As ratified by the General assembly 2014 in Montreal

I Objectives and Composition

C1 The objectives of the International Union of Microbiological Societies are to:

   • Promote the study of microbiological sciences internationally;

   • Initiate, facilitate and coordinate research and other scientific activities which involve international cooperation;

   • Promote the publication of international study and research;

   • Promote the organization of international conferences, symposia and meetings and assist in the publication of their reports;

   • Represent microbiological sciences in the International Council of Scientific Unions and maintain contact with other international organizations.

C2 The Union is composed of Divisions, each concerned with a major microbiological science. The Divisions are administratively responsible for Committees, Commissions and Federations (hereafter referred to as COMCOFs), each concerned with a particular aspect of microbiology, and for organization of the scientific programs of their triennial Congresses.

C3 Affiliation to the Union is in three categories

   * Member Societies (see Bylaw B26);

   * Associate Societies (National and International) (see Bylaw B27);

   * Supporting Organizations (see Bylaw B28).

     • Membership in the first two categories is open to societies or institutions: having major interests and activities in microbiology, having a membership of at least 20 microbiologists and holding at least one open scientific meeting a year. Membership in the third category is open to other organizations or individuals interested in the aims of the Union.

     • In each country, there is a National Committee which is appointed by the Member Society if there is only one such Society or is mutually agreed upon by the Member Societies if there are two or more. The principal objective of the National Committee is to maintain contact between the Union and the member Societies and to represent them in the Union.

C4 Throughout this Constitution, Member Society denotes any Member Society in a country, regardless of its relation to the National Committee (see Bylaws B25, B26, B27 and B28).

II Administration

General Assembly

C5 Final authority in administration of the Union lies with the General Assembly exercised collectively by delegates of National Committees (See B17) of the Member Societies and members of the Executive Board.

C6 The General Assembly meets at least every three years on the occasion of an International Congress organized under auspices of the Union.

C7 The General Assembly elects the Officers of the Union (the President-Elect, two Vice-Presidents, Secretary-General, and Treasurer) and two Members-at-Large, receives reports and, as required, approves activities of the Executive Board and initiates further business.

C8 The General Assembly may direct the Executive Board to establish any Division or other working group that is deemed necessary for the administrative or scientific work of the Union.

Executive Board

C9 There is an Executive Board as follows:

   • The Executive Board consists of the President, President-Elect, two Vice-Presidents, Secretary-General, Treasurer, two Members-at-Large, and the Chair and Vice-Chair of each Division (see Bylaw B34);

   • The Executive Board conducts affairs of the Union in accordance with decisions of the General Assembly and takes necessary appropriate action in the period between General Assemblies with subsequent approval of the General Assembly;

   • With the exception of the elected Divisional representatives, and to ensure good governance, members of the Executive Board will be responsible for specific portfolios. The President-Elect will assist the President with responsibility for maintaining contacts with the International Council of Science (ICSU) and other International Unions, and with applications for ICSU grants; one Vice-President will have the responsibility for international relations including links with non-governmental organizations (e.g., WHO, FAO, OIE, UNESCO, national academies); the second Vice-President will have the responsibility for maintaining contacts with IUMS congress National Organising Committees and for IUMS Awards; one Member-at-Large will have the responsibility for IUMS fellowship programmes; the second Member-at-Large will have the responsibility for publicity and promotion of IUMS. Additional responsibilities may be added to any Executive Board member by the President as required, e.g., international educational programs.

C10 The Executive Board is nominated and elected as follows:

   • Nominations, on standard forms provided by the Secretary-General, containing a biography of the nominee and a statement indicating a willingness to serve, are sought by the Secretary-General from National Committees and from Divisions at least one year before the General Assembly for the offices of President-Elect, two Vice- Presidents, Secretary-General, Treasurer and two Members-at-Large. (see Bylaw B35). The nominations are sent to the Secretary-General at least six months before the General Assembly. The Secretary-General checks the nominations for adequacy, circulates them to the National Committees and Divisions and forwards them to the Nominating Committee. Only nominations for a specific office will be accepted; blanket nominations for more than one office will not be accepted. Each National Committee may submit only one nomination per office.

