Annual Conference Online 2021 โ€“ a view from Twitter

Posted on May 13, 2021   by Alexandra Kubiakowska-Welch

On 26–30 April 2021, we hosted Annual Conference Online 2021. This was the first time that the Society has delivered a digital version of our flagship event and here, we take a look back at the event including some key highlights as shared on Twitter.



There was much anticipation in the lead up to Annual Conference Online 2021. With five days of symposia, workshops, forums, offered oral presentations, Prize Lectures from eminent microbiologists, socials and online networking opportunities, there was plenty to look forward to.  

We were excited to welcome members and non-members to join us at the Conference. For some, it was their first time attending!

The online format of this year’s Conference allowed participants to joined from all over the UK and across the world. Many took the chance to familiarise themselves with the digital events platform ahead of the start of the event.  

President of the Society, Professor Judith Armitage, kicked off Annual Conference Online 2021 by welcoming delegates with an opening address and we shared our video in which members share their thoughts on why microbiology matters.

Prize Lectures

We were delighted to host several Prize Lecture talks that took place throughout the week, featuring the significant scientific contributions of eminent microbiologists from across the world.

Scientific sessions

From symposia, workshops, forums including both invited speakers and offered oral presentations, our scientific sessions at Annual Conference provide multiple opportunities to showcase research from both early career and established microbiologists. Here are some highlights.

Sessions featured a lot of excellent science, but also some great scientific Zoom backgrounds… …and some some excellent visual representations of science! Presenters were keen to share their range of surroundings after having presented their research. It was great to also hear positive feedback from those that had attended sessions throughout the Conference. We were thrilled to see that early career microbiologists presenting at the Conference received such positive feedback after their talks!

Social sessions

As ever, the Society wanted to create a space for delegates to spend time engaging with others outside of the main scientific programme. Despite the conference taking place virtually this year, we still had a number of social sessions that delegates could partake in.

Nick Stolerman hosted a kick starter session, which comprised of a series of easy-to-follow exercises, enabling delegates to feel both relaxed and energised, ready for the busy day ahead.

We were treated to a comedy session hosted by ECM Forum Committee Chair, Colman O’Cathail. Delegates also had the opportunity to attend the ‘Fold a Virus & Vaccine Workshop’ hosted by Dr Lizzie Burns. We hosted two networking sessions, giving delegates the opportunity to discuss their research in more depth after poster sessions... …and our ECM career workshop: coping with the pandemic took place, focusing on openly discussing the challenges early career microbiologists had faced over the past year. We also ran a virtual quiz night, hosted by QuizQuizQuiz… …and a session that focused on wellbeing with SMASH London. Dr Maria Boyle also delivered a session titled ‘A light-hearted illustrated guide to the peer review process’ which featured her cartoonist work.


The posters at Annual Conference provide an excellent platform to showcase emerging scientific research related to the talks programmed during the day. Although this year was slightly different, microbiologists from across the world were given the chance to share and discuss their research with others.

We were treated to some fascinating images of microbiological research throughout the poster sessions… …and were very pleased to provide a platform for researchers to share their work with others in the community... …with some delegates recreating the Conference experience again and posing by their poster!

Aspiring microbiologists, break times and feedback post-Conference

We were honoured to welcome aspiring microbiologists who joined in the Conference to learn about all things microbes! And enjoyed seeing that some took matters into their own hands when it came to creating their own Conference atmosphere between talks and breaks! Delegates were well stocked up with snacks whilst taking in all the inspirational research of microbiologists across the world… …and some were inspired to apply microbiology to their baking – delicious! We received some excellent feedback from delegates that joined the Conference... ...and were pleased to welcome some members back to our flagship event. On behalf of everyone at the Microbiology Society, thank you to all who attended, presented and helped Chair and co-Chair sessions at Annual Conference Online 2021. We hope that you enjoyed the event as much as we did and look forward to welcoming you to Annual Conference 2022 in Belfast!