Membership Model

This model consists of a broad set of EBRC Members with a subset serving terms as EBRC Council members.

EBRC Members

EBRC Members make up the broad academic membership of the EBRC. Members are encouraged to participate in EBRC activities including annual meetings, working groups, workshops, and other programs.

  • Qualifications: Membership is open to individuals who have begun their independent careers and hold PI-level or Research Scientist-level status at an academic or non-profit research institution. Individuals with advanced independent responsibilities at non-profit or public sector institutions (e.g., Educators, Policy-makers, etc.) are also welcome to apply. Successful applicants will generally have published work that contributes to the field of engineering biology (including technical and/or non-technical dimensions such as policy, ethics, or education) and be in good standing within the community (e.g., no ethical, biosafety, harassment, intellectual property concerns, scientific misconduct, or other issues of this nature).
  • Nomination and Selection Process: Members are nominated by someone in the existing EBRC community or by self-nomination. Nominations will be accepted on a rolling basis. The individual membership committee (MemCom) will be responsible for determining if individuals meet the qualifications. MemCom will evaluate and offer invitations periodically (e.g., quarterly) throughout the year.
  • Terms: There are no specified terms to EBRC membership; however, members are expected be active members of the EBRC community. If there is no EBRC-related activity by a member for a period of three years, the member will be asked if they would still like to be a part of the EBRC community.
  • Notes: There is no limit to the number of EBRC Members. All EBRC Members are welcome and encouraged to participate in working groups, programs, and other activities.

EBRC International Members

International EBRC Members include non-US based researchers that otherwise meet the qualifications for EBRC membership. The criteria and nominations process for these members are the same as for EBRC Members described above. EBRC is a US-based, public-private partnership that receives grant support from the US Government, and the majority of our programs are geared toward US-based issues and individuals. Therefore, the number of international EBRC Members is limited.

Individual Council Members

Individual Council Members are a core group of ~30 individual EBRC members that are responsible for implementing the vision and mission of EBRC (see Appendix). They join Institutional Council Members to form the full Council. Council members form the core of the EBRC working groups (serving as chairs as well as working group members), and serve on committees to fulfill EBRC governance duties.

  • Qualifications: Council Members must be EBRC members and be committed to carrying out the service obligations of this position. Major qualifications include demonstrated participation in service activities and ability to work well in a team environment.
  • Nomination and Selection Process: Council candidates can be nominated by a current Council Member or EBRC Member serving on a working group. Self nominations by those on working groups are allowed. The nomination and selection process will be run by the Individual Membership Committee, with evaluation and recommendations completed on an annual basis. From the slate of nominees, MemCom will propose a slate of ~8 proposed Council Members, in addition to a short list of alternates. The committee will strongly consider diversity and balance (ethnic, racial, scientific, geographic, institution, and others) when making Council membership recommendations. This slate of nominees will be presented to the full Council for ratification. After approval, these new individuals will be invited to join the Council. Alternates may be considered in cases where an initial invitation is declined.
  • Terms: Council membership will be for an initial period of 2 years, with an option for one renewal (for a total of 4 years). We anticipate that most Council Members will serve full 4 year terms and ~25% of Council members will be complete their terms and be replaced by new members each cycle.
    • To balance continuity of membership and incorporation of new ideas, ~8 individual members will be added to the Council each year (with ~8 finishing their terms). Target Council size is ~30 individual members, joining the industry members for a full Council of ~50 members. There is flexibility to add more or fewer than 8 new Council members in a year to achieve this goal, so the exact numbers will depend on turnover within the current Council.
    • The renewal evaluation that occurs after 2 years of service will be conducted by MemCom in consultation with the Steering Committee (see below). It will take into account participation, engagement, and ability to work effectively with other EBRC and Council members.
    • If a Council member has completed a 2+2 year term, he or she is eligible to join again, however the preference is for there to be a gap to encourage participation from new members.
  • Service expectations for Council members:
    • Expected participation:
      • Serve as an active member of a working group (committee chairs are exempt from this during their term as chair, but all other Council members will participate).
      • A subset of Council members will also serve on a committee, helping with EBRC governance.
      • Attend the annual meetings and retreats.
      • Support the broader goals of EBRC in your interactions with the non-EBRC world (university, government, society, research community, etc).
    • Anticipated time commitment:
      • 7-10 days over the course of a year (note, this is not a single block, but is spread out over the year):
        • Monthly working group call: 1 hr/month = 1.5 days/year
        • EBRC retreat or meeting: 2 full days * 2 times/year = 4 days/year
        • (For some) Monthly committee call: 1 hr/month = 1.5 days/year
        • Other activities such as workshop organization or attendance, retreat organization, etc.: 0-3 days/year

      Institutional Council Members

      Institutional Council Members are the lead representatives of EBRC Member Organizations that participate on the EBRC Council. They generally participate in working groups and/or governance committees of EBRC and serve as the primary point of contact for EBRC within their organization. We anticipate that there will be ~20 Institutional Council Members, joining the ~30 Individual Council Members to make up the full ~50 person Council.

      • Each Member Organization identifies one representatives to participate on the Council.
      • Additional institutional representatives are welcome and encouraged to participate in EBRC Working Groups and programs.

Working Groups

Working groups are driven by a subset of Council Members who will serve as chairs and core members of the working groups. There are currently four working groups: Technical Research Roadmapping, Security, Education, and Policy & International Engagement (see Appendix). Council Members will select which working group to participate in based on the slots available as determined by the EBRC Steering Committee and based on the strategic direction of EBRC as a whole. All Council members, with the exception of active committee chairs, will serve on a working group. EBRC Members not currently on the Council will be eligible to join working groups, with the number of slots determined by the chair of the working group in consultation with the Steering Committee. Institutional members will self-select working group participation. Working groups will meet at the EBRC Annual Meeting and Retreat, and hold conference calls/workshops in between in-person interactions. In general, each EBRC Council Member will participate in a single working group to maintain continuity, however it is possible to change working groups following discussion with the chair of the current working group and the chair of the proposed working group.

