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New Science Society Members

The UK Royal Society announced its new fellows this week, and among those chosen are Ewan Birney of EMBL-EBI, Julian Parkhill from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Centre, and John Dick at the University of Toronto. Sally Davies, the chief medical officer of England, was also selected.

Only 14 percent of this new class of fellows, though, is female, notes the Nature News Blog. By contrast, it adds that 21 percent of the new members of the US National Academy of Sciences is female.

The Royal Society tells the Nature News Blog that the percentage of women selected roughly reflects its pool of nominees; women made up 14 percent of new 2014 nominations and 11 percent of the total pool of candidates — once someone is nominated, the name stays on the list of candidates for seven years. The NAS process, it adds, is kept confidential.

However, the Nature News Blog notes that the Royal Society is aware of the problem. In 2012 through 2013, the society had a program called ‘Mobilising Research Fellows’ to help increase the diversity of nominees, and in 2013 had four ‘Temporary Nominating Groups’ to focus on areas underrepresented by fellows, including women and industry.

And among the new NAS fellows working in genomics and related fields are Ed Buckler at Cornell University, Boston University's James Collins, the Broad Institute's Vamsi Mootha, and Cynthia Burrows at the University of Utah.