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During the last few decades, the bi-annual BAGECO symposium has established itself as a leading European conference in prokaryotic genetics and ecology. The upcoming symposium (BAGECO 15), to be held in Lisbon 2019, will once again unite leading scientists to debate the most pressing questions in the broad fields of microbiology, microbial ecology, metagenomics and complementary disciplines. In particular, BAGECO 15 aims to highlight the pivotal roles that microorganisms play in the functioning of natural and man-made environments. Beyond the acknowledged and acute pressures that natural biomes face due to modern climate change, the way in which we perceive ourselves and the natural world is as well changing rapidly. Our greater understanding of the assembly and functioning of microbiomes in nature, and improved ability to harness the diverse metabolism of cultured and uncultured microorganisms, are expected to have a profound impact on how we manage and mitigate problems of environmental, societal and public health concern within a future circular economy framework. Microorganisms are in the limelight of this changing planet, and it is the duty of our community to envision how fundamental knowledge on microbial physiology, genetics and ecology can contribute to the sustainable use of ecosystems, the development of cost-effective environment conservation and remediation strategies, improvements in food production and the promotion of human and animal health, and to steer the discovery of new drugs and biosensors. In this context, BAGECO 15 offers an exciting multidisciplinary programme at the forefront of scientific knowledge, inviting high-quality research on contemporary issues of relevance to modern microbial genetics and ecology. The programme is well suited to the participation of early- and mid-carrier scientists who wish to showcase and disseminate their research in a highly interactive symposium. Importantly, BAGECO symposia are traditionally organized as a single session, promoting better exchange between all delegates and wider dissemination of the presented research to a truly diverse audience. Ample opportunities for discussion and networking are offered during the poster sessions, which provide appropriate time and space for delegates to interact with one another and explore all the work being presented at the symposium in its full extent. It is therefore with great pleasure and enthusiasm that we invite you to join us at BAGECO 15. We hope that the symposium will provide plenty of opportunities for you to interact and share your work with renowned scientists in the field while experiencing the unique culture and landscape offered by Lisbon and surrounding areas.