Being a Fellow of the RSE and contribute your knowledge to tackling the most pressing challenges of the modern world.
Fellows should have outstanding achievements in their field, high esteem in professional standing, and contribute to society or public good.
Guidance for RSE Fellows and candidates on the nomination form and candidate paperwork. Please read before beginning the nomination process.
Guidance for RSE Fellows for completing the assessor form.

Nominations for 2024–2025


The election process consists of three key stages:


Existing Fellows submit forms to nominate candidates with the support of two additional RSE Fellow Assessors


Nominations are reviewed and shortlisted by a series of discipline and sector specific panels to create a final shortlist


The final shortlist is agreed upon by RSE Council, and a final ballot is issued to the full Fellowship for approval.


February 2024Nominations Groups meet 
March 2024Unsuccessful candidates/proposers informed 

Nominations Groups meet 
April 2024New Fellows publicly announced 

Nomination paperwork finalised and made available 
May 2024Nominations open (1 May)  
June 2024New Fellows Induction Day (4 June) 

Deadline for nominations (30 June) 
July 2024Processing nominations 
August 2024Fellowship Committee meeting (to agree broad ‘quotas’ for allocation of places) 

Briefing meeting for Sectional Committee Conveners and Members 

Nominations to Sectional Committees for review 
September 2024Sectional Committee meetings 
October 2024Sector Group Meetings 

Annual Statutory Meeting (last Monday in Oct)  
November 2024Fellowship Committee meeting (to recommend candidates for Fellowship) 
December 2024Council meeting (to agree Fellowship Committee recommendations) 

Nominations Groups meet 

Ballot issued to Fellows 
January 2025Ballot counted and new Fellows informed (and asked to confirm if willing to be elected) 

1. Nomination

May – June

How do nominations begin? 

Nominations can only be submitted by RSE Fellows. 

  • Nominations are primarily initiated by Fellows approaching candidates of their choosing; (However, it can happen that those interested in becoming a candidate use their networks and the RSE Fellowship directory to identify current Fellows to consult about a nomination.) 
  • The RSE Fellowship team will supply information about nomination, eligibility, and other information. 
  • The Nominations Groups work proactively to identify outstanding individuals in categories thought to be under-represented within the RSE and who might then be matched with a nominator to enter the competition for the Fellowship. 
    • Nominations Groups can facilitate the initiation of a nomination;  
    • The Nominations Groups comprise Fellows who have experience in the various categories and of the nomination process. They meet between November and March. 
    • The current Nominations Groups are: gender, creative arts, business, professions, younger, ethnicity; 
    • The Groups are independent of the rest of the nomination process and members do not participate in the later shortlisting stages. Once submitted, these Nominations are not identified as deriving from the Groups. 

Who submits a nomination and how?

  • Nominations are submitted electronically via the RSE’s online Fellow’s area
  • A group of three Fellows are required to submit a nomination: 
    • One proposer
    • Two assessors – chosen by the proposer. 
  • Nominations consist of 
    • Online nomination form to be completed by the proposer, together with the candidate;
    • Upload of candidate’s CV document (4 pages maximum) to the nomination form;
    • Upload of the signed candidate declaration for Ordinary and Corresponding nominations;
    • Online assessors’ forms. Both assessors will be contacted to complete these once the nomination form has been submitted.

Neither nomination forms nor unsolicited materials, references or letters of support will be accepted by email. 

Eligibility to be a proposer or an assessor 

  • Proposers must be (Ordinary) Fellows of the Society and should have personal knowledge of the candidate’s work.
  • Assessors can be from any category of RSE Fellowship including Corresponding and Honorary. Assessors are usually identified and recruited by the proposer, sometimes in conjunction with the candidate. RSE staff can help with identifying assessors when needed – particularly in under-represented categories and disciplines.
  • Assessors should have personal knowledge of the candidate’s work.  In some cases, their report may be based on their knowledge of the candidate “by reputation”. The Fellowship team should be consulted. 
  • Ideally, proposers and assessors should belong to the same area of work as the candidate. However, at least one of the three must be from the same area of work. 
  • All three should have some distance from the candidate. They should not be a line manager, recent supervisor, close collaborator, family member. 
  • Only one of the three may be currently employed by the same institution as the candidate. 
  • Proposers and assessors cannot be Sectional Committee Chairs or Fellowship Committee members. 
    • Members of Sectional Committees and ordinary Council members can be proposers and assessors 
    • If an existing proposer or assessor becomes a Chair or Fellowship Committee member, they can remain as a proposer or assessor, but will not be involved in the decision-making process for that candidate. 

Limitations on Fellows nominating  

Fellows can only be associated with two new Fellowship nominations in a given year, whether as a proposer or assessor. 

Nominations categorised below are exceptions which do not count towards this two nominations per Fellow limit: 

  • Candidates from under-represented groups  
  • Honorary and Corresponding candidates; 
  • Existing nominations in their second or third year of consideration;

How to begin: Advice for proposers and assessors

Discuss the nomination. 

Proposers should begin by talking to candidates about the RSE election process and timeline of nomination to Fellowship

  • Candidates should know that election is highly competitive with no guarantee of success, and that Fellows must be prepared to be active in the work of the Society.  
  • Candidates should also know that Fellows pay a one-off joining fee and thereafter an annual subscription. 
  • Measures are in place to support anyone unable to pay, as no one should be excluded from the Fellowship because of an inability to pay. 
  • Review the forms and guidance. 

