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Sustainability in the microbiology lab

Sustainability in the microbiology lab

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you can’t help but have noticed the word sustainability seeping into every single industry. My Green Lab® (MGL) is a not-for-profit organisation whose goal is to introduce sustainability to the community responsible for global life changing medical and technical innovation. At the end of January (26th) , we will be offering a webinar about sustainability in the lab in conjunction with My Green Labs. With values and ethos that naturally align with Pharmig, this is a positive collaboration to take us into 2022.


Why do we need to think about sustainability in the laboratory?

Anyone who has worked in a lab knows how much waste is generated. Granted the lab is one of the most resource intensive spaces throughout industry but there are ways improvements can be made. When confronted with an issue as big as the climate crisis, it can be hard to know what to do as the challenge seems too big but the best way, we can have an impact is to start with our working space. When we start with ourselves and sustainable working practices, it has a small but positive impact that reverberates beyond the laboratory.

How has My Green Lab impacted lab culture?

When My Green Lab first started in 2013, there were fewer than 10 organisations with a program dedicated to laboratory sustainability. Today there are over 100 worldwide, and that number is quickly growing. We have certified over 700 lab groups and have worked with tens of thousands of scientists.

Not only is the culture changing in the lab, but it’s also changing in the companies that support labs. Companies are designing and packaging their products with sustainability in mind. Over 2000 products have been labeled with our ACT eco-label, and that number is quickly growing.


The webinar: Sustainability in the lab – January 26th 2022 @2pm – 3pm (BST)

The purpose of the webinar is to communicate the rationale and practical aspects of moving towards more green labs.


The leaders of the webinar Rachael Relph (Chief Sustainability Officer, My Green Lab) and Una Fitzgerald (Senior Lecturer and Principal Investigator, Biomedical Engineering, National University of Ireland, Galway) will be sharing how MGL educates and takes action. They’ll be discussing ways to engage and create a green lab movement in your organisation. They will also be sharing the impact of what My Green Lab has achieved in the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway) and what specific changes took place in the lab as part of their green lab efforts.

This is an exciting opportunity for the Pharmig membership and industry at large to be part of facilitating positive change through your working practices.

This webinar will be FREE to current (2022) Pharmig Members. You may well already be one through one of colleagues who has already taken out site membership. If you would like to find out – email and you could be eligible to attend this insightful webinar FREE!

Click here if you want to know more about My Green Lab and its initiatives

2022 membership for microbiologists and those working alongside them

It’s now time for Pharmig to look forward into 2022 and update our event portfolio; we plan on running a mixture of both virtual and face-to-face meetings across the year.

Pharmig’s virtual events, since March 2020, have been very successful in facilitating attendance from a new audience as both member and non-member sites have taken the opportunity to enable more employees to be trained online due to substantial cost reductions in terms of travel and accommodation.

It would therefore be prudent to renew your site membership for next year or, if you are considering taking out a new membership for the first time, you can explore the benefits of joining on this section of our website –


These benefits include, but are not limited to:

  • Enhanced company and individual networking and career opportunities
  • Attending meetings, training courses, webinars and conferences and speaking with leading industry experts and fellow delegates
  • Purchasing exclusive publications
  • Becoming involved in ‘live’ Action Groups (see Action Group section)
  • Receiving relevant news and updates via the Pharmig website
  • Enjoying and benefitting from links to a wide range of web resources
  • The ability to place recruitments adverts on our website
  • Exhibiting at Pharmig meetings (additional sponsorship packages also available)



Receiving a quarterly on-line technical newsletter

Access to the members section on the Pharmig website that includes:

  • A secure forum for exchange of information.
  • Current newsletters.
  • Technical articles.
  • Photos and images.
  • An extensive archive.
  • Commercial supplier members can also submit at least one free technical article per year for either the website or newsletter.


Pharmig is proud of the rich culture of interaction that has grown through its membership because this leads to the development of microbiology. We can only do this by building on that membership enabling us to produce publications and guides that enrich our knowledge and facilitate best practice. Our members have come together in the past to form action groups such as the disinfectant action group who put together a guide on disinfectant use in the pharmaceutical microbiology industry. As a member you can build relationships and form your own action group that could lead to a technical paper, presentation or publication for our membership. Membership is a chance to be part of a professional organisation that works to progress microbiology.


