The backbone of the Society is its Fellowship, which is made up of the most eminent scientists, engineers and technologists from the UK and the Commonwealth. Fellows and Foreign Members are elected for life through a peer review process on the basis of excellence in science.
Sir John Brian Pendry FRS researches refractive indices and the concept of the perfect lens (photo by Anne Purkiss).
There are approximately 1,600 Fellows and Foreign Members, including around 80 Nobel Laureates. Current Fellows include Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking, Harry Kroto, Tim Berners-Lee, Paul Nurse and John Sulston.
Individuals who are not eligible for election to the Fellowship in the conventional categories may be eligible for election as Honorary Fellows. Seven Honorary Fellows have been elected to date. Before 1996 some Fellows were also elected under the former Statute 12 arrangements.
There are currently six members of the Royal Family who have been elected as Royal Fellows. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is our patron.
Sir Harry Kroto KCB has made a seminal contribution to the understanding of the fundamental dynamics of carbon chain molecules (photo by Anne Purkiss).
Fellows are elected through a peer review process that culminates in a vote by existing Fellows. Each year up to 52 Fellows and up to 10 Foreign Members are elected from a group of around 700 candidates who are proposed by the existing Fellowship. Read the biographies of those elected in 2015.
Once elected, Fellows may use the postnominal FRS after their name, Foreign Members may use the postnominal ForMemRS after their name and Honorary Members may use the postnominal FRS after their name.
Women make up about 5 percent of the Fellowship (download the full list). Over the last 10 years about 10 percent of new Fellows elected to the Royal Society have been women.
A complete listing of the Fellowship from 1660 onwards is available.
Professor Frances Ashcroft FRS is distinguished for her research on insulin secretion and type II diabetes (photo by Anne Purkiss).
Fellows are invited to fulfil a range of responsibilities for the Society on a voluntary basis . Many are members of awards or grants committees, editorial boards, research panels or other bodies that oversee the work of the Royal Society.
Fellows have the right to stand for election as members of the Council. They may also propose or support the nomination of candidates for election to the Fellowship or Foreign Membership and the nomination of Fellows for election as Officers or members of the Council.
The Royal Society regrets to announce the deaths of these Fellows in 2015.