Nominate an IEEE Fellow today!

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News and Resources for Members of the IEEE Signal Processing Society

Nominate an IEEE Fellow today!

Sergios Theodoridis, Chair, SPS Awards Board and
Thrasyvoulos N. Pappas, Chair, SPS Fellow Evaluation Committee

IEEE Fellow is the highest grade of membership of the IEEE. It honors members with an outstanding record of technical achievements, contributing importantly to the advancement or application of engineering, science and technology, and bringing significant value to society. Around late November of every year, the new class of IEEE Fellows is announced. Hopefully, you will consider nominating someone this year! Anyone can be a nominator (no need to be an IEEE Fellow, or even an IEEE member). The nomination deadline is 7 February (11:59 p.m. US Eastern Time), and all required information (and an “electronic” nomination kit) can be obtained from Please note that a nominee must be an IEEE Senior Member or IEEE Life Senior Member in good standing, who has been an IEEE member for 5 years or more preceding 1 January of the elevation year. Self-nominations are not permitted. The IEEE and the Signal Processing Society would like to encourage more nominations from:

  • Underrepresented regions (e.g., Latin America, Asia, Africa)
  • Underrepresented categories (Technical Leader, Educator, Application Engineer), as described below
  • Other underrepresented categories, such as women.

Some hints for nominators Each year, SPS receives about 60-65 nominations, and IEEE a total of around 1000 and the number is climbing. About one third of the nominations are successful. While all pertinent information can be obtained from public IEEE websites (see in particular, we would like to give some hints to improve the chances that a nomination will be successful. It helps to understand the elaborate review process. The submitted nominations first undergo a technical evaluation by a relevant Society Fellow Evaluation Committee. This results in a rank-ordering (based on numerical grade scores) of all the nominees and for each nomination a brief essay (150-200 words) regarding the following questions:

  1. What are the technical contributions? These can also be the development or application of products, systems, facilities, services or software. List not more than two, and focus on outstanding, innovative and creative contributions.
  2. What is the evidence supporting the claims? These are usually published papers, patents, standards, developed courses and textbooks. Further evidence can be awards and the number of citations to publications, but can also be news reports, web sites, etc. that discuss the work of the candidate. What is the role of the nominee in the contributions?
  3. What is the importance of the contribution? What is its lasting impact on the profession and the society?  The impact must be actual/evident, not potential.  Who has adopted the contribution, has it influenced other work, has it opened new avenues of research?  Keep in mind that citation numbers can raise questions but do not provide answers.   

The essays, rank ordering and score go to the IEEE-level Fellow Committee. The committee is partitioned into small groups, and the nomination forms are randomly distributed over the groups. Each nomination is then scored on four categories. The Society score and rank-ordering is one category, but it counts for only 25% of the total. The main category is Technical Accomplishment (40%). Since the IEEE-Level groups are not necessarily experts in the nominees' subfields, they will be informed by the Society Committee essays, so these essays play an important role. The remaining categories are the attached references letters from 3-5 IEEE Fellows (15%), professional activities (10%), and years in the profession (10%). From this process, it is important to realize that the majority of reviewers are non-experts on the work of a nominee. Nomination forms should be written with this in mind! Therefore, it is crucial to focus on clear, tangible contributions as well as evidence, and equally important is their impact on society. Clear essays by the Society Committees are very important as well, so please help the committee members by making the required input for these essays readily (and compactly) available in the nomination form. The Society Committees do not see the Fellow-grade reference letters, as these go directly to the IEEE-level Fellow Committee. Thus, these letters should be written to impress non-experts, and also the stature of the referee should be briefly pointed out.  This also means that the nominator and nomination form play a critical role at the society evaluation stage.  In addition, the Society Committees do have access to endorsement letters (up to three are allowed and do not have to be written by IEEE Fellows). Endorsement letters are particularly important in clarifying an individual’s specific contributions as part of a team effort (e.g., in industry) and impact on commercialization, standardization, product development, or education. Finally, while many of us are familiar with nominations related to outstanding academic contributions (these go to the category “Research Engineer/Scientist”), there are three other submission categories with equal recognition:

  1. Educator, e.g., for writing an accepted and widely used pioneering textbook, or for the development of a new curriculum or courses that are innovative or unique (with lasting impact on engineering education);
  2. Application Engineer/Practitioner, for product, process, or standards development, for significant technical contributions in the design and evolution into manufacturing of products or systems;
  3. Technical Leader, responsible for a managerial, team, or company-wide effort using technical innovation, and resulting in outstanding performance, economic enhancements, or other advantages that benefit society.

In each case, the contributions are to be judged on the basis of uniqueness, innovation, and wide acceptance. For the latter categories, it is important that the nominator points out clearly what the individual’s technical contribution was to a group effort. In addition, you should add what were the specific technical contributions that the nominee made, which made the achievement possible.

Please submit your nomination no later than 7 February.  Again the online nomination form can be found at Questions on the IEEE Fellow nomination process should be sent to

There are many deserving members of the Signal Processing Society. We encourage you to help them get the recognition that comes with being an IEEE Fellow.



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