So, if you have a large number of relevant colleagues who would benefit from being a member of Pharmig, whether that be

  • attending meetings both physical and virtual,
  • purchasing the publications,
  • joining an action group
  • having a voice at the AGM
  • attending the 30th Annual Conference – which will be the biggest and best to date…

then don’t hesitate to get in touch today –


Join today >>


Annual November Conference 2021

Annual November Conference 2021

As you know, we had high hopes we could meet face-to-face, but sadly it’s not meant to be. However, fear not, the conference is still going ahead and will be a virtual event. There’s still so much to look forward to and we can’t wait for the 29th annual November conference to start.


What will be included:

From hot topics in microbiology to transformative technologies via online meetings, presentations, and Q&A sessions, setting up a perfect itinerary tailored, through research with our members, to meet your needs. Pharmig always considers our members, so our conference has them at its heart. There are several options to delegates such as: attending the main Conference on the 17th and 18th plus free attendance to the sponsored technical meetings on the 16th and 19th (if you have booked onto the conference).

Highlights from the agenda include:

  • Annex 1 latest updates, GMP findings and regulatory expectations
  • Microbiological recalls – an overview
  • EN17141 – what to make of the new Biocontamination Control Standard?
  • Virucidal efficacy testing – “pushing the envelope”
  • Megalab experience – testing for SARS-CoV-2 RNA: an update
  • What do I need to know to control Burkholderia cepacia?
  • Continuous microbial quality monitoring of pharmaceutical water systems
  • The use of enzymatic indicators in conjunction with biological indicators for validating a sterile fill isolator
  • Transformational technologies: artificial intelligence for quality control in practice


How the conference helps microbiology practices

This conference is a chance for individuals in the profession to interact in ways they perhaps wouldn’t usually. It’s about fostering relationships, building new partnerships, and evolving practice. Because the conference is interactive, there are plenty of opportunities in our Q&A sessions to expand on the topics under discussion. This allows our microbiologists to evolve and develop their working practices.


Further benefits

This interaction paves the way for ideas on additional training, publications, and action groups. The relationships that are formed and topics that are discussed form the building blocks of how we move both the membership and the industry forward. Pharmig’s focus is to facilitate co-operation and collaboration globally with other bodies that have similar interests. We strongly believe that this interaction with other like-minded societies fosters and encourages friendly interaction, not just between members but with other related industries. It’s this continuous desire to evolve that allows us to identify where our members need new information and ensures we continue to provide the greatest value for money.


Some of the testimonials from last year’s event

“Thank you for all the work in preparing the presentations and presenting over the last two days. It has been valuable learning and the feedback is very positive” – HPRA

“Keep up the good work” – Sartorius

“Excellent presentations and organisation – really enjoyed it” – MML

“Very clear, great to see the slides on the screen, it was enjoyable, informative and well planned” – NHS Trust

“This was one of the most engaging virtual events I have attended so far. Loved the variety of topics” – AstraZeneca

We continue to hope that all our members, colleagues, and family stay healthy and unaffected by the virus and recommend that everyone continues to remain familiar with the guidance issued by governments on preventing the spread of the infection.

We look forward to you joining us on 17th and 18th November 2021 for the two half-day meetings via Zoom.

Download the full conference agenda and booking form here.

Why do we have microbiology action groups?

Why do we have microbiology action groups?

Member Action Groups

As part of our drive to achieve excellence in microbiology, some of our members (on a voluntary basis) get involved in more specific areas of interest by forming Action Groups. This allows them to concentrate on a particular niche that is of importance to them and, potentially, industry at large.


How does it work?

A member will flag up an area of interest and then Pharmig (via the Committee) will canvas its membership to see if there are other members willing to volunteer and support this topic. The objective of this is to create a forum to initially share ideas and formulate a possible plan.  The decision is then made, if there is enough scope, to produce a technical paper, presentation, survey, publication or webinar etc. that would benefit the whole membership. Goals, objectives and timelines will be set and agreed upon in each active Group. This is a space where microbiologists can interact and intellectually engage with each other to progress or develop an area of practice that they are interested in.

These Groups are constantly evolving and continually accept new members as and when required.


