President (Elect)


The term of this Office is one year as President Elect and two years as President.

This is the most senior position and requires significant commitment in terms of time and intellect.

The relevant extract from the Byelaws (revised 2015), copied below, sets out the role for the President and Vice Presidents.

SECTION XIII of the Byelaws (revised 2015) - The President and Vice- Presidents

      1. The duty of the President shall be to take the Chair at the Ordinary and General Meetings of the Society, and at the meetings of the Council; to regulate their proceedings; to state and put questions according to the sense and intention of the meeting; to carry into effect the Bye-laws of the Society and to represent the Society externally.
      2. In the absence or incapacity of the President, other than at Council meetings where byelaw 15* will apply, the President-elect, one of the Vice- Presidents, or Treasurer, or any Fellow as the President may determine, shall execute the President’s duties.
      3. The President, or other Fellow in the Chair, shall not vote on any question brought before the meeting except where a casting vote is necessary to decide the question, in which case such casting vote shall be exercised.

Ideally the incumbent for the position of President (Elect) should:

  • Have significant management experience (e.g. at Head of Department level) and/or having served as a Chair of a Trustee or Management Board.
  • Have experience of representing a scientific organisation to a wide range of audiences.


* Byelaw 15: At a Council meeting where the President is absent, the President-elect will take the Chair: in the case of the absence of the President-elect one of the Vice-Presidents shall take the Chair; in case of the absence of all these the meeting may elect any Councillor present to take the Chair

Specific Duties:

  • The position requires the incumbent to commit to at least weekly engagement with senior RAS staff on regular Society matters and to be available (by email/phone) to discuss important impromptu (often politically or otherwise sensitive matters) with Officers and senior RAS staff as they arise.
  • The incumbent will be required to represent the Society at the National Astronomy Meeting and a number of external events with other learned societies and professional scientific bodies, government think-tanks, MPs and members of the devolved parliaments and assemblies.
  • During the first year, whilst serving as President elect, and then again during their first year as President, the incumbent is required to Chair the search and appointment Committee for RAS Research Fellowships. This involves 7-8 days’ work and much correspondence by email.
  • As President, the incumbent will be required to Chair the Astronomy Forum (that meets twice a year; this task can be delegated to a Vice President if the incumbent is not an Astronomer or Space Scientist)
  • As President, the incumbent will be required to Chair the Solid Earth Geophysics Forum and the External Geophysics Forum (both of these bodies meet up to twice a year; this task can be delegated to a Vice President (G) if the incumbent is not a Geophysicist.)