The Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina e.V. (hereinafter referred to as the Academy), which was appointed the German National Academy of Sciences by the Joint Science Conference (GWK) of Germany and its states on 18 February 2008, adopted the following Election Regulations on the basis of and as a supplement to its statutes based on Senate decisions made on 17 September 2015:
A. Nomination procedure
The inclusion of new members to the Academy, i.e. the election of scientists, is intended to ensure that the German National Academy of Sciences can fulfil its statutory obligations at all times through its members.
I. Options for nominating new members
There are two different ways to nominate candidates for election.
a) Nomination via the Academy Sections
1. The proposed candidates should have outstanding academic achievements. There is no age limit.
2. Nominations may be submitted by any full or corresponding member of the Leopoldina, and should be in writing, contain detailed reasons for the nomination, and be signed by at least three members, at least two of whom must be members of the Section looking to elect a candidate. Nominations should be submitted to the Academy Office.
3. Each Section sets up a working group consisting of the Section spokesperson, his or her deputy, and usually at least two other members of the Section, so that the Section’s various disciplines are adequately represented. This working group meets at least once a year and prepares, for example, candidate nominations in accordance with §1b of these Election Regulations. In its deliberations, the working group considers all candidate nominations submitted for the Section in question. Nominations drawn up by the Section’s working group should also be submitted to the Academy Office. The working groups should ensure that minutes are taken at any sessions where nominated candidates are discussed. These minutes form part of the election procedure.
b) Nomination via the Member Selection Committee appointed by the Presidium
1. The Presidium may appoint a Member Selection Committee to identify suitable candidates in interdisciplinary research areas that are not adequately covered by the Sections, or candidates who have distinguished themselves through their exceptional commitment to the research system that goes beyond their scientific achievements. There is no age limit for candidates.
2. The Member Selection Committee is made up of the Class spokespersons and one Section spokesperson in each Class who is appointed to the committee for four years by the President, after consultation within the Presidium and in liaison with the Class. The committee is supported by a vice-president designated by the Presidium. The committee may also invite further Leopoldina members to participate as advisors in its meetings, particularly if they are spokespersons of Sections whose areas of research are close to the nominated candidate’s own research work. The Member Selection Committee elects a chairperson and a deputy from among its own ranks. The committee meets at least once a year, or more often if required. It is assisted by the Academy Office.
3. All full and corresponding members of the Leopoldina can, at any time, ask the Member Selection Committee to address certain interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research topics (and also, if necessary, name possible candidates) and identify suitable candidates. Nominations should be submitted to the Academy Office.
4. When required, the Member Selection Committee initiates the relevant nominations, which must be supported by at least three Leopoldina members. Every nomination includes a curriculum vitae, a nomination statement, and an overview of five to ten of the candidate’s most important publications. As a rule, the committee commissions expert opinions (including from abroad) for each candidate who is to be nominated. The Academy Office assists the Member Selection Committee in this task.
5. The Member Selection Committee submits its nominations to the Presidium. All nominations must be supported by the majority of the committee members in a secret ballot vote. The outcomes of all meetings must be documented.
II. The Academy’s electoral capacity
a) In consultation with the Senate, the Presidium determines the number of full members under the age of 75 in each Class (benchmark). Once a member turns 75, his or her position is vacated and can be assigned to someone else. The rights of those members are not affected.
b) A maximum of five candidates nominated by the Member Selection Committee can be elected each year.
c) A member may apply to be relieved of his or her duties for a limited or unlimited period of time. The Presidium decides on the outcome of such applications. All voting rights and all duties then expire. If a member is permanently released from his or her duties, his or her position becomes vacant for a new member.
B. Election procedure
The election procedure is based on the results of member voting (evaluation) in the Sections (First Reading). The nominated candidates and the results of the First Reading are then discussed in the respective Class sessions, which rank candidates in order of preference (Second Reading). The ballot takes place in the Presidium, which is extended for this purpose to include the responsible Class spokesperson and the responsible Section spokesperson, both of whom have a vote (Third Reading). Nominations submitted by the Member Selection Committee are discussed directly in the Third Reading.
I. First Reading
a) The Section spokesperson compiles the nominations submitted to and discussed by the Section working group into a list of nominated candidates. This list includes an appendix with each candidate’s curriculum vitae, reasons for nomination, and nomination statements, as well as an overview of their five to ten most important publications. The list and appendix are sent to all full and corresponding members of the Sections along with a form for written evaluation.
b) The members of a Section evaluate the candidates (First Reading) using a points system, and provide reasons for their decisions:
Abstentions are not permitted.
Within the stipulated period, members return their evaluation forms, which are treated confidentially, to the Academy Office along with a statement giving the reasons for their votes. The votes and statements are collected by the election secretariat. The forms are treated as highly confidential and are only available in their original form to the election secretariat, the President, the Class secretary and the relevant Section spokesperson. The election secretariat provides the Section spokespersons and their deputies, the Class spokesperson and his or her deputy, and the members of the Presidium with an overview showing the average voting scores, their distribution, and any statements, which are presented anonymously.
