Why Microbiologists Matter: a digital celebration of the journeys of our members’ is a one-week digital event series designed to explore the impact of microbiologists’ past, present and future.

Join the event

Join us by streaming the week’s content, which includes short lectures, panels, training workshops and debates from some of the leading scientists around the world. The events include our Fleming Prize Lecture 2020 and the Microbiology Society Outreach Prize Lecture as well as our Annual General Meeting.

You’ll hear about quorum-sensing communication; palaeomicrobiology; orchestrating gene regulation; predatory Bdellovibrio sp. bacteria; the expanding virosphere and more. Content will range from viruses to bacteria to eukaryotes.

The week’s activities will also span every career stage: from established senior scientists to early career microbiologists and will host the final of the Young Microbiologist of the Year Competition.

The week will include presentations from this year’s Fleming Showcase to celebrate the Society’s 75th anniversary. These lectures are organised by an appointed committee of previous Fleming Prize winners, chaired by Nobel Prize winner Sir Paul Nurse, in commemoration of the Society’s first president, Sir Alexander Fleming.

You’ll discover the legacy of some of the past Fleming Prize winners and hear from both established and up-and-coming scientists in addressing current challenges such as food security, global warming and antimicrobial resistance through microbiology.

Joining instructions for the event are now available

Further information will be announced in the build up to the meeting on our social media channels and you can follow us on Twitter @MicrobioSoc.

Image: Aziveet Halder



Session View
Lecture View

Wednesday 25 November, Morning


The Society’s ‘Why Microbiologists Matter’ week will launch on the morning of Monday 23 November 2020 on the topic of outreach.

Microbiology Society Outreach Prize 2020 

The Microbiology Society's Outreach Prize is awarded annually by the Society to an individual or group of microbiologists who have demonstrated an outstanding outreach initiative.

This year the Microbiology Society announced the winners of the Prize, Sreyashi Basu from University College London and Sanjib Bhakta from Birkbeck, University of London, for their project Joi Hok!

Sreyashi and Sanjib will present their outreach initiative which has helped to educate the public and reduce the disease burden of tuberculosis (TB) in the wider community.

Outreach training: Sharable Science 

Jamie Gallagher, award-winning freelance communicator and engagement professional, will show attendees how to perfect public engagement, tailored to your skills and subject. 

Discover how to create a lasting impression by enthusing audiences, give perfect presentations and work with communities. Whether you are new to science communication or looking to get new perspectives, this session is packed with tips, tricks and strategies for making your science stand out. 

Fleming Showcase

The Fleming Showcase will take place between Monday 23 afternoon and all day Tuesday 24 November 2020.

Alexander Fleming was the first President of the Microbiology Society (1945–1947) and received a Nobel Prize for his discovery of penicillin. In celebration of the Society’s 75th anniversary, Fleming Showcase was originally included as part of the cancelled Annual Conference in Scotland which we will now bring to you digitally in this one-week event series.

The Microbiology Society's Fleming Prize is awarded each year to an early career researcher who has achieved an outstanding research record within 12 years of being awarded their PhD. The Fleming Showcase will be used as an opportunity to formally observe the legacy of past Fleming Prize winners and to examine some of the most exciting science from around the globe.

The event has been organised by an appointed committee of previous Fleming Prize winners, chaired by Nobel Prize winner Sir Paul Nurse, in commemoration of the Society’s first president, Sir Alexander Fleming.

Fleming – five-minute thesis

These sessions are an opportunity for the best early career microbiologists to present their work in front of world-leading scientists, including Sir Paul Nurse FRS.

The week will focus on the influence of both established and up-and-coming scientists in addressing global challenges and will offer an opportunity to hear the legacy of past Fleming Prize winners.

