Becoming a Fellow

The Fellows of the RSE are an essential part of the organisation, and crucial to our work.

We have around 1600 Fellows, who participate in the work of the RSE not only by providing advice to government, but also in organising our free public events, assessing research grants, schools outreach activities and business and innovation activities.

In addition to these Fellows, we have around 70 Honorary Fellows, who are of truly exceptional distinction. Current Honorary Fellows include Nicola Benedetti, Mark Walport, Carol Ann Duffy, Mary Robinson and Chunli Bai.

We also have around the same number of Corresponding Fellows, who have attained international standing, and are based outside of the UK. Our Corresponding Fellows help to ensure we are connected internationally, with Corresponding Fellows based in over 20 countries around the world.

Further Information

Fellows, Corresponding Fellows and Honorary Fellows are elected each year. Fellows are crucial to the work of the RSE, and as such it is vitally important that we elect the best candidates each year. Around 50 Fellows are elected each year, together with up to 10 Corresponding Fellows and up to 4 Honorary Fellows.

The deadline for nominations and all supporting paperwork is 31 May each year. Each nomination is considered by a committee of Fellows, expert in that area, and goes through a rigorous five-stage process. The new Fellows elected each year are announced in March.

The RSE is aware of the need for balance within the Fellowship, in terms of gender, discipline, geographical spread, and these are taken into consideration during the election process. However the overarching criteria for election is excellence.

Candidates are peer-nominated by a current Fellow, and have their case supported by two other Fellows. It is not possible to self-nominate.

If a candidate is not successful in their first year of consideration, they are considered for a second and, if necessary, a third year. Updates are requested for these subsequent years.

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

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 to Government on almost all topics.

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

New nomination forms are made available for each deadline. The forms below are for the 2019 deadline; new forms for 2020 will be available in the new year. These forms should only be used for guidance.

All forms are to be submitted by the 31 May deadline.  All forms are required electronically only. If for any reason you are unable to complete the forms electronically, or you have any questions about the process, please contact the RSE Fellowship and Young Academy Manager.

Please find below the forms for the 2019 deadline (for information only).

Guidance Documents


Criteria_for_Election 2019



Nomination Forms [2019 versions ]




Assessor_Form – All categories of Fellowship

Assessor_Update – All categories of Fellowship

Update_Form – All categories of Fellowship