GUIDELINES FOR NATIONAL COMMITTEES
Guidelines for National Committees
A National Committee is a committee to foster a designated area or theme of (natural) science in Australia, to provide liaison with appropriate international scientific bodies and to advise the Council of the Australian Academy of Science on these matters, in response to Council initiatives or at the initiative of the National Committee.
National Committee establishment and termination
All National Committees shall be established and terminated by the Council of the Australian Academy of Science.
Members of committees should be scientists active in the field who will be appointed after taking into account the following:
- the membership of a committee shall be appropriate to the pursuit of the best interests of Australian science, both internationally and nationally with membership decided by Council after consideration of nominations from Chairs and from the corresponding scientific societies;
- the membership (including the Chair) of a committee should usually include at least one Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science: for a committee of six or more members it should usually include at least two Fellows;
- representatives of the corresponding scientific societies shall be appointed after consultation between Council and the Society concerned to ensure effective liaison with such bodies; and
- whenever possible the next Chair should be designated one year in advance.
The membership of a National Committee shall normally not exceed eight. This number includes the representatives of the corresponding scientific societies.
Chairs, who willl normally be Fellows, and members of all committees will be appointed by the Executive Committee of the Council of the Australian Academy of Science.
Appointments will be arranged in designated periods so that two members retire each year. In the case of newly formed committees, such retirements shall begin at the end of the second year.
A Chair will usually have served on the committee for at least one year and shall be appointed as Chair for a term of four years; he/she may be immediately re-appointed for one further term only in exceptional circumstances.
Members, other than Chairs and ex-officio members, shall usually be appointed for a term of four years with immediate re-appointment for one further term of four years only possible in exceptional circumstances.
Terms of reference
Aims of the Committee will be to:
- liaise with the appropriate national and international bodies and societies;
- propose and encourage scientific activities in Australia, either jointly or separately;
- ensure the maximum participation by Australian scientists in relevant activities of the international body; and
- keep the international body informed at appropriate times of Australian opinions and plans.
Activities of National Committees could include:
- undertaking discipline reviews;
- initiating forums, conferences and workshops;
- preparing submissions to government inquiries;
- providing advice to Council;
- issuing press releases and reports on matters of concern to a particular discipline; and
- contributing to science policy issues.
Meetings should be held once per annum although some members might attend by tele-conference.
Meetings could be planned to coincide with the relevant professional society annual meeting.
The Academy is able to support one meeting per annum, helping with travel and tele-conference costs and providing secretarial assistance for the committee meeting.
At the National Committee meetings, corresponding society members should report on the activities of their societies.
Responsibilities of Chairs:
The Chair of each committee shall provide a written annual report to Council on the work of the previous year by the fifteenth of December covering:
- a business plan (plan of activities) outlining the proposed Committee activities with timelines and an appropriate budget for the year starting 1 July;
- a list of meetings held, and business transacted, with reference to minutes previously submitted to Council;
- meetings of relevant outside bodies, including those of related International Unions or other organisations, with details of the Committee's and the Academy's representation at, and contributions to, such meetings, and details of the impact of the activities of the International Unions on the development of the discipline(s) in Australia;
- office held by Australians in the relevant international body (bodies);
- recommendations for continuing Academy activities;
- proposals for future activities;
- recommendations as to membership of the committee, making two recommendations for each vacancy (except those positions nominated by scientific societies), with reasons for the recommendation; and
- provision of advice to the Academy on the level of subscription to the International Union. It is the responsibility of the Academy to make commitments on and to confirm the subscription levels for the adhering international organisations.
Annual reports from National Committees shall be reviewed before presentation to Council by the Secretaries concerning activities within Australia and collaboration with other national and international bodies.
Matters of special note shall be drawn to the attention of Council. Highlights in the annual reports will be included in the Academy's Annual Report, which is considered by the Annual General Meeting of the Academy in May of each year.
Chairs should alert the Secretary (Science Policy) of matters relating to policy issues.
Recommendations may be made by Chairs on the distribution of funds to contribute towards delegates' expenses, taking into account the financial circumstances of delegates.
Each National Committee shall submit, from time to time, a report to Council on the state of the relevant discipline in Australia with recommendations for action where necessary. The report should include reference to trends in the level of activity in the sub-disciplines within the committee's province.
The Chair has an active role in strengthening Australia's international scientific links through participation in international activities including those of the scientific unions.
National Committee Chairs shall make recommendations to Council on:
- the appointment of voting delegates and, where the rules of the international body allow, additional or alternate delegates to international meetings; and
- instructions for the delegate(s), having considered the agenda of the relevant international meeting.
Where appropriate, Chairs should provide a brief annual report to the corresponding International Union.
Chairs may also be required to make nominations for membership to Council and Executive of the International Union.
Chairs may be involved in consultation with others to hold general assemblies and congresses in Australia only if there is sufficient level of interest and support in Australia and endorsement by the Academy to host such meetings. The Academy is able to provide advice and issue letters of invitation to host international scientific meetings in Australia, in accordance with the policy paper P402/02, 'International scientific meetings held in Australia at the invitation of the Australian Academy of Science'. See the Guidelines for international scientific meetings held in Australia at the invitation of the Australian Academy of Science.
Biennial meeting of Chairs of National Committees
The Academy will host a biennial meeting of Chairs of National Committees to review the work of the National Committees, following the meeting of Chairs of National Committees in May 2002.