Candidates may only be considered for the Second Reading if two thirds of all the members of a Section who have not reached the age of 75 have voted.
c) Each Section spokesperson draws up a list ranking the candidates in order according to the Section members’ evaluations, and sends it each year to the responsible Presidium member along with his or her comments.
d) The responsible Presidium member or the Presidium can also obtain expert advice from members outside the voting Section and from non-members.
II. Second Reading
a) The Section spokespersons present the nominations and a report on the outcome and circumstances of the election procedure so far to the Class session. All the relevant Section spokespersons and their deputies attend the Class session, which is chaired by the elected Class spokesperson, or by his or her deputy in the event that he or she is unable to attend. The responsible member of the Presidium and an associate from the Academy Office are invited to the Class sessions as guests. Minutes must be taken at the Class session.
b) Appendix I of these Election Regulations shows how the Sections are assigned to the Classes.
c) All the candidates are discussed during the Class session. They are ranked in order, based on the number of places available and in consideration of how scientific specialisations should best be spread across the relevant Section and Class. The final vote, which is also possible in blocks, is a secret ballot. Each Section has one vote (if several spokespersons of a Section are present, they should decide in advance who will cast the vote). Sections that do not send a spokesperson to the Class session may not vote.
d) All Sections may be members of a second Class. In this case, they cannot vote and may only contribute in an advisory capacity.
III. Electoral session (Third Reading)
a) Electoral procedure
1. The Presidium normally holds an extended session for each Class once a year to decide on the election of the individual candidates nominated by the relevant Class. The Presidium may obtain expert advice if necessary. Furthermore, the Presidium normally holds an extended session once a year to decide on the election of the candidates nominated by the Member Selection Committee.
2. After discussing all the candidates for a particular Section and those nominated by the Member Selection Committee, the Presidium votes on these candidates in a joint ballot.
3. During the electoral session with the Member Selection Committee, the chairperson of the Member Selection Committee and his or her deputy bring forth the considerations and votes of the committee. All other members of the Member Selection Committee are invited to attend the session as guests.
4. Voting on each candidate takes place in secret. During the vote, each member must decide whether to elect, reject or defer (yes/no) each candidate. In order to be elected, a candidate requires positive votes from two thirds of the eligible voters present.
5. The following individuals are entitled to vote: the members of the Presidium, the responsible Class spokesperson (or his/her deputy or a member of the Sections in the relevant Class) and the responsible Section spokesperson for the Section that the candidate would join if elected (or his/her deputy or another member of the relevant Section), or the chairperson of the Member Selection Committee and his/her deputy (or other members of the Member Selection Committee as their spokespersons).
6. The extended Presidium has a quorum when at least seven members of the Presidium, and a representative of the relevant Section or a representative of the Member Selection Committee are present.
7. At least six of the seven or more Presidium members present must vote for a candidate in order for his or her election to be valid. Abstentions are not permitted. Where possible, the responsible Class spokesperson and the Section spokesperson or their deputies or the chairperson of the Member Selection Committee and his/her deputy should be present at the session.
b) Notification of election results
The President writes to the elected candidates to inform them of their election, to explain in detail the aims, structures and tasks of the Leopoldina, to ask them if they are prepared to play an active role in achieving the Academy’s goals, and to find out which Section they would like to join.
c) Completion of the election process
The election is complete when a candidate agrees in writing to accept membership and to work for the benefit of the Academy. The Class spokesperson, the Section spokesperson, the nominating persons and the members of the Section are informed of the result. If the successful candidate was originally nominated by the Member Selection Committee, it must also be informed of the result.
If necessary, the Presidium can address any technical or administrative details in specific guidelines on the election procedure.
1. All full and corresponding members of a Section elect a spokesperson for their Section in a secret written ballot, which is usually conducted by post. All full members are eligible for election and may be re-elected once, regardless of their age. Section spokespersons are elected for a term of four years.
2. The responsible member of the Presidium initiates the voting procedure by writing to all of the members of the Section, explaining the need for the election. Enclosed with the letter is a ballot paper with a list of the Section members running for election.
3. Each Section member elects his or her preferred Section spokesperson from the list by clearly marking this candidate’s name on the ballot paper and returning the paper to the Academy Office within four weeks. The candidate with the highest number of votes is elected Section spokesperson. If two or more candidates receive the same number of votes, the Presidium makes the final decision. The Presidium is responsible for supervising the election, checking that it complies with the relevant regulations, and appointing the Section spokesperson at the end of the process.
4. The Deputy Section spokesperson is elected in a second ballot following the procedure outlined in §2(3).
1. Each Section is assigned to a Class in accordance with its subject area (see Appendix 1 of these Election Regulations). The Class is the organisational unit that brings together the Section spokespersons and their deputies once a year for the Second Reading, where they rank the nominations for new members agreed by the Sections in the First Reading.
