The World Sponge Conference, hosted every 3-4 years, brings together international scientists from all over the globe to present their latest research findings and to network with colleagues both old and new. It has been a long wait but the time for the next International Sponge Conference is almost upon us! This year we invite you to the National University of Ireland, Galway on the West Coast of Ireland for a stimulating and exciting meeting. We plan to mix the traditional approach with newer ideas. There will be one single session and no parallel sessions. However, we will incorporate speed talks to facilitate more oral presentations and the meeting will also include a number of workshops and discussion fora to address topics of particular interest or which are developing at speed, such as systematics, natural products and genomics. It will be an important venue for early stage researchers to communicate their work and meet with established international researchers.