An audience with past Fleming winners

We invite the community to submit questions for our panel of previous Fleming Prize winners, including:

  • Professor Peter Newell, Prize Winner in 1977 (University of Oxford, UK)
  • Sir John Beringer, Prize winner in 1979 (University of Bristol, UK)
  • Professor Adrian Whitehouse, Prize winner in 2005 (University of Leeds, UK)
  • Professor Nicola Stanley-Wall, Prize winner in 2009 (University of Dundee, UK)
  • Professor Edze Westra, Prize Winner in 2020 (University of Exeter, UK)

This is your chance to find out about their research, careers and scientific lives. Chairing the panel session are two members from our Early Career Microbiologists’ Forum; Justine Rudkin and Prerna Vohra. We will also record the event as a resource to share with the community.

Fleming Committee:

This special week series of Fleming Showcase is organised by its own Committee of Past Fleming Prize Winners who have created the content for the day and will judge the 5-minute thesis submissions. The Committee comprises:

  • Sir Paul Nurse FRS (Francis Crick Institute, UK) – Committee Chair
  • Sarah Coulthurst (University of Dundee, UK)
  • Neil Gow (University of Exeter, UK)
  • Andrew Davison (University of Glasgow, UK)
  • David Grainger (University of Birmingham, UK)
  • Tracy Palmer FRS (University of Newcastle, UK)
Sir Howard Dalton Young Microbiologist of the Year Competition

The final of the Sir Howard Dalton Young Microbiologist of the Year Competition will take place on Wednesday 25 November.

Each year, the Sir Howard Dalton 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.

Finalists shortlisted from video submissions by eligible early career entrants who were due to present at Annual Conference 2020 will present their research to compete for the award which will be judged by a panel chaired by Dr Tadhg Ó Croínín, Chair of the Sustainability Committee, and comprising representatives of the Society’s Divisions.

The finalists will be announced shortly.

Annual General Meeting

We are delighted to announce to all members of the Microbiology Society that we will be hosting a virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday 26 November 2020. 

All members are welcome to participate in this event via the registration link to secure your place and if you would like to discuss anything about the event, please contact us in advance at [email protected]

Papers and schedule for the meeting

The full papers for the Annual General Meeting and the schedule for the day are below.



14:45 - 15:00

Virtual meeting room opens

15:00 - 15:20

Welcome and introduction by the Chair

15:20 - 15:25

Minutes of the 2019 Annual General Meeting

15:25 - 15:30

Matters arising from the minutes

15:30 - 15:35

Financial Report

15:35 - 15:40

Incoming and outgoing members of Council, Committees and Divisions

15:40 - 15:45



AGM papers

1. Notice of Annual General Meeting


2. Minutes of the AGM 2019


3. Outgoing Members of Council, Committees and Divisions


4. Incoming Members of Council, Committees and Divisions


5. Society Membership subscription rates 2021


Registration fees

Please note, there is a single booking link for all the week’s activities. For those wishing to register, please tick the specific session(s) that you would like to attend when completing your registration. 

Please see the programme for details of individual session dates and times.

Members enjoy subsidised registration fees at all Society events – both online and in-person.

Attendance for this meeting is free for full Society members. Small charges apply for non-members to reflect the incurred costs associated to delivering online meetings.


One-week series of online event

Full member

Free *full paid membership only

Affiliate member £35



Registration confirmation

Upon registration, you should receive an automated confirmation email. Please contact [email protected] if after 24 hours this has not been received.

Joining instructions for the event are now available

Payment information

All registration fees must be paid in full before the start of the event. Any outstanding registration fees must be paid before any joining instructions containing information on how to access the event are sent out.


Please inform the conferences team if you can no longer attend the event after registering by contacting [email protected]. Refunds are not provided; however, substitutions of attendees can be made at any time.


‘Why Microbiologists Matter’ will be accessible remotely and will use virtual event technology to provide a comprehensively curated scientific programme for the week.

Join the event

Full details on how to join the event are now available.

If you have any issues signing into the platform, please email [email protected].

The Why Microbiologists Matter events platform

Watch our short video below, which provides an introduction on how to get started on our event platform for Why Microbiologists Matter.

Event app

‘Why Microbiologists Matter’ will also include an optional event app. This can be download for free to your smartphone or tablet and it is best used in conjunction with the event platform (that is accessed via your web browser).

More details on how to download the app will be provided shortly.