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Timeline & Evaluation Process

Timeline and Evaluation Process

June 15 – Nominations due
June 25 – References due
June – August – Fellows Member Committee review period
September / October – Approval of Fellows by the Awards Council & Board of Directors
October – Nominator and elected Fellow notifications


Fellow nominations are reviewed by the Fellow Members Committee, which submits a report, with a list of recommended Fellows, to the Awards Council for approval. Following approval by the Awards Council, the Board of Directors reviews and approves the list of recommended Fellows.

The total number of Fellows is limited by the Society's bylaws to be no more than 10% of the total Membership and the number elected each year is limited to approximately 0.5% of the previous year’s membership total. About 50% of nominations are successful each year and roughly 200 nominations are reviewed each year.

The Fellow Members Committee evaluates a nominee with specific regard to the nomination category(ies), as each category emphasizes different types of contributions.

The following criteria is considered 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 the society 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.

Each member of the Fellow Members Committee reviews ~ 80 nominations and each nomination has at least five reviewers. While the primary assessment of a nominee is based on criteria appropriate for the category of nomination, other contributions are also taken into account to achieve a more holistic evaluation of the nominee’s contributions. As far as possible, nominees are matched to Committee members based on Technical Division selections.

Committee members initially evaluate candidates using a numerical score. Awards staff and the Committee Chair review the results (total score, average score and standard deviation) and develop a proposal for next steps. The next steps and scores are discussed on a conference call. Typically, the full Committee will review/re-review and score a small selection of nominees. At any point in the review process, a Committee member may request that a candidate’s status be reconsidered. The full Committee confirms the list of recommended Fellows before the list is submitted to the Awards Council.

Nominations are automatically considered for three consecutive review cycles. No action or changes are required from the nominator or references. However, it is recommended that the nominator and references update their documents to make sure the information is current. Reviewing our tips for an effective narrative is also recommended. A nomination is retired after review by three committees, but a new nomination may be submitted.

Nominators who would like additional assistance should contact the Awards Office at