British Society for Microbial Technology
The views expressed on Facebook and Twitter on the BSMT website do not necessarily represent the views of the BSMT Committee or any individual committee member.

Posts and tweets are provided for information and will reflect different and sometimes contradictory views, especially in the discussions of current controversial issues where there is no overall scientific consensus.

An article by Valerie Bevan Women advancing in science: an ongoing tale of inequalities was featured in the October 2019 edition of Pathology in Practice discussing why women continue to struggle to get to the top in science.

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The BSMT is famous for its excellent Microbiology conferences!

  • Covid 19 - The Infection that Challenged the World: Is Necessity the Mother of Invention?

    The BSMT is organising a virtual conference on all aspects of COVID-19 during the week 10-14 May 2021. This will take the form of lectures both in real time and recorded to enable people to watch in their own time as convenient. The virtual conference will include some very interesting presenters including Professor Jonathan Deeks from the University of Birmingham who will talk about Diagnostic test Performance.

    Watch this space for more information on how to register!

    The BSMT Committee regrets that the BSMT 35th Annual Scientific Conference has been postponed due to the pandemic until 12 May 2022 and we have again booked the RAF Museum in Hendon. We will be updating the programme and application form in the Autumn and hope that you will be able to register.

About the Conferences

BSMT conferences are aimed at senior biomedical and clinical scientists, other scientists, medical microbiologists and other healthcare professionals. They are particularly relevant for bench microbiologists to provide up-to-date information about organisms and techniques especially with regard to new molecular technologies.

The 34th BSMT Annual Scientific Symposium was held at the RAF Museum in Hendon, the first time we had used this prestigious venue. It was a great success with the added bonus that delegates could visit the Museum afterwards. The theme of the meeting was respiratory microbiology and a striking feature was demonstrating the increasing disconnect between traditional culture based methods, which are still the mainstay of nearly all diagnostic microbiology labs for diagnosing infection, and the number of commercial molecular tests available.

Full use was made of the increased space available, which permitted a record attendance of 150 delegates and a greatly increased trade exhibition.

A comprehensive write-up was published in the August editions of Pathology in Practice and an overview appeared in The Biomedical Scientist.

Follow the link to the evaluation report.

Recent Events

  • BSMT Annual Scientific Conference 2019
    Thursday 16 May 2019, Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon
    Respiratory Microbiology – A Day of Inspiration

    Professor Brian Duerden CBE and Professor Eric Bolton, President of the BSMT, chaired the conference.

    We again had a comprehensive trade show and are grateful to the following commercial companies for supporting the conference. It is only with their support that BSMT conferences can take place:

    • Alpha Laboratories Limited
    • Beckman Coulter UK Limited
    • Becton Dickinson UK Limited
    • Bioconnections Limited
    • BioMérieux UK Limited
    • Bruker UK Limited
    • Culture Collections Public Health England
    • Don Whitley Scientific Limited
    • E&O Laboratories
    • Genetic Signatures
    • Qiagen
    • Launch Diagnostics Limited
    • Mast Group Limited
    • Medical Wire and Equipment Co Limited
    • Mobidiag Ltd
    • Pro-lab Diagnostics
    • R-Biopharm Rhône Limited
    • Serosep UK Ltd
    • Siemens Healthineers
    • Sysmex UK Ltd

Evaluation Reports

View the Evaluation Report on the 2019 Annual Scientific Symposium here

View the Evaluation Report on the 2018 Autumn Symposium in Liverpool here

View the Evaluation Report on the 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting here

View the Evaluation Report on the 2017 Annual Scientific Meeting here

View the Evaluation Report on the 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting here

View the Evaluation Report on the 2015 Annual Scientific Meeting here

View the Evaluation Report on the 2014 Annual Scientific Meeting here

View the Evaluation Report on the 2013 Sheffield Symposium here

Responding to the Evaluation Reports

The BSMT committee is very pleased with the feedback from delegates on the scientific meetings where over 90% of those completing the form scored the content, speakers and venue very highly. Praise from delegates included:
Excellent speakers
Professional presentations in high profile establishment with excellent Chairs
Excellent trade show and opportunity for networking
Good food
Variety of topics

Please follow the link to find out about the criticisms and how we are responding!

