History & Activities
The BSI is one of the oldest, largest, and most active, Immunology societies in the world and is the largest in Europe. Our members are based all over the world, with the majority working in Britain.
The BSI was founded in 1956 by a small group of hard working, visionary immunologists, who wanted to come together to share ideas. The idea of a society had been mooted some two years earlier at a meeting at Trinity College, Cambridge. The founding group included John Humphrey, Bob White, Robin Coombs and Av Mitchison.
Our members work throughout the entire Immunology chain, stretching from the laboratory bench right through to the clinics and hospitals in which patients are treated - from discovery to delivery. The fields in which they work are wide and extensive, from HIV/AIDS to allergy, diabetes, malaria, TB, animal health, arthritis, transplantation, vaccination and infectious disease.
In 2006 the BSI's Board of Trustees approved the formation of the Clinical Immunology and Allergy Section (CIAS), a special section within the Society, which particularly focuses on the priorities and needs of its clinical members. The BSI now also has a Clinical Secretary on board, who is the Chair of the CIAS Executive Committee, formed of nominated representatives from key organisations.
As well as representing its members, the BSI publishes two academic journals, Immunology and Clinical & Experimental Immunology. The journals enable the society to disseminate research and good practice in Immunology and translational medicine and vaccination.
The BSI's flagship event is its Annual Congress, the largest national Immunology congress in Europe, with over 1500 attendees. The Congress has been going since 1993. Attendees are drawn from all sectors of the immunological community, from researchers to clinical immunologists. The BSI has long been committed to providing access to these, and additional meetings, and to developing programmes in research, public engagement and education. We run career and education workshops and contribute to major events such as the Edinburgh International Science Festival, the BA Festival of Science and National Science Week.
The BSI also supports a network of regional groups which run programmes of lectures, seminars and residential meetings. The Society provides grants and bursaries to enable immunologists to attend important meetings and to interact with their peers and to discuss their work with eminent international speakers.
The BSI is committed to working with other societies. We belong to EFIS (European Federation of Immunological Societies) and the IUIS (International Union of Immunological Societies) and are working in partnership with the AAI (American Association of Immunologists).
For more information about the activities supported by the BSI, please go here.