The Symposium

The ISME Symposium is a biennial event, held in the even years, and should be held in the 3rd week of August. The symposium attracts 1500 – 2500 delegates with a program consisting of 3 components: scientific, society and social. If you would like more information regarding the guidelines for the organisation of the symposium please contact the ISME Events team.

The Requirements

Conference Center - We typically require a plenary room that can hold 2000 people (keynote lectures, opening & closing ceremony). Besides this hall we roughly need 9 additional session rooms and a large poster/exhibition area. A detailed schedule of the symposium and requirement overview may be sent to you upon request. Please note that the schedule is subject to change without prior notification. 

Hotels - should be available in different star categories and close to the conference center (or easy to reach). 

Food - ISME generally does not include lunch on conference days so ideally there would be plenty of lunch/dinner options close to the conference center and hotels.

Dates - ISME’s are held around the 3rd week of August (preferably somewhere between  the 16 - 26 August) in the even numbered years (biennially). Bidding takes place 4 years prior to the actual event.

Location - ISME rotates regions (Europe, North America, Asia/Oceania, and South America/Africa). Depending on the bids, the aim is to organize the conference in the region that is due or has not had an ISME in 6 years’ time (or longer)Overview of past or future ISME's.

Who - The LOC is responsible for the bid. Tourist agencies and conference centers can work with the LOC to create the bid but the bid itself must come from the local scientific community. The ISME Office & Executives will collaborate with the winning LOC and organize the conference.

Other important issues (in random order): venue costs (including Wi-Fi, catering and logistics etc.), international accessibility of the city, climate/weather during the symposium, eco-friendliness of a venue, sponsorship, gender-balance of LOC.

Please note - The ISME Society will, at all times, be owner of  the conference (thus legally & financially responsible). Besides being the owner of the event, ISME is also the official organizer of the event. Certain elements of the conference can/will be outsourced but always in close collaboration and under the leadership of the inhouse events team of ISME.

The Bidding Process

Symposium bids are only accepted from senior scientists in the field of microbial ecology. There are a number of steps in the bid process and we ask that they be met in full or the proposal may be unsuccessful.
The bid process for the ISME Symposium is as follows:

  1. Expression of Interest (EOI) – An expression of interest must be completed using the ISME EOI form (download for fillable version). This form is just a brief look at the city as a venue and should be completed by the bid chair. The ISME Executive will then consider these submissions. If successful the ISME Executive will invite the organization or collective to submit a full proposal. In considering the EOIs the ISME Executive will consider the following:

    - The symposium facilities, price and the available dates
    - International access to the region and the accommodation facilities
    -The interest of the region and the typical weather conditions
    -The caliber and experience of the proposed Organizing Committee

  2. Full Proposal – The preparation of this proposal is by invitation only. Guidelines for this proposal will be sent to you with the invitation. The ISME Executive Board will then consider these proposals and score them based on a selection matrix.

  3. Venue Site Visit – Representatives of the ISME Executive  Board and the ISME Office will visit the 2 or 3 highest ranked proposals. The bidding organization or collective must sponsor this site visit.

  4. Selection and Announcement – The ISME Office will prepare a report of the site visit which will be submitted to the ISME Executive Board for review. The final decision will be made by the full ISME Board by means of a vote after presentations on each candidate. The announcement of the host organization and location will occur at the symposium taking place four years prior to the event that was bid for (i.e ISME20 will be announced at ISME18)

  5. Confirmed Future Conferences
    ISME18 (August 2020) will be held in Cape Town, South Africa.
    ISME19 (August 2022) will be held in Auckland, New Zealand.

  6. ISME20 (August 2024):
    Preferred Region :   Europe / North America

    Open for Expression of Interest (EOI) :  1 May 2019
    Deadline Expression of Interest (EOI) :  31 July 2019
    Invitations sent out by ISME for full Bid : August 2019 
    Due date Full Bid :  1 December 2019 
    Site Visits by ISME : December 2019 / January 2020  
    Announcement winner :   August 2020 (during ISME18)