Scientific Advisory Board: Introduction

The Scientific Advisory Board (SAB or “the Board”) is a statutory organ of the OPCW. Article VIII, subparagraph 21(h), requires the Conference to direct the Director-General to establish the SAB to enable the Director-General to render specialised advice to the Conference, the Council or States Parties in the areas of science and technology relevant to the Convention. The Director-General is responsible for the organisation and functioning of the Board, whose terms of reference were adopted by the Conference at its Second Session.

The SAB is made up of 25 eminent scientists appointed by the Director-General after consultation with States Parties. Board members are selected from among persons active at entities such as research institutions, universities, chemical industry companies and defence and military organisations, on the basis of their expertise in particular scientific fields relevant to the implementation of the Convention. The members of the Board are selected based on their qualifications and experience, taking into account their publications, scientific, academic or professional activities, distinctions and international experience, and with due regard to their areas of speciality. Preference is given to persons who are knowledgeable about the relevant scientific and technological developments, and who are familiar with the implementation of the Convention. Efforts are made to maintain a balance between the areas of research, development and application. In the selection process, the Director-General’s consultations with States Parties are required to take into account the need for a comprehensive spread of relevant fields of scientific and technological expertise and must result in a fair distribution of appointments from the regions. Only citizens of States Parties are eligible to serve as members of the SAB. Board members serve in their individual capacities. They are appointed for a term of three years, and may serve for two consecutive terms.

The first appointments to the SAB were made by the Director-General in June 1998. The Board held its inaugural meeting in September 1998, and has since met in regular sessions once or twice every year.

The Board’s main work is conducted by temporary working groups (TWGs), which are appointed by the Director-General to address specific scientific and technical questions raised by States Parties or the policy making organs of the OPCW, or which are of concern to the Director-General. Each working group is chaired by a SAB member, and other SAB members may also be appointed to serve on a TWG. In addition, experts knowledgeable in fields of science or technology relevant to the question under consideration by the working group may also be appointed as members, provided that they hold the citizenship of a State Party. Typically, each working group focuses on one specific issue and, upon completion of its work, is dissolved. Some working groups are, however, charged with covering a range of related questions (e.g. analytical procedures, inspection equipment, chemical weapons destruction technologies). These TWGs consequently exist on a longer-term basis. Within the time limit prescribed by the Director-General, each working group reports to the Chair of the SAB, with a copy to the Director-General, on the results of its research into and analysis of the issue in question. The SAB reviews the report and forwards any comments or recommendations to the Director General in its subsequent annual report, to allow him or her to take action on the basis of the report and the comments. The reports of temporary working groups are attached, without modification, to the annual report of the SAB.

Upon receipt of the annual report of the SAB, the Director-General informs all States Parties of the conclusions drawn from it and the course of action proposed for the OPCW. The Director-General’s report, together with the SAB report, is to be submitted in time for consideration by the Council at its last session before the annual session of the Conference, and in time for consideration by the Conference.

During its first years, the SAB has addressed several issues. For example, in 1999, it made a recommendation on the application of the transfer provisions in the Convention in respect to small amounts of saxitoxin (a Schedule 1 chemical) for diagnostic purposes. This recommendation facilitated the decision by States Parties to change Part VI of the Verification Annex in order to allow an exceptional streamlined procedure for transfers of minute quantities of saxitoxin which was necessary as a life-saving measure against outbreaks of paralytic shellfish poisoning.

The SAB also prepared a special report for the First Review Conference, based on the findings of a joint project with the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. This report highlighted relevant developments in science and technology and how they affected the implementation of the Convention.

