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Advisory Boards & Councils


The NIEHS director and scientific staff are advised by a number of advisory boards and councils made up of membership from the scientific community and the public, whose input is essential in guiding and reviewing the endeavors of the Institute. A brief description of these bodies and links to more information are below.

National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council

The NIEHS as an NIH institute that makes grant awards for research projects and training, must by law, maintain an appropriate council to review and recommend approval of the project before an award can be made. For the NIEHS, this role is served by the National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council (NAEHSC). The NAEHSC advises the secretary of HHS, through the director of NIH and the director of the NIEHS. Membership of the NAEHSC consists of a designee of the secretary of HHS, the NIH director, the NIEHS director, the chief medical officer of the Veteran's Administration, and the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs (or designees of such officers) as ex officio members; and eighteen members who are leaders in the fundamental sciences, medical sciences, education, and public affairs. One-third of the non-federal government members must be public members.

Board of Scientific Counselors

The Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC) is an external peer review committee that evaluates Division of Intramural (DIR) scientists on the basis of accomplishments since their last peer review. The BSC review evaluates an individual research program’s long-term objectives, accomplishments, innovation, relevance to the NIEHS mission and overall quality and impact. The review also includes an evaluation of both the Laboratory/Branch leadership and the research performed by independent investigators and staff scientists. Each DIR Laboratory/Branch is subjected to this rigorous scientific review at least once every four years.

National Toxicology Program Advisory Board & Committees

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) ( relies upon advice from external groups and ad hoc panels. The formal advisory committees to the program are linked below. In particular, the  NTP Board of Scientific Counselors (  is a federally chartered advisory committee, whose members are appointed by the Secretary, HHS, that provides scientific advice to the director for the NTP, and evaluates the scientific merit of NTP intramural and collaborative programs. 



As needed, the program convenes  Special Emphasis Panels ( and Working Groups ( to address specific topics.


Institutional Review Board

The mandate of the NIEHS Institutional Review Board (IRB) is to protect the rights and safeguard the welfare of human research subjects. Human subject research conducted at the NIH must meet high ethical and scientific standards. It must be designed, reviewed, approved, and implemented in accord with accepted ethical principles and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (45 CFR 46) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (21 CFR 50 and 56) regulations for the protection of human subjects. The NIEHS IRB is part of the Human Subject Protection Program of the NIH.


Institutional Review Board Links

Interagency Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Coordinating Committee

In October of 2008, the Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act was into law by the President, amending the Public Health Service Act and creating the Interagency Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Coordinating Committe (IBCERCC). This advisory committee, established by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute (NCI), will review all efforts within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) concerning research being conducted on the environmental and genomic factors that may be related to the etiology of breast cancer, will develop a comprehensive summary of advances, and will make recommendations the Secretary of DHHS regarding research gaps and needs.

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