Learned Society of Wales welcomes 44 New Fellows

Outstanding scientists, eminent academics and celebrated professionals join Wales’s National Academy

The Learned Society of Wales (LSW) is pleased to announce the results of its 2017 election of new Fellows spanning the arts, humanities, sciences and public service sectors.  Election to Fellowship is a public recognition of academic excellence, and LSW Fellowship is keenly competed. Fellows are elected following a rigorous examination of their achievements in their relevant fields.

This election further strengthens the Society’s Fellowship by adding 44 new Fellows to its ranks, including two new Honorary Fellows, the former President of Ireland Professor Mary McAleese and Lord Stewart Sutherland, Baron Sutherland of Houndwood.

The Society now has more than 460 Fellows, distinguished men and women from all branches of learning who are prominent figures within their respective academic disciplines or professions. This year 35% of the new Fellows are female, and of the STEMM Fellows elected, a third are women, the highest proportion in the history of the Society.  Women currently comprise 18% of the Society’s Fellowship, and 25% of the candidates considered for Fellowship in 2016/17 were female.

 The full list of new Fellows can be accessed here

By bringing together the most successful and talented Fellows connected with Wales, the LSW to contributes to advancing and promoting excellence in all scholarly disciplines including providing independent and expert advice to Government.

Several new Fellows are notable not only for their individual successes, but also as inspirational figures for future generations. They include: New Honorary Fellow Professor Mary McAleese who served as the eighth President of Ireland from 1997 to 2011, the first to come from Northern Ireland. In 2016, she joined St Mary’s University, Twickenham as Distinguished Professor in Irish Studies. Also joining as an Honorary is Lord Stewart Sutherland, formerly President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh. Lord Sutherland is one of Britain’s most distinguished philosophers of religion and sits as a crossbencher in the House of Lords.

New Fellows working in Welsh culture include Dr Jasmine Donahaye, winner of the Wales Book of the Year Open University in Wales Creative Non-Fiction Award. She has eight years working in Welsh publishing, including two years as editor of Planet, and is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Swansea University.

The Fellowship also recognises outstanding public service; Sir Paul Silk was formerly Clerk to the National Assembly, the most senior official of the Assembly. He was chair of the Commission on Devolution in Wales and is Honorary Professor at Cardiff University.

In sciences, Professor Haley Gomez is an Astrophysicist, specifically working on supernovae. She is Head of Public Engagement and Outreach at the School of Physics and Astronomy in Cardiff University and is winner of Inspire Wales Awards in the Science and Technology Category. Professor Richard Catlow works jointly at UCL and Cardiff University in the field of computational and experimental studies of complex inorganic materials. He has recently been elected as Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society.

The 2017 election is the seventh in a rolling process towards the building of a strong, representative Fellowship.  The Society’s continuing focus on excellence and achievement will ensure that the Fellowship represents the very best in the major academic disciplines.

Sir Emyr Jones Parry, the Society’s President, said:

“I am delighted to welcome such a wide range of outstanding individuals to the Fellowship this year. This year’s election appreciates scholars who are making a contribution of excellence. They and their work are an inspiration to the nation. Again this year there are more female Fellows elected reflecting the Society’s determination to see merit rewarded.”

New Honorary Fellow Professor Mary McAleese said:

“I am thrilled to have been considered by the Learned Society of Wales. I am a long-time lover of Wales, holidays in Betws-y-Coed, the Black Mountains, Hay-on-Wye, Rhos-on-Sea and nerve-jangling days at Cardiff Arms/the Principality Stadium.”

Election to Fellowship is via nomination by existing Fellows of the Society who are each year invited to submit nominations of persons to be considered for election.  The nominations submitted during the 2016/17 Election Cycle were considered in the first instance by nine Scrutiny Committees. Having considered the advice of these Committees, the Society’s Council drew up its approved list of candidates, which was then submitted to the Fellowship for confirmation and formal election in April 2017.

 The full list of new Fellows can be accessed here.