Becoming a Fellow

As a Fellow of the RSE, you’ll become part of our broad network comprising experts from all academic disciplines, business, civil society, government and the creative arts. You will expand your community, share knowledge, and tackle the most pressing challenges of the modern world.

Jump to: Latest cohorts Categories of Fellowship Disciplines Election process and information

 

Becoming a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh

The Royal Society of Edinburgh was established in 1783 for “the advancement of learning and useful knowledge”. Born out of the Scottish Enlightenment, it remains true to two underpinning principles of the time, which still characterise a Scottish approach to learning:

  • A broad understanding and appreciation of different forms of knowledge with a fellowship that encompasses the breadth of academia along with business, the professions and public service
  • The application of that knowledge for the betterment of society or ‘knowledge made useful’

We have around 1,800 Fellows. The Fellowship is split into four broad sectors, covering the full range of physical and life sciences, arts, humanities, social sciences, education, professions, industry, business and public life. This range of expertise within the Fellowship means that we are well-placed to respond to and provide advice on a wide range of issues.

The over-riding requirement of candidacy for Fellowship is excellence. The Council of the RSE seeks that excellence from across society.

  • Professor Jason Gill FRSE

  • Professor Alison Hulme FRSE and Katherine Grainger FRSE

  • Dr Sabir Zazai FRSE and Professor Alison Phipps FRSE

Latest cohorts

  • The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) has announced the 2024 cohort of new Fellows, and among the names are BAFTA and Emmy-winning satirist Armando Iannucci and award-winning journalist and charity founder Sally Magnusson. Nominated for their individual excellence in a wide range of fields such as physics, chemistry, informatics, literature, law, social sciences, and business, they…

  • The RSE has announced its 2023 intake of Fellows, with 91 names representing science, arts, business, sports, civil society and academia from across Scotland and beyond.

  • The RSE has announced its 2022 intake of 80 new Fellows from the arts, business, public service and civil society from Scotland and beyond.

  • The RSE has announced its 87newly elected 2021 Fellows, comprising leading thinkers and experts from Scotland and around the world whose work has a significant impact on our nation.

Three categories of Fellowship

  • Fellows (FRSE)

    Are active in their area of work and will be able to evidence a contribution across the three dimensions of excellence: outstanding achievement, professional standing and societal contribution

    Are resident in the UK with a clear, continuing connection to Scotland related to their expertise

    Are requested to pay a joining fee and annual subscriptions. However, RSE does not wish anyone to be excluded from the Fellowship due to financial barriers therefore there is an option for case-by-case support

    On average between 50 Fellows are elected every year.

  • Corresponding Fellows (CorrFRSE)

    Are resident outside the UK

    Usually have some demonstrable interest in, or connection to, Scotland

    Are expected to engage in some way with the RSE – For example the RSE may approach Corresponding Fellows for their views on consultative questions with an international dimension

    Election is intended to be honorific, without subscription

    Are not eligible to hold office or to vote at any meeting of the RSE

    May take on the rights of a Fellow upon becoming a permanent resident in the UK and subject to RSE Council approval

    Elections per year are limited to ten.

  • Honorary Fellows (HonFRSE)

    Are members of the Royal House or other individuals of truly exceptional distinction. They should be internationally renowned and are likely to be widely known outside their specialism

    May be of any nationality or country of residence but should usually have some demonstrable interest in, or connection to, Scotland

    Election is intended to be honorific, without subscription

    Are not required to take an active part in the work of the RSE, although they are welcome, and indeed encouraged, to do so

    Maximum of four Honorary Fellows may be elected in any one year, excluding members of the Royal House. The distinction expected for this category of Fellowship means that only in exceptional circumstances would the RSE elect four Honorary Fellows in the same year.

Fellowship disciplines

The Fellowship is split into four broad sectors, covering the full range of physical and life sciences, arts, humanities, social sciences, education, professions, industry, business and public life. This range of expertise within the Fellowship means that we are well-placed to respond to and provide advice and expertise on a wide range of issues.

  • Life sciences

    A1: Biomedical and Cognitive Sciences
    A2: Clinical Sciences
    A3: Organismal and Environmental Biology
    A4: Cell and Molecular Biology

  • Physical, engineering and informatic sciences

    B1: Physics and Astronomy
    B2: Earth Sciences and Chemistry
    B3: Engineering
    B4: Informatics, Mathematics and Statistics

  • Arts, humanities and social sciences

    C1: Language, Literature and History
    C2: Philosophy, Theology and Law
    C3: History, Theory and Practice of the Creative and Performing Arts
    C4: Economics and Social Sciences

  • Business, public service and public engagement

    D1: Public Engagement and Understanding
    D2: Professional, Educational and Public Sector Leadership
    D3: Private Sector Leadership

Election to the Fellowship