2. All of the Section spokespersons from a Class and their deputies elect, from among the members of the Sections in their Class, a Class spokesperson in a secret written ballot, which is usually conducted by post. Class spokespersons are elected for a term of four years and may be re-elected once.
3. Sections may belong to two Classes, but are only entitled to vote in one.
4. The responsible member of the Presidium initiates the voting procedure by sending the list of candidates on a ballot paper (see §3(2)). Votes are cast by clearly marking the preferred candidate’s name on the ballot paper and returning the paper to the Academy Office within four weeks. The candidate with the highest number of votes is elected Class spokesperson. If two or more candidates receive the same number of votes, the Presidium makes the final decision. The Presidium is responsible for supervising the election, checking that it complies with the relevant regulations, and appointing the Class spokesperson at the end of the process. The Deputy Class spokesperson is elected in a second ballot in the same manner.
1. The Academy has a Regional Section in both Austria and Switzerland.
2. Members of each Regional Section elect a full member from their region as the Regional head in a secret written ballot, which is usually conducted by post. Prior to the vote, the Presidium obtains the consent of the members eligible for election that they will accept office should they be elected.
3. Regional heads and their deputies are elected in the same way as Section spokespersons (see §2 of these Election Regulations).
1. In accordance with §7(1) of the Academy’s statutes, members elect Section spokespersons (1a) and Regional heads (1b) as members of the Senate in accordance with §2 and §4 of these Election Regulations respectively. The other senators (1c) are elected by the Senate for a term of four years on the recommendation of the Presidium and may be re-elected once.
2. Five of this last group of Senators - as representatives of the scientific community - and another five ex-officio - as Presidium representatives of the following institutions - have a seat and voting rights in the Academy’s Senate:
3. The elected Section spokesperson also serves as Senator.
4. The two Regional heads for Austria and Switzerland also serve as Senators.
1. The Senate formed in accordance with §7 of the Academy’s statutes and §5 of these Election Regulations elects the Presidium according to §6(1) of the Academy’s statutes. All full members may be elected, regardless of their age. Presidium members are elected for a term of five years and may be re-elected once.
2. The election of the President and Vice-Presidents is prepared by a Presidium Selection Committee, which is appointed by the Presidium.
The Presidium Selection Committee comprises:
Every Senator and every member of the Presidium is entitled to nominate candidates.
Nominations are submitted to the Presidium Selection Committee, which then prepares a nomination and sends it in written form to the members of the Senate in good time before the ballot. Each seat on the Presidium is subject to a separate ballot. Block voting is not permitted.
3. The Presidium serves as the Presidium Selection Committee for the other Presidium members.
4. The ballot is managed by an electoral commission comprised of three members, who are appointed ad hoc by the Senate. The Senate has a quorum if more than half of the Senators are present for the ballot (or take part by post). A candidate is elected if he or she receives over half of the votes. If none of the candidates receive over half of the votes, a second ballot is held to decide between the two candidates who received the most votes in the first ballot. The candidate who gains a simple majority in this vote is elected. If there is a parity of votes, lots are drawn.
Membership is terminated in case:
1. The death of a member
2. A member informing the President in writing of his or her withdrawal from the Academy
(The President is entitled to make enquiries to ascertain whether or not the member is leaving the Academy of his or her own free will.)
3. Expulsion from the Academy
Expulsion proceedings may only be initiated against a member if at least ten members apply to the President for a member’s expulsion and give detailed reasons for this request in writing. The President is required to assess the circumstances. He or she should obtain a written statement from the responsible Section spokesperson and, if relevant, the Regional head. The President then presents the matter to the Presidium, which assesses whether and to what extent the Academy has suffered damage. The member in question should make a written or, if he or she prefers, verbal statement to the Presidium to explain his or her position. If the majority of the Presidium members agree that there are sufficient grounds for expulsion, the Presidium forwards the application and the detailed reasons for it to the Senate. In accordance with §7(1) of the Academy’s statutes, the Senate then rules on the expulsion on the basis of a simple majority in a written ballot. This decision is final and appeals may not be lodged.
These Election Regulations were adopted following a decision by the Senate on 27 November 2015 and replace the previous Election Regulations of 19 September 2013.
Sections in each of the four Classes
No. Name of Section
5. Earth Sciences
27. Engineering Sciences
6. Agricultural and Nutritional Sciences
8. Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
9. Genetics / Molecular Biology and Cell Biology
10. Biochemistry and Biophysics
13. Microbiology and Immunology
14. Human Genetics and Molecular Medicine
15. Physiology and Pharmacology / Toxicology
11. Anatomy and Anthropology
12. Pathology and Forensic Medicine
16. Internal Medicine and Dermatology
17. Surgery, Orthopaedics and Anaesthesiology
18. Gynaecology and Paediatrics
20. Ophthalmology, Oto‐Rhino‐Laryngology and Stomatology
22. Veterinary Medicine
23. History of Science and Medicine
25. Economics and Empirical Social Sciences
26. Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
28. Cultural Sciences
Election Regulations of the Leopoldina as PDF (as of 17 September 2015):