Founded on ancient Terra, the Academy of Science in the 621st century is represented by numerous Universities and Halls throughout Humanspace. The most important centers include the massive pyramidal Ancient Academy on Terra, the towers of the Science University of Alpha Centauri on Zán, and the sprawling Institute on Tázkant, the planetary metropolis of Sirius 7.
Throughout Humanspace, the Academy operates as both an educational and social institution, acting to control the development and dissemination of technology. The organization has many detractors, who feel that Academy interference actually limits technological innovations and that a super scientific utopia would be possible without the Academy’s entrenched support for the status quo.
The most brilliant offspring of the wealthiest and most powerful families of the Empire gather together in the Academy to unveil the deepest secrets of the universe. Students and members of the Academy rise through a number of degrees or Phazes. Any number of scientists may rise to degrees below the 14th, but there are only 64 Master Polymaths of the 14th Phaze, eight Arch-Viziks of the 15th Phaze and one Grand Vizik of the 16th Phaze. Admission to the lower Phazes is proficiency-based; admission to the higher Phazes is much more politicized. Typically, members of progressively higher Phazes are more aligned with the ideals and goals of the Academy.
Tuition for Academy training varies between the institutions but averages CR 100,000 per standard year. Dues for post-graduate and other members are CR 1000 per standard year. Scholarships and grants are often awarded by planetary lords to qualified students unable to afford the tuition.
The Academy will license a scientist within the disciplines he, she or it has qualified as long as dues are paid. Licenses may be suspended for ethical transgressions, criminality, and sometimes political reasons. Practicing science without a license is illegal throughout Humanspace.
The Academy provides many services to its members including facilities, protection, education, and access to political power. Such power is great though curtailed by byzantine and often vicious internal politics within the organization. Within Humanspace, the Academy is authorized to manufacture and attune lenses, collect dues, discipline members, issue scientific edicts, and regulate super science and scientists.
The Academy offers a 20% discount to members on the prices stated in the Humanspace rules for instruction in technical and expert skills related to the sciences. Additionally, instruction in super-scientific powers is available and, at great cost, experimental hypnotic teaching devices may be used to greatly decrease the time necessary to learn such skills and powers.
Academy activities may also serve as the basis for an adventure or an entire campaign. The Academy operates research centers on many strange alien worlds, controls a fleet of interstellar laboratory ships, and organizes expeditions to explore the weird mysteries of the galaxy.
Credit to Il Male™ for a vision of the Academy in his Junkyard Alpha Doom post which includes several other great ideas too.