Fellow Nomination Guidelines

Fellow Nomination
Guidelines for Nominations


  1. Nominator - Only a current OSA Fellow Member may submit a Fellow nomination.
  2. References - A minimum of three and a maximum of five. At least one of the references must be a current OSA Fellow Member and only one should be from the same institution as the nominee. The three to five references must be listed on the nomination and each should be contacted by you and instructed to complete an online Fellow Reference form by 15 June. Once the nomination is submitted the references will receive an email with a link to the online Fellow Reference form.
  3. Nominee - OSA Individual Members (excluding student members) who have served with distinction in the advancement of optics and photonics may be proposed for election to the class of Fellow.
  • OSA Award & Medal winners, who are OSA members but not OSA Fellows, are automatically considered for election to Fellow during the next review cycle.
  • The nominee does not participate in the process. To maintain confidentiality, the necessary facts should be obtained from the nominee only if the complete and correct background information is not available elsewhere.
  • As far as possible, Fellows are encouraged to nominate colleagues from outside their own institution. In any case, the nominator should ensure broad consensus of support for their nominee by soliciting references from outside the nominee's institution..


  1. Identify three to five references and request that they complete the online Fellow Reference form by 15 June. They will be sent an email with a link to the form once the nomination has been submitted.
  2. Obtain information on the nominee including professional recognition, employment history, publications and patent list, areas of professional specialization, professional society membership and activity, and other noteworthy accomplishments in science, engineering, industry and public service. 
  3. Write a 25-35 word suggested citation (starts with “for”)
  4. Write a concise and accurate description of the contributions of the nominee describing why he/she should be elected (this is called the narrative and should be a separate document no more than one-page in length)
  5. Log-in and complete the online nomination form with contact information for the nominee, the names and email addresses of the references, the nominee’s OSA technical division, category of achievement and the proposed citation. The supporting material must be in PDF format to be successfully uploaded.
  6. Identify which of OSA Technical Divisions best fits the nominee's work. View a listing of the technical groups under each division.
    1. Bio-Medical Optics
    2. Fabrication, Design & Instrumentation
    3. Information Acquisition, Processing & Display
    4. Optical Interaction Science
    5. Photonics and Opto-Electronics
    6. Vision and Color Division
  7. In an effort to accurately assess nominees in the context of their achievements, nominators should select the one category of achievement that best defines the nominee's significant contributions. The references should be informed of which category you select. The Fellow Members Committee will score the nomination considering the selected category.
    1. Business Leadership
    2. Education
    3. Engineering, Application and Development
    4. Engineering and Science Research
    5. Technical Leadership
    6. Volunteer/Professional Service


  1. Submission - Complete nominations (this includes the references) are due to the OSA Awards Office by 15 June each year.
  2. Review - The Fellow Members Committee reviews the nominations over the summer and submits their report to the OSA Awards Committee and the OSA Board of Directors in late summer.
  3. Announcement - The newly elevated OSA Fellows are announced shortly after the Fall Board of Directors meeting. OSA notifies successful nominees and their nominators by email and/or first class mail. Nominators of unsuccessful nominees are also notified by email and/or first class mail.

Nominations are eligible for consideration for up to three years. Nominators are asked to update the nomination before the 15 June deadline. After review by three committees, a nomination is retired.

Documentation Needed

A nomination should provide the following information:
  1. Name, contact information and affiliation for the nominee and the references.
  2. A suggested citation (25 – 35 words and typically starts with “for”)
  3. A one-page, concise and accurate description of the contributions and/or achievements of the nominee and their impact (this is referred to as the “narrative”). This must be in PDF format.
  4. One or two separate documents in PDF format which do not exceed 10 pages in total and include:
    1. The nominee’s CV or resume with professional recognition, honors, field of study, degrees awarded, employment history, areas of professional specialization, principal professional society memberships and activities (indicate membership grade, contributions to the work of OSA, important offices held, and committee activities) and other noteworthy accomplishments in science, engineering, industry and public service.
    2. A concise list of the nominee’s most significant publications and patents that support this nomination.  

Criteria & Evaluation

The OSA Fellow Members Committee recommends nominees to the OSA Awards Committee of the Board of Directors. The number of Fellows is limited by the Society's bylaws to be no more than 10% of the total OSA Membership and the number elected each year is limited to approximately 0.4% of the current membership total. Due to these limitations, in recent years less than 50% of nominees have been elevated to Fellow annually.

The Fellow Members Committee considers the following criteria when evaluating nominations; no individual is expected to meet all of them. Each nominee is rated numerically on the basis of this information. Overall, the impact of the nominee’s achievements will be evaluated.

  1. Evidence of scientific, technical or engineering accomplishments
  2. Significant inventions, discoveries or advances in optics and photonics
  3. Substantial innovation, creativity, and development, advancement or application of science and technology
  4. Exceptional career as an educator or significant contributions to education
  5. Sustained and substantial leadership to OSA or service to the global community, including industry
  6. Entrepreneurial or business leadership critical in the development or growth of a segment of the optics and photonics industry
  7. Record of important publications related to optics or photonics
  8. Record of significant patents related to optics or photonics
  9. Excellence in product development, advancement in systems, application or operation, project management, process development, or other application of technology
  10. Outstanding engineering application or scientific accomplishments resulting from a managerial, team, or company-wide effort
  11. Confidential opinions of references

Additional Information

If you have questions, please contact the OSA Awards Office (awards@osa.org or 1.202.416.1960).

Access the OSA Fellow Nomination Form