How the Society works

Our Council, Committees and Divisions are absolutely essential to the work that the Society does. Together with staff, we form a cohesive network of discussion, information sharing, collaboration and decision making which creates the Society strategy and delivers quality activities to support our members.

We’ve explained a little bit about each of the groups within our structure and how they work together below, but really our governance is about people, so you can find out who they all are and the specifics of their terms of reference by clicking into the relevant page.

If you ever want to know more, the Society is always keen to chat so please do contact us at [email protected] about your areas of interest and we can find the right person to help! You can also gain insight into the inner working of the Society and experience first-hand the activities and decision-making processes of key governing groups of the organisation through our Shadowing Scheme.


The Council is comprised from the Society membership and provides the strategic direction of the Society and is responsible for its governance and financial sustainability. Members of Council bear the legal responsibilities of Trustees of the Charity and Directors of the Company and take a variety of important strategic and legal decisions on how the Society deploys its assets and supports its membership. Council receives reports from its Committees and shares information via the Committe co-Chairs, who also form the General Secretary’s Group.

Finance Committee

Council is also supported by the Finance Committee who provide advice and expertise in the management of all aspects of the Society's finances, including budgets, the investment portfolio, the Annual Report, the reserves policy and exceptional expenditure. It simultaneously works to ensure that the Society operates in a sustainable manner.

Audit, Risk and Evaluation Committee

The Audit Risk and Evaluation Committee reports to Council, ensuring scrutiny and transparency in the financial management of the Society and provides assurance and recommendations to the Society on its governance and risk management framework.


Strategic Committees

The strategic Committees report in to Council but take responsibility for designing specific programmes and activities to fulfil the strategy. The remit of each Committee is intended to interlink and overlap to ensure that relevant projects are considered from multiple perspectives where appropriate, however they also retain core areas of responsibility.

Building Communities Committee

The Building Communities Committee is primarily responsible for driving forward the key strategic aim to “enable our members to strengthen their existing relationships and gain access to new communities, unlocking the potential for knowledge exchange.”

However, it works across all areas of activity as it is also responsible for driving content themes for events, journals, Microbiology Today and other activities to support all three main strategic objectives.

Impact and Influence

The Impact and Influence Committee is primarily responsible for driving forward the key strategic aim to “advance understanding of microbiology and champion the contribution made by microbiology, our members and their work in addressing global challenges”.

It does this through increasing opportunities for members to communicate their work, raising the profile of microbiology and increasing the influence of the Society with the public, policy makers and other stakeholders.

Sustainability Committee

The Sustainability Committee has a variety of areas of focus. It is primarily responsible for driving forward the key strategic aim to “reinforce the Society’s long-term sustainability and resilience by diversifying income streams, increasing efficiency and ensuring robust governance” but works across the entire Society, and collaborate with other organisations as it develops the future leadership of the Society through professional development and membership engagement opportunities.

It also works to ensure the long-term viability of our operations through income diversification development via commercial and philanthropic means, which in turn supports all Society activities. 

The Early Career Forum Executive Committee

Our Early Career Members are literally our future and so the EC Forum Executive Committee has an essential role in leading the work of the Early Career Forum, ensuring that early career members and their views are included across all Society activities by having representation across all other Committees and Divisions. They also work to bring EC issues to the fore to ensure the Society is fully supporting the future of microbiology.



The Panels oversee specific Society activites.

The Scientific Conferences Panel is comprised of the Chairs and Chair-elects of Divisions and is responsible for overseeing the delivery of the scientific conferences programme.

The Publishing Panel is made up of Editors-in-Chief of the Society Journals and is responsible for overseeing the delivery of the operational aspects of the journals programme.

Both report to the Building Communities Committee and are each chaired by one of the Committee co-Chairs to ensure thematic cohesion between these two key areas of Society activity. 

The Members Panel is a group of members from underrepresented communities who will convene to bring their perspectives to ensure the Society is welcoming across all its activities and to ensure Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is at the centre of everything we do.


The four Divisions; Eukaryotic, Irish, Prokaryotic and Virus, play a significant role as they plan the scientific content for the Society's conference and events programme and ensure that we are representing microbiology in its widest context. Our events are a vital cornerstone of the Society, a huge benefit to our members and essential to promoting and supporting the discipline. Each Division is comprised of members with expertise in specific areas of the discipline and/or regional representation to ensure our content is attractive to, and supports the myriad of specialisms within our membership.