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Microorganisms play a fundamental role in agriculture and food production, representing a key and indispensable resource that underpins the agri-food sector.  Microbiota in these systems perform an array of pivotal functions essential to system health, sustainability and productivity.  This conference will focus on the diverse roles played by microorganisms in agricultural systems, and on exploring what microbiome research can offer to agriculture. A particular emphasis will be placed on soil, plant and animal microbiomes, their interaction, and on cross-linking expertise across disciplines. An enhanced understanding of these microbiomes will provide opportunities towards managing agricultural systems in a manner that harnesses the natural power of microbes to provide solutions to global challenges of food security, resource limitation and climate change, and towards more efficient and sustainable food-production systems. This meeting will be of interest to academics, industry and government institutions.

The conference will incorporate a methods workshop that will enable integration of skills and sharing of best practice across technical aspects of microbiome research including sequencing and analysis/interpretation of data associated with complex microbial communities in agricultural systems. Leading experts in microbiome analysis will introduce novel technologies and give their perspectives on best practice in a series of invited talks and panel discussion. The methods workshop will be held at Teagasc (The Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Moorepark in Fermoy, Co Cork. The conference will also include an optional tour of the genomic sequencing and microscopy facilities in Moorepark Research Centre.

This Focused Meeting will take place between 1-2 October 2018 at the Rochestown Park Hotel, Cork, Ireland. The methods workshop and optional site tour will be held on the afternoon of 2 October at Teagasc, Moorepark Research Centre, Fermoy, Co. Cork.

Organising committee: Fiona Brennan, Paul Cotter, Kaye Burgess, Sinead Waters, Ewen Mullins, Orla O’Sullivan and Fiona Crispie (Teagasc, Ireland).

Key topics:

  • Plant microbiomes underpinning agriculture
  • Soil microbiomes underpinning agriculture
  • Animal microbiomes underpinning agriculture
  • Methods for exploring microbiomes in agriculture

If you would like to register your interest or have an inquiry, please email conferences@microbiologysociety.org

Follow us on Twitter @MicrobioSoc, @soilmicrobio, @teagasc 

Updates on Microbiomes Underpinning Agriculture can be found using the hashtag: #MUAFM18

Image: maxsattana/Thinkstock.




Lecture View

Monday 01 October

Tuesday 02 October

Abstracts and Posters

Abstract submission is now open for poster abstracts only.

Submit your abstract

Abstracts are welcome in any topic of microbiology. The poster session will be selected from the abstracts.

The submission deadline is Sunday 2 September.

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 by session chairs and scientific committee members 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.

Abstract guidance

Abstracts should be a maximum of 250 words. The Society has produced a guide to give delegates some tips from the session organisers on how to write a great abstract, which can be downloaded below:

How to... write a great abstract (PDF)

Please note that the abstract is the only information session organisers use when deciding whether to accept your work for presentation as an offered oral or poster. If accepted, it will also be published in the abstract book for the conference – so think carefully about what needs to be included.


Registration will open soon.

Registration confirmation

Upon registration you should receive an automated confirmation email. Please contact conferences@microbiologysociety.org if after 24 hours this has not been received.

Visa applications

If you need a letter of invitation for a visa application, we will be happy to supply this after we have received full payment.

The Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform has primary responsibility for Ireland’s immigration and visa policy. For more information on visa requirements for Ireland please see their website www.dfa.ie

Please note that all conference delegates are responsible for their own travel and visa arrangements; the Microbiology Society will not take any responsibility for travel or visa problems.

Payment information

All registration fees must be paid in full BEFORE arrival at the meeting. Any outstanding registration fees must be paid before admittance will be granted to the meeting.


Refunds will not be provided.

Substitutions of attendees can be made at any time by contacting conferences@microbiologysociety.org.

Destination and Accommodation


This meeting will take place at the Rochestown Park Hotel.

Rochestown Park Hotel,
Rochestown Road,
Douglas, Cork

GPS Satellite Co-ordinates:


Car parking

Complimentary parking is available for conference delegates.

About Cork

Ireland’s second city is first in every important respect – at least according to the locals, who cheerfully refer to it as the ‘real capital of Ireland’. It’s a liberal, youthful and cosmopolitan place that was badly hit by economic recession but is now busily reinventing itself with spruced-up streets, revitalised stretches of waterfront, and – seemingly – an artisan coffee bar on every corner. There’s a developing hipster scene, but the best of the city is still happily traditional – snug pubs with live-music sessions, restaurants dishing up top-quality local produce, and a genuinely proud welcome from the locals.

