From the President

Issue: Natural Products and Drug Discovery

05 November 2019 article

My tenure as President is taking place as the Society turns 75, and it promises to be a year to remember. The Society’s Annual Conference will be in the beautiful city of Edinburgh in 2020. Annual Conference 2020 will be preceded by the Fleming Showcase, a celebration of microbiological science with eminent scientists speaking and discussing key topics in the field.

The event will also focus on the future of microbiology and early career researchers will be presenting their work. Abstract submission for Annual Conference 2020 is open online until Monday 9 December, so do remember to submit your abstract to ensure you are part of the event. You can also book to attend the Annual Conference 2020 and the Fleming Showcase.

There have been a number of submissions for the 75th anniversary Microbiology Images project, including my own, showing the position of proteins. Images can be easier to share and help explain the context of research; they can inspire and engage people who may not know how intricate and visually stunning microbes can be, or how science is done. We would also like to capture the wider context of your research and welcome submissions in the following categories: people, science, nature, places, laboratories. The images will be shared throughout 2020 to showcase the work of members and the microbiology community, to introduce other microbiologists and the wider public to your research and the field of microbiology.

We will also launch the Why Microbiology Matters project in 2020, based on the submissions from the microbiology community. We asked the community to submit a nomination for a discovery or event that showcases microbiology and its impact in the past, the present and what current findings could lead to. These areas of research will be published throughout 2020.

I am looking forward to the upcoming Roadshow events in Plymouth and Reading this month, having hosted successful events in Leeds and Newcastle earlier this year, and in Dublin a few weeks ago. I believe some of the best science comes from unexpected collaborations. I hope to encourage as many microbiologists as possible, not necessarily just members, to come together locally to foster new connections, and, with the support of Society staff, encourage more engagement in Society activities. I know from the 2018 Membership Survey that localness is important to the membership and building collaborations is a key element of science research. By attending one of the events you will also enable me to understand what else the Society might be able to do to support you. There will also be further Roadshow events during 2020 as part of our anniversary celebrations and I am looking forward to the opportunity to host these in new locations.

We would also like to welcome more members, from across the UK and Ireland, to take an active role in the Society to help shape what we do. The Society needs your voice and welcomes and encourages members to become Society Champions, submit proposals for Annual Conference and Focused Meetings and consider how they would like to progress their professional development by taking an active role in groups such as the Early Career Microbiologists’ Forum.

As my first year as President comes to an end, I have reflected on some of the Society initiatives and events that have enabled me to talk directly with microbiologists to find out more about their work. Being part of these activities has been incredibly enjoyable and rewarding. 2019 has been a significant year, and the Society headquarters has also moved to a new office to allow the Society to better meet the ambitions and needs of the microbiology community. The Society is going from strength to strength and I am looking forward to seeing what the next two years will bring.

Judith Armitage


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