Criteria for Election to Fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiology

July 22, 2022

Basic qualifications for fellowship are the following:
  1. Recognition at the national or international level.
  2. Outstanding and original contributions to the microbial sciences.
Excellence in the microbial sciences is difficult to define and will differ depending upon the type of work that an individual performs. The Academy understands that assigning levels of excellence is ultimately a judgment call; therefore, the below criteria serve as a general guide for the reviewers in reaching a decision.

Professional Accomplishments

Nominees will be evaluated on impact on the field of microbial sciences. Impact is defined as the overall (and relative) level of influence or contributions that the nominees have had on the field and on society. Some factors to consider are significant research findings, innovative methods of teaching, respect from colleagues and effort to promote scientific diversity and inclusion.

In an effort to promote scientific diversity, accomplishments will be evaluated in the context of the nominee's specific field or area of specialty.

Publication Record or Equivalent Scientific Communication

The nominees’ publication record (minimum 10 years) in the field of microbial sciences will be examined. Besides the number of publications, reviewers will look for the dynamics of the publications (e.g., consistency, type of publications, level of authorship, collaborations). For non-academic nominees, other publications such as white papers, policy statements, public reports and independent publications should be evaluated as equally important. Some examples of publications are textbooks, scientific manuals, official government reports, society white papers or practice guidelines, curated blog entries, invited reviews or other scientific communications that advance the microbial sciences.

Recognition, Awards and Inventions

Reviewers will look for recognitions and awards bestowed on the nominees by other societies, universities, governments and companies. Where applicable, the nominees should be evaluated for their funding, patents, new drug applications, 510K FDA submissions, etc. Other recognitions, such as speaking engagements, serving on companies’ boards of directors or advisory boards and appointments to lead important functions in government agencies, should also be highlighted. The information helps to validate the nominees’ scientific credentials and achievements.


Reviewers will look for indicators that demonstrate the nominees’ commitments to promoting the microbial sciences. Service may include participation as journal editors or on editorial boards, National Institute of Health (NIH) study sections, grant reviewing for other granting agencies, service on governmental or association panels, professional organization leadership, working with non-governmental agencies, etc. ASM provides many opportunities for service to the microbial sciences, and leadership within those service activities of the society will be especially valued.

Teaching and Mentoring

Reviewers will look for evidence that demonstrates the nominees’ exceptional record of teaching and mentoring. The scope of this teaching and mentoring should not be limited to the nominees’ institutions; rather, it should be national or international in scope with broad impact. Some examples are developing teaching materials or techniques that have been widely adopted, leading programs that engage the next generation of microbial scientists and awards in teaching or mentoring.

The determination of whether an individual has made significant contributions to the microbial sciences should be well delineated in the nominee’s CV and nominating and supporting letters. While the decision on whether the nominee will be elected to fellowship is based heavily on those materials, the Academy Governors also consider additional factors such as nominees’ reputation and publicly available information about the nominees in the review to ensure elected fellows uphold the core values of ASM and the Academy. Learn more about the Nomination Process.

Other Information Unique to the Nominee

The Academy is aware that there are excellent scientists from underrepresented groups who deserve this honor but are less often nominated. Fellows are encouraged to nominate scientists who come from diverse backgrounds (e.g., underrepresented minorities, first-generation college graduates, those with disabilities, military, non-native English speakers, resource-restricted environments) for election to fellowship in the Academy.

Nominations for the new fellowship class will open Aug. 1-Oct. 1. View the fellowship nomination webpage to review the nomination materials and submit a nomination.