Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI)

A call for applicants for the position of Chair to the WHO Tobacco Laboratory Network (TobLabNet)

The WHO Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI), in furtherance of the aims and objectives of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control tobacco product regulation provisions, convened the first meeting of the WHO Tobacco Laboratory Network (TobLabNet) at The Hague, Netherlands, 28-29 April 2005. Included in the 42 participants representing 22 countries were delegates from the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), the European Network of Government Laboratories on Tobacco and Tobacco Products (ENGL), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the US National Cancer Institute. The meeting formally established WHO TobLabNet as a global network of government, academic, and independent laboratories to strengthen national and regional capacity for the testing and research of the contents and emissions of tobacco products, pursuant to Article 9 of the WHO FCTC. Once capacity is established, TobLabNet will be positioned as a primary source of laboratory support, methods development, and scientific information in the areas of tobacco testing and research for national governments to fulfill their requirements and needs related to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).

In order to take the next step in the development of TobLabNet as leading authority on tobacco product research and testing, the Network needs a committed, highly qualified individual to serve as its chairperson. In collaboration with WHO TFI, the Chairperson of TobLabNet will be responsible for the overall management of TobLabNet, including chairing the Steering Committee and all TobLabNet subcommittees and working groups. This person will collaborate with TFI and the TobReg Chair on important matters relating to TobLabNet through any means necessary and through reports produced within TobLabNet.

Within this mandate and in collaboration with WHO TFI, as the coordinating body and Secretariat for the programmes and activities of the Network, the Chairperson of TobLabNet will carry out the following activities:

  • Plan TobLabNet meetings and serve as their Chair.
  • Facilitate the expansion of TobLabNet membership and capacity by identifying new laboratories in all WHO Regions extending invitations to enlarge membership, as well as ensuring smooth collaboration between TobLabNet members.
  • Facilitate WHO's strategies to establish regional and/or subregional reference labs in each of the six WHO regions.
  • Identify funding bodies for TobLabNet, including taking necessary steps to obtain funding in order to ensure that TobLabNet members are able to meet each year.
  • Provide leadership in developing overall goals and directions of the network, organizing network activities and identifying network members to carry out these tasks.
  • Support the interaction of network members and facilitate cooperative activities between members that are beneficial to the network as a whole.
  • Advise the Secretariat as it responds to technical queries from TobLabNet members regarding testing and research equipment and methods, or collaborate with the Secretariat to ensure that queries are timely re-directed to the appropriate experts.
  • Serve as a general resource person for all TobLabNet members, especially new testing and research facilities which need assistance in building capacity.
  • Facilitate and/or provide advice to TFI on requests made by the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control or its subsidiary bodies.
  • In conjunction with the Secretariat, carefully handle sensitive issues related to the presence of the tobacco industry as a customer to testing labs and the resulting conflicts of interests

A strong applicant for TobRegNet Chairperson must exhibit the following competencies:

  • Credible and effective communication.
  • Leadership and initiative in TobLabNet projects.
  • Production of results for presentation to WHO, toTobLabNet members and to TobReg.
  • Forward movement in a changing environment by incorporating ideas and feedback from TobLabNet members in work plans.
  • The ability to foster integration, teamwork, and collaboration and rapport building among TobLabNet members.
  • Promotion of individual and cultural differences to create a climate in which all TobLabNet members are respected and able to contribute at various levels within a consensus-fostering environment.

It should be noted that all candidates must complete a conflict of interest form. Exclusion criteria for the position include any previous association with the tobacco industry, either as a direct employee or in a consultancy capacity.

The WHO TFI therefore announces an open call for applicants for the position of TobLabNet Chairperson. Curricula vitae with a short cover letter explaining your strength as a candidate should be sent to Dr Douglas Bettcher at email: The deadline for applications is 1 November 2005.

WHO does not discriminate on any grounds. We are committed to promoting diversity in our workforce. We aim to achieve a broad representation of member country nationals and improve gender balance.