Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

The Microbiology Society is concerned with the ‘leaky pipeline’ of talent within microbiology and understands and supports the need to address this for the benefit of the discipline and the Society. Greater diversity within all that we do will widen the talent pool available for the field of microbiology and create networks of ideas and collaborations, potentially leading to greater development and innovation. Overall, facilitating an environment of equality and diversity will foster a sense of inclusivity which will pave the way for us to build the capabilities to support microbiology in the future.

Equality and Diversity Policy Statement

The Society formed an Equality and Diversity Working Group in early 2013, chaired by Professor Hilary Lappin-Scott, to review equality and diversity in the Society's activities. The Working Group members were Gavin Thomas, Kim Hardie, Pooja Aggarwal, Lynda Coughlan and Paul Hoskisson. The Working Group produced the Equality and Diversity Policy Statement, which was endorsed by the Society's Council in December 2013. The statement was last updated in 2018 by the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Ambassadors.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy Statement 2019

Ways of working

The Society has established ways of working to ensure that diversity and inclusion issues are considered in all its activities. The Society collates year-on-year data via a survey to track and measure progress and is collaborating with other like-minded organisations to share knowledge and best practice in the area.

The Society has embedded equality and diversity across its activities by appointing Equality and Diversity Ambassadors to Council and to each of the Committees. These Ambassadors meet once a year to review the data and put forward recommendations to Council.

Current Ambassadors are:

Council: Professor David Blackbourn (University of Surrey, UK)

Policy Committee: Professor Jim Prosser (University of Aberdeen, UK)

Communications Committee: Professor Nigel Brown

Professional Development Committee: Dr Sarah Maddocks (Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK)

Publishing Committee: Dr Helina Marshall (Queens University Belfast, UK)

Scientific Conferences Committee: Dr David Clarke (University College Cork, Ireland)

ECM Forum Executive Committee: Dr Omololu Fagunwa (University of Huddersfield, UK)


Members who would not otherwise have the opportunity to attend the Society's Annual Conference can apply for a Society Conference Grant. Please see the grant's page for eligibility, application information, and further details.

Biosciences Athena SWAN workshop

The Society, working in partnership with the Biochemical Society, British Ecological Society, Society for Experimental Biology and Royal Society of Biology, ran the first Biosciences Athena SWAN Best Practice Workshop in Charles Darwin House on the 11 December 2015. 50 delegates attended the workshop to share best practice and make connections.

The Society has produced a short video of the event highlighting some top tips from the speakers about applying for Athena SWAN awards and the benefits of attending event such as the Biosciences Athena SWAN workshop. You can watch the video below.

The Equality Challenge Unit, part of AdvanceHE, runs the Athena SWAN Awards and attended the event. They have produced a top tips sheet:

Top tips for Athena SWAN


External activities

The Society is a signatory of the Science Council’s Declaration on Diversity, Equality and Inclusion. By signing this declaration the Society has committed to promoting diversity and to help the Science Council achieve its strategic aim of a more diverse science workforce.

The Society previously signed up to the Your Life campaign. Your Life is a three-year campaign to ensure the UK has the maths and science skills it needs to succeed in a competitive global economy. The campaign will do this by inspiring young people to study maths and physics as a gateway to exciting and wide-ranging careers, and by helping employers recruit and retain talent, particularly women.

The Society is also a participant in the Royal Society of Biology’s Returners to Bioscience Group. The group seeks to provide resources and mechanisms to support scientists before, during and after a career break.