Soybean Genomics & Genetics Consortium



Policies & Procedures


v 4.0


June, 2012



Article I. Goal Statement

The Soybean Genomics and Genetics Consortium (SGGC) brings together a coalition of distinguished scientists from the public and private sector to guide and implement research in conjunction with the Soybean Genomics Research Program (SGRP). SGRP goals and expectations are documented in current versions of the Soybean Genomics Research Program Strategic Plan: Implementing Research to meet 2012-2016 Strategic Milestones (The Plant Genome, 4 (1):1-11, 2011). The SGGC coordinates specific functions that help move the SGRP forward; and is an expansion of the SoyGEC, a committee originally charged by the soybean research community to provide technical oversight for generation of a high quality reference sequence of the soybean genome. The SGGC establishes an extended forum for stakeholder input on the best ways to integrate genetic & molecular biology technologies for soybean enhancement. Primary SGGC goals include: 1) development and publication of research goals and priorities that are relevant to the needs of the soybean value-chain; 2) documentation and publication of research accomplishments that are relevant to the SGRP Strategic Plan, 3) coordination of meetings, symposia and other educational activities to promote soybean genetics and molecular biology research, and 4) recognition by stakeholders, policymakers, program managers and funding agents as a credible information source on advances in soybean genetics and genomics technology. The outcome of these efforts will enable superior molecular breeding approaches for enhancing soybean yielding ability, resistance to diseases and insects, tolerance to environmental stresses, and improved quality traits that elevate crop competitiveness, global food security and safety, and growerŐs profitability in an environmentally sustainable manner.


Article II. Structure and Roles of Committees


Section 2.01   Organizational Structure

The SGGC shall consist of an Executive Committee (SoyGEC) and an Administrative Office (AO). Affairs of the SGGC will be directed by the SoyGEC and administered as needed by the AO. The SoyGEC is a permanent committee that works in concert with the AO; & may form or dissolve ad hoc or temporary committees to help with special needs that serve the SGGC mission.














Section 2.02 Executive Committee


2.02(a)  Purpose:

The purpose of the SoyGEC is to provide technical guidance and oversight for the SGRP. In order to fulfill the goals set forth in Article I, the SoyGEC may solicit, evaluate & draft relevant research priorities; develop documentation that facilitates assessment of SGRP progress; coordinate the organization of educational programs; develop briefing papers on relevant issues; appoint members of other committees; amend, repeal or adopt policies/procedures; and conduct programmatic assessments


2.02(b)  Committee Composition


2.02(b1)  Number of Members

The EC will consist of up to eight (8) elected members plus up to five (5) Ex Officio members. Elected members should represent technical expertise needed to fulfill goals of the Soybean Genomics Research Program Strategic Plan (Genome Structure, Functional Genomics, Regulation of Gene Expression/ Transformation, and Translational Genomics). One Ex Officio member will have expertise in managing SoyBase. One Ex Officio member will be a representative of the United Soybean Board. One Ex Officio member will the chairperson of the next Biennial Conference for Molecular Biology of Soybean. Ex Officio members will be appointed by the EC and serve without term limits, except for the chairperson of the biennial conference who will serve for only two years.


2.02(b2) Length of Term

An inaugural election will be held in 2012, to fill 8 vacancies. Four (4) of the elected positions will serve for a two (2) year term; four (4) of the elected positions will serve for a four (4) year term. Term lengths for each of the initial elected members will be determined by an arbitrary process endorsed by all members of the SoyGEC. Thereafter the term length for each elected member will be four (4) years, and elections to fill expired terms will be held every two years, in conjunction with the year of the biennial conference. Elected members may be re-nominated or re-elected without limit. Duration of an annual term will be twelve (12) months from September 1 to August 31. A member may resign at any time by giving written notice to the SoyGEC chairperson. Changes in membership will be made as needed by majority vote of the SoyGEC to maintain a disciplinary balance that adequately addresses priorities set forth in the SGRP Strategic Plan. A committee member may be represented by giving their proxy to another member during scheduled meetings and teleconferences. An Officer must be notified of proxies for voting rights in advance of relevant meetings.


2.02(b3)  Eligibility for Nominations & Elections

Public and private sector candidates may be nominated for SoyGEC membership. In years when elections are scheduled, nominations for EC membership will be accepted during March, and the election will be conducted during April. Ballots will be developed to ensure the SoyGEC maintains a disciplinary balance that addresses priorities in the SGRP Strategic Plan. Ballots will be issued electronically to individuals with valid e-mail addresses in the SoyBase list-serve database. Recipients will have full electoral voting rights.   


2.02(b4)  Officers

A Chairperson and one (1) Co-Chairperson will be elected by a simple majority of SoyGEC members at an Annual Meeting for a term of one-year, without term limits. The Chairperson shall be responsible for general management, supervision and direction of SoyGEC activities. In the absence or direction of the Chairperson, the Co-Chairperson shall assume these duties. Any officer may resign upon giving written notice to the remaining SoyGEC chairperson or Ex Officio member. Vacancies will be filled by the SoyGEC in a timely manner for the remainder of the unexpired term.


2.02(b5)  Meetings

The SoyGEC will hold an annual meeting during the Soybean BreedersŐ Workshop in St. Louis, MO; and biennial meetings at the Conference for Molecular Biology of Soybean. Additional meetings or teleconferences may be called by the SoyGEC Chairperson as needed, and will be conducted by the same procedures described in Section 2.02(c) Meeting Protocol. The SoyGEC will organize and convene stakeholder meetings to develop new Strategic Plans.


