12. Special Interest Groups

A special interest group is a permanent assembly of members with a common background in a particular research area or a special interest in a sub-speciality of human reproduction. These groups are considered vital for maintaining the scientific standards of their specific discipline or research area by focusing on the development of guidelines and activities with respect to education, certification and accreditation. The members meet to discuss new developments in their area of interest and the ways to implement these developments in general praxis.

 

The aims and objectives are as follows:

  • reflect the scientific interests of the Society’s membership
  • bring together members of the Society on fields of common interest
  • be part of the Scientific Committee
  • develop educational activities
  • develop and provide tools that support the education, training, research and practice

Thus, the Special Interest Groups are created to serve as a platform for the members of ESHRE who are active in different sub-specialities in reproductive medicine.

The establishment of a new Special Interest Group will be discussed by the Special Interest Groups Committee who will advise the Executive Committee on whether it is appropriate or not. The Executive Committee will – following discussion of the recommendations of the Special Interest Groups Committee – take the final decision.

Individual members of the Society can indicate that they take interest in either one or several of the existing Special Interest Groups. In other words, Special Interest Groups exist by virtue of individual members and are not intended to incorporate existing Societies. Hence it is also a means to actively involve more members in the Society’s activities.

Individuals applying for membership will be asked to mention their primary interest. The members will also be offered the possibility to indicate their secondary interests. It was agreed that a member can only have one field of primary interest where they have a voting right, whereas for the secondary interest more than one option would be available where they would have no voting right.

Special Interest Groups are headed by a Committee composed of a Coordinator, a, two Deputies (one of whom will be the Coordinator-Elect), the Past Coordinator, a young member and where relevant a basic science officer whose main residence is in Europe. All the members of the Steering Committees, including the basic science officer should have their residence in Europe. If needed, one so called International advisor may be added to the Steering Committee after election . Both the basic science officer and the International Advisor are selected by the Steering Committee. Their position will last for two years and can be renewed for another two-year term. Neither the basic science officer nor the International Advisor can become a Special Interest Group Coordinator.

A young deputy is defined as someone younger than 35 with a proven interest in the Special Interest Group’s topic as indicated by a reference letter by his/her supervisor. His/her task is especially dedicated – in collaboration with the Steering Committee – to those activities that are typically directed to young people with the aim of attracting them to join the Special Interest Groups.

The appointment and the terms of office of the Special Interest Group Steering Committees are as follows: 

  • The current Special Interest Group Coordinator steps down and becomes the Past-Coordinator;
  • One of the two current deputies becomes the new Special Interest Group Coordinator. This is decided by the Special Interest Group Steering Committee and ratified by Executive Committee;
  • After a term of two years the Junior Deputy steps down. He/she can apply for the position of Deputy by going through the normal election procedure
  • The Special Interest Group Steering Committee identifies, selects and appoints a new Junior Deputy. This appointment is to be ratified by Executive Committee;
  • In the event a new Deputy has to be elected, Special Interest Group members will be asked to stand as candidate for the election. Each Special Interest Group member who applies to stand for election needs to fulfil the following criteria:
    o each candidate needs to be a member of the Society for 5 consecutive years, except candidates for the Junior Deputy position who will need to be a member of the Society for the past 3 consecutive years;
    o each candidate needs to submit a full CV, including a list of publications;
    o each candidate needs to submit a "Declaration of Interest Disclosure";
    o each candidate cannot be a member of the Steering Committee of another Special Interest Group
  • The Special Interest Group Steering Committee will review each candidacy and select appropriate candidates to stand for election for the position of Deputy
  • A list of candidates will then be drawn-up, from which the Special Interest Group members can then elect new Deputy(ies) for the Committee. 
  • A Deputy position can be renewed after two years (for another two years) - at the recommendation of the Steering Committee - without the Deputy having to go through a new election procedure 
  • In the absence of candidates, the Executive Committee has the right to appoint the (a) new Deputy(ies) at the proposal of the Special Interest Group Steering Committee.
  • In case of an ex aequo election, the Special Interest Group Steering Committee selects the most appropriate candidate.

After the election, the new Special Interest Group Steering Committee members will be officially ratified by the Executive Committee. 

The Special Interest Group Steering Committee decides who is Coordinator-elect not later than one year before the Coordinator steps down. In the absence of candidates, the Executive Committee has the right to appoint the (a) new member(s) of the Special Interest Group Steering Committee. 

SIG coordinator
  • A European SIG member in good standing order for at least 5 years.
  • Need to submit a "Conflict of Interest Disclosure” whereby disclosing all commercial relationships or other activities that might be perceived as a potential conflict of interest
  • Commit to follow rules governing his/her mandate, which are reported in the pages on the ESHRE website dedicated to SIG coordinators.

