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MicroSeq2021, the second iteration of the MicroSeq online conference, ran this year in September.The conference is unique in the national conference calendar as it is organised and run by early career researchers (ECRs) for ECRs. The core aims of the conference remain: i) to bring together microbiological researchers across diverse disciplines using the common ground of sequencing technologies (which permeates microbiological research everywhere) and ii) to provide engagement and training opportunities forECRs.

The conference was held on the 8th–9th of September. Following on from the success of MicroSeq2020 and the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, the decision was made to keep the meeting online. It brought together 124 participants representing 29 institutions from six states and territories.

The ECRs and higher degrees by research (HDRs) provided us with a fantastic program of 41 talks which intersected a diverse range of microbiology disciplines including Clinical, Environmental,Public Health, Veterinary, Agricultural and the Food and Beverage industry. Participant engagement was fantastic, with ideas and analysis techniques being shared between fields of research which don’t traditionally overlap. In addition, many of our attendees were joining as first-time presenters or chairs.

Our plenaries were a highlight of the program. Dr Benjamin Schwessinger (Australian National University), Dr Martina Jelocnik (University of Sunshine Coast),  Dr Robyn Hall (CSIRO) and Dr Vanessa Marcelino (Hudson Institute of Medical Research) provided engaging talks that not only provided insights across a range of research areas, but insights into Career Pathways, #ECRLife and Industry engagement. 

Congratulations to our prize winners! Mr Ryan Wick who was awarded the Australian Society for Microbiology Award for Best Talk, presented by Prof Kate Seib. Best Lightning Talk went to Dr. Miranda Pitt and the People’s Choice award was a tie, won by Dr Claire Gorrie and Dr Raphael Eisenhofer. Congrats to all the attendees who won prizes for best question, selected by the session chairs: Lucie Semenec, Ryan Wick, Guillaume Meric, Robyn Hall, Jake Lacie, Catherine Dawson, and Johanna Wong.

MicroSeq2021 Organising Committee