The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London". The Society today acts as a scientific advisor to the British government, receiving a parliamentary grant-in-aid. The Society acts as the UK's Academy of Sciences, and funds research fellowships and scientific start-up companies.
The Society is governed by its Council, which is chaired by the Society's President, according to a set of Statutes and Standing Orders. The members of Council and the President are elected from and by its Fellows, the basic members of the Society, who are themselves elected by existing Fellows. There are currently 1,314 Fellows, allowed to use the postnominal title FRS (Fellow of the Royal Society), with 44 new Fellows appointed each year. There are also Royal Fellows, Honorary Fellows and Foreign Fellows, the last of which are allowed to use their postnominal title ForMemRS (Foreign Member of the Royal Society).
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