  SIG coordinators’ tasks are:

  • Report directly to the SIG Committee Chair that is the bi-directional enlace with the ExCo.
  • Coordinate the SIG and involve the other SIG Steering Committee members in SIG’s activities.
  • Select the coordinator-elect between the two deputies. This should be preferably done in agreement with the other SIG Steering Committee members.
  • Train the coordinator-elect to be prepared to become the SIG coordinator and assist the coordinator-elect during his/her mandate.
  • Attend the SIG committee meetings. In case the SIG coordinator fails to attend at least two consecutive SIG Committee meetings, than his/her resignation could be considered.
  • Attend the International Scientific committee meetings and propose topics, speakers, chairpersons for the main program of the Annual Meeting.
  • Organize SIG Steering Committee meetings (generally 1-2 per year) using the given budget of 5000 euros possibly in concomitance with SIG courses.
  • Organize and chair the business meeting at the Annual meeting.
  • Plan SIG’s activities in collaboration with the SIG Steering Committee members:
    o Courses: to be planned according to the established guidelines (see “Guidelines for application and organization of ESHRE Campus courses”). After receiving the formal approval by the SIG chair, the Central Office will start to organize the course. PCC: program to be sent to the Central Office within the established deadlines (see “Guidelines for application and organization of ESHRE Precongress courses”, being aware that each SIG is entitled to organize one course per year.
    o Organize e-learning.
    o Special activities (i.e., position papers, consensus papers, or recommendation documents, guidelines) to be presented during the SIG meeting. If considered to be necessary, request for a working group could be made to the SIG chair that will indicate the steps to follow.
  • Making sure that the SIG webpages are continuously updated by indicating to the dedicated person at the Central Office which changes to make.
  • Promote the SIG courses and activities in collaboration with the Communication Manager
  • Organize elections of deputies when needed, in collaboration with the ESHRE Central office.
  • Organize mailing from the Central Office to directly communicate with the members when needed.

Above tasks can also be delegated within the SIG steering committee, and the SIG coordinator is strongly recommended to involve the members of the SIG Steering Committee in all the described activities upon his/her coordination. 

 

Junior deputy
  • Younger than 35 with a proven interest in the SIG’s topic, as indicated by a reference letter by his/her supervisor.
  • Needs to be a SIG member with the main residence in Europe, in good standing order for the past 3 years.

  Junior SIG coordinators’ tasks are:

  • Work in close collaboration with the SIG coordinator and with the other SIG Steering Committee members.
  • Be especially dedicated to those activities, which are typically directed to young people with the aim of attracting them to join the SIG.

 

Basic Science Officer
  • Main residence in Europe
  • Involved in the area of interest of the SIG, with a focus on basic science and research
  • Need to submit a "Conflict of Interest Disclosure” whereby disclosing all commercial relationships or other activities that might be perceived as a potential conflict of interest
  • Selected by the SIG Steering Committee. The position will last for two years and can be renewed for another two year term.

  Task of the Basic Science Officer:

  • Motivate the SIG Steering committee to integrate Basic Science in SIG’s activities
  • Raise interest of SIG’s members in Basic Science with the aim of improving education
  • Promote the inclusion of basic science topics in the session proposed for the Annual Meeting, PCCs and campus courses

International Advisor
  • Should be a person with a global focus and with a competence that is considered to be an important and valuable addition to the existing board of the SIG
  • Involved in the area of interest of the SIG
  • Need to submit a "Conflict of Interest Disclosure” whereby disclosing all commercial relationships or other activities that might be perceived as a potential conflict of interest
  • Selected by the SIG Steering Committee. The position will last for two years and can be renewed for another two year term.

  Task of the International Advisor:

  • Upon request, advise the SIG Steering committee on relevant topics
  • Provide a view from overseas countries


Precongress Courses
The organisation of the precongress courses should start at the latest 18 months before the date on which the courses will be held. The following time-lines have to be considered:

  • 30 January (of the year preceding the date on which the course will be held): Submission proposal pre congress course (18 months prior to meeting) + start invitations to speakers (include clear instructions on what is expected and request agreement that they comply to the guidelines and instructions)
  • 1 April (of the year in which the Annual Meeting is held): all presentation to be submitted to the Central Office;
  • 15 April (of the year in which the Annual Meeting is held): The Course Coordinator will return the presentation to the speaker for modification (if need be);
  • 1 May (of the year in which the Annual Meeting is held): Modified presentations should be returned by the speaker of the course coordinator to the Central Office;
  • 15 May (of the year in which the Annual Meeting is held): Final presentations available at the Centrol Office.

The Precongress Course Chairs should define whether the course is “basic” or “advanced”. The Precongress Course Chairs should develop a course lecture outline with times. The break session and lunch times are fixed and unchangeable, so Precongress Course Chairs will have to work around those time slots in generating the course lecture schedule.

While planning the programme, the following should also be considered:

  • A maximum of 8 speakers should not be surpassed, if possible only 5 (same speaker can give more than 1 lecture)
  • The focus should be primarily on didactical lectures and on discussion and interaction with participants
  • A travel allowance will be offered to each speaker. Speakers from Europe will receive a grant of 700 Euro; speakers from overseas will receive a grant of 2000 Euro. The maximum budget for each course should not exceed 8000 Euro.
  • Each Precongress Course speaker will also be offered complimentary registration to the main programme of the Annual Meeting.

