Becoming a Fellow

RSE Fellows have a fundamental role to play in enabling the RSE to deliver on its mission of ‘Knowledge made Useful’ and acceptance of Fellowship implies a strong commitment to the objectives of the RSE (to inspire, engage, provide expertise and promote) and a willingness to devote time and effort to its work whether at a local, national or international level.

We have around 1700 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.

There are three key criteria against which candidates will be assessed and which demonstrate the excellence we seek. These are:

Outstanding achievement

Professional standing

Societal contribution

The election process

Nominations open in March and close on 31 May each year: The assessment process is carried out from July to the end of November and the final list of candidates is approved by the RSE Council at its December meeting. Proposed new Fellows are then put to a ballot of the Fellowship. Successful candidates will be informed in the Spring.

If a candidate is not successful in the first year, their nomination will automatically be considered for another two years unless it is withdrawn. Proposers will be asked to provide an updated application (on a form supplied by the Fellowship Office) and are strongly encouraged to work with the candidate to do so.

Fellows, Corresponding Fellows and Honorary Fellows are elected each year. Between 50-80 Fellows are elected annually, together with up to 10 Corresponding Fellows and up to 4 Honorary Fellows.

Please read the guidance provided before making a nomination. Any questions should be directed to the RSE Fellowship and Young Academy Manager.


COVID-19 update

We are aware that COVID-19 continues to have a significant impact on many people’s work. We encourage proposers and candidates to explain any gaps, reduction in output etc. so that the Selection Committees can take this into consideration.


Documents and forms

All nominations should be submitted via our online Members Area accessible to all Fellows.

While we make updates to the online nomination system, proposers can use these example documents to prepare the nomination content.

Fellows will be informed as soon as the system is available for 2022 nominations.

The online process will comprise:

  • The online nomination form
  • Upload of candidate’s CV document
  • Online versions of the assessors’ forms

Completed nominations should be submitted by 20 June 2022 (extended from 31 May). If you may require an extension for a specific reason, please contact the Fellowship Team.

The Fellowship Team will provide full instructions on how to complete the online submission process when this is available for use.

A new nomination and/or assessor form can be submitted for each year of consideration (which will replace previous versions). Where a new form is not submitted, the previous version will be considered. Proposers are strongly encouraged to work with their candidate to complete a new nomination form each year.

Please find below the example forms for the 2022 deadline:

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 a wide range of issues and provide advice and expertise on a wide range of issues.

Each Sector Group is represented by a Vice-President, and each discipline area is represented by a Sectional Committee, comprised of Fellows of the RSE, which considers the Fellowship nominations in that area.

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

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

GROUP C: 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

GROUP D: Business, Public Service and Public Engagement
D1: Public Engagement and Understanding
D2: Professional, Educational and Public Sector Leadership
D3: Private Sector Leadership