The Academy of the Social Sciences comprises social scientists in Australia who have achieved distinction in one or more branches of the social sciences. Such distinction is not restricted to social scientists holding academic posts and includes practitioners who have made a distinguished contribution to public policy. Fellows are recognised nationally and internationally for their very high level of distinction.
Election to the Academy is normally for social scientists who hold Australian citizenship or permanent resident status and hold an appointment in Australia. It is the intention of the Academy that an individual is nominated for Fellowship in recognition of a significant contribution they have made to the social sciences in Australia.
The Academy determines the size of its membership and the number of new Fellows it seeks to admit each year. The Academy invites each year from its Fellows nominations for the election of new Fellows. In most years significantly more candidates are nominated than succeed in being elected to Fellowship.
The Academy sets high standards for election and exacting procedures for the election process. Consequently, the steps in the process are lengthy but essential. The Academy strives to ensure that the nomination procedures are well understood by both candidates and Fellows so that the complete documentation in support of nominees is submitted correctly and considered fully, and that Fellows can be assured that the procedures are fair, comprehensive, and timely.
Fellows of the Academy are chosen by their peers. They must first be nominated by, and on the initiative of, three current Fellows. Their nomination is then assessed within the structures of the Academy. There is no scope for self-nomination, for nomination by individuals who are outside the Academy, or for nominations by institutions. (Nor is it appropriate for individuals seeking nomination to approach Fellows requesting that they nominate them.)
There are three paths to election – Standard Entry Nomination; Honorary Fellow Nomination; and Direct Entry Nomination.
Standard Entry Nomination
Standard Entry Nomination is the normal entry pathway for new Fellows. Election of a social scientist to fellowship of the Academy is a lengthy and rigorous process designed to ensure that the elections are thorough and fair.
Nominations are called for only from Fellows in July and, together with supporting documentation, must be submitted by 30 November annually, signed by a proposer and two seconders, all of whom must be Fellows of the Academy. Included on the nomination form is an indication of the Panel to which the candidate will belong if elected to the Academy.
In January/February, Panel Ballots are conducted wherein Fellows in each of the Panels have an opportunity to indicate their level of support for the election of candidates nominated to their Panel.
The Panel Committees meet in March and, with the results of the Panel Ballot to hand, draw up a short-list of candidates for consideration by the Membership Committee. In April the Membership Committee reviews all nominees and determines any additional nominees from each Panel, beyond the recommendations of the Panel Committee, for short-listing.
The secretariat writes to distinguished social scientists, overseas and in Australia, who have been selected by Panel Committees as appropriate independent assessors, requesting assessor reports on all short-listed candidates.
In July/August the Academy’s Membership Committee meets, considers documentation on each of the candidates recommended by the Panel Committees, including written reports from independent assessors and draws up a short-list of candidates whose nominations they recommend proceed to a General Ballot.
In August the nominations of candidates recommended by the Membership Committee are subject to an online vote (the General Ballot) of all Academy Fellows. A majority of fifty percent of total membership or seventy-five percent of those voting is required to secure a candidate’s election.
New Fellows are inducted into the Academy in November, at the time of the Academy’s Annual Symposium, Dinner and Annual General Meeting.
Honorary Fellow Nominations
The Academy’s Constitution provides for the election of Honorary Fellows on the unanimous recommendation of the Executive Committee and a majority of Fellows present at a General Meeting of the Academy. The recommendation may specify a period of Honorary Fellowship or admit the candidate to Honorary Fellowship with no time limit.
Fellows wishing to put forward a distinguished person for Honorary Fellowship should contact the President.
Direct Entry Nominations
Where Fellows have identified candidates who are qualified, but who do not fit within the scope and definition of the existing Panel structure, the Academy may wish to consider for Fellowship such individuals under the “Direct Entry” path.
Fellows who wish to nominate a candidate through the Direct Entry path must seek and obtain the prior written approval of the Academy President.
The nomination (on the Standard Entry nomination form) must be submitted by 30 November.
The President consults with the relevant Panel Chair to identify three independent assessors who may be contacted.
Although not included in Panel Ballots, Direct Entry nominations are subject to the same level of scrutiny by the Membership Committee as Standard Entry nominations and require a determination by the Membership Committee of the candidate’s suitability prior to inclusion in the General Ballot.
The full Fellowship Nomination and Election Procedure can be found under the Forms and Guidelines section of the Fellows Login Area.