From the President

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05 / 05 / 2020

Our anniversary celebrations began at the start of the year when we launched the Why Microbiology Matters project, after a call to the community in 2018 to ask microbiologists to submit their ideas. This special issue of Microbiology Today focuses on the seven topics submitted and a range of microbiologists have shared their thoughts and research.

The vibrancy and diversity of our community is clearly represented when looking through the answers to the question “Why does microbiology matter?” We are working in areas that impact people at all points of their lives.

Now, more than almost any other time in recent history, as I sit in my makeshift home office looking at an empty street, it must be clear that microbiology really does matter. Due to the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19, we were unable to meet at our Annual Conference. However, we will not lose all of the exciting planned programme. For example, the special anniversary Fleming Showcase day planned for this year will now take place at Annual Conference 2021 in Birmingham. I look forward to meeting you there. The President’s Roadshow will also be postponed until next year. I hope to see you at a future event if you are able to attend one, to share your research and network.

Do take advantage of the opportunities the Society offers and progress your career, promote your science and consider ways to engage with your community by sharing information about your research.

You can do this as part in our 75th anniversary celebrations, by submitting your images to the Microbiology Images project. Submitting your images, so they can be shared with the public and wider microbiology community, is a great way to promote your science and get involved with the Society.

The Society’s Policy team is collating case studies on three key areas (antimicrobial resistance, soil health and the circular economy) for the A Sustainable Future project to illustrate the importance of microbiology in helping to address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Contact if you would like to contribute. The Policy team would especially like to hear from members who have developed interdisciplinary collaborations, worked with industry, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or policy-makers, or those that have made a novel discovery which impacts the SDGs.

As part of our ethos to ensure your research is seen by as many people as possible, the Society’s journals launched ‘Publish and Read’ at the end of 2019. It has been taken up by institutions across the world. Check to see if your institution has the package in place and take advantage of fee-free open access by visiting our journals platform. If your institution isn’t yet signed up, find out how they can. The Society has also temporarily removed the paywall from our journals’ platform until further notice due to the global efforts made to curb the spread and impact of SARS-CoV-2. This should help microbiologists away from their workplaces to access resources.

I would like to take this opportunity to request nominations for the 2021 Prize Lectures and 2022 Prize Medal. The prizes reflect our community so please nominate someone you feel deserves recognition and please don’t assume someone else will. Anyone can nominate. Submit your nomination. The ballot for those nominated to Council, Committees and Divisions will soon open in June. Details can be found on the website.

I hope you enjoy reading this issue. The Why Microbiology Matters topics cover some of the pivotal subjects affecting both science and society and underpin our future research focuses and those of generations to come. Microbiology holds the answers that will secure society’s future, and our role as microbiologists is more vital than ever.

Judith Armitage