Who can join?

Membership options

The Company has a number of different opportunities and options for membership.

Admission is open to all, and is only dependent on level of experience in Instrumentation. To see our diversity policy please click here.

Two forms of membership are open to students: Apprentice and Scholar; and a further two to graduates and those working within a relevant scientific field – Freeman and Liveryman.

Note: The terms “Freeman” and “Liveryman” are used regardless of gender and should not be taken to imply that membership is restricted in any way.


These are individuals with established careers in scientific instrumentation or related fields.
Liverymen must meet one or more of the following requirements:

  • be directly concerned in the technology of scientific instruments
  • be scientifically qualified or skilled in the use of scientific instruments
  • be sufficiently senior in their profession to be capable of supervising the work of apprentices.
  • be able to satisfy the Advisory Committee and the Court that they are directly concerned in the well-being of the craft.

Before being admitted as a Liveryman, all candidates must have been granted the Freedom of the City of London (see section 7 on Freedom of the City).

The Company is limited to a maximum of 250 Liverymen.


This is open to new graduates and to those in the early stages of their careers. Freemen are admitted by three traditional routes:

a) Patrimony

Any child, male or female, born to a Freeman of the Livery, is entitled on reaching the age of 21 to be admitted to the Freedom of the Company and become eligible to claim admission to the Freedom of the City of London.

b) Servitude

(i) on successful completion of Apprenticeship to a Liveryman;

(ii) on successful completion of a SIM scholarship in Higher Education, the sponsored scholar may be admitted to Freedom of the Company, initially as a Scholar Freeman.

c) Redemption

On payment of an admission fee by people with an adequate knowledge and experience of scientific instruments but who are not sufficiently senior to become a Liveryman; or are eligible but are awaiting a vacancy in the Livery.

Freemen are expected to progress to become Liverymen as soon as they are eligible and if there is a vacancy.


SIM Scholars are postgraduate students who prove exceptional in their research into scientific instrumentation. There are limited places and awards offered each year and the winners must be nominated by one of our partner Universities. A scholarship award cannot be applied for. Scholars are nominally Freemen of the Company and entitled to attend all our events. See the Scholarship leaflet for more details.


Winners of national science, physics and engineering competitions are invited to become SIM Apprentices. Whilst this is not an Apprenticeship in a traditional sense it does include a monetary award and mentoring.

Current Liverymen can also sponsor Apprentices who have shown a strong interest in STEM subjects. Apprentices are usually at school or college and are about to embark on their A-Levels (or equivalent).

Each SIM Apprentice is linked to an experienced senior Liveryman – an Apprentice Master – who is there to provide support and mentoring from ‘A’ level, potentially through to university graduation. Please also see our page on safeguarding.

All SIM Liverymen, by definition, are senior people in the scientific instrument industry and an apprenticeship gives young people unprecedented access to their experience.

Being a SIM Apprentices are also able to attend SIM functions in their own right at a reduced price.
In addition, Apprentices are eligible for a scholarship of £500 per year for each year of their undergraduate course for a maximum of four years. In return an Apprentice is asked to write a short report (one page of A4) once a year summarising their academic and other experiences over the past year.

At the successful completion of a four-year apprenticeship, Apprentices are invited to become a SIM Freeman and a Freeman of the City of London. A SIM Apprenticeship really is a fantastic opportunity.