Board – Roles and Responsibilities

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Board Leadership

The Chairperson’s runs the Board of Commissioners and ensure that the Board is effectively carrying out its duties and responsibilities.

The DG runs the Secretariat and ensure that it meets and achieves its strategic, operating and financial objectives–an “execution and management” role. The DG and his/her executive management team are accountable to the Board, acting on behalf of GoM and other key stakeholders, for the effective achievement of NCST’s mandate, fuctions and strategic plan.

Role of the Board of Commissioners

As it is the Chairperson’s job to run the Board and ensure its effectiveness,  the role and responsibilities of each the Commissioner is also important.

It is the Board’s role to “govern” NCST as opposed to “execution and management”. This will ensure transparency and accountability for the well-being and performance of NCST. The Board’s responsibilities include:


  • Exercise leadership, enterprise, integrity and judgment in directing NCST.
  • Act as the focal point for and custodian of corporate governance.
  • Determine NCST’s vision, mission and strategy to achieve NCST mandate.
  • Ensure resource mobilization and deployment in an economically, efficiently and effectively manner.
  • Establishing and putting in place processes to encourage creativity and innovation for enhanced effectiveness, productivity and competitiveness.
  • Assessing its own effectiveness in fulfilling its responsibilities.
  • Setting NCST’s risk appetite and ensuring key strategic risks are identified & understood.
  • Ensuring appropriate and effective risk management and internal control processes are operating in NCST.
  • Through the DG inform the Ministers of Finance and Education, Science and Technology the occurance or becoming known of any significant event which adversely affects the financial position of NCST.
  • Monitor the implementation of strategies, work plans and policies adopted by the Board.
  • Exercise independent and objective judgment on the NCST’s operations.
  • Ensure effective management information technology and decision support systems are operating in NCST.
  • Recommend to the Minister a person to be appointed as the DG.
  • Monitor and evaluate the performance of the DG and Departmental Heads, and ensuring management succession.
  • Selecting, monitoring, evaluating, compensating, and – if necessary – replacing the Departmental Heads.
  • Reviewing and approving material transactions not in the ordinary course of NCST activities.
  • Ensure ethical behaviour and compliance with the Constitution, the Act, relevant laws,  regulations, codes of best business practice.and the NCST’s own governing documents.
  • Accounting for stewardship, disclosure, reporting and communication.
  • Ensuring that there is an effective communication policy and processes in place, for both external and internal communications.
  • Performing such other functions as are prescribed by the Constitution, the Act, relevant laws, regulations or assigned to the Board by the Minsiter or in the NCST’s governing documents.

Institutional Risk Management

Measuring & Monitoring Performance


Role of the Chairperson

The Chairperson will preside at Board meetings. The Chairperson’s responsibilities include the following:


  • Provide leadership to  the Board.
  • Harness the collective skills of the Board and the management team.
  • Guide the Board decision making process and where necessary uses his/her casting vote.
  • Help the Board fulfil the goals it sets by assigning specific tasks to Commissioners.
  • Establish procedures to govern the Board’s work and ensure the Board fully discharge its duties.
  • Ensure proper flow of information to the Board, reviewing adequacy and timing of documentary materials in support of the Secretariate’s proposals.
  • Organises and present the agenda for regular or special Board meetings based on directions from the Minister and input from Commissioners.
  • Ensure adequate lead time for effective study and discussion of matters under Board’s consideration.
  • Efficiently conduct board meetings to ensure that sufficient time is allowed for discussion of complex or contentious issues.
  • Ensure there is appropriate arranging for informal meetings beforehand to enable thorough preparation for Board discussions.
  • Works with Committee Chairpersons and the DG is scheduling meetings of the full Board so that they do not clash with the meeting for Committees.
  • Carry out other duties as requested by the DG and Board as a whole, depending on need and circumstances.
  • Maintain close, but independent working relationship with the DG.
  • Acts as a liaison between the Board and the Secretariate, GoM, other key stakeholders and the public.
  • Ensures effective communication with GoM and other stakeholder and ensure that the members of the Board develop an understanding of the views of GoM and other the key stakeholders.
  • Together with the DG, represent the NCST to external groups including donors.
  • Take the lead in identifying and meeting the development needs of individual Commissioners, with the DG having a key role in facilitating provision.
  • Identify guidelines for the conduct of the Commissioners.
  • Ensure that the performance of individual Commissioners and of the Board as a whole and its committees is evaluated at least once a year.
  • Encourage active engagement by all Commissioners.



