IUMS is one of the 31 Scientific Unions of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU). ICSU is a non-governmental organisation with a global membership of national scientific bodies (120 Members, representing 140 countries) and International Scientific Unions (31 Members).
IUMS consists of three Divisions

  • BACTERIOLOGY & APPLIED MICROBIOLOGY (BAM),
  • MYCOLOGY AND EUKARYOTIC MICROBIOLOGY (MEM)
  • VIROLOGY

Within these Divisions are 6 Committees, 9 Commissions and 2 Federations (COMCOFs), under which are subgroups consisting of working groups concerned with bacteriological, mycological and virological research. IUMS acts as an umbrella organization for these scientific research activities (see also IUMS structure). 

IUMS also has 96 national member societies and 26 associate member societies adhering to the Union. These societies are spread throughout the world and IUMS represents an important link for instance by organizing International Conferences at regular intervals

The International Union of Microbiological Societies was founded in 1927 as the International Society for Microbiology. lts first President was Nobel Laureate and Director of the Pasteur Institute in Brussels (Belgium), Jules Bordet. The first International Congress for Microbiology was held in Paris in 1930. At the time of the 10th International Con­gress of Microbiology held in Mexico in 1970 the Executive Committee decided to create three sections covering the fields of Bacteriology, Virology and Mycology. Subsequently these sections became three separate divisions of IUMS possessing complete autonomy in the conduct of their affairs and the organization of their International Congresses (list of past presidents of IUMS and past and future International IUMS Congresses).

An IUMS Executive Board is elected at each IUMS General Assembly meeting . The Board consists of 15 members: a President, Past President, two Vice Presidents, Secretary General, Treasurer, two Members at Large and the Chairman and Vice Chairman of each of the three Divisions. The Executive Board meets annually and coordinates IUMS activi­ties.