Aims and objectives

The Microbiology Society is a membership charity for scientists interested in microbes, their effects and their practical uses. It has a worldwide membership based in universities, industry, hospitals, research institutes, schools, and other organisations.

Our members have a unique depth and breadth of knowledge about the discipline. The Society’s role is to help unlock and harness the potential of that knowledge. We do this by bringing together and empowering communities that shape the future of microbiology. We generate public benefit by fostering communication both among communities of microbiologists and between microbiologists and other communities who can translate that knowledge in useful ways.

Because of the diverse range of challenges and opportunities our members encounter, the Society works in a variety of modes. By engaging through the membership, and amplifying the voices of the members, sometimes the Microbiology Society is a leader, sometimes it works in partnership with like-minded scientific organisations, and sometimes it convenes different communities.

Why microbiology matters

Microbes are everywhere and affect almost all aspects of our lives. We cannot see them, but our world would not function without them. Bacteria, viruses, fungi, protists, archaea, algae and other microscopic life forms are on us and in us, in the air, soil and water, and in our food. They are in and on the surfaces of everything in our homes, workplaces and other environments. Most do not harm us and many are essential for the good health of humans, animals and the planet. Microbes help keep the planet healthy by recycling waste and supplying nutrients. Agricultural systems would not function without some while others are harmful pests. Industry uses microbial processes to produce foodstuffs and drugs, benefiting society and creating wealth.

Microbes are very diverse, they are fascinating, and modern imaging techniques show that they can be very beautiful.

Why microbiology matters video


The huge variety of microbes and the range of ways in which they affect us mean that microbiology is an enormously varied and constantly changing subject. Reflecting this diversity, microbiology intersects with many other disciplines in the natural and social sciences and is a vital element of studies in a large range of different fields. Basic research in microbiology has led to the development of most of the important molecular techniques that are now used to study organisms from microbes to humans. Biotechnology, synthetic biology, the production of therapeutic proteins, and many medical diagnoses are all dependent on these molecular tools. The study of microbes helps us to understand our world and our place within it. It gives us insights into the complexity of nature and society, which in turn provide many different health, environmental, social, cultural, industrial and economic benefits. Microbiology answers big questions by giving us knowledge of very small things. Microbiologists are involved in addressing challenges that vary from urgent problems demanding immediate solutions, such as new and emerging diseases, through to long-term issues, like antimicrobial drug resistance, food security and environmental sustainability. When the discipline of microbiology is strong and intellectually vibrant, we have a better chance of finding solutions to these problems, and building a healthier, more sustainable and more prosperous future.

Core values

Crucial to the Society’s success are three core values:

  • We are welcoming to anyone interested in microbes, their effects and their uses. Our reputation as a friendly, nurturing and approachable community, driven by the experience of a diverse set of members, is extremely important to us.
  • We are transparent and professional in everything we do. We believe that decisions should be informed by evidence and expertise, and that scientific methods form a robust and dependable way of developing reliable evidence.
  • We are dedicated to our charitable aims. We are not for profit, and strive to ensure that all our resources are applied optimally to furthering the science of microbiology and its application.

The Society's Vision:

A world in which the science of microbiology provides maximum benefit to society.

The Society's Mission:

Advancing the understanding and impact of microbiology by connecting and empowering communities worldwide.

The Microbiology Society is an international membership organisation with legal jurisdiction and an operational base in the UK.


In the five years between 2023 and 2027, the Society’s principal goal is to strengthen our culture of being a community-driven Society by amplifying our members’ voices, wherever they are in the world, and empowering them to embed the benefits of microbiology within wider society.

By broadening our community to be more inclusive and international, we can combine our members’ knowledge and lived experiences with the expertise of our staff to ensure that the Society is instrumental in transforming opportunities to connect microbiologists into impacts. This in turn will drive us towards a world in which the science of microbiology provides maximum benefit to society.

Objective 1

Through a better understanding of the diversity of our members, we will enable them to strengthen their existing relationships and gain access to new communities, unlocking the potential for international collaboration and global knowledge exchange.

Objective 2

By harnessing local knowledge for worldwide impact, we will advance understanding of microbiology and champion the contribution made by microbiology, our members and their work in addressing global challenges.

Objective 3

By recognising global differences in accessing opportunities at the Microbiology Society, we will build on existing strong financial and governance foundations to reinforce long-term sustainability and resilience through diversifying income streams, increasing efficiency and ensuring robust mechanisms for decision-making, monitoring and evaluation.

Our current strategy covers a five-year time-span (from 2023–2027), with a light-touch, rolling review at least every two years. It was launched at the 2022 AGM, and can be downloaded below:

Microbiology Society Strategy 2023–2027