Composition of the Scientific Advisory Board

Professor Jiří MATOUŠEK

Member Background
Professor Mahdi BALALI-MOOD: Director of Medical Toxicology Centre, Imam Reza Hospital, University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Islamic Republic of Iran. Chief editor of the Journal of Birjand University of Medical Sciences, founder of the Iranian society of toxicology (and thrice its president), former president of the Asia-Pacific Association of Medical Toxicology, regional secretary of the World Federation of Clinical Toxicology and Poison Control Centres. Areas of expertise: toxicology of chemical warfare agents, chemical safety, eco-toxicology.
Professor Herbert DE BISSCHOP: Department of Chemistry, Royal Military Academy, Belgium. Scientific consultant for chemical and biological disarmament and nonproliferation matters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Member of steering committee for the destruction of OCWs, member of Federal Health Council. Areas of expertise: biodegradation and toxic kinetics of nerve agents, destruction of (old) chemical weapons, workers protection.
Dr Robin BLACK: Detection Department, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), Porton Down, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Areas of expertise: analysis of chemical warfare agents in environment and biological media, risk assessment, synthesis of chemical warfare agents.
Dr Jose Gonzalez CHAVEZ: Universidad Nacional Autónoma Mexico, member of the chemistry department. Work in analytical chemistry and verification-related specialization, including inspector training (OPCW, UNMOVIC), also a member of the OPCW Confidentiality Commission. Areas of expertise: analytical chemistry.
Dr Philip COLEMAN: Managing Director of Protechnik Laboratories, Lynnwood Glen, South Africa. Work in chemical defence and synthesis/analysis. Advisor to the National Authority, including on chemical-industry issues, member of the OPCW Protection Network. Areas of expertise: synthesis and structural analysis of organic compounds, Carbon13 nuclear magnetic resonance.
Professor Breccia FRATADOCHI: Former Director of the United Institute of Chemical, radiochemical and metallurgical sciences, University of Bologna, Italy. International Scientist of the year, 2002 (International Biographical Centre Cambridge), member of the board of several national committees, member of Bologna Academy of Sciences and New York Academy of Sciences. Areas of expertise: radiochemistry, biochemistry (drugs, metabolism, activation), industrial application of microwave chemistry, waste disposal.
Dr James Robert GIBSON: Consultant in United States of America on toxicology and occupational safety and health. Past management positions in research and development, chemical manufacturing, and corporate administration (Corporate Director of Safety and Health) at Dupont. Former Assistant Director of Dupont’s Haskell Laboratory for Toxicology and Industrial Medicine, and thereafter Director of Dupont’s Crop Protection Products Division. Eight years of service on the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council’s Committee on Review and Evaluation of the Army Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program. Member of the National Research Council’s Committee on Evaluation of Chemical Events at Army Chemical Agent Disposal Facilities. In October 2003, appointed as member of a new NRC standing Committee on Chemical Demilitarization.
Professor László HALÁSZ: Head NBC Defence and Environmental Security Department, Miklós Zrinyi National Defence University, Budapest, Hungary. Work in chemical defence (detection, remote sensing, protection, environmental issues). Areas of expertise: chemical engineering, environmental engineering, polymer technology, chemical defence.
Dr Abdool JACKARIA: Director of Forensic Science Laboratory, Reduit, Mauritius. Areas of expertise: forensic toxicology, drugs analysis (certified), analysis of chemical-warfare agents.
Professor Bjørn-Arne: JOHNSEN Director of Research, Division for Protection and Material, Defence Research Establishment, Kjeller, Norway. Areas of expertise: organic chemistry, medical chemistry, environmental toxicology, chemical defence, and physical and medical protection.
Professor Viktor KHOLSTOV: Former Director-General, Russian Munitions Agency, Russian Federation. Extensive work in the field of chemical disarmament including technical aspects of destroying chemical weapons, and experience in fundamental and applied chemistry. Areas of expertise: all aspects of chemical defence, the properties of chemical weapons, destruction of chemical weapons.
Dr Valery KUKHAR: Head of Laboratory for Fine Organic Synthesis, Institute of Bio-Organic Chemistry and Petrochemistry, Academy of Sciences, Kiev, Ukraine. Former President of the Ukraine chemical society, member of the Chernobyl Commission of the Academy of Sciences and other committees. Areas of expertise: bio-organic chemistry (F and P analogues of natural compounds), chemical and technological aspects of environmental protection.
