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World Health Organization Open Call for Experts for the Advisory Group on the Bacterial Priority Pathogen List

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Published on July 16, 2021 on the World Health Organization website

Advisory Group on the Bacterial Priority Pathogen List

Issued on: 16 July 2021

Deadline: 15 August 2021

The World Health Organization (WHO) is seeking experts to serve as members of the Advisory Group on the Bacterial Priority Pathogen List (AG BPPL). This “Call for experts” document provides information about the advisory group and the expert profiles being sought for the group. The document also provides information on the process to express interest, and the process of selection.


In 2015 the World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted the Global action plan (GAP) on antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The plan consists of five strategic objectives aimed at: (1) improving awareness around AMR; (2) strengthening surveillance; (3) reducing and preventing infections; (4) optimizing the use of antimicrobials; and (5) increasing the investment in new health products, including the research and development (R&D) of new antibiotics.

In 2017 WHO developed the first bacterial priority pathogens list (WHO BPPL) to guide investments in R&D of new antibiotics. The list highlighted 13 bacterial pathogens as well as tuberculosis (TB). The antibiotic resistant bacteria in the priority list were classified into three tiers: critical, high and medium.

Since its launch the WHO PPL has shaped the antibacterial R&D landscape, heavily influencing public and private investors and funders of R&D. The BPPL has also emerged as tool for raising AMR awareness, informing infection prevention and control and antimicrobial stewardship interventions.

Functions of the Advisory Group on the Bacterial Priority Pathogen List

 The mandate of the AG-BPPL is:

  1. To provide independent scientific and technical advice to WHO for future revisions of the BPPL.
  2. To provide advice and input to WHO on the criteria to be used in the prioritization exercise to update the BPPL, including criteria definitions, and levels (scores).
  3. To fill knowledge gaps in the literature for the selected pathogens in relation to the defined criteria for prioritization.
  4. To review and analyse scientific information to update the BPPL based on the criteria established for the revision and update.
  5. To review systematic reviews, provide feedback and fill knowledge gaps based on expertise.
  6. Provide input to WHO as needed to inform the assignment of weights to the pathogens in the prioritization exercise.
  7. As advised by WHO, to participate and provide support and input during the future updates of the BPPL.
  8. To review and provide technical advice and support to WHO on relevant publications based on the BPPL.

More information can be found on Terms of Reference of the AG BPPL.

Ways for working of the Advisory Group

The AG-BPPL is expected to meet regularly; at least once a year. WHO may convene additional meetings. AG-BPPL meetings may be held in person at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland or another location, as determined by WHO. AG-BPPL may also be held virtually, via video or teleconference. The working language of the Advisory Group will be English.

Who can express interest?

The AG BPPL will be multidisciplinary, with members who have a range of technical knowledge, skills and experience relevant to bacterial infection diseases and antimicrobial resistance (such as microbiology, epidemiology, infection diseases, and public health.  Approximately 18 members may be selected.

WHO welcomes expressions of interest from scientist, microbiologist, epidemiologist, healthcare professionals, infectious diseases practitioners, public health specialists or other relevant disciplines with expertise in the following areas:

  • Bacterial infectious diseases in the community and hospitals
  • Antimicrobial resistance, surveillance, prevention and control;
  • Epidemiology of communicable diseases
  • Molecular biology and epidemiology of bacterial resistance
  • Infectious diseases management
  • Health systems, especially in low and middle-income countries

Submitting your expression of interest

To register your interest for consideration to the AG BPPL, please submit the following documents by 4 August 2021 23:59 Geneva time to antibacterialpipeline@who.int using the subject line “Expression of interest for the AG BPPL”. To apply please provide us with:

  • A cover letter, indicating your motivation to apply and how you satisfy the selection criteria. Please note that, if selected, membership will be in a personal capacity. Therefore, do not use the letterhead or other identification of your employer);
  • Datacall form (Enclosed)
  • Your curriculum vitae; and
  • A signed and completed Declaration of Interests (DOI) form for WHO Experts, available on this webpage: https://www.who.int/about/ethics/declarations-of-interest.

After submission, your expression of interest will be reviewed by WHO. Due to an expected high volume of interest, only selected individuals will be informed.

The selection process and conditions of appointment

Members of WHO advisory groups (AGs) must be free of any real, potential or apparent conflicts of interest. To this end, applicants are required to complete the WHO Declaration of Interests for WHO Experts, and the selection as a member of a AG is, amongst other things, dependent on WHO determining that there is no conflict of interest or that any identified conflicts could be appropriately managed (in addition to WHO’s evaluation of an applicant’s experience, expertise and motivation and other criteria).

All AG members will serve in their individual expert capacity and shall not represent any governments, any commercial industries or entities, any research, academic or civil society organizations, or any other bodies, entities, institutions or organizations. They are expected to fully comply with the Code of Conduct for WHO Experts (https://www.who.int/about/ethics/declarations-of-interest). AG members will be expected to sign and return a completed confidentiality undertaking prior to the beginning of the first meeting.

At any point during the selection process, telephone interviews may be scheduled between an applicant and the WHO Secretariat to enable WHO to ask questions relating to the applicant’s experience and expertise and/or  to assess whether the applicant meets the criteria for membership in the relevant AG.

The selection of members of the AGs will be made by WHO in its sole discretion, taking into account  the following (non-exclusive) criteria: relevant technical expertise; experience in international and country policy work; communication skills; and ability to work constructively with people from different cultural backgrounds and orientations .The selection of AG members will also take account of the need for diverse perspectives from different regions, especially from low and middle-income countries, and for gender balance.

If selected by WHO, proposed members will be sent an invitation letter and a Memorandum of Agreement. Appointment as a member of a AG will be subject to the proposed member returning to WHO the countersigned copy of these two documents.

WHO reserves the right to accept or reject any expression of interest , to annul the open call process and reject all expressions of interest at any time without incurring any liability to the affected applicant or applicants and without any obligation to inform the affected applicant or applicants of the grounds for WHO’s action. WHO may also decide, at any time, not to proceed with the establishment of the AG, disband an existing TAG or modify the work of the AG.

WHO shall not in any way be obliged to reveal, or discuss with any applicant, how an expression of interest was assessed, or to provide any other information relating to the evaluation/selection process or to state the reasons for not choosing a member.

WHO may publish the names and a short biography of the selected individuals on the WHO internet.

AG members will not be remunerated for their services in relation to the AG or otherwise. Travel and accommodation expenses of AG members to participate in AG meetings will be covered by WHO in accordance with its applicable policies, rules and procedures.

The appointment will be limited in time as indicated in the letter of appointment.

If you have any questions about this “Call for experts”, please write to matheujo@who.int well before the applicable deadline.