"Academician" (a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering or Sciences) has become the highest academic title of honor given to scientists in China.
A member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering or Sciences, originally known as the member of the Academic Department, is an expert in a certain field. A member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering or Sciences receives the title by nomination. An Academician's qualifications are generally as follows: awarded the second prize of the National Scientific and Technological Progress Award or above. A candidates has to go through about three rounds of voting before becoming an Academician.
The earliest Academicians were elected in March 1948, also known as the members of Academia Sinica. Through several rounds of voting, 81 people were elected to be part of the first session of Academicians, including famous scholars in natural sciences, humanities and social sciences. This election of academicians displayed a nomination philosophy focused on academic achievements rather than their political stance.
In 1980, the nomination of members of the academic department was restored while the Department of Philosophy was eliminated. In 1994, the Chinese Academy of Engineering began to hire Academicians. As of December 2008, the Chinese Academy of Sciences has added more than 1,100 members, more than 600 are living, while the Chinese Academy of Engineering has added more than 700 members, some of which are also members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
There are six Academicians in Soochow University, including one foreign Academician.