Board Membership

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Board Membership Criteria

A person to be appointed as a Member of the Board shall be chosen for their ability and experience in scienctific disciplines, technology-related activities, professionally qualifications and suitable for the appointement. A person to be appointed as a Member Potential Board shall also meet the following minimum criteria:

–                Is not employed by NCST nor serves on a full time basis;

–                Is of sound mind and has not been declared of unsound mind in any court of law in Malawi or elsewhere; and

–                Has not been declared bankrupt.

In addition, Commissioners must have time available to devote to Board activities and to enhance their knowledge of NCST and STI issues locally, regionally and globally.

Appointment of a New Commissioner

The Minister is responsbile for appointing the Commissioners. Every change in the membership of the Board is published in the Gazette.


The office of a Commissioner shall become vacant:

–                If s/he resigns by giving one (1) month notice in writing to NCST;

–                upon his/her death;

–                If s/he is absent without valid excuse from three (3) consecutive meetings of the Board of which he has had notice;

–                If s/he becomes an undischarged bankrupt;

–                If s/he becomes of unsound mind; or

–                If s/he participates directly or indirectly in any activity which is in contravention of the Act.


On vacation of office by a Commissioner, the vacancy shall be filled by a person appointed in accordance with the Board membership criteria and through the process of appointing a new commissioner stated above. Provided that if the remaining period is less than six (6) months, the Minister may decide not to have the vacancy filled upon the expiry of the period.

It is the responsibility of the Board to report to the DoSC the resignation and/or removal of any of its members within reasonable time.

Term Limit

A Commissioner other than an ex-officio member shall hold office for a period of three (3) years. The Member and shall be eligible for re-appointment for another three (3) year term. Commissioners positions are not permanent. Commissioners serve only as long as they add value to the Board. Commissioner’s ability to continue to contribute to the Board is examined each time the Commissioner is considered for re-appointment.

Board Committees

The Board in addition to the Awards Committee, may for the purpose of performing its functions under the Act, establish other Committees. The Board delegates to the Committees such of its functions as it considers necessary for purposes of performing its fuctions under the Act. Subject to any specific or general directions of the Board, a Committee regulates its own procedures. Each Committee developes its Charter (terms of reference) to guide its operation.

Membership on the Board Committees can consists Members who are or are not Commissioners. Such persons shall hold office for such periods as the Board may determine.

The Committees include:

–                Scientific and Awards Committee (SAC);

–                Finance and Audit Committee (FAC); and

–                Appointments and Administrtion Committee AAC);


The Board may from time to time set-up Working (adhoc) committees to oversee a specific tasks. The following is a Working Committee of the NCST Board:

–                Multi-Disciplinary Health Research Committee (MHRC).

For the Scientific and Awards Committee to be achieve its mandate it has established the following Functional Committees (Sub-Committees):

–                National Committee on Agriculture and Natural Sciences (NCANS);

–                National Committee on Energy, Industrial and Engineering Sciences (NCEIES);

–                National Health Sciences Research Committee (NHSRC);

–                National Committee on Reseach and Social Sciences and Humanities (NCRSCH);

–                National Committee on Bioethics (NACOB);

–                National Committee on Documentation, Information and Communition Technology (NCDICT); and

–                National Committee on Technology Transfer and Science Competitions NCTTSC).

The Board Structure is illustrated under Appendix I.

The following principles are considered when creating Committees and Functional Committees:

  • They have a clear purpose ( included in the Committee Charter) and there is no conflict of interest among its members.
  • They have a minimum of three members.
  • The Committee elects a Chairperson and Vice Chairperson among the committee members.
  • The Chairperson of each Committee may invite the Secretariate executives whose duties correspond to the Committee’s area of concern.
  • If necessary, Committees may enroll experts with required professional skills relevant to the work of the particular Committee.
  • Each Commissioner should participate in at least one Committee.
  • On an annual basis, each Committee shall review its charter and presents any modifications to the Board for approval.


Assignment and Rotation of Committee Members

Generally, the Board at its first meeting following their appointement by the Minister and publication in the Gazette elects the members of each Committee. Subsequently, the Chairperson, after consultation with the DG and with consideration of the desires of individual Commissioners, is responsible for assigning Commissioners to various Committees.

Consideration is given to rotating Committee members periodically at approximately three (3) year intervals. However, the Board does not feel that such a rotation should be mandated as a policy, since there may be reasons at a given point in time to maintain an individual Commissioner’s Committee membership for a longer period.

Access to Advisers

Where appropriate, the Board and Committees may at any time and for any period invite any person, and the Minister may in like manner nominate an officer in the public service, to attend any meeting of the Board and/or Committees and take part in the deliberations of the meeting, but such person or officer shall not be entitled to vote.

Where appropriate, the Board and Committees may seek advice from external advisers (at NCST’s expense) independent of management with respect to matters within their responsibility. The Board and Committees have the authority to select and retain advisers and approve the terms of their retention and fees.

Access to Auditors

The Board shall effectively utilize the work conducted by internal and external auditors in recognition of the important control function they provide. The Board and Secretariate shall:

  • Recognise the importance of the audit process and shall communicate its importance throughout NCST.
  • Take measures that enhance the independence and stature of internal auditors.
  • Utilize, in a timely and effective manner, the findings of internal and external auditors.
  • Ensure the independence of the Head of Internal Audit through his or her direct access and reporting responsibility to the Finance and Audit Committee.
  • Engage external auditors to judge the effectiveness of internal controls.
  • Require timely correction by management of problems identified by internal and external auditors.