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The Early Career Microbiologists’ (ECM) Forum will be hosting a summer conference for early career microbiologists to hear about research from their peers and network with other delegates. The conference will provide an introductory experience to scientific conferences for first-year PhD students, and undergraduate and masters students in a reassuring, peer-led environment, as well as the opportunity to present for the first time. Abstracts are welcome for both offered oral and poster presentations. There is also opportunity for PhD and postdoctoral researchers to present their scientific research as invited speakers, as well as learning how to chair sessions and judge poster presentations. On top of the scientific sessions, including a keynote lecture from Dr Adam Roberts packed full of career advice, delegates will experience professional development training focused on the issues that matter the most to early career microbiologists. There will be many opportunities to network so come prepared to make friends over posters, a free BBQ dinner and an evening social event. Whether it is presenting your research or advancing your networking and presentation skills, the ECM Summer Conference will provide a unique peer-led experience.

The ECM Summer Conference is taking place at the University of Birmingham, UK.

Thursday 14 June
Microbes and Man
(infection, pathogenesis, epidemiology)

Dr Michelle Mulcahy
Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Caisey Pulford
University of Liverpool, UK

Andrew Bosworth
Public Health England, UK

Sarah Duxbury
University of Exeter, UK

Coffee break
Mastering Microbes
(vaccines, treatments, genome editing/gene expression)

Dr Tara Vollmerhausen
NUI Galway, Ireland

Nicola Moloney
University of Cambridge, UK

Stephen Dolan
University of Cambridge, UK

Lee Sherry
University of Leeds, UK

Keynote talk – My life in microbiology

Dr Adam Roberts
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK

Poster session and reception
Evening networking session
Friday 15 June
Professional development session – careers inside and outside academia

Jennifer Thorley
The Lancet

Martin Turner
UK BioIndustry Association

Ben Libberton

Coffee break
Resilient researchers, successful scientists: developing the skills for a successful career in microbiology

Tamsyn Hawken
University of Bath, UK

Close of meeting



We are delighted to announce the following speakers have confirmed to speak at 'Early Career Microbiologists’ Forum Summer Conference. Further information will be updated here before the build-up to the event so watch this space.

  • Andrew Bosworth (Public Health England)
  • Stephen Dolan (University of Cambridge)
  • Sarah Duxbury (University of Exeter)
  • Tamsyn Hawken (University of Bath)
  • Ben Libberton (MAX IV)
  • Nicola Moloney (University of Cambridge)
  • Michelle Mulcahy (Trinity College Dublin)
  • Caisey Pulford (University of Liverpool)
  • Adam Roberts (Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine)
  • Lee Sherry (University of Leeds)
  • Jennifer Thorley (The Lancet)
  • Martin Turner (UK Bioindustry Association)
  • Tara Vollmerhausen (NUI Galway)

Abstract submission is open.

Submit your abstract

Abstracts are welcome in an topic of microbiology. The poster session and short presentations will be selected from the abstracts.

The submission deadline is Sunday 22 April 2018.

Abstracts should be submitted through the Oxford Abstracts system. Both members and non-members of the Microbiology Society are welcome to submit an abstract. Once submissions are closed, these will be reviewed and you will be informed of the outcome directly. By submitting an abstract to this conference, you are indicating to the session organisers your commitment to attend the event.


Registration is now open.

What's included in your registration fee?
  • An introductory experience of scientific conferences in a peer-led environment
  • Scientific sessions discussing the latest research from ECM Forum members
  • Full access to scientific poster sessions
  • Keynote lecture from Dr Adam Roberts, with the opportunity to discuss research, life and careers
  • Professional development sessions tailored to those in the early stages of their microbiology careers
  • Networking over dinner and drinks on the Thursday evening, as well as tea and coffee breaks
  • Certificate of attendance (available after the conference)
Conference rates
  Early bird rate
Available until 21 May
Full price rate
ECM Forum member £50 £60
Microbiology Society member £60 £70
Non-member £75 £85

Grants of up to £120 are available to support Postgraduate and Undergraduate Student and Full Concessionary Members attending the ECM Forum Summer Conference. Funds may be used as a contribution to any cost associated with attendance (for example, registration, travel, accommodation, etc).

