75th Anniversary: A Sustainable Future

The role of microbiology in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals


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. To mark the 75th anniversary of the Microbiology Society in 2020 we are embarking on an ambitious project that will demonstrate the value and raise the profile of microbiology in addressing the world’s biggest challenges. Specifically, we will be focusing on how microbiology can help to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

The SDGs are a collection of 17 goals and 169 associated targets, adopted by all Member States of the UN in September 2015. Wide-ranging and ambitious, the goals are a blueprint for transforming our world by 2030. They are interconnected and address economic, social and environmental challenges crucial to a better and more sustainable future for all. 


Our “A Sustainable Future” project aims to actively demonstrate the value and raise the profile of microbiology in achieving the SDGs with decision-makers within the UK and the Republic of Ireland. It will also raise the profile of the SDGs within the microbiology community.

The project will promote knowledge exchange by bringing together microbiologists, scientists, industry, NGOs, and policy-makers, to champion the importance of microbiology in sustainable development. Microbiological expertise will be used to explore solutions and influence national and international implementation plans. This will drive us towards the Society’s vision of a world in which the science of microbiology provides maximum benefit to society.

How can microbiology impact the SDGs?

Microbiology can contribute to achieving the SDGs in many ways. While it could be argued that microbiology could play a role in accomplishing all 17, we have identified 11 SDGs where the contribution of microbiology is most significant and relevant. These fall under the three broad themes of food security, health, and environment and sustainability.