   • The Nominating Committee consists of the President of IUMS as Committee Chair, the President-elect and the three Vice-Chairs of the Divisions. From among the nominees for each position, the Nominating Committee selects two candidates. Thus, provided sufficient nominations are received, there will be two candidates each for President-Elect, Secretary-General and Treasurer, and four candidates each for Vice-President and Members-at-Large. For the sake of institutional memory, the Secretary-General and Treasurer may be re-elected for multiple terms and may run for re-election unopposed, The Nominating Committee will attempt to achieve a range of geographic origins and scientific disciplines among the candidates. A list of the proposed candidates for each office must be circulated to each National Society and Division at least three months before the General Assembly.

   • Election for each office (President-Elect, two Vice-Presidents, Secretary-General, Treasurer, and two Members-at-Large) is by secret ballot at the next session of the General Assembly. Ballots will contain the names of all the nominees selected by the Nominating Committee. Voting will be undertaken separately for each office. In the event of a tied vote, the Presiding Officer will vote. Where two candidates are to be elected, as required for the Vice-Presidents and Members-at-Large, the two candidates receiving the highest numbers of votes will be declared elected.

     • The Divisional members of the Executive Board are elected by the Divisional Councils.

C11 Members of the Executive Board have terms as follows:

   • The term of office for members of the Executive Board ordinarily begins at the end of the last session of each General Assembly.

   • The term of office for members of the Executive Board is three years or less. The President may not be re-elected to the same office for a second term. After one term in office, the President-Elect automatically becomes the President. The Vice-Presidents, and Members-at-Large may be re-elected to the same office for a second term but are thereafter ineligible for re-election until after a lapse of three years. For the sake of institutional memory, the Secretary-General and Treasurer may be re-elected for multiple terms and may run for re-election unopposed.  

   • It is recommended that the first term of both Members-at-Large and both Vice-Presidents would not begin at the same time, so that one will become ineligible to serve at each General Assembly, thus ensuring the recruitment of new members to the Executive Board but also ensuring continued corporate memory within the Executive Board.

   • Service for a term or terms of office on the Executive Board does not render a member ineligible for nomination to a different office on the Executive Board. However, a member may not be elected more than three consecutive times.

C12 The Secretary-General is an ex-officio member of each Divisional Council.


C13 Each Division devises its own Constitution, in concordance with the Constitution of the Union. Divisions may establish Committees, Commissions and Federations (COMCOFs) each concerned with a particular aspect of the discipline. They may have affiliations with more than one Division.

C14 Each Division has a Divisional Council composed of delegates of each Member Society interested in the field of the Division, the Chair or the Chair's designee of each COMCOF within the Division and the IUMS Secretary-General (ex officio). Divisional Council meetings ordinarily are held at the appropriate Divisional Congress.

C15 Each Division elects three or more officers (including a Chair, one or more Vice-Chairs and a Secretary) who constitute an Executive Committee.

C16 Each Division is responsible to the Executive Board of the Union. When a Divisional Chair or Vice-Chair of a Division is unable to attend an Executive Board meeting, other Officers of the Division may take their place(s).

C17 The Secretary of each Division provides the Secretary-General of the Union with a copy of each publication of the Divisional Council and a copy of the minutes of executive and other meetings and provides the Secretary-General and Secretaries of the other Divisions with proposals and notices of symposia, colloquia, or other meetings. The Secretary of each Division provides the Treasurer of the Union with an annual financial statement.

C18 The Union provides financial assistance to Divisions for operating expenses and scientific purposes. Such funds are accounted by the Treasurer at the end of each financial year.

C19 A Division may obtain funds from other appropriate sources. The Secretary-General and the Treasurer are to be informed of any applications for grants sought and support received from international, governmental or nongovernmental sources.

Committees, Commissions and Federations

C20 Each Committee, Commission and Federation is responsible to one Division for administrative purposes but may be affiliated with more than one Division for scientific purposes.

III Finance

C21 Annual dues from the National Committees are determined on a pro rata basis that depends on the number of microbiologists in the Member Societies who are resident in that country at the end of each year. The total dues are ordinarily not less than a minimum value. Details are stated in B19.

C22 Arrears in dues payment are managed as follows:

   • A National Committee which has not paid dues in full may be deemed by the Executive Board as ineligible to send a voting delegate to a General Assembly or Divisional Council.

   • A National Committee which has not paid its dues in full for three successive years, on notice being given by the Secretary-General, is regarded as having resigned. The three uncollected annual payments will ordinarily be regarded as debts outstanding for up to three years.

C23 The Executive Board may accept financial support from Supporting Organizations, governments, international agencies and other appropriate sources.

