ISME18 News

The latest updates

   24 June 2021

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 uncertainties in Africa, ISME and the South Africa Local Organizing Committee made the difficult decision to postpone our ISME18 August 2022 meeting in South Africa to a later date.

As many of you know, the point of holding our symposium in different countries around the world is to give the local and regional scientists a chance to actively participate in our event and present their science. Unfortunately it is unlikely that this can happen in Africa next year so we are therefore postponing the symposium in Cape Town until 2024 or even 2026.

However, even though we cannot go to South Africa, we would like to try to organize a conference in 2022 and give you a platform to meet face to face again. So we are pleased to annouce that the ISME Executive and International Board voted for an alternative location and the winner is Lausanne, Switzerland!

ISME18 will now take place in Lausanne, Switzerland, from 14-19 August 2022. 
We hope to see many of you there! 

   10 July 2020
Update on ISME18 - postponed to 2022

Continue reading On 20 March 2020, due to the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, we announced to the ISME community that ISME18 would be postponed to August 2021, presuming the situation improved enough to allow us to do so. 

Using the best information available at present however, the ISME Executives, Office, and ISME18 co-Chairs have concluded that conditions have not improved sufficiently to allow us to confidently plan for ISME18 to be held in August 2021.

We remain very enthusiastic about holding ISME18 in Cape Town! We have concluded that the best option moving forward is to convene ISME18 in 2022: specifically 21 – 26 August 2022. This 2022 date for ISME18 has now been confirmed by the Cape Town International Convention Center and other relevant parties. Coincidentally, this date change will put the ISME Symposia schedule back on its regular, two-year cycle, so that ISME19 and ISME20 would be planned to occur in 2024 and 2026, respectively. We are also developing a hybrid model for future ISME Symposia, so that virtual attendance at ISME meetings may be possible. 

We apologize for any inconvenience this postponement may cause to our community members. We are grateful for your understanding of current uncertainties that have led us to these decisions. Our main motivations are to ensure not only that all ISME events are impactful, but above all else, are planned to optimize all our attendees safety and well being.

We’ll share more information moving forward as soon as it’s available. And we do hope to see you in Cape Town, 21-26 August 2022!

  7 April 2020
Update on ISME18 

Continue reading We are currently in discussions with the Cape Town International Convention Center regarding scheduling, but we are already pleased to announce that ISME18 will likely be held in August 2021. We hope to confirm the exact week and dates for August 2021 very soon.


  20 March 2020
Update on ISME18 -postponed to August 2021

Continue readingDue to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the ISME Executives and ISME18 Local Organizing committee have decided to postpone the symposium. We apologize for the inconvenience to delegates, conveners, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors, but the current situation has made this decision unavoidable.


We want to emphasize that despite the delay, we remain committed to holding ISME18 at a future date.  We are exploring plans to delay the meeting by one year (to August 2021), but this is contingent on the availability of the Cape Town International Convention Center. The ISME18 scientific sessions that were planned are fantastic, so we hope to preserve the original program as much as possible. We were on the way to receiving a record number of abstracts for ISME18, and are looking forward to maintaining this strong interest in 2021. The newly formed ISME Early Career Scientist Committee, which will meet for the first time at ISME18, has already engaged in collaborative plans to engage early-career scientists to share talks/seminars in the interim. So, there are many reasons to be optimistic!

The ISME team is working hard on rescheduling plans, and is available to answer any questions or concerns that you may have. As soon as we confirm details and dates for ISME18 in 2021, we will inform our entire community and post regular updates on our website. In the meanwhile, please note the additional information below, for those who had already made plans to attend ISME18 in August 2020.

For those who already submitted abstracts:
We will reinitiate the abstract submission process anew for ISME18 in early 2021. So please, hold onto your abstracts, refine them, and resubmit them after the rescheduled ISME18 date is announced and submission pages re-open. Who knows, your scientific breakthroughs during 2020 may necessitate a few exciting abstract edits!

For those who submitted applications for a Travel Award:
We will reinitiate the application process in 2021.

For those who submitted Roundtable Proposals:
We will reinitiate the Roundtable submission process anew as well. It will be fine to resubmit the same Roundtable Proposal, or perhaps renew and refine it, before resubmitting for ISME18 2021.

For delegates who may have already registered: 
We hope that most of you will be able to attend ISME18 2021. Your registration fees can be carried forward for ISME18 2021, or reimbursed. Please contact for more information.

For conveners and speakers: 
We will be sending a separate note out to all the invited conveners and speakers with more information soon. We want to emphasize that planning for ISME18 2021 is fully underway, and that the invitations still stand. Stay tuned for more communications, and please contact with any questions. 

We know everyone’s email inboxes are already jam packed with COVID-19 pandemic messages, so thanks for reading through this far. The entire ISME team remains totally committed to continuing the great traditions of ISME, including our Symposia, and in particular ISME18 in Cape Town, South Africa. We will share any new information on ISME18 planning moving ahead, as soon as we have it.

In the meanwhile, best wishes and good health to the entire ISME Community, and your colleagues, families, and friends. We all have a collective responsibility to support one another during this challenging time, and we thank you for your patience, understanding and ongoing support of ISME.


Yours truly,

Ed DeLong, ISME President

ISME Executive Board:
Nicole Dubilier, Vice President
Colin Murrell, Past President
Mark Bailey, Treasurer

ISME18 Local Organizing Committee Co-Chairs:
Donald Cowan, University of Pretoria
Thulani Makhalanyane, University of Pretoria

ISME Office:
Sarash de Wilde, Executive Director
Sabine van Wegen, Event Coordinator
Lydia Zwart, Office & Event Assistant