Past Events

Follow the link to see information on other BSMT conferences.

Microbiology Testing for NHS and Public Health

Follow the link to an article by Brian Duerden (who has chaired many BSMT scientific conferences) and colleagues, entitled The Laboratory Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Like many other microbiologists and the public health community, Brian and colleagues are very concerned about the COVID-19 microbiology testing debacle and the consequences of the demise of PHE. Brian has provided an introduction to the article:

Since it became clear how inadequate the country’s public health microbiology and epidemiology services were for responding to the pandemic emergency of Covid-19, a small group of retired or part-retired medical microbiologists with many years' experience of clinical and pubic health microbiology - Geoff Ridgway, Rod Warren, Peter Hawkey and me - has worked to assess and analyse how we had come to this state and what are key criteria for the delivery of these services into the future. The result is a document which focuses on the need for integrated laboratory testing services linked to both clinical diagnosis and treatment of the patient, provided by the NHS, and the public health requirements of contact tracing to minimise spread and surveillance data to monitor the state of any major infectious disease. The NHS and Public Health requirements are the two facets for which testing is done and they should be indivisible. This requires a coordinated network of public health, clinical and academic laboratories to be established so that the country’s undoubted expertise and facilities could be mobilised as and when such emergencies arise.

This issue is of particular concern as the Government has called for tender submissions from the private sector to provide public health microbiology services that are distinct and separate from the NHS which provides patient care and from the Public Health Medicine services currently in local authorities. The announcement of the abolition of PHE leaves it very unclear as to the form of the replacement body and we hope that this can be a contribution to the discussions. We were pleased to get it into the public and political domain on Wednesday August 19th when I was invited to give oral evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Covid, having submitted the document to them on Sunday evening! Please feel free to use any of the material in discussions or submissions if you feel it would be helpful.

Best wishes to all, Brian Duerden

About Us

The BSMT is a not-for-profit organisation of healthcare scientists and medical microbiologists working mainly in the NHS and Public Health England. The society's aim is to promote an exchange of information on laboratory practices in clinical microbiology and it does this mainly by organising an annual scientific conference every May and every other year (or when possible) holds an autumn symposium in a regional venue.

The BSMT was founded in 1985 by microbiologists from a widespread geographical area in the UK with a common interest in antimicrobial susceptibility sensitivity testing and with concerns about the plethora of methods and the need for validation of procedures. Since then, the BSMT has become broader in its interests and covers many different aspects of microbial technology and management. The BSMT has complementary roles by offering grants to support laboratory based education and facilitating consultation of microbiology guidance / policies via this website.

Laboratory Education Grants

The BSMT offers Laboratory Education Grants of up to £1000. Ideally, these will support the practical side of laboratory-orientated education. For example, they may be used to purchase consumables or commercial kits used in the project module of microbiology courses.

Grants will be awarded on the basis of the application’s quality and its relevance to diagnostic microbiology. Submissions should include a budget breakdown of costs.

If you would like to apply, please fill out the Laboratory Education Grants Application Form and post it to the address in the form. If you would like to discuss an application in advance of applying, please contact Sally Lowe at

Invitation to Comment on UK Standards for Microbiology Investigations

All microbiologists are invited to comment of the UK Standards for Microbiology Investigations (SMIs).
To access current SMIs and documents under consultation follow the following link on the PHE website: UK Standards for Microbiology Investigations.
To access documents "under consultation" please go to the following link Publications: Consultations.

Additional information on the UK Standards for Microbiology Investigations can be viewed here.


Contact the BSMT at