Two FEMS Editors-in-Chief recognized with Special Merit Award


Prof Max Häggblom and Dr Rich Boden, two long-standing FEMS Journals Editors-in-Chief, have been presented with the FEMS Special Merit Award.

This award recognizes exceptional contributions to FEMS and the microbiological community. It is presented on behalf of the whole of FEMS in acknowledgement and appreciation to individuals that have gone ‘above and beyond’ in terms of effort and achievement.

Our 3D printed FEMS Special Merit Awards, represent amino acid codons (TAG TAA TGA TAG) each with a fifth amino acid: Methionine for Max; and ARginine for Rich! Furthermore the colours reference the FEMS Journals, purple for FEMS Microbiology Letters and green for FEMS Microbiology Ecology.


Prof Max Häggblom

Prof Max Häggblom (Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Rutgers University, USA) has been Editor-in-Chief of FEMS Microbiology Ecology since January 2011 and continues to do an excellent job with the reputation of FEMS Microbiology Ecology growing consistently over those years. He has created strong links in particular between FEMS Microbiology Ecology and a number of universities and research institutes in China and several conferences such as the biennial Polar and Alpine Microbiology conference and Symposium on Sponge Microbiology. Max has also contributed as speaker, chair and in many other ways to several FEMS Congresses, and represented FEMS at many smaller meetings, including FEMS-sponsored meetings, informing attendees of our aim and activities. He has presented several workshops to early career researchers and students on “Get Your Work Published” (in FEMS Microbiology Ecology) in events across the US, Europe and China, including the Online Conference on Microbiology 2020.

Most recently Max has been a driving force behind a new initiative – the FEMS Microbiology Ecology webinars, which have been very popular, and since then his idea has expanded to some other FEMS Journals. These have all been based around recent thematic issues with authors outlining their research with attendees in the hundreds.

Max’s continuing enthusiasm for microbiology and support for students and early career researchers alongside his ongoing efforts in the journal are the reason for his recognition.


Dr Rich Boden

Dr Rich Boden (School of Biological and Marine Sciences, University of Plymouth, UK) has been Editor-in-Chief of FEMS Microbiology Letters from 2014. Since then, he has done amazing work to refresh the journal, including expanding its scope to include additional sections such as Professional Development. This popular section aims to provide microbiologists important additional skills. It showcases articles on developments and new directions in education and training standards, best practice in publishing and data handling, plus matters impacting microbiologists such as safety standards, funding opportunities, research and teaching metrics, equality and diversity, outreach and widening participation. It also has a focus on communicating science to a range of audiences, including a Thematic Issue on Education in Microbiology. Rich has been central to the increased role of such Thematic Issues in FEMS Microbiology Letters, including leading one on Sulfur Metabolism. The journal has also strengthened its reputation by responding to relevant issues and emergencies e.g., during major disease outbreaks. Rich, as Editor-in-Chief has worked particularly hard to engage with Early Career Researchers, explaining the publishing and Peer Review processes and explaining the difference FEMS, as a not-for-profit publisher can make. Rich has also campaigned for increased support and understanding of the experiences of Early Career Researchers, highlighting issues such as discrimination in visa applications and mental health issues and acting as an advocate to highlight and campaign for these issues

Rich is also a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and brings the expertise of that group to FEMS, helping define and demonstrate the academic rigour of our journals. He has contributed to many FEMS events as speaker, Chair and is continually prepared to contribute, providing interviews for the website, and suggesting ideas to future journal development.

His impact on FEMS’ oldest journal, tireless passion and enthusiasm for the subject and campaigning for others were the background to his nomination.

We would like to give our continued thanks and appreciation to them both.

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