Applicants who require support for childcare or caring costs may also apply for an additional sum of up to £500.

Grant applications will open on 1 May 2018.


Postgraduate and Undergraduate Student and Full Concessionary Members of the Microbiology Society.

What is covered by the grant?

Grants of up to £120 are available to support the costs of attending the conference. Applicants who require support for childcare or caring costs may also apply for an additional sum of up to £500.

Awards are made on the basis that funds are sought from as many avenues as are available to the applicants and therefore are intended as a contribution to the costs of attendance.

Terms and conditions

Grants are awarded at the discretion of the Society and the decision is final.

The support of the Society should be acknowledged in any presentation. A logo will be supplied for this purpose. Grant recipients are required to complete the post-event evaluation survey.

Grant recipients who do not register or do not attend the proposed event will have their award withdrawn and if funds have been paid will be required to repay the excess funds. Recipients are advised to arrange appropriate insurance where applicable.

By accepting a grant, recipients give their approval for the Society to use this and related information in publicity and marketing communications.

Application process

Applications should be made online via Mi Society. All required supplementary material should be provided at the point of application. Full expected costs of attendance should be given in the appropriate part of the application.

Administration of awards

Grants payments will be made by bank transfer within one month of the offer being made using the details provided by members on their account. Errors in details provided may result in delayed payment of the award.

Grant recipients are responsible for their own conference registration, accommodation and travel bookings.

Hints and Tips

This section gives some key tips on how to get the most out of your time at the ECM Summer Conference. There is information on presenting your work, networking, available funding and where to stay overnight.

Why should I go to a conference?

Conferences give you a chance to let everyone know how good you are, and help you get even better!


Presenting your work in the form of a poster or talk is a great way to share what you've found out with others, get fresh ideas on how you can really take your work forward, and looks great on a CV! Learning about other people’s work from their presentations can also give you extra ideas for how you can take your work forward, and helps build a broad base of knowledge. Preparing for either poster or oral presentations can be challenging, particularly if this is your first time, so here is some useful information to help you get started.

How to give a great presentation


How to... give a poster presentation


Conferences aren’t all talks and posters however; quite a lot of your time will be spent networking over coffee, meals and drinks. This can help you find out about job opportunities, give you fresh ideas, establish collaborations, and make useful contacts who may be able to help you out in the future. It takes practice to really get to grips with networking. Have a look at our top tips on how to network like a pro!

How to network like a pro

How should I apply for funding?

One key conference skill to learn is the art of obtaining conference funding. Your first port of call should be the Microbiology Society Conference Grant, which could cover some of the ECM Forum Summer Conference costs. You can apply here.

However, you should also look closer to home. Some universities will have money available for students to attend their first conference, so why not ask your favourite lecturer or Head of School if the university would be able to support your attendance? Supervisors of research projects or summer placements might also be willing to give some financial support, so be bold, but always remember to have good reason for why you want to attend this meeting in particular, and the benefits to you personally, as it’s essential to have a strong case for why you should be funded. Lucky funding-hunting!

Where should I look for accommodation?

When thinking about your accommodation options to attend a conference, proximity to the conference venue is something you should consider. The ECM Summer Conference is being held at the University of Birmingham, which is based in Edgbaston, a largely residential area just outside of Birmingham city centre. This means that it may be difficult to find accommodation in the direct vicinity of the conference venue. However, the University of Birmingham has good transportation links with the city centre, and accommodation close to the Five Ways or New Street train stations would be a very good option. Trains run from these stations direct to the university every 10 minutes, with a journey time of around 4-7 minutes. The area around New Street would be a good option for finding budget chain hotels and hostels.