The biannual International Conference on Yeast Genetics and Molecular Biology (ICYGMB) is the most important forum for the exchange of results in yeast research. 800-1,000 participants including top-level researchers and Nobel laureates present their work at the ICYGMB. Yeast is one of the most important model organisms in the life sciences and many fundamental aspects of the eukaryotic cell are elucidated using the tools of yeast genetics, genomics and molecular biology. Yeast is also the most important industrial micro organism. Applications include classical fermentations (beer, wine, bread, alcohol), heterologous protein production, and studies on the genetic bases of human diseases and in drug screening programmes. At the ICYGMB-2003 researchers meet to plan future collaborative research and discuss how to address the needs of the European Society through front-line research within present and future framework programmes.