Look at the guidance set out in the following pages with your candidate before completing the nomination forms. Proposers need to ensure the fullest information.  It is not enough to rely on what is thought to be a candidate’s reputation. Candidates may be completely unknown to the Sectional Committee considering the nomination. The case must be made within the nomination forms. No unsolicited additional materials will be accepted.  

How many times is a nomination considered?

  • Candidates are considered for three consecutive years unless a nomination is withdrawn. 
  • Proposers and candidates will be provided with feedback and proposers will be asked to submit a new updated nomination form in the second and third years. 
  • Assessors and/or proposers can be changed each year, and RSE staff can support this where necessary. 
  • Candidates who are unsuccessful after three years of consideration may be re-nominated after a fallow period of two years. 

2. Shortlisting

August – January

Decision on the number of places available (Fellowship Committee and Council, August-September) Fellowship Committee meets in August to review the total number of nominations received in each sector during the previous year and recommend total number of places which Council approves at their September meeting. 

Shortlisting by discipline: (Sectional Committees, September) 

  • Nominations are reviewed by the Sectional Committee of each discipline  
  • Candidates will be considered by only one committee. 
  • Sectional Committees normally comprise up to fifteen Fellows with a standard membership term of 3-4 years. A call for new members is issued to the full Fellowship, with appointments made to ensure as much breadth as possible (encompassing varied subjects, organisations, academic/non-academic backgrounds and gender balance). Fellows can view Sectional Committee membership. 
  • Sectional Committees are led by a Convener (normally from the existing committee membership) approved by the overall Sector Convener and who has a term of three years maximum.  
  • The Sector Convener or another Fellowship Committee member with nominations experience, e.g. Fellowship Secretary, normally attends Sectional Committee meetings as an observer, to provide advice on procedure if called on. 
  • A briefing session is held in advance of the Sectional Committee meetings for Conveners and members. The guidance notes and advice on unconscious bias are discussed.  
  • Reviewing process: 
    • Committees review the nomination forms, CVs and assessor forms provided for each candidate. 
    • Individual review of nominations is based on the three measures of excellence and the candidate’s potential contribution to the RSE. Candidates are further discussed at the committee meeting.  Members with conflicts of interest regarding specific candidates do not participate in the relevant reviewing and conversations. 
    • At the meeting, the committee agrees on a final ranked shortlist. 
    • Sectional Committee members then prepare short paragraphs summarising the discussion of each of the short-listed candidates, including their strengths, suitability for Fellowship and any key elements of the discussion at the committee meeting. These paragraphs, together with the proposer’s statement and the ranked shortlist progress to the relevant Sector Group. 
    • Sectional Committees are also responsible for writing two sentences of feedback that will be sent to unsuccessful candidates that are not shortlisted, giving guidance for their next nomination. 

Deciding overall sector shortlists (Sector Groups, October) 

  • The Sectional Committee Conveners meet with the Sector Group Convener in one of four Sector Group meetings; 
  • The aim of these meetings is to compare the shortlists within this Sector and agree an overall Sector shortlist; 
  • Excellence is the criterion. 
  • The Sector Convener has a casting vote when necessary; 
  • The priority is to find outstanding candidates for the RSE rather than maximise numbers from any Sector 
  • The recommended candidate names (together with the proposers supporting statement) for each Sector go to the Fellowship Committee for consideration. 

Finalising the full nomination shortlist (Fellowship Committee, November) 

  • The Fellowship Committee is chaired by the Fellowship Secretary and comprises the President, Sector Conveners, General Secretary, Treasurer and two Ordinary Council Members; 
  • The Committee scrutinise the lists and supporting statements from each Sector and assemble the highest scoring candidates irrespective of the originating sector. 
  • A final list of recommendations for Honorary Fellowship, Corresponding Fellowship and Fellowship is forwarded to Council for approval. 

Approving the overall shortlist (Council, December) 

  • The Fellowship Committee recommendations are presented to Council in early December for approval. 

Voting on the overall shortlist (Fellowship Ballot, December-January) 

  • Fellows are invited to approve the recommended new Fellows on the Ballot; 
  • Fellows will previously have seen the full list of those candidates nominated for Fellowship (which is circulated with the ASM papers), and now receive the list of only those shortlisted and recommended by Council; 
  • Fellows are asked to indicate any candidate unworthy of election. All votes treated anonymously; 
  • The ballot is counted in late January/early February by two Fellows appointed as Scrutineers; 
  • To be elected a Fellow, each candidate must be supported by at least two-thirds of the votes cast; 
  • In addition to objecting to a candidate on the Ballot, a process is also in place for Fellows to lodge a concern against a candidate on the ballot. This process is overseen by the Fellowship Secretary. 

3. Election

February – March

  • The Scrutineers’ report goes to the Council meeting in February/March, and the result is announced at the first Ordinary meeting in February/March; 
  • Successful candidates are approached after the Ballot and asked to confirm that they are still willing to become Fellows; 
  • Unsuccessful candidates and their proposers are informed before any public announcements are made; 
  • New Fellows are officially elected as of 1 March of each year and are inducted into the Fellowship in June. 

Election to the Fellowship

Being a Fellow of the RSE and contribute your knowledge to tackling the most pressing challenges of the modern world.
Fellows should have outstanding achievements in their field, high esteem in professional standing, and contribute to society or public good.
Guidance for RSE Fellows and candidates on the nomination form and candidate paperwork. Please read before beginning the nomination process.
Guidance for RSE Fellows for completing the assessor form.