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 300 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) assess the suggested candidates for their suitability for election, and an appropriate Fellow is then 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 24 new Fellows by ‘Ordinary Election’ and up to four additional Fellows by ‘Special Election’. In May 2024, the Fellowship comprised 616 Fellows, including 124 women.

The Academy’s Council may also elect up to two Corresponding Members each year from among distinguished scientists overseas. As at May 2024 there are 38 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 2025 election round (opening in July 2024 with the new Fellows announced in May 2025).

Timeline: 2025 election round

Date Activity
By Mid-June 2024

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. Suggested candidates who are assessed by the Academy’s Champions of Diversity as suitable for election will then have an appropriate Fellow identified to nominate the candidate.

Mid July 2024

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 2024

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; suggested sectional committee; and name of proposer, seconder and supporters.

By 31 August 2024 All nominations must be completed and submitted by 31 August. This includes new nominations and updates to continuing nominations.
September to November 2024

13 selection committees, known as ‘Sectional Committees’, undertake unconscious bias training and then shortlist candidates within their discipline area/s to progress for further consideration. Additional independent referee reports are requested for shortlisted candidates.

By early February 2025 Sectional Committees conduct their final deliberations to determine up to four candidates to recommend to Council.
March 2025 Council considers all the recommended candidates and determines the final list of up to 24 candidates for the Fellows’ ballot. 
April 2025 Ballot count by Returning Officer and new Fellows declared elected (all Fellows advised under embargo). Two-thirds of the voting Fellows must agree to each candidate’s election.
End of May 2025 New Fellows and Corresponding Members 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 contributions with major impact in the field. This may be either a single contribution or multiple contributions with clear impact. (60-85% weighting). Indicators of impact may include but are not limited to:  main 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). (10-35% 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). (5-30% weighting).
    Indicators include: executive and leadership roles in science (not just within the specific research area of the candidate); 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.

Since the 2024 Round, more flexibility in the weightings of the criteria for election have been adopted to enable Sectional Committees and Council to better assess contributions of candidates who may not have had a full-time research career path or opportunities to undertake leadership roles.

The weighting of criterion 1 is a minimum of 60% and a maximum of 85%, however, criteria 2 and 3 may also now be adjusted by the Sectional Committee (to range from 15 to 40% combined) with a minimum weighting of 10% for criteria 2 and 5% for criteria 3.

Proposers are not to choose weightings. This information is provided for reference only. The flexibility is for Sectional Committees to adjust the weightings as they see fit given the circumstances as described in the nomination. Normally the weighting used would be: 60:20:20. These changes are only to allow full appreciation of non-traditional career pathways, and any changes used by a committee need to be commented on in the Chair’s report to Council.

Professor Graham Farquhar AO FAA FRS, Professor Tanya Monro AC FAA FTSE, and Professor Jagadish AC PresAA FREng 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 elect 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. Specially elected Fellows will have:

  • rendered conspicuous service to the cause of science, OR
  • demonstrated outstanding innovation or entrepreneurial spirit through the translation of the results of scientific research that have led to global impact.

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. (50%)
  2. Evidence of very high national and/or international profile, including supportive letters of reference from eminent referees. (30%)
  3. Potential to advance the work of the Academy in areas of strategic importance to the Academy as determined from time to time by Council. (20%)

Criteria for Corresponding Membership

  1. The primary selection criterion is scientific excellence through EITHER a single contribution to science, OR a cohesive body of smaller contributions with clear impact, as indicated by but not limited to: significant 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 10 significant publications that have changed the field, with description demonstrating ‘impact in the field’ (rather than the 10 highest cited). If significant impact is across more than one field and the candidate is being considered by more than one Sectional Committee (a primary and a secondary committee) or by the Interdisciplinary Committee, then more than 10 papers (up to 20) would be allowable
  • 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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