From the President

Issue: Fungal diseases

09 February 2016 article

A Happy New Year to all of you. This is my first ‘From the President’ message. The format of this column is short so I am going to have to reign in much of my natural inclinations to tell you how excited I am to have the honour of acting as your spokesperson for the next three years. Some, but not all, of you know that I am a eukaryotic microbiologist, but I do have very broad tastes in microbiology. I hope to convince people by my actions that my approach will be team-based – and as far as I am concerned we, as Society members, are all parts of the same microbiology team.

Good teamwork is based on good communication and a sense of belonging to something that is greater than the individual. So my open plea is to ask you to contribute to the discussion and the future of our Society.

There are a number of Society initiatives I am particularly enthusiastic about. In a previous role at another society I put my shoulder behind establishing a powerful new forum for members at the early stages of their career. We were rewarded for this in many ways – increased membership, better, more appropriate decision-making, engagement with members at an earlier stage, and investment in the society’s future and sustainability. It is therefore gratifying to take up office at a time when the Microbiology Society has already started to create the Early Career Microbiologists’ (ECM) Forum.

This Forum will be involved in activities to ensure that matters of importance to early career microbiologists are fully embedded and addressed across the Society, from our journals through to the conferences programme. From January 2016 everyone from a qualifying membership constituency will be invited to join – if you have not received an invite but feel you qualify, please let us know. Be clear about this – the Forum will entrust considerable power and influence in our early career members in framing the future of our Society. To find out more about the initiative, please read Peter Cotgreave’s comments in the ‘From the Chief Executive’ article.

The Society has redrafted its strategic vision to ensure it is fit for purpose and is relevant, succinct and clear. This vision remains faithful to the original remit for the Society, set out by Alexander Fleming to promote microbiology and the interactions between microbiologists, but like the microbes we study, it is also constantly evolving. We have refined four strategic pillars: International, Membership, Engagement and Knowledge Transfer, and Sustainability. Within that frame our strategic priorities remain largely unchanged and we will use our collective expertise to ensure that our resources stimulate research, public awareness and policy-making as effectively as possible.

In this context the theme of this issue is ‘Fungal Diseases’. To coincide, the Society will be publishing a briefing on serious Human Fungal Diseases that will be distributed to parliamentarians and policy-makers.

My personal congratulations to the winners of the Annual Conference 2016 prizes, all of whom will be giving their Prize Lectures at our Annual Conference, which takes place in Liverpool from 21 to 24 March – more details about the winners can be found in the News section and on the Society’s website. The Conference will also host other outstandingly interesting microbiological presentations and there is still ample opportunity to contribute to the meeting via an offered paper or poster presentation. Delegates can register online and read the Conferences pages in this issue to find out more about what’s planned for the Annual Conference and the Society’s 2016 Focused Meetings.

The Society runs elections each year for positions on its Council, Committees and Divisions (and the new ECM Forum). Being part of these governing bodies gives members the opportunity to influence the decisions and direction of the Society, and to contribute to the fantastic projects and activities the Society produces in support of the microbiology community. Please go to our website for a list of openings, and help our determination to get full engagement from our members by nominating those who would like to make a contribution to the running of the Society.


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