Council and Committees Shadowing Scheme

Our Council and Committees Shadowing Scheme gives members an exclusive opportunity to gain insight into the inner working of the Society. By experiencing first-hand the activities and decision-making processes of key governing groups of the organisation, members can add to their CV, gain a wealth of knowledge, get a glimpse behind the scenes, and network with other microbiology leaders. Apply now to find out more about the way we work, so that you can strengthen your future nomination and go on to contribute to the leadership of the organisation through serving on Council and Committees.

What is the Shadowing Scheme?

Our Shadowing Scheme currently has two strands: eligible members can choose to shadow either a Council or a Committee member. We hope that by opening our Council and Committee meetings up, more members will understand how the Society works and will be encouraged to get involved in governing their Society. We particularly welcome members who identify as from underrepresented groups to participate in the Shadowing Scheme, as it is an excellent, low investment way to experience Council and Committees and determine whether you are interested in serving at the Society. This includes those who identify as disabled, LGBTQ+ and those who are Black and/or from another underrepresented minority ethnic group. Find out more about representation at the Society.


Council members have an essential role in leading the work of the Microbiology Society; as the Society is both a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee. Council members are legally responsible as Trustees of the Charity and Directors of the Company. The Council of the Society normally consists of up to 15 members: six are elected by members of the Society and nine are appointed by Council – including the President, General Secretary, Treasure and co-Chairs of Committees.

We welcome up to four members each year to shadow our members of Council. Each shadow will be matched with a member of Council and will have the choice of a correspondence-based relationship with the person they are shadowing or observing a meeting of Council with a debrief afterwards.

We offer this flexible approach to facilitate as many members as possible to participate. We hold four meetings of Council each year, and Shadows are usually welcome to observe up to two meetings throughout the year.


Committee members have a key role in shaping the work of the Microbiology Society, by making informed decisions on the activities we undertake to build communities and networks, ensure the impact and influence of our members, and strengthen our sustainability in terms of people and finances. From 1 January 2021 we will have four Committees which can be shadowed: Building Communities, Early Career Microbiologists Executive Committee, Impact and Influence and Sustainability Committee. You can find out about the different Committees and their Terms of Reference on the Committees page.

We welcome up to two members each year to shadow each of our Committees. Shadowing members will be put in touch with a member of their desired committee and will have the choice of a correspondence-based relationship with the person they are shadowing or observing a meeting of the Committee with a debrief afterwards. We offer this flexible approach to facilitate as many members as possible to participate. We hold at least two meetings of each of our Committees each year, and Shadows are usually welcome to observe up to two meetings in the year.

Why should I participate in the Shadowing Scheme?

The Shadowing Scheme is a great opportunity to get a look into the inner working of the Society. Many members will be aware that Committees and Council exist, however will not necessarily know what they are letting themselves in for when they are nominated for elections. Our Shadowing Scheme is a very low impact way of finding out more and building a relationship with a current Council or Committee member, so you can gain an understanding of how a role works before you consider applying for a position. We hope that by understanding the way our governing bodies work, more members will put themselves forward to participate in Society activities.

Serving on Committees can bring huge benefits to your career and professional development. From exposing you to a wider range of views to giving you the opportunity to contribute to the shape of some of the Society’s activities and programmes, our Council and Committees are made up of change-making members who are invested in contributing to the microbiology community.

Previous Shadows

You can find out more about the experience of some of our previous Shadows below.

Chloe James: Chloe participated in the first round of the Shadowing scheme in 2017. She immediately put herself forward for election as the Chair of the Communications Committee and is now the co-Chair of the Impact and Influence Committee.

Sharon Brookes: Already an Editor of Journal of Medical Microbiology, Sharon participated in the Shadowing Scheme in 2019. She was elected to Council in 2020 and will serve on the Finance Committee from 2021.

How do I apply?

While applications to participate in the Council and Committees Shadowing Scheme are accepted at any time, please note that the election cycle runs from March to July for positions beginning in January of the following year, so if you wish to run for election sooner rather than later, this should be taken into account.

We encourage applicants to read the Terms of Reference for Council or their preferred Committee before submitting their application, in order to determine if the committee is the right one for them.

All Full, Full Concessionary and Student members of the Society are eligible to apply for a shadow placement.

To apply, members should provide the following details by email to [email protected]:

  • Name and membership number.
  • A short statement about why you would like to participate, and aspirations for future involvement in the Society’s governing bodies (max. 500 words).

If you wish to Shadow a Council member:

  • A brief (one-page) CV outlining your relevant experience.

Applicants can also find out about the current members of Council and Committees on the relevant pages.

What happens to my application after submission?

Eligible applications to the Shadowing Scheme will be acknowledged by the office and reviewed by the relevant Chair within a month of acknowledgement of the application. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application shortly thereafter, and successful applicants will be introduced to their Committee host by email at the same time. If you wish to attend Council or Committee meetings in person, this can be discussed with your host and the relevant Chair. Successful applicants will also be provided with the relevant documentation for the meeting if they plan to attend.

Questions about the shadowing scheme should be directed to [email protected].

At the end of the shadowing relationship, the shadowing member will be invited to provide feedback to the Society to improve the scheme and to encourage other members to participate.