A national academy is an organizational body, usually operating with state financial support and approval, that co-ordinates scholarly research activities and standards for academic disciplines, most frequently in the sciences but also the humanities. Typically the country's learned societies in individual disciplines will liaise with or be co-ordinated by the national academy. National academies play an important organizational role in academic exchanges and collaborations between countries.
The extent of official recognition of national academies varies between countries. In some cases they are explicitly or de facto an arm of government; in others, as in the United Kingdom, they are voluntary, non-profit bodies with which government has agreed to negotiate, and which may receive government financial support while retaining substantial independence. In some countries, a single academy covers all disciplines; an example is France. In others, there are several academies, which work together more or less closely; for example, Australia. In many states they are organized in Academies of Science. In the countries of the former Soviet Union, and in the People's Republic of China, the national academies have considerable power over policy and personnel in their areas. There is however a growing consensus among international federations of learned academies that bona fide national (or learned) academies need to adhere to certain criteria:
- The fellowship is elected, on the basis of excellence, by existing fellows (members)
- The number of fellows is restricted either to a total number or to a rate of accretion
- The governance of the academy is democratic and "bottom up". The fellowship is the ultimate source of the academy's authority
- The academy is independent of government, industry and professional associations. Most, if not all, academies derive some financial support from some or all of these other organizations but this support needs to be given in a manner that does not compromise the academy's independence.
In 1863, President of the United States Abraham Lincoln incorporated the United States National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). The affiliated organizations were granted congressional charters to operate under the National Academy of Sciences. Today NASEM is composed of three non-profit member organizations: the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and the Institute of Medicine (IoM). In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson reincorporated the organization under the National Research Council to foster scientific research emphasizing American industries. The most recent change to NASEM came in 2015 when the IoM was reconstituted as the National Academy of Medicine (NAM).
In the United Kingdom four national academies are the major learned societies of England: the Academy of Medical Sciences, British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society.. In addition, there are the Learned Society of Wales in Wales and the Royal Society of Edinburgh in Scotland.
||Area of focus
||Patron and President
||Hard sciences, soft sciences
||Queen Elizabeth II
||The Invisible College was a precursor to the Royal Society of London. In 1660, the informal committee of 12 philosophers formed the College for the Promoting of Physico-Mathematical Experimental Learning.
|Royal Society of Edinburgh
||Hard sciences, soft sciences, arts, humanities, medicine, social sciences
||Professor Dame Anne Glover as President
||The Royal Society was founded during the Scottish Enlightenment as the Edinburgh Society for Improving Arts and Sciences.
||Humanities and social sciences
||Sir David Cannadine as President
||The British Academy was first proposed in 1899 as the British Academy for the Promotion of Historical, Philosophical and Philological Studies. The name was subsequently shortened and incorporated in 1901, receiving Royal Charter from King Edward VII in 1902.
|Royal Academy of Engineering
||Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh as Senior Fellow
||The Fellowship of Engineering was conceived in the late 1960s under Harold Wilson, and subsequently established in 1976. It was granted Royal Charter in 1983 and renamed the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1992.
|Academy of Medical Sciences
||Biomedical and health research
||Sir Robert Lechler as President
||The Academy was established by a working group chaired by Michael Atiyah.
|Learned Society of Wales
||Hard sciences, soft sciences, arts, humanities, medicine, social sciences
||Sir Emyr Jones Parry as President; Charles, Prince of Wales as Patron
- Albania: Academy of Sciences of Albania
- Armenia: Armenian National Academy of Sciences
- Australia: Australian Academy of Science, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, Australian Academy of the Humanities, Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, National Academies Forum
- Austria: Austrian Academy of Sciences
- Belarus: National Academy of Sciences of Belarus
- Belgium: Royal Academy of French Language and Literature of Belgium, Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature; see also Academies of Belgium
- Bosnia and Herzegovina: Academy of Sciences and Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Brazil: Brazilian Academy of Sciences
- Bulgaria: Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
- Canada: Royal Society of Canada
- Cambodia: Royal Academy of Cambodia
- People's Republic of China: Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Chinese Academy of Engineering, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences
- Costa Rica - Academia Nacional de Ciencias (Costa Rica)
- Côte d'Ivoire - Académie des sciences, des arts, des cultures d'Afrique et des diasporas africaines
- Croatia: Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts
- Czech Republic: Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
- Denmark: Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters
- Estonia: Estonian Academy of Sciences
- Ethiopia: Imperial Academy (former)
- Finland: National academies based on language. The Finnish Academy of Science and Letters (Finnish: Suomalainen tiedeakatemia) is the Finnish-speaking academy, while The Finnish Society of Science and Letters (Swedish: Finska vetenskaps-societeten, Finnish: Suomen tiedeseura) is mostly Swedish-speaking. In the field of engineering, the Finnish Academy of Technology (Finnish: Teknillisten tieteiden akatemia, Swedish: Akademin för Tekniska Vetenskaper) and Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences in Finland (Swedish: Svenska tekniska vetenskapsakademien i Finland) form a corresponding pair. The Academy of Finland is not an academy in the sense of this article, but the state research funding agency.