Board Development


Role of the Vice-Chairperson

The Vice-Chairperson shall preside at any Board meeting when the Chairperson is absent.

Role of the Director General

The Minister, on the recommendation of the Board, appoints on such terms and conditions as he may determine, a Director General of NCST. The DG is appointed within or without the civil service. The DG is the the chief executive of NCST. In addition, the DG performs such duties as the Board shall assign to his office and ensures the effective administration and implementation of the Act.

The DG is the Secretary to the Board. DG shall attend the Board and any Committee meetings and may address such meetings. However, the DG shall not vote on any matter. The DG may designate such other officer of NCST to attend Board and Committee meetings. These officers will also not vote on any matter.

The DG and the executive management team are accountable to the Board of Commissioners, who act on behalf of the GoM and other key stakeholders, for the effective achievement of the NCST’s mandate, strategic,  operating and financial objectives.

Specific DG’s roles and responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:

  • Ensures that the day-to-day business affairs of the NCST are appropriately managed;
  • Developes and recommends to the Board a long-term strategy and vision for NCST that leads to the creation of stakeholder value;
  • Prepares and presents to the Board Science and Technology programmes for approval;
  • Developes and recommend to the Board annual operational plans and budgets that support NCST’s long-term strategy;
  • Implements and communicates policies and strategies adopted by the Board;
  • Provides leadership in efficient, effective and economic use of Science and Technology Fund and other NCST’s resources;
  • Manages and coordinate the Fund in accordance to genearl and specific directions of the Board;
  • Maintains liason with national and international agencies that provide financial and technical support for the implementation of the science and technology policy;
  • Coordinate all science and technology related issues in Malawi;
  • Prepares annual progress reports for consideration by the Board;
  • Fosters a corporate culture that promotes ethical practices, encourages individual integrity, and fulfils social responsibility;
  • Maintains a positive and ethical work climate that is conducive to attracting, retaining, and motivating a diverse group of top-quality employees at all levels;
  • Consistently strives to achieve the NCST’s financial and operating goals and objectives;
  • Ensures continuous improvement in the quality and value of the products and services provided by NCST;
  • Ensures that NCST has an effective management team and has an active plan for its development and succession;
  • Ensures, in co-operation with the Board, that there is an effective succession plan in place for the DGs’ position;
  • Formulates and oversees the implementation of major corporate policies;
  • Implements risk mitigation measures as directed by the Board from time to time and facilitates the establishment of proper internal controls;
  • Serves as the chief spokesperson for NCST;Provide a central source of guidance and advice to the Board, and within the company, on matters of ethics and good governance;
  • Provides the Board as a whole and Commissioners individually with detailed guidance as to how their responsibilities should be properly discharged in the best interests NCST;
  • Facilitates induction training for new and inexperienced Commissioners and assist with Commissioners’ professional development as required. This includes identifying and facilitating on-going Board education;
  • Under the direction of the Chairperson, ensures good information flows within the Board,  Committees and the Secretariat. This includes the timeliness of compilation and distribution of Board papers and minutes and communication of resolutions from Board meetings;;
  • Oversees the proper development of Board meetings, taking special care to provide Commissioners with proper advice and information;
  • Assists the Chairperson in ensuring that regular assessments on the effectiveness of the Board and Committees, as well as the contribution of individual Commissioners, are carried out;
  • Ensures that NCST complies with corporate governance matters under regulations having the force of law; and
  • Guides NCST in taking the initiative to not only disclose corporate governance matters required under the regulations having the force of law, but also those of material importance to the decision-making of GoM and other stakeholders.

Management Accountability Framework

The Board of Commissioners sets and enforce clear lines of responsibility and accountability throughout NCST to:


  • Ensure there is a clear demarcation of responsibilities of the Board and Secretariat in the interest of an effective accountability regime;
  • Establish the approval authority of different levels of the Secretariat;
  • Define the limits of management responsibility (jointly with the the DG); and
  • Approve accountability framework for senior management.


To ensure consistency in policies and for sanctioning of transactions the delegation matrix in Appendix II shall be adhered to.

Protection of Members

No action, suit or other proceedings shall be brought or instituted personally against any Commissioner or a Member of a Committee in respect of any act done in good faith in the course of carrying out the provision of the Act.