Election process

Candidates for RSE Fellowship are peer-nominated by three existing Fellows through an annual online nomination election.

Jump to: Timeline Three stages process Election process and information



  • February 2024
    Nominations Groups meet
  • March 2024
    Unsuccessful candidates/proposers informed
    Nominations Groups meet
  • April 2024
    New Fellows publicly announced
    Nomination paperwork finalised and made available
  • May 2024
    Nominations open (1 May)
  • June 2024
    New Fellows Induction Day (4 June)
    Deadline for nominations (30 June)
  • July 2024
    Processing nominations
  • August 2024
    Fellowship 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 2024
    Sectional Committee meetings
  • October 2024
    Sector Group Meetings
    Annual Statutory Meeting (last Monday in Oct)
  • November 2024
    Fellowship Committee meeting (to recommend candidates for Fellowship)
  • December 2024
    Council meeting (to agree Fellowship Committee recommendations)
    Nominations Groups meet
    Ballot issued to Fellows
  • January 2025
    Ballot counted and new Fellows informed (and asked to confirm if willing to be elected)

Three stage process

The election process consists of three key stages:

  1. Nomination: Existing Fellows submit forms to nominate candidates with the support of two additional RSE Fellow Assessors
  2. Shortlisting: Nominations are reviewed and shortlisted by a series of discipline and sector specific panels to create a final shortlist
  3. Election: The final shortlist is agreed upon by RSE Council, and a final ballot is issued to the full Fellowship for approval.

Learn more about each stage:

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.

Election to the Fellowship

  • 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.

    Read More
  • Criteria for election

    The primary qualification for election to RSE Fellowship are three dimensions of excellence: outstanding achievement, professional standing and societal contribution

    Read More
  • Completing the nomination form

    Please review the important guidance before beginning to complete the nomination form and other candidate paperwork.

    Read More
  • Completing the assessor form

    Please review the important guidance before beginning to complete the assessor form.

    Read More