ISAPP-SFA meeting 2019

Thank you to everyone who accepted our invitation to attend the annual International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics - Students and Fellows Association (ISAPP-SFA) meeting (in conjunction with the annual ISAPP meeting) in Antwerp, Belgium, May 14-16, 2019. The call for applications is now CLOSED. Selected applicants have been notified through e-mail.

Highlights of the 2019 ISAPP-SFA conference include the opportunity to attend invite-only ISAPP lectures, a poster session at the ISAPP conference to present your work, a fermentation workshop and multiple networking events with both SFA and ISAPP members.

The updated SFA meeting program is available at


Our meeting in conjunction with ISAPP will be held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Antwerp (Koningin Astridplein 7, Antwerp, Belgium). The meeting venue is located a short walking distance from the Antwerp Central Station.
The official meeting begins first thing in the morning (9:00 AM on Tuesday May 14th) with an official SFA welcome. We have made hotel reservations starting from May 13th, to ensure everyone has enough time to travel at ease, and make it to the start of the conference on time. All delegates of the Students and Fellows Association will stay at the Tryp by Wyndham Hotel (for more information, see “Accommodation” below).

We expect almost everyone to be arriving on May 13th, and we will be organizing an early registration opportunity on the evening of May 13th at the Tryp by Wyndham hotel. This will be followed by an optional drink and chat. Those who are not able to register on the May 13th, please inform us about it ( There will be another registration opportunity before the start of the SFA meeting on May 14th.


For non-Belgian SFA attendees, accommodations are covered for the duration of the meeting (nights of May 13th, 14th and 15th). We kindly remind you that rooms have already been pre-booked and paid for at the Tryp by Wyndham hotel located a 15 min walk away from the Central Station. Check-in starts at 15h.

Hotel Address:  Plantin en Moretuslei 138, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium.

Hotel Website:

How to get to the hotel?

From Antwerp Central Station

Before you leave the station, please take your time to enjoy the beautiful architecture, dating from around the beginning of the 20th century. The station was judged multiple times as belonging to the most beautiful railway stations in Europe and the world! We hope you can agree with that!

When you exit the station through the main exit look for the Pelikaanstraat. There are many exits, but this street is right next to the station, so it is easy to find. Follow this street along the station (the station is on your left-hand side). Keep walking straight ahead for about 750 m. At the second traffic lights, turn left. This street should be called the Plantin en Moretuslei. Keep walking straight ahead for about 600 m. You should see the hotel at the right hand of the street.

Station hotel.jpg

From Brussels Airport

In Brussels Airport, follow the signs to the train station. There, you buy a single ticket to Antwerp Central Station (in Dutch: Antwerpen-Centraal). Do not panic if the ticket states “Zone Antwerp”, it entitles you to travel to Antwerp Central Station. Keep your ticket with you until you have reached your destination. You will need the ticket to open the ticket gates, and in some cases, you might get inspection on the train. Normally, the train will leave from platform 1, but always check this before getting on. Please do not get off at the station “Antwerpen-Berchem”, this is one station too soon. Once you arrive at Antwerp Central Station, follow the instructions given above.

When you travel back to Brussels Airport by train, make sure your ticket includes the “Diabolo fee”. Normally, this is included automatically. Again, keep your ticket with you, because you will need it to open the ticket gates to enter the airport.

From the Airport Brussel South Charleroi

From this airport you first need to take a bus, which will directly get you to the closest train station, called Charleroi-South Station (in French: Charleroi Sud). There are two busses every hour, so your waiting time should be minimal. From this station, you travel to Antwerp Central Station. There are two direct trains every hour. One option is the train with final destination “Essen”, the other train has final destination “Antwerpen-Noorderdokken”. For both trains, the tenth stop should be Antwerp Central Station. Please, listen carefully to the announcements. Please do not get off at the station “Antwerpen-Berchem”, this is one station too soon. After arriving in Antwerpen Centraal, follow the instructions given above to get to the hotel.

Travel grant

In the acceptance letter, the non-Belgian attendees were granted a set travel grant. These awards are conditional on you attending the meeting and submitting receipts and boarding passes for reimbursement, so please keep them. Should you have any questions about the travel award, please contact us (


As stated in the acceptance letter, attendees are expected to bring a poster. Poster boards will have a display size of 144 cm (height) x 97cm (width). Posters need to be set up before the meeting and taken down after the Poster Session on Tuesday the 14th of May.

Antwerp/Belgium visit

There are several blogs on the Tripadvisor website (such as below) which help visitors to plan their visit in Antwerp and other Belgian cities for vacation/non-conference fun time:

We will already provide you with five highlights in the city:

5 highlights.jpg

1)      As mentioned above, If you haven’t had the time to take a good look at the railway station of Antwerp Central, please go and visit this station. Many organisations have elected this railway station as being among the most beautiful ones in Europe and the world. Deffinitely worth a visit!
From this station, you can also easily reach the other main cities in Belgium. Feel free to ask the local organizer for more information.

2)      If you like animals, our national zoo (the “Zoo van Antwerpen”) is located right next to the station. There are elephants, you can walk among birds, and visit about 5000 other animals.

3)      The main shopping street in Antwerp is called “Meir”. If you like strolling and shopping, this is the place to be. There is also a very famous chocolatier located halfway the shopping street, where you can buy nice figurines of Belgian chocolate!

4)      The Cathedral (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal) has the tallest church tower in Belgium-The Netherlands-Luxemburg (BeNeLux). You can visit the church outside the hours of service. Please check the website on beforehand. To visit the art galleries of the church, an entrance fee is due. One of the most important pieces in the collection is “The Descent from the Cross”, by Peter Paul Rubens. Some of you might know the church from the movie “A dog of Flanders”, a story of a little boy and his dog, in which this painting also plays a central role. In front of the cathedral you can find a statue representing this little boy and his dog.

5)      The central market place (Grote markt) with the city hall. In front of the city hall, you find a statue (on warm days, it turns into a fountain) of the Roman soldier Silvius Brabo, who slayed the Giant Druoon Antigoon. The giant guarded the river Shelde, and demanded taxed from ships which wanted to pass. Until Brabo refused to pay, defeated the giant. To punish the giant, his hand was chopped off, and thrown into the river. According to the legend, this “throwing of the hand” led to the name Antwerp. (The Dutch “handwerpen”, literaly meaning “hand-throwing”, was transformed into “Antwerpen”). The presumably real history behind the name is less colorful, so we’ll stick to the story about the giant and a brave soldier.

As always, please email with any questions or comments.

We look forward to seeing you in Antwerp soon!


SFA Executive Committee
The Students and Fellows Association (SFA) of ISAPP

*DISCLAIMER: allocation of travel funds is at the discretion of the executive committee. While we aim to provide everyone with a travel fund, this will depend on the number of members attending and funds available. Please note that an application to attend this conference is not a guarantee of a place. We have an upper limit of participants and cannot accept more than we can accommodate. Therefore, to increase the likelihood of your application being approved, we encourage you to apply as soon as possible. Please note that if you require a visa for travel, it is your responsibility to organize this.