Election to the Academy

The Australian Academy of Science aims to be a leader in diversity and inclusion in Australia’s science sector. We are committed to supporting excellence in science but we recognise that to achieve this we must celebrate and embrace diversity and inclusion in all its forms. 

More about the Academy’s approach to diversity and inclusion

Watch our videos encouraging the nominations of diversity candidates

As only our Fellows can nominate candidates for election to the Academy, we encourage all our Fellows to nominate candidates from diverse backgrounds from across the nation.

To assist us to identify Fellowship candidates from a broad range of backgrounds, each year we invite over 200 leaders in the Australian STEM and tertiary sectors to suggest candidates to us by mid-June. The Academy’s Champions of Diversity (Fellows appointed in each area of science) will assess the suggested candidates for their suitability for election, and an appropriate Fellow will be identified to nominate the candidate. This involves working closely with the candidate on the nomination, which the proposer must start by 31 July in our online nomination system, with the full nomination submitted by 31 August.

Each year the Academy may elect up to 20 new Fellows by ‘Ordinary Election’ and up to four additional Fellows by ‘Special Election’. In March 2023, the Fellowship comprised 581 Fellows, including 110 women.

The Academy’s Council may also elect up to two Corresponding Members each year from among distinguished scientists overseas. There are currently 34 Corresponding Members in the Academy.

Candidates may be considered for up to 5 election rounds (or until they are elected). The next round is the 2024 election round (opening in July 2023 and finishing in May 2024).

Timeline: 2024 election round

Date Activity
By Mid-June 2023

Candidates from diverse backgrounds may be suggested (in-confidence) to the Fellowship Director by email to fellowship@science.org.au. Please include up to 150 words on the candidate’s contribution to science. The Academy’s Champions of Diversity will assess the suggested candidates for suitability for election, and an appropriate Fellow will be identified to nominate the candidate. 

Mid July 2023

Online nomination system opens for Fellows to nominate new candidates (and to start updating nominations for their candidates who will be considered again in this round).  

By 31 July 2023

All new nominations must be registered by 31 July. To register a candidate, a Fellow must have started (and saved) the new nomination in the online system with this information: candidate’s details (Section A); suggested sectional committee (Section D); and name of proposer, seconder and supporters (Section E).

The Candidate Consent form (for all types of election) may be uploaded (at Section A) by the end of August.

By 31 August 2023 All nominations must be submitted by 31 August. New nominations and updates to continuing nominations must be completed and submitted via the online nomination system by 31 August. 
September to October 2023

Selection committees, known as ‘Sectional Committees’, undertake unconscious bias training and then shortlist candidates to progress for further consideration. Additional independent referee reports are requested for shortlisted candidates.

Early February 2024 Sectional Committees meet to determine the final candidates to recommend to Council. Each committee may recommend up to two candidates if one gender is represented, or three candidates, if more than one gender is represented. 
Early March 2024 Council considers all the recommended candidates and determines the final list of up to 20 candidates for the Fellows’ ballot. Two-thirds of the voting Fellows must agree to each candidate’s election.
End of March 2024 Ballot count by Returning Officer and new Fellows declared elected (all Fellows advised under embargo).
End of May 2024 New Fellows publicly announced.

Kerrie Mengersen in a canoe on a river, holding a VR headset
Professor Kerrie Mengersen FAA, QUT SEF. Credit: Vanessa Hunter

Eligibility for election

  1. Candidates for Ordinary and Special Election must be Australian citizens or permanent residents in Australia, and have an attachment to an Australian research organisation. For recent arrivals to Australia, who are not Australian citizens, candidates should be a resident for the two years preceding the date of the election meeting in early February and contributing to Australian science.
  2. Candidates for Corresponding Membership shall be persons, not normally resident in Australia, who are eminent in some branch of natural knowledge.