Dr Young-chul LEE: Senior Engineer at the Korean Institute of Industrial Technology, ChonAnSi, Republic of Korea. Work in the fields of petroleum and fine chemicals, plastics, and ceramics. Former senior scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, United States of America, and researcher at the Korean Atomic Energy Research Institute. Areas of expertise: polymer science and engineering, chemistry, chemical technology, and chemical disarmament.
Dr Detlef MÄNNIG: Vice President Speciality Silicas and Matting Agents, Degussa AG, Frankfurt, Germany. Chairman of the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI) Working Group against Chemical Weapons. Degussa AG’s Manager for Convention issues. Chairman of the European Chemical Industry Association Working Group against Chemical Weapons. Former consultant to the German Delegation to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. Areas of expertise: industrial manufacturing of chemicals, Convention implementation in the chemical industry.
Dr Bob MATHEWS: Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Defence Centre, Melbourne, Australia. Manager of the NBC counter-proliferation arms control programme. Associate Professor at the Asia Pacific Centre for military law. Areas of expertise: analytical chemistry, chemical defence, research into the proliferation of chemical weapons, the Convention, and industry consultations.
Professor Jiří MATOUŠEK: Professor of Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic. Former Director, Czechoslovak NBC defence research and development establishment. Member of the Czechoslovak delegation to the Conference on Disarmament. Areas of expertise: Organic chemistry, environmental chemistry and technology, chemical toxicology, chemical safety, chemical defence, and disarmament.
Dr Koichi MIZUNO: Director of the Technology Information Department, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Japan. Areas of expertise: destruction of hazardous chemicals, including the disposal of chemical weapons; environmental technology; and physical chemistry.
Dr Godwin OGBADU: Professor of biochemistry and Director of the Advanced Biotechnology Laboratory, Sheda science and technology complex, Abuja. Member, New York Academy of Sciences and serves on several national and international committees. Areas of expertise: industrial biotechnology, fungal toxins, irradiation and food chemistry.
Professor Titos QUIBUYEN: Director, Institute of Chemistry, College of Science, University of the Philippines, Quezon City. Professor of organic chemistry. Former Head of the Environmental Science Programme and of the Materials Science and Engineering Programme at the University of the Philippines. Areas of expertise: organic and environmental chemistry, synthesis, natural products, toxic-waste management, risk assessment.
Professor Miguel SIERRA: Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University Complutense of Madrid, Spain. Member of the American Chemical Society and the Real Sociedad Española de Química. Areas of expertise: organic chemistry, organic synthesis, transition-metal mediated organic and organometallic transformations, environmental organic chemistry, and development of anti-infective agents.
Dr Danko ŠKARE: Rudjer Boškoviæ Institute, Zagreb, Croatia. Department of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, Secretary of the National Authority for the Implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Areas of expertise: organic chemicals, organic synthesis, chemical-warfare agents, and chemistry of energetic materials.
Dr Rolando A. SPANEVELLO: Professor of Organic Chemistry, School of Biochemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Argentina. Research Scientist (Project Director) at the Argentine National Scientific Research Council. Areas of expertise: organic synthesis and industrial chemistry.
Professor Jean-Claude TABET: Professor at the Laboratory of Structural Organic Chemistry and Biology, University of Pierre and Marie Curie, Paris, France. Areas of expertise: chemical analysis, mass spectrometry, organic/biochemistry.
Dr R. VIJAYARAGHAVAN: Head of the Pharmacology and Toxicology Division of the Defence Research and Development Establishment (DRDE), Gwalior, India. Work in pharmacology, toxicology, and antidote development. Areas of expertise: drug development, safety evaluation, antidotes to chemical-warfare agents, computer-based toxicity evaluation.
Professor Zhiqiang XIA:Director of Information Research Centre, Research Institute of Chemical Defence (RICD), Beijing, China. Senior member of the Chinese Society for environmental sciences. Areas of expertise: environmental sciences, risk assessment, scientific information, investigation of abandoned chemical weapons.
Content last updated: 27 April 2007.