2.02(b6)  Addition of Members

Inclusion of additional voting members plus Ex Officio members will be based on need for technical expertise to achieve the mission and goals of the SGGC. A 2/3 vote of the SoyGEC will be required for addition of members.


2.02(b7)  Ex Officio Members

The function of ex-officio members will be to maintain institutional awareness of SGGC activities, facilitate exchange of information among SGRP researchers, and serve as an expert resource for decisions and actions considered by the SoyGEC. Ex-Officio members may attend and exercise voting rights on motions during SGRP, SGGC and SoyGEC meetings or teleconferences.


2.02(b8)  Administration

A member from a contracted service provider (AO) will serve as liaison to the SoyGEC, but will not be a voting member of the committee. The AO will be granted temporary SGGC membership for a period determined by the SoyGEC, and will be engaged as needed to conduct administrative functions that facilitate the organization and conduct of meetings sanctioned by the SoyGEC .


2.02(c)   Meeting Protocol


2.02(c1)  Quorum

A quorum shall consist of more than 50% of current SoyGEC members. This also pertains to voting on committee actions by electronic media.


2.02(c2)  Voting

Each eligible member of the committee will have one vote. Voting outcome shall be determined by a simple majority of votes cast. Mail/electronic votes may be

conducted between SoyGEC meetings on emerging issues. Timely efforts will be made to notify and provide SoyGEC members with materials for consideration.


2.02(c3)  Rules of Order

Any subject may be brought to the SoyGEC for consideration in the form of a motion. RobertŐs Rules of Order will be followed in all procedures.   


2.02(d)  Responsibilities

The SoyGEC will:

á      Document annual research progress in relation to the SGRP Strategic Plan

á      Provide credible information on advances in soybean genetics & genomics technology to stakeholders, policymakers, program and fund managers.

á      Convene forums to gather stakeholder input on research priorities, & publish a 5-year Strategic Plan that is relevant to needs of the soybean value-chain.

á      Foster and provide guidance to organizers of educational activities such as the Biennial Conference for Molecular Biology of Soybean

á      Review and approve the structure and composition of the SoyGEC and other committees as needed.

á      Approve Polices & Procedures and Amendments to the Procedures.



Section 2.03  Administrative Office (AO)


2.03(a)  Purpose

The purpose of the AO is to act as the administrative and communication headquarters for the SGRP under the direction of the SoyGEC. This function may be provided by various vendors as situations require. More than one AO may be engaged at any time, depending on need determined by the SoyGEC.


2.03(b)  Responsibilities

The AO will have fiduciary responsibilities including fund raiser and fund holder; and will implement fiscal transactions for the SoyGEC and event organizers. The AO usually will be selected by organizers of pending educational events sanctioned by the SoyGEC, The AO will:


á      Assist organizers of meetings & conferences sanctioned by the SoyGEC.

á      Negotiate and implement contractual agreements and financial transactions as needed for the SGGC.

á      Assist organizers of Strategic Planning Workshops.


As an example for clarity, AO assistance to organizers of the Biennial Conference for Molecular Biology of Soybean will include but will not be limited to: design of a meeting logo and letterhead, mechanisms for acceptance of funds from various sources, contracts for publication of abstracts or proceedings, website design and hosting, procurement and posting of signage during the event, managing meeting registration, contracts for lodging and food functions, visa information, accountability for financial profits and losses, procurement of  insurance against personal liabilities, organizing social programs, contracts for meeting facilities, developing a realistic budget, and settling financial obligations.


Article III.  Strategic Plan and Program Assessment


Section 3.01  Strategic Plan Development

The SoyGEC will hold forums to gather stakeholder input on the research needs of the soybean value-chain, develop and publish a 5-year Strategic Plan that outlines the research goals and priorities of the SGRP. The Plan will include performance measures, anticipated products and milestones. When approved by members of the SoyGEC, the Plan will be published on SoyBase for a 45-day period for comment from the research community at large. Pending revisions, the final plan will be submitted for publication in an appropriate peer reviewed journal. .


Section 3.02  Annual Reports

The SoyGEC shall develop an annual report featuring major research accomplishments, technology transfer activities, germplasm and variety releases, & research publications that are relevant to performance measures of the Strategic Plan. The SoyGEC will request documentation of research accomplishments at the Soybean BreedersŐ Workshop and develop a system for identifying and obtaining applicable items from on-line databases to populate the report. The final report will be published on SoyBase..


Section 3.03  Assessments

Every five years the SoyGEC will convene an expert panel to review overall SGRP accomplishments relative to the Strategic Plan. The panel will provide a written assessment of progress to the SoyGEC. The program assessments will be posted on the SoyBase and presented during the subsequent Strategic Planning Workshop for consideration of the future research direction/needs of the SGRP.


Article IV.  Amendments to Procedures


Section 4.01  Format of Recommended Change

Amendments shall be submitted in electronic and written format to the Chairperson of the SoyGEC. Any member of the EC can submit amendments to these procedures.


Section 4.02  Submission Dates

To be timely, a change should be submitted at least 10 days prior to a scheduled meeting of the SoyGEC. Untimely submissions may be reviewed but will not be acted upon by the board until the next scheduled SoyGEC meeting. The SoyGEC can meet for the purposes of considering an amendment if a majority of the committee agrees. The meeting should still allow 10 days for purposes of dissemination and consideration of the change.


Section 4.03  Dissemination of Change

The change must be disseminated by electronic or written means to all members of the SoyGEC.


Section 4.04  Approval of Amendment

Amendments must receive a two thirds majority vote to be approved.