It was also agreed that in the event that an invited speaker fails to show up for his/her lecture for no valid reason, a term of 4 year exclusion from Precongress courses and from Main Programme will be applied

Each faculty member must submit the course materials to the Course Chair for review and editing by a fixed deadline. The Course Chair is responsible for making certain that each syllabus contribution meets the requirements listed below:

  • Syllabi not in the correct format will be returned to the Course Chair. Syllabus materials from each speaker are to be edited and corrections will be made prior to sending it to the ESHRE office.
  • Each speaker should disclose all commercial relationships or other activities that might be perceived as a potential conflict of interest. A slide will be produced showing the conflicts of interests at the beginning of the speaker’s first lecture.
  • As a rule contributions should be in PowerPoint format (as used for the lecture) and should contain the following:
    o The lecture title, speaker’s full name and highest medical/academic degree and affiliation and/or professional title
    o Each material should contain Learning Objectives and references
    o A bibliography identifying and referencing material taken from books, journals and other secondary sources. Reprints or book chapters are not acceptable in the syllabus. Permission must be obtained from publishers of all illustrations and tables that are copied.
  • It is the responsibility of the Course Chair to check that each syllabus material complies with the aim and level (“basic” or “advanced) of the course, and that overlapping with other lectures is avoided. The Course Chair should also check that the format will be readable when printed, that the number of slides represent the presentation avoiding that the speakers submit a limited number of slides and will for sure need to add many slides (not in the syllabus) during the presentation. The course chair should send back promptly to the speakers the material to be edited and make sure that the speaker returns it in due time.
  • The course chair should absolutely meet the deadlines of returning the final completed syllabus to ESHRE by a fixed deadline.

To download the certificate of attendance, participants will be asked to complete an online evaluation form (an e-mail with instructions will be sent to participants the week after the course). During the course, the Course Chair should inform the audience about this procedure.

All training activities should be organised by or through the ESHRE Central Office according to a fixed time schedule and preferably one year to the date in which the course is planned. As a standard procedure a form has to be completed and electronically submitted to the Special Interest Group Committee Chair and the Central Office. Following Special Interest Group Committee Chair approval the Central Office can start planning the course organisation.

In case the application is not submitted by a Special Interest Group Coordinator, the proposal should nevertheless be filtered through Special Interest Group Coordinator, and - after his/her approval – the form will be submitted electronically submitted to the Special Interest Group Committee Chair and the Central Office. Following Special Interest Group Committee Chair approval the Central Office can start planning the course organisation.

While the Special Interest Group Coordinator is responsible for the general coordination and the scientific programme, the Central Office is responsible for the administrative and organizational aspects, such as (but not exclusively) sending out invitations, production and distribution of announcements, handling of subscriptions, production of syllabi and offering logistical support to local organizers.

No courses can be initiated without previous approval of the Special Interest Group Committee Chair who will ensure that:

o the proposing Special Interest Group is not exceeding the number of allowed courses

o there is no overlapping with other activities dealing with a similar topic

o the proposed date is compatible with the Central Office availability

o similar courses that proved unsuccessful were not already held

o the number of speakers – especially from overseas - is appropriate


It is not allowed to arrange industry sponsored sessions at Campus Courses.

Campus course participants and members can have immediate access to the meeting materials, whereas non-members (who did not participate in the meeting) after 3 months. Non-members who wished to have earlier access will be offered to join ESHRE.


The Special Interest Group Steering Committees should be responsible for the content evaluation.

The general philosophy is that a certain limited amount of money might be available to sponsor educational activities that are not initiated from within ESHRE. The criteria according to which the Executive Committee will decide to sponsor/endorse or not and to what extent, are summarized below:

  • Per calendar year no more than 15.000 Euros will be available for this purpose
  • In principle the organizing body should be a democratic society and/or a non-profit organization. A request should be sent at least 6 months prior to date of the planned activity, and ESHRE should be offered to contribute in the planning of the scientific programme.
  • The amount assigned will be from the earmarked budget for this purpose during the year in which the activity is planned
  • The amount of sponsoring per activity should not exceed 5,000 Euros
  • The topic for which a sponsor request is made has to deal with one or more aspects within the field of reproductive biology or medicine
  • It needs to be substantiated why it is of interest to ESHRE
  • The requested amount should be specified and earmarked
  • Any activity that interferes with current or future ESHRE activities shall not receive sponsoring. In practice, there should be a clear statement of “no conflict of interest”
  • Sponsoring should be limited to facilitating activities that otherwise would not be feasible, and for which there are great difficulties to obtain funding elsewhere
  • Primarily ESHRE will support its representatives who may serve as speakers.
  • After the activity has taken place, ESHRE should receive a brief report on how the donated amount was spent, documented with proof of expenditure