The compact city centre is set on an island in the River Lee, surrounded by interesting waterways and packed with grand Georgian avenues, cramped 17th-century alleys and modern masterpieces such as the opera house.

St Patrick’s St runs from St Patrick’s Bridge on the North Channel of the Lee, through the city’s main shopping and commercial area, to the Georgian Grand Parade, which leads to the river’s South Channel. North and south of St Patrick’s St lie the city’s most entertaining quarters: grids of narrow streets crammed with pubs, shops, cafes and restaurants, fed by arguably the best foodie scene in the country.

Getting there
By car

Please visit Rochestown Park Hotel's website for further information.

By air

The closest airport is Cork Airport, which is just over 7 kilometres (4.5 miles) away from Rochestown Park Hotel. There are no direct buses from the airport to the hotel, but the Air Coach Service (route 226) can take you to the city centre, where you can catch the 223 local bus to right outside the hotel (17 mins).

It is also possible to fly to Dublin Airport, then catch an Air Coach service to Cork Airport.

Find out more on Cork Airport's website.

By ferry

Cork Ringaskiddy Ferry Port is located 13.4 kilometres (8.3 miles) away from the venue (approx. 17 mins).

By train (within Ireland)

If travelling from Dublin: Trains from Dublin's Heuston rail station to Kent Station in Cork run regularly.

If travelling from Galway: There are no direct trains from Galway rail station to Kent Station, but there are connection trains.

Please see Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail)'s website for timetables and more information.

By bus (within Ireland)

Please see Bus Éireann's website for more information.


We have been able to secure a discount on accommodation at the Rochestown Park Hotel. Please see the rates below, available for delegates attending our meeting in October.

  • €117.50.00 per single occupancy room B&B per night

Please use the following code for a discount: Micro18

Social Programme

Drinks Reception and Poster Session

Monday 1 October, Rochestown Park Hotel, Kiltegan Suite

Following the first two sessions of the conference, we would like to invite you to an informal drinks reception and poster session that will allow you to discuss the research with the authors and to catch up with old contacts and make new ones. Drinks will be served in the Kiltegan Suite from 5pm.

Conference Dinner

Monday 1 October, Rochestown Park Hotel, Estuary Suite

Conference dinner will be held in the Estuary Suite after the drinks reception. Three course dinner exclusively for the conference delegates will provide a great opportunity to continue the discussions from the day in a relaxed atmosphere.

Grants and Professional Development

Conference grants

Society Conference Grants will be available to support eligible members wishing to present at this Focused Meeting. Funding is also available for members requiring support for caring costs associated with conference attendance. The closing date for applications is Sunday 9 September 2018. You can apply for a grant before receiving notification about the outcome of your abstract submission. A conditional grant offer can be made without evidence of abstract acceptance if unavailable at the time of application, however evidence must be provided to claim any grant offered.

Sir Howard Dalton Young Microbiologist of the Year Competition

Each year, the Young Microbiologist of the Year Competition recognises and rewards excellence in science communication by a Microbiology Society Member who is a postgraduate student or postdoctoral researcher, having gained their PhD in the last two years.

To enter this competition, applicants must tick the appropriate box during online abstract submission. Finalists will be invited to give a 10-minute oral presentation (plus 5 minutes for questions) at the final at the Society’s Annual General Meeting.

ECM Forum Co-chairing Scheme

The ECM Forum Co-chairing Scheme provides ECM Forum members with the opportunity to be involved in the chairing of scientific sessions at the conference. The Co-Chairs will not receive any monetary value in co-chairing and will not take the place of a session Chair, but will receive a fantastic professional development opportunity to learn about being a session chair from more experienced colleagues.

ECM Forum members who are submitting an abstract to the meeting are asked to express interest in the Co-Chairing Scheme via the abstract submission system, and are invited to provide a statement outlining the following information:

  • Why do you want to be a session Co-Chair?
  • Which session(s) would you like to co-chair?
  • Provide evidence of your expertise in this subject area.

All applications will be reviewed by the Society's Divisions and successful Co-Chairs will be introduced to the relevant session Chair.

Co-Chairs will receive a letter of thanks from the ECM Forum Executive Committee confirming that they participated in the Co-Chairing Scheme, and will be recognised in the conference programme.

For questions about the ECM Forum Co-chairing Scheme, please contact profdev@microbiologysociety.org.

Exhibition and Sponsorship

Exhibition and sponsorship opportunities are available for this meeting. For more information, please contact exhibitions@microbiologysociety.org or download the exhibition pack. 

Exhibition Pack Microbiomes Underpinning Agriculture