Criteria for Ordinary Election 

  1. Scientific achievement: (This dimension focuses on the candidate’s research including the translation or applied impact of that research). Scientific excellence is based on either a single ground-breaking contribution to science, OR a cohesive body of smaller contributions with clear impact. (At least 60% weighting).
    Indicators of impact may include but are not limited to: ground-breaking publications; citation of those publications; ‘textbook’ science; patents; significant impact on practice or translation of the research; or other indicators relative to the standards for each discipline. For ‘applied’ candidates (where there is a significant impact of their applications of scientific knowledge to the invention or development of new devices, constructions, products or processes, or to the advancement of human health, welfare or the environment) these additional indicators of impact should also be addressed.
  2. National and international profile: (This dimension focuses on how others have responded to the candidate’s collective achievements). (Up to 20% weighting).
    Indicators include: invitations to speak; grants and Fellowships; journal editorships; honours, awards and prizes; membership of prestigious organisations or committees; and supportive letters from referees.
  3. Leadership, mentorship, promotion of science and potential to advance the work of the Academy: (This dimension focuses on what the candidate has done other than their own research). (Up to 20% weighting).
    Indicators include: executive and leadership roles; conference organisation; high-level peer review functions; science education, outreach, advocacy and/or policy development; successful mentorship of the next generation of scientists; other contributions to the discipline.

Professor Graham Farquhar AO FAA FRS, Professor Tanya Monro FAA FTSE and Professor Jagadish AC FAA FTSE

The Academy is committed to celebrating and supporting diversity within the Fellowship. Achievement is judged relative to opportunity, taking into account any breaks in, or late commencement of, career. Assessment is done in such a way as to not disadvantage gifted young scientists who have already made outstanding contributions to their discipline. Diversity dimensions within the Fellowship (including gender, age, culture, state and region of residence, emerging disciplines, and interdisciplinary science) will be further taken into-account by Council in considering the final list of candidates.

Criteria for Special Election

Each year the Council may deem it desirable that the Academy elect to Fellowship up to four persons, whose election would expand the diversity of the Fellowship and be of signal benefit to the Academy and to the advancement of science.

Special election candidates will be assessed using the following indicators of merit:

  1. Evidence of sustained service to the cause of science and science leadership, including mentorship, at the highest level and/or evidence of innovation or entrepreneurial spirit through the translation of the results of scientific research that have led to global impact.
  2. Evidence of very high national and/or international profile, including supportive letters of reference from eminent referees.
  3. Potential to advance the work of the Academy in areas of strategic importance to the Academy as determined from time to time by the Council (on recommendation from EXCOM) prior to the commencement of the nomination round. Examples of areas of strategic may include science education, advocacy, policy or international engagement.

Criteria for Corresponding Membership

  1. The primary selection criterion is scientific excellence through EITHER a single ground-breaking contribution to science, OR a cohesive body of smaller contributions with clear impact, as indicated by but not limited to: ground-breaking publications, citation of those publications, ‘textbook’ science, patents, major impact on practice or translation of the research, or other indicators relative to the standards for each discipline. (50%)
  2. Extremely high international research profile, including supportive letters of reference from eminent referees. (30%)
  3. Strength of connection or strategic value to Australian science including potential to advance the work of the Academy in science education, advocacy or policy. (20%)

Nomination for Fellowship

Professor Geordie Williamson FAA FRS

Fellows nominate candidates via the Academy’s nomination system. Information required includes:

  • signed agreement from the candidate to nomination including declaration of research integrity
  • proposer declaration regarding the research integrity of the candidate
  • short citation
  • support from at least four Fellows
  • extended citation against the selection criteria
  • full curriculum vitae
  • list of most significant publications
  • full publication list
  • referees willing to support the nomination

A nomination is valid for five consecutive election rounds/years or until the candidate is elected. Proposers MUST update the nominations for their continuing candidates every year for the life of the nomination. After the nomination has expired, and following a pause of two election rounds (two years), a new nomination for that candidate may be submitted.

Please email fellowship@science.org.au if you have any questions regarding the nomination process (including the eligibility of a candidate or suitability of a referee). Enquiries will be referred to the Secretary for Physical Sciences or the Secretary for Biological Sciences, where necessary.

You are welcome to share and embed our videos encouraging the nomination of diversity candidates for Fellowship and awards.

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