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BSI Congress 2021

There are only a few days to go until the return of our flagship event on Sunday 28 November to Wednesday 1 December in Edinburgh. We are looking forward to reuniting with many of you in beautiful Edinburgh, as well as meeting some new faces for the first time. We have a fantastic programme lined up for you with a mixture of parallel sessions, plenary talks, poster sessions and those much-anticipated networking opportunities

Scientific highlights

  • Bright Sparks in Immunology, PhD and Postdoc
12:30 – 16:00, Sunday 28 November
  • Keynote presentation

World-renowned immunologist Dr Rafi Ahmed (Emory University, USA) will discuss his highly influential work in shaping our current understanding of memory T cell differentiation and anti-viral T and B cell immunity.

18:00 – 19:00, Sunday 28 November

  • Metabolic programming of immune responses

Plenary session featuring Prof Andrew Mellor, Prof Edward Pearce and Dr Alice Prince

09:00 – 10:30, Monday 29 November

  • Human genetic determinants of infection and inflammation

Plenary session featuring Dr Carl Anderson and Dr Jean-Laurent Casanova

16:30 – 17:30, Monday 29 November

  • Defining the state and functional relevance of T cell exhaustion

Plenary session featuring Dr Andrea Schietinger, Dr Benjamin Youngblood and Prof Dietmar Zehn

09:00 – 10:30, Tuesday 30 November

  • Calling time on immunology

Plenary session featuring Dr Andrew Loudon and Prof Christoph Scheiermann

16:30 – 17:30, Tuesday 30 November

  • Defining immune microenvironments in organogenesis, inflammation and cancer

Plenary session featuring Prof Michael Brenner, Prof Reina Mebius and Dr Jacqueline Shields

09:00 – 10:30, Wednesday 1 December

  • Immunology in action: controlling COVID-19

Plenary session featuring Dame Prof Sarah Gilbert and Prof Paul Moss

16:30 – 17:30, Wednesday 1 December

BSI AGM – have your say!

17:30 – 18:00, Monday 29 November

We would like to encourage all BSI members to join us at our 2021 Annual General Meeting. This is your opportunity to find out more about the work of your Society, what activities we have carried out in the past year and what we are doing to support our members and represent immunology in the UK.

Make the most of your Congress experience

  • Get inspired at Bright Sparks – make sure you arrive in time for our Bright Sparks session at 12:30 on Sunday 28 November, which highlights the best work from early career researchers. Be ready for innovative science, creative presentations and friendly competition for prizes.

  • Network – the BSI Congress is the perfect opportunity to interact with others in your field who you wouldn’t normally get a chance to meet. Why not make a point of talking to one person each day who you haven’t spoken to before? You can be ready to connect online with anyone you meet by having your LinkedIn profile up to date. We’ll be sharing updates from our LinkedIn page throughout the conference; follow us for the latest news on all our activities.

  • Preparation is key – review the programme before Congress starts and prioritise attending those sessions which are most interesting and relevant to you. 

  • Don’t miss the poster sessions – poster sessions are an opportunity to mingle and make new connections while discussing immunology. You might come across a new method or model that could be valuable to your own work.

  • Get your stamp in our ‘Passport for Prizes’ competition – make sure you visit each exhibition stand to be entered into a prize draw!

  • Showcase your favourite immune cell – the immune cell badges from BSI Congress 2019 are coming back! Head to the BSI stand to secure your immune cell(s) of choice and keep an eye on @bsicongress on Twitter for some fun polls about future badges.

  • Dance the night away at the Congress Party taking place at Brewhemia on the Tuesday evening. The party starts at 21:00 and tickets cost only £15 including two drinks vouchers.

Additional sessions

The BSI is hosting a number of additional sessions in which you can increase your knowledge on a range of topics that can boost your career and widen your horizons.

  • Engaging with the public about COVID-19 vaccines – a panel discussion to increase your skills and confidence in having constructive conversations about COVID-19 vaccinations with the public.

16:00 – 16:45, Sunday 28 November

  • Immunology funding opportunities: meet the funders – an interactive session to ask your questions to three of the key research funders on where their funding priorities lie and how to write a successful grant application.

13:15 – 14:15, Monday 29 November

  • Meet the BSI Trustees, Committee members and Editors-in-Chief – come along to the BSI stand to meet our Trustees, Committee members and the Editors-in-Chief of our official journals to find out what their roles entail and explore how you can get involved.

18:00 – 19:30, Monday 29 November

  • How to accelerate your career through engaging with journals – a panel discussion for early career researchers (ECRs) to ask questions about how to overcome barriers in building experience as a reviewer and gain skills and confidence through engaging with journals, including practical advice from other ECRs and the Editors-in-Chief of the BSI journals.

13:15 – 14:10, Tuesday 30 November

  • Education meet-up – an informal meet-up for anyone interested in teaching in which you will get the chance to discuss current topics in the field and share ideas, techniques and resources.

18:00 – 19:00, Tuesday 30 November

  • Meet the BSI Groups – our Regional and Affinity Groups play a huge role in our work, connecting us with our members and running innovative events. Come to the BSI stand to meet representatives from our Groups and discover how you can get involved.

18:00 – 19:00, Tuesday 30 November

  • Presentation theatre – throughout the conference, you can pop in to the presentation theatre in the exhibition hall for a 15-minute showcase on a range of areas such as the value of veterinary vaccines, career development support and practical steps to make your lab greener.

At various times

Joint sessions

We work with many different partners to drive both knowledge sharing and collaboration between our research communities. At BSI Congress 2021 we’re delighted to be holding joint sessions with the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI).

  • BBSRC joint session - Influence of co-infection on host responses

11:00 – 12:45, Monday 29 November

Parallel session featuring Prof Jose Bengoechea and Prof Eleanor Riley

  • NCRI joint session - Advances in cancer immunology: bringing two communities together

11:00 – 12:45, Tuesday 30 November

Parallel session featuring Prof Tim Elliott and Dr Sophie Papa. Organised with the BSI Tumour Immunology Affinity Group

BSI Congress for all

Ensuring that the BSI Congress is accessible to all is extremely important to us. We introduced new initiatives at our last Congress which we are pleased to offer again, including the BSI Carers’ Grant to support the cost of attendees’ care arrangements while attending the conference and a travel bursary to support as many of our members as possible to join us. We’re pleased to offer onsite crèche facilities for delegates wishing to bring their children. Please head to the BSI Congress website for details on all the facilities available, including prayer and quiet rooms, venue accessibility and bringing children and babies to Congress.

Connect with us

  • Make sure you’re following @bsicongress on Twitter to stay updated and include the official conference hashtag #BSI21 in your posts to connect with other attendees.
  • Stop by the BSI stand (number 11) in the exhibition centre to say hello – we’d love to see you!

Stay in touch

Follow our other accounts to keep up with our activities and stay connected with your fellow BSI members:

Any questions?

If you have any questions, please email or head to