expert Advisory Committee to examine the scientific, ethical, social and legal challenges associated with human gene editing, with a view to advising and making recommendations on appropriate governance mechanisms for human gene editing. The Committee will build on pre-existing initiatives, and work in a consultative manner.

The Advisory Committee shall have the following functions:

  • To review the current activities and literature on human gene editing in order to understand and advise the Secretariat and WHO Director General on the state of the research and its applications, its potential usages and societal attitudes towards the different uses of this technology;
  • To advise the Secretariat and WHO Director General on potential oversight mechanisms for research into, and application of, human gene editing technology going forward; and
  • To make recommendations to the Secretariat and WHO Director General on global governance structures for the research into, and potential application of, human genome editing.

Members must be acknowledged experts with an outstanding record of achievements in their own field and an understanding of and proven interest in gene editing technologies. Members serve in individual capacity and do not represent institutions. Nominations are solicited globally. We are seeking to establish a diverse committee, in terms of regional representation, gender balance and expertise. Nominations will be reviewed and selected by WHO.

It is envisioned that the Advisory Committee will have its first meeting in late February, to review the current landscape and discuss and agree the workplan for the coming 12-18 months. It is anticipated that the Advisory Committee would then convene around 4 times to provide input into the generation of interim and final recommendations and a report.

Qualities of members

  • an understanding and proven interest in gene editing technologies;
  • an outstanding record of achievement and personal credibility within own field, appropriate to the remit of the Group (i.e. bioethics, law, regulation & governance, biomedical and social science, engagement);
  • experience of work and issues in international settings;
  • experience of operating at a strategic level in the public or other sectors;
  • experience of working effectively in high level advisory committees;
  • excellent interpersonal and communication skills to support effective discussion with a range of stakeholders;
  • ability to evaluate complex issues and weigh up conflicting opinions;
  • ability to influence at a senior level;
  • good command of English;
  • a broad range of expertise and interest.

How to apply

To apply you must confirm interest, availability and commitment to serve on the Advisory Committee, and provide:

  • an up-to-date curriculum vitae (CV)
  • a letter of motivation highlighting what your contribution to the Expert Advisory Committee could be
  • completed declaration of interests form

The CV should include your career history and list your main areas of employment or other relevant activity and other public appointments. You should also include details of any relevant academic, professional or vocational qualifications. Your CV will be used in the assessment of your expertise. It is important that the CV and/or letter of motivation provide evidence that you have the “Qualities of Members”. The CV should be written in English. Provide all contact details including, if available, a cellular phone number.

Please send your completed applications using subject line "Application for Membership to Expert Advisory Committee [name of country and name of applicant]” for the attention of

After receipt of the applications

  • we will acknowledge receipt of your application and its completeness (by e-mail) and we will check it for eligibility, from 7 January 2019 onwards.
  • we will rely on the information you provide on your application form and CV to assess whether you have the experience required at the appropriate level. Please ensure that you provide written evidence to support how you meet all of the relevant criteria, which are identified in the “Qualities of Members” section;
  • telephone interviews may be scheduled between nominees and the Secretariat to clarify areas of uncertainties about your experience and expertise and ask specific questions to explore whether you meet the specified qualities;
  • candidates who best fit the criteria and match the needed expertise with due consideration to ensuring a proper balance will be proposed for appointment to the Director-General of WHO who will make the final decision;
  • successful candidates will receive a letter inviting them to serve on the Advisory Committee and that will specify the beginning and duration of term;
  • unsuccessful nominations will also be notified by the Secretariat.


Appointments are not remunerated. However, members are compensated for expenses related with attendance to meetings. Such compensation, which includes the issuance of airline tickets, per diem to cover lodging, food and incidental expenses will be in accordance with the WHO travel rules. In addition, WHO bears the cost of any participation in either a teleconference or a videoconference.

Candidates should submit their applications no later than 11 January 2019