- France: The Institut de France comprises five academies, including the Académie française and French Academy of Sciences.
- Georgia: Georgian National Academy of Sciences
- Germany: Leopoldina
- Ghana: Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences
- Greece: Academy of Athens
- Hungary: Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Hungarian: Magyar Tudományos Akadémia) 
- India: The National Academy of Sciences, India; Indian National Science Academy; Indian Academy of Sciences; Indian National Academy of Engineering; Sahitya Akademi; National Bal Bhawan; Lalit Kala Akademi
- Indonesia: Indonesian Academy of Sciences (Indonesian: Akademi Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia)
- Ireland: Royal Irish Academy
- Israel: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities
- Italy: Accademia dei Fisiocritici (National Academy of Sciences of Siena), Accademia dei Lincei for sciences, Accademia della Crusca for Italian language, Accademia nazionale delle scienze (detta dei XL); a general and supreme national academy was the Accademia d'Italia during the Fascist period.
- Japan: Japan Academy, Science Council of Japan
- Kosovo: Academy of Sciences and Arts of Kosovo
- Latvia: Latvian Academy of Sciences
- Lithuania: Lithuanian Academy of Sciences
- Netherlands: Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
- North Korea: Academy of Sciences of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
- North Macedonia: Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts
- Norway: Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters
- Pakistan: Pakistan Academy of Letters, Pakistan Academy of Sciences
- Philippines: National Academy of Science and Technology
- Poland: Polish Academy of Sciences, Polish Academy of Learning
- Portugal: Academia das Ciências de Lisboa
- Romania: The Romanian Academy covers the scientific, artistic and literary domains.
- Russia: The Russian Academy of Sciences is the main organizing body for fundamental sciences and humanities. There are also five independent specialized national academies: Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, Russian Academy of Architecture and Construction Sciences, Russian Academy of Education, Russian Academy of Agriculture Sciences, and Russian Academy of Arts. These are government-funded, but self-governing.
- San Marino: International Academy of Sciences San Marino
- Scotland: Royal Society of Edinburgh
- Serbia: Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts
- Slovenia: Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts
- South Africa: Academy of Science of South Africa
- Spain: The Royal Academy is the main reference body for the spanish language. Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Saint Ferdinand covers the artistic fields; Real Academia de la Historia is the organising body for History; the Royal Academy of Moral and Political Sciences covers the humanities; Royal Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences covers natural sciences and mathematics; Royal Academy of Law covers the field of law.
- Sri Lanka: National Academy of Sciences of Sri Lanka
- Sweden: Swedish Academy for language, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
- Taiwan (Republic of China): Academia Sinica
- Thailand: Royal Institute of Thailand
- Turkey: Turkish Academy of Sciences is funded by the government but maintains autonomy
- Ukraine: National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Other state organizations also include National Academy of Arts of Ukraine, National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine, National Academy of Agrarian Sciences of Ukraine, National Academy of Legal Sciences of Ukraine, National Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of Ukraine, Minor Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.
- United Kingdom: the Royal Society is recognised as the national academy for the sciences, the British Academy for the social sciences and the humanities, the Royal Academy of Engineering for engineering, and the Academy of Medical Sciences for medicine.
- United States: The National Academies of the United States include four organizations: the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), and the National Research Council (NRC). See also American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Letters, American Academy of Diplomacy, Academy of American Poets, National Academy of Design.
- Vatican City: Pontifical Academy of Sciences
Within most countries, the unqualified phrase "National Academy" will normally refer to that country's academy. For example, within the United States, the plural phrase "National Academies" is widely understood to refer to the U.S. National Academies.