Celebrating 40 Years of ESCMID

40 years ago a group of 10 friends had a vision to bring together leading scientists and improve our understanding of pathogens and infections.



Today we are pleased to welcome over 9000 members to ESCMID and over 13,000 attendees to ECCMID! Their vision founded the path that would lead ESCMID to bring together clinical microbiologists and infectious disease experts improving clinical practice through education, training, research and networking.


We have many reasons to celebrate the 40th anniversary of ESCMID! Read about the journey of the past 40 years and join us as we push ahead for at least another 40 years of excellence in science!


The first decade: From a group of friends to an aspiring global leader

On the 12th of February 1983, ten colleagues founded the European Society of Clinical Microbiology: Jacques Acar, Tom Bergan, Ilja Braveny, Arne Forsgren, Evelio Perea, Jan Verhoef, Arturo Visconti, David Williams, Eugène Yourassowsky, and Oto Zak. In the same year, the young society held its first European Congress of Clinical Microbiology in Bologna. From then on, the society developed quickly and soon founded its first Study Groups on antibiotic and antimicrobial resistance.


From the very beginning, the members discussed joining forces with their counterparts from the field of infectious diseases, and in 1990, it finally happened, with ESCM becoming ESCMID. This visionary step towards a multidisciplinary society set our organisation on track to become a global leader.


The second decade: Launching a journal while boosting education

The second decade of ESCMID saw multiple efforts to drive education and scientific discourse. Besides stepping up postgraduate courses, introducing Excellence and Young Investigator Awards, and initiating the ESCMID Summer School, we launched our own journal in 1995: Clinical Microbiology and Infection or CMI. It became an important platform and today sports the remarkable impact factor of 13.31. In the same year, we founded the European Committee for Antibiotic Susceptibility Testing, EUCAST, one of ESCMID’s flagship projects.


As a logicial next step, ECCMID grew in importance as the strongest platform for education and scientific discourse under the ESCMID umbrella. As such, it was decided in 1999 to hold ECCMID annually instead of biannually.


The third decade: Training, guidelines and a push for greater inclusion

To improve clinical practice, ESCMID started a series of new activities: opening our first collaborative centres, initiateing the Observership Programme and launching the Trainee Association. Consequently, ESCMID began medical-guideline activity and appointed the first Guidelines Director.


In 2010 ESCMID established the Parity Commission to support the society in becoming more inclusive and balanced regarding the representation of gender, minorities, geographic regions as well as countries of different income levels. The commission’s work ignited significant change on many levels but there is still more work to be done.


The fourth decade: Facing new emerging and re-emerging infectious threats

The last decade was dominated by new emerging and re-emerging infectious threats: Polio, Ebola, Zika, COVID-19, and Monkeypox being the most prominent. At the same time, antimicrobial resistance has continued to increase, often referred to as the ‘silent pandemic’. Last but not least, COVID-19 raised the global public awareness of a pandemic threat like nothing before in our lifetimes – handing ESCMID much more attention from a wider audience and with it even greater responsibility.


During this decade, we started CAESAR, the novel surveillance system for Eastern Europe and Central Asia in collaboration with WHO and RIVM, established the European Committee for Infection Control (EUCIC) and set up the Emerging Infections Task Force (EITaF).


Today, the preparedness for emerging infections and the fight against antimicrobial resistance are our top priorities – now and in the foreseeable future.