IV Voting

C24 On all motions each National Committee delegate and each Executive Board member has one vote. The President will normally be the Presiding Officer.

C25 Voting is decided by a simple majority of the votes cast. A secret written ballot is employed for election of office bearers (C10). For other issues that have been proposed and seconded, a vote by a show of hands will normally be undertaken unless the proposer requests a secret ballot two months prior to the General Assembly. If the votes are equally divided, the vote of the presiding officer decides (see Bylaw 18 for proxy votes and apportionment of votes to National Committees).

V Amendments to the Constitution

C26 The Constitution may be amended as follows:

   • The Constitution of the Union may be amended by a three-quarters vote of the voting delegates present and voting at a General Assembly. The Executive Board or a Member Society may propose amendments for receipt by the Secretary-General at least nine months before a General Assembly. The proposed amendments are promptly transmitted to secretaries of the National Committees and Member Societies and members of the Executive Board.

   • Amendments may be approved by a General Assembly consisting of not less than one quarter of the potential number of voting delegates.

   • An amendment to the Constitution becomes adopted and effective immediately upon completion of the voting procedure.

C27 The bylaws may be amended within the framework of the Constitution as follows:

   • Amendments to the bylaws may be proposed in writing to the Secretary General by a National Committee or by a member of the Executive Board. The proposal is reviewed at the current or next meeting of the Executive Board. If a majority of the Executive Board votes to approve the proposal or a modification, it is presented to the General Assembly for vote and is declared adopted and effective immediately if ratified by a majority of the delegates present and voting.

   • Alternatively, the proposal may be forwarded without delay from the Executive Board to National Committees for approval by mail ballot, to be completed within six months and decided by a majority of the votes received and to become effective immediately.

VI General

C28 Major governing bodies (including the Executive Board, Divisional Executive Committees and Advisory Committees) are constituted primarily on the basis of merit but also reasonably representative with regard to the scientific discipline, geographical distribution and other considerations of the Union constituency.

C29 Orderly parliamentary procedure is used in the conduct of business at meetings of the General Assembly, Executive Board, Divisional Councils and other bodies of the Union. Substantive issues and nominations are proposed formally, considered one at a time, provided adequate opportunity for discussion, voted upon singly, counted and duly records.


I Financial Year

B1 The financial year for the Union coincides with the calendar year.

II Divisions

B2 The Divisions of the Union are as follows:

   * Bacteriology and Applied Microbiology

   * Mycology and Eukaryotic Microbiology

   * Virology



III Membership

B3 Applications for membership are sent to the Secretary-General in advance of the next meeting of the Executive Board, with which final decision rests.

B4 A National Committee is established in each country as follows:

   • A National Committee consists of at least five representatives from one or more Member Societies. In a country with more than one Member Society, the National Committee includes representatives from each of the Societies.

   • The National Committee is the responsible intermediary between the Member Societies of the country and the Secretary-General, keeps the microbiologists of the country informed of Union activities and seeks to promote the objectives of the Union. The National Committee designates a Secretary-General for these purposes.

   • The National Committee co-ordinates the selection of nominations for election to positions on the IUMS Executive Board, of national delegates to the General Assemblies, and of representatives on various bodies of the Union. Nomination of delegates to General Assemblies is made to the Secretary General, and that of delegates to Divisional Council meetings to the secretaries of the relevant Division.



IV Executive Board

B5 The Executive Board ordinarily meets at least once a year.

B6 At least two-thirds of the members of the Executive Board must attend a meeting. Decisions are made by a simple majority of the votes cast. In the event of an equal vote, the President casts the deciding vote.

B7 In cases of urgency between meetings, the Executive Board may delegate all or part of the powers to a Steering Committee consisting of the President and two other members.

B8 In order to enable Member Societies to participate actively in the work of the Union between General Assemblies, the Secretary-General communicates at least annually with the National Committees, Member Societies (when there is only one in a country) and Supporting Members in writing, or electronically by utilizing the IUMS website.

B9 The Secretary-General informs secretaries of the Divisions, National Committees and Member Societies of decisions made at meetings of the Executive Board by posting the minutes of the Executive Board meetings on the IUMS website.

B10 A vacancy on the Executive Board that occurs between General Assemblies will be filled by a vote of the Executive Board. When the position to be filled is that of a Divisional Chair or Vice Chair, a vote of the respective Divisional Committee is required.

B11 The Executive Board may appoint such committees or working groups as it deems appropriate.

