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Honorary Fellows

Honorary Fellowship has been an important part of the membership of the Geological Society since it was founded. At the second meeting of the Society in 1807, it was decided to appoint no less than 42 ‘honorary members’, despite the fact that there were only 13 members of the Society at the time. The view was that honorary members of scholarly distinction brought prestige to the Society and also acted as links to scientific progress in their own areas.

With time, the Society wished to extend its connections and ‘foreign members’ began to be appointed, with the same background aims of bringing prestige to the Society and extending its network to gain news of geological progress and happenings on a global scale.

Today the invited ‘honorary’ and ‘foreign’ members are Honorary Fellows, and continue in a modern context to fill the roles originally envisaged. Most are from other countries, with four from the UK. Honorary Fellows are recognised for their achievements and potential, not only in science but as ambassadors for geological science and its promotion to the wider public.


If you wish to nominate someone for Honorary Fellowship, please complete the nomination form below and return to [email protected]. Nominations must be proposed and seconded by Fellows of the Geological Society.

The nomination will be placed before the External Relations Committee, which will assess whether the nomination meets the criteria agreed by Council in January 2009:

“Honorary Fellowship should be conferred on individuals from any country in the world including the UK, who have rendered significant service to science, and geoscience in particular, or who have the potential to render such service from their positions in the wider world; and who by association with the Society send out a clear message about the Society’s strategic aims and objectives.”

If the External Relations Committee supports the nomination, it will be put to Council for approval. Once approved, the nominee will be notified that they are being put forward for election, prior to advertisement in Geoscientist, and will then be elected (barring objections) at an Ordinary General Meeting.

Guidance notes

  • Fellows making a nomination must satisfy themselves that the person nominated is suitable in all respects for the privilege.
  • The expression ‘signal service’ has caused confusion; longevity and good service are not sufficient for a successful nomination.
  • The candidate should have given, and be able to continue to give, exemplary and outstanding service to the geosciences, and in making a nomination Fellows should consider:
    • Will the geosciences community within the recipient’s country recognise the Honorary Fellow’s name and understand, without explanation, why they have received the honour?
    • Will association with the recipient bring benefit to the Society, either in the UK or overseas?
    • Will the recipient understand the honour being bestowed?
  • The nomination must contain a cogent statement explaining why the candidate deserves Honorary Fellowship of the Society. It should also list five recent publications or examples of work done to promote the geosciences, for example to legislators, policy makers, opinion formers or lay audiences, through public lectures, writing, television or radio programmes.
  • In order to avoid embarrassment, Fellows should make no undertakings to persons they intend to propose for Honorary Fellowship.