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Wellcome-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute

David Rowitch & Ben Simons sign the Charter Book

Last month at the Royal Society in London, CSCI scientists Professor David Rowitch and Professor Benjamin Simons were invited to sign the charter of Royal Fellowship, finalising their induction into the Royal Society. While they were initially elected as Fellows in May 2021, the official ceremony was delayed by COVID-19. 

The Royal Society has been a self-governing Fellowship made up of the most eminent scientists, engineers and technologists from the UK and the Commonwealth since it was founded in 1660. The Charter Book has recorded signatures of new Fellows and Foreign Members since 1665, and every year, up to 60 new Fellows are elected to join the elite group of Fellows, ranging from Isaac Newton (one of the first members elected in 1672) to Charles Darwin (1839), Albert Einstein (1921), David Attenborough (1983) and Elon Musk (2018).

On Friday 24 June, 2022,  David Rowitch and Ben Simons were able to add their signatures during a formal ceremony in which they signed the Charter Book. This leather volume, dating back over 350 years, contains the Society’s eagle crest, the coat of arms, and transcriptions of the Charters granted by Charles II (original patron of the society) and the early Statutes adopted by the Fellowship. In 2019 the Royal Society digitized the book for public access here.

A page from the Royal Society Charter Book that lays out some original goals of the society. Credit: David Rowitch


Upon signing, the newly elected Fellows commit to the following obligation:

‘We who have hereunto subscribed, do hereby promise, that we will endeavour to promote the good of the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, and to pursue the ends for which the same was founded; that we will carry out, as far as we are able, those actions requested of us in the name of the Council; and that we will observe the Statutes and Standing Orders of the said Society. Provided that, whensoever any of us shall signify to the President under our hands, that we desire to withdraw from the Society, we shall be free from this Obligation for the future.’  

Credit: Anon (2015). "Royal Society Elections". London: Royal Society. 

Photo credit

David Rowitch & Ben Simons sign the Charter Book during the ceremony. Credit: Royal Society

Read more

Read more about the work that earned CSCI scientists their inductions here


Find the article by the Royal Society about the 2021 elections here.