B12 The services of members of the Executive Board are unpaid. Expenses incurred by a member will be reimbursed if deemed reasonable by the Treasurer.

V Officers

B13 The President represents the Union, takes all appropriate steps to implement (through the Executive Board) the directives of the General Assembly and directs the activities of the Union.

B14 The President-Elect and the two Vice Presidents assist the President with specifically assigned duties.

B15 The Secretary General is responsible for corresponding officially on matters of general policy for implementing the decisions of the Executive Board, for presenting an annual general report to the Executive Board and for serving ex officio as a member of each Divisional Council.

B16 The Treasurer administers the income of the Union on behalf of the Executive Board; presents an annual financial report to the Executive Board, the accounts of which are audited by qualified auditors before each General Assembly and ratified by the General Assembly; implements financial decisions of the Executive Board, in association with the Secretary-General; presents an annual budget to the Executive Board for approval and informs National Committees of its general provisions.

VI General Assembly


   • Each National Committee shall be entitled to send delegates to a General Assembly: one for each division of the Union and a number of additional delegates, determined by the number of microbiologists resident in the country (fewer than 500 members, one delegate; 500-3000 members, two delegates; more than 3000 members, three delegates). Before each General Assembly the voting delegates from each country establish credentials with the Secretary-General.

   • When a National Committee is unable to send a full delegation, the delegate(s) attending will hold the proxy vote(s) entitled to the whole delegation.

   • Delegates from Associate Societies may attend General Assemblies and Divisional Council Meetings, but the delegates do not have a vote.

B18 Supporting Organizations may send a representative to General Assemblies and Divisional Council Meetings, but the representative has no vote.

VII Dues

B19 The National Committee of a country is responsible for paying the annual dues. In January of each year it informs the Treasurer of the number of microbiologists paying full membership dues in the Member Societies and resident in that country. The annual dues payable each year are calculated by the Treasurer, based on the adjusted value for the US dollar according to the World Bank, with a base of US$ 1.30 per microbiologist. The minimum annual dues payable are US$ 100.

B20 At each Divisional Congress, the sum of US$ 50 is included in the registration fee for all participants and the sum gathered is transferred to the Treasurer within three months of the conclusion of the congress. Of the sum collected, US$20 is retained by the Union, and US$10 will be transferred to each Division, proportional to the number of paid registrations.

B21 The minimum annual dues contribution from a Supporting Organization is US$ 100.

B22 The minimum annual dues contribution, the rate per resident microbiologist, the Congress dues and the dues from Supporting Organizations may be revised according to the procedure specified in C27.

VIII General

B23 The term 'international' in the name of the Constitution of the Union is used to describe an organization that transcends national borders. The term 'national' is used to describe an organization within a scientific community of a country.

B24 The term 'Union' is used to mean 'federation'; that is an organization formed of independent societies that delegate part of their authority to a central organization which is responsible for acting on their behalf for common affairs within and outside the Union. The societies retain jurisdiction over their own internal affairs, including finance.

B25 The term 'societies' is used to mean organizations formed of participating individuals having a common scientific interest. A society may describe itself as a Society, Association, Academy, Division, Federation, Institute or other designation of its choosing.

B26 The term 'membership' in the category of Member Societies (Article C3) is used to mean the affiliation or adherence of scientific societies with the Union. Member Societies have the privileges of representation and voting in Union governance and the obligation of financial support for central Union affairs.

B27 National and international scientific societies may also affiliate with the Union as an Associate Society, which involves only cooperation for the objectives of the Union without governance privileges or financial obligations.

B28 The term Supporting Organizations (Article C3) is used to mean industrial companies and foundations, individual trusts and foundations and other bodies of individuals similarly interested in supporting the objectives of the Union. A Supporting Organization shall not have governance privileges but shall be accorded such other privileges and benefits as the Executive Board may direct.

B29 English shall be used as the primary language for written and spoken communication.

B30 No person participating in the administrative or scientific business of the Union or its constituent bodies may use the occasion, either at the time or in subsequent publication, for the purpose of commercial advertisement.

B31 No publication containing material not authorized, prepared or edited by a constituent body of the Union may bear the name of the Union or one of its constituent bodies without permission of the Executive Board.

B32 The Union has its legal seat at the office of the Secretary General.

As ratified by the General Assembly in Montreal in 2014.

IUMS Congress 2024

International Union of Microbiological Societies