Action Groups we have set up include:

  • Disinfectant (active)
  • Non-Sterile (active)
  • Cleanroom
  • Rapid Methods
  • LAL (Endotoxin)


Outcomes of Action Groups

The word action suggests that these are not passive groups. There is a goal behind them forming and an expectation that anyone who volunteers to join them is willing to support the group in any way they can. There have been many positive outcomes from Action Groups over the years. From publications, surveys, meetings, through to the development of fact sheets, to further pharmaceutical microbiology best practice. There is always the underlying goal when you are part of a Pharmig microbiology Action Group that has positive aims on moving the discipline forward. This can influence behaviour, develop individuals as microbiologists or flag up parts of current practice that can be developed or enhanced in Industry.


Moving forward

We are proud that our Action Groups have (for example)  resulted in publications that benefit our membership such as the Guide to Disinfectants and their use in the Pharmaceutical industry­ which is now on its 3rd revision and will be published very shortly.

The guide has been completely revised and re-written to provide you with a roadmap to regulatory compliance for cleaning & disinfection. The new text will walk you through the steps needed to design, validate, and implement an effective cleaning and disinfection programme. Including:

  • Identifying and assessing risks associated with cleaning and disinfection
  • User requirements for cleaning agents and disinfectants
  • Supplier qualification
  • Disinfectant efficacy testing and validation
  • Controls for routine use – including application methods, in-coming QC testing, and periodic review of the programme

This is just one example of what Action Groups can achieve when we have all our wonderful microbiologist heads together; resources that benefit our members and progress pharmaceutical microbiology.

We are also considering setting up an Action Group on Environmental Monitoring to produce a survey around environmental monitoring programs at different facilities.

And – we are also looking to fire up the Non-Sterile Action Group to review / provide feedback on the recent Microbiological Quality Considerations in Non-sterile Drug Manufacturing: Guidance for Industry

If either of these are of interest to you as a Pharmig Member or, you  would like to put forward a new Action Group for the Committee to consider please contact the Pharmig office on Tel: +44 (0) 1920 871 999 or email:

What are the values of professional microbiologists - LBGWhat are the values of professional microbiologists - LBG

What are the values of professional microbiologists

It is essential that every organisation has a clear set of objectives, vision and mission that sit at the core of who they are. This isn’t simply the product or service that an organisation is offering, but the values at the heart of the organisation that explains their motivation. At Pharmig we have been asking ourselves: What motivates us? What gives us energy to keep progressing? What are the central values that we absolutely will not compromise on in our work? We have spent evaluating what we stand for and who we serve. Here are our core aims:

  • Disseminate topical information and views on microbiology related topics through events and publications
  • Advance the science of microbiology and its practical application
  • Influence the development of regulations and guidelines surrounding microbiology
  • Act as a confidential forum for the dissemination of information concerning all aspects of microbiology


To fulfil those objectives, we have to have a strong skill set within our organisation and our people to bring the very best for our members. We meet these objectives through the following activities:



Our website is a space that we use to communicate microbiological best practice in industries such pharmaceutical, healthcare and other related industries.It is a hub for technical publications, newsletters, regulatory updates and the online training module and virtual events. There are also  opportunities for our members to interact via our social platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook. By providing different resources and sources of information for our members, we ensure our communication is varied and meaningful.


Global connectivity

Though Pharmig is a UK based organisation, we strongly encourage international membership and interaction. We are proud of our global presence as well as our networking at events which foster strong relationships. These events are streamed virtually and enjoy international guests that enrich our global community.


Always evolving

Our focus is to facilitate cooperation and collaboration globally with other bodies that have similar interests. We strongly believe that this interaction with other like-minded societies fosters and encourages friendly cooperation not just between members but that extends to other related industries. It’s this continuous desire to evolve that allows us to identify where all members need new information and ensures we continue to provide value.


Not for profit

One of the central tenets of our values is our foundation as a society that operates on a not-for-profit basis. We are able to continue to provide valuable courses, webinars and training through funds raised from membership fees and the sale of technical publications as well as events. When there are surplus funds we make sure these are reinvested in the interest of our membership. Because we are a not for profit organisation, it means that our focus is on our members solely and the service we provide.


Influencing key stakeholders

We believe it’s important not just to foster relationships with like-minded bodies, but to ensure we reach out to other stakeholders. such as regulatory agencies, health organisations, and governmental departments. We take steps to cultivate and maintain relationships with these organisations, to be the “voice” of our members and ensure that our collaborative enterprise is fruitful and valuable.