Working Procedures


4. Meeting participants

Five categories of participant can be present at a Handbook meeting:

  1. The Working Group is responsible for conducting the critical reviews and evaluations. The tasks of Working Group Members are described in detail below. Working Group Members are selected on the basis of: (i) knowledge and experience; and (ii) absence of real or apparent conflicts of interests. They have often published significant research related to the screening strategies being reviewed, and IARC uses literature searches or consults with other experts in-house or externally to identify such experts. Consideration is also given to demographic and gender diversity and balance of scientific findings and views.

  2. Invited Specialists are experts who also have important knowledge and experience, but have a real or apparent conflict of interests. They are invited when necessary to assist the Working Group by contributing technical knowledge and experience during subgroup and plenary discussions. They may contribute text on issues that do not influence the final evaluation (see Part B, Sections 1 and 2), or review text prepared by the Working Group. Invited Specialists do not serve as meeting chair or subgroup chair, and do not participate in the evaluations.

  3. Representatives of national and international health agencies may attend meetings when their agencies are sponsors of the programme or are interested in the subject of a meeting. Representatives do not serve as meeting chair or subgroup chair, do not draft any part of a Handbook, and do not participate in the evaluations.

  4. Observers with relevant scientific credentials may be admitted to a meeting in limited numbers upon previous request. Attention will be given to achieving a balance of Observers from constituencies with differing perspectives. They are invited to observe the meeting and should not attempt to influence it. At the meeting, the overall chair and subgroup chairs may grant Observers an opportunity to raise questions or comments, generally after a Working Group discussion is concluded. Observers agree to respect the Guidelines for Observers at Meetings of the IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention (available at

  5. The IARC Secretariat consists of IARC scientists who have relevant expertise. They participate in all discussions, and may serve as rapporteurs. When requested by the meeting chair or subgroup chair, they may also help draft text, prepare tables, or conduct analyses. They do not participate in the evaluations.

Before an invitation is extended, each potential participant, including the IARC Secretariat, completes the “Declaration of Interests for IARC/WHO Experts” form to identify financial interests, employment and consulting activities, as well as individual or institutional research support related to the subject of the meeting. IARC assesses these declared interests to determine whether there is a real or apparent conflict in relation to the topic under evaluation that warrants exclusion or some limitation on participation role. The declarations are updated and reviewed again at the opening of the meeting. Interests related to the subject of the meeting are disclosed to the meeting participants, as well as on the Handbooks website and in the published volume. A declaration of interests form is not required from Representatives or Observers.

The names and principal affiliations of participants are made available on the website of the IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention ( approximately two months before each meeting. It is not acceptable for Observers or third parties to contact participants before a meeting or to lobby them at any time during the process. Meeting participants are asked to report all such contacts to the IARC Secretariat.

All participants are listed, with their principal affiliations, at the beginning of each volume. Each participant who is a Working Group Member or an Invited Specialist serves in their capacity as an individual scientist and not as a representative of any organization, government, or industry.


Updated 14 November 2017