Activities (e.g. workshops, meetings, new programs)

Activities will typically be initiated through the working groups. Council Members will be encouraged to work with the most relevant working group on new activity proposals with specific, targeted goals. Recent examples include an industry meeting on joint funding of pre-competitive research, a small workshop on understanding how academia considers security issues in the research enterprise, and a small meeting leading to the development and launch of the EBRC Industry Internship Program. Depending on the topic, invitations to these activities can extended to other EBRC Council Members, EBRC Members, and individuals with subject matter expertise who are not EBRC Members.


Membership Meetings

EBRC will hold two, different membership meetings each year:

Annual Meeting (Spring):

Once a year, hosted at rotating locations around the US. Will include scientific content, industry interactions, and SPA activities and last 2 full days. All EBRC Members will be welcome and encouraged to participate. The meeting will include a robust technical program with talks and posters presented by members and their students. They will also include sessions designed around EBRC Working Groups (e.g. a session on the EBRC Research Roadmap). The meeting will be extended to a third day for Council Members to work in committees and working groups. EBRC is able to support travel for Council Members and one additional member of their lab. Travel support will also be extended to speakers (faculty, student, or postdoc) that are selected through the abstract submission process. EBRC does not have the funds to support travel for all general members.

Council Member Retreat (Fall):

Once a year, in the other half of the year from the Annual Meeting, hosted at rotating locations around the US, but focused on making travel easy (prioritized over diverse locations). This will serve as the primary working meeting for EBRC Council Members. Meetings would likely be tied into workshops and other activities by the working groups to maximize utility and minimize additional travel. These meetings could include a short technical component for faculty and industry. EBRC will extend travel support to EBRC Council Members to participate in this event.

Student Postdoc Association (SPA)

In order to maximize engagement with students and postdocs, the EBRC will maintain a Student and Postdoc Association (SPA). The benefits of SPA include being part of a community of synthetic biology focused scientists and engineers on a national scale. SPA members are the first to hear about new EBRC programs and activities and have access to special content on the EBRC website. The SPA is led by an elected board that hosts events specifically relevant to graduate students and postdocs and identifies individuals from this group to contribute to EBRC’s roadmapping, security, education, and policy work. Members of the SPA may participate in EBRC Retreats and are eligible to submit abstracts for funded-speaking roles. Current SPA Programs include a mentorship program (where students are paired with mentors in industry for a year) and a resume book available to EBRC’s industry members.

The SPA Board is in the process of detailing their new operating model under the following guidelines:

  • Membership will be open to any graduate student or postdoc working on synthetic biology related topics at an academic or not-for-profit research institution in the United States.
  • The SPA Board may consider an international affiliate / member option if it so chooses.
  • Memberships will be vetted and approved by the SPA Board. Questions or borderline declinations will be referred to EBRC Leadership.
  • The new operating model will also include how the SPA Board and Officers are selected.


EBRC’s governance will be led by a steering committee and two membership committees.

Steering Committee

This is the core leadership of EBRC. This committee is responsible for overseeing and coordinating activities, appointing chairs of working groups and committees, providing overall guidance on EBRC priorities, statements, and other community-wide efforts.

This committee consists of:

  • Co-chairs (1 industry & 1 academic)
  • MemCom Chair (Academic)
  • InstCom Chair (Industry)
  • Chairs of Working Groups: Roadmapping, Security, Education, Policy
  • Aim for mix of academic and industry
  • Executive Director

The steering committee co-chairs are appointed by the EBRC Board of Directors. Ideally, individuals selected for this role will have served on the steering committee for 1 year before. The default term is 2 years, where the industry and academic co-chair terms are staggered by a year to provide continuity in leadership.

Membership Committees

There will be two committees responsible for the membership of EBRC:  Individual Membership Committee (MemCom), and Institutional Membership Committee (InstCom).

Individual Membership Committee (MemCom)

The Individual Membership Committee assists with the review and recruitment of Individual EBRC Members and Individual Council Members. As described above, the committee reviews applications for Individual EBRC Members on an ongoing basis and annually proposes a slate of new Individual Council Members for review and ratification by the full EBRC Council. The committee is also responsible for mid-term evaluations of EBRC Council members. The Individual Membership Committee will include primarily Individual Members (rather than Institutional Members).

Institutional Membership Committee (InstCom)

The Institutional Membership Committee is responsible for advising on and assisting in the recruitment and retention of EBRC Institutional Members. They will be the primary conduit for discussing changes to the institutional membership model, including annual dues, company requirements, and will advise on industry views of new EBRC programs. InstCom will also the be primary committee through which industry-focused activities will be approved. This committee will include primarily representatives of Institutional Members.

Committee membership will be filled by the Council Members.  The number of members of each committee will be determined by the Steering Committee.

Committee & Working Group Chairs

Chairs will be appointed by the Steering Committee and will typically have served at least 1 year on the committee they will chair. Default term as Chair is 2 years.

The outgoing chair will generally be asked to assist with transition over the course of 3-6 months after their term ends.

In rare cases where a Chair starts their term in the final year of Council membership, their membership will be automatically extended to allow them to complete a full term. In cases where a chair cannot complete his or her term, the Steering Committee is responsible for identifying a replacement.

Corporate Board of Directors & Officers

The Engineering Biology Research Consortium is a tax-exempt public-benefit corporation registered in California. The Officers and 5-member Board of Directors are the legally responsible party under California Law. The Steering Committee and two Membership Committees operate under a charter ratified by the Board.