Research networks tackling antimicrobial resistance offered £3m

A multi-ethnic group of varied business professionals are standing together and are smiling while looking at the camera.

The research and innovation community are invited to help tackle one of humanity’s biggest threats, antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The funding will help to set up new, or build on existing cross-disciplinary networks to:

  • develop new approaches to tackling AMR
  • take a comprehensive approach, including culture, economics, behaviour, biomedical and physical sciences, design and engineering, environmental sciences and more

It’s all part of UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) tackling infections strategic theme.

Researchers, policy-makers and business leaders can all play a part from across the research and innovation community, including:

  • social sciences and humanities
  • biotechnology
  • agriculture and food
  • tech and design
  • environment and engineering

Researchers needed to come together

Dr Colin Miles, Head of Strategy, Advanced Manufacturing and Clean Growth, said:

Tackling the creeping pandemic of anti-microbial resistance – increasing resistance to antibiotics – is a large, complex problem, with terrible long-term consequences if left unaddressed. Ten million people each year are expected to lose their lives to it by 2050. And we know that it can’t be tackled by solely developing more antibiotics.

Instead, we need researchers from across disciplines to come together and look at all aspects of the problem – from human behaviour and how we grow crops and rear animals for consumption to how we manage the environment or use technology, clinical management strategies or challenge established cultural norms.

New funding

Overall, UKRI will award up to £10 million in new funding, in two stages. This initial stage will allow groups of UK researchers to apply for a share of £3 million to set up transdisciplinary networks to, for example:

  • develop new methods, technologies or common frameworks for data collection and analysis, including for example, rapid pathogen sequencing and antimicrobial usage
  • work to improve data collection and standardisation across disciplines
  • look at the impact of climate change on AMR
  • develop and evaluate broad, evidence-based interventions, like social, cultural and economic strategies or engineering or tech solutions, that go beyond pharmaceutical and chemical fixes
  • look at AMR in crop production and animals, including impacts on other reservoirs of resistance and on food security

Tackling infections is one of UKRI’s five strategic themes and these projects are just three of a number of investments in ways to investigate and better manage future infectious disease threats.

How to apply

For more information, including eligibility criteria and how to apply, check out UKRI’s funding opportunity.

We’re also running a webinar on 1 November to talk in more detail about the funding’s aims and allow researchers to ask questions.

Transforming tomorrow together

Through its five-year strategy transforming tomorrow together 2022 to 2027, UKRI will harness the full power of the UK’s research and innovation system to tackle large-scale, complex challenges. To do this, it has identified five strategic themes, building on the millions that UKRI has invested and designed to encourage working across disciplines and building on existing investment and activity.

Tackling infections will bolster our national defence and response capabilities by tackling infectious diseases that pose threats to people, livestock, crops and natural resources in more integrated and innovative ways. This will mean we’re better prepared for potential epidemics and more effectively tackle AMR.

Our aim is to build knowledge and capability to better detect and disrupt the emergence and spread of infectious diseases, accelerating the development of new vaccines and therapeutics. At the heart of this vision is our commitment to supporting world class discovery science and further understanding of disease.

Further information

About our strategic themes

Through our five-year strategy ‘transforming tomorrow together’, UKRI aims to harness the full power of the UK’s research and innovation system to tackle large-scale, complex challenges. To do this, we are investing £185 million in five themes which will tackle existential threats to humanity and encourage working across disciplines. These are:

  • building a greener future
  • building a secure and resilient world
  • creating opportunities and improving outcomes
  • health, ageing and wellbeing
  • tackling infections

We will build on these funds through contributions from our councils and other funding partners, including government departments.

About AMR

AMR is one of the top ten global health threats. By 2050, as many as ten million people could die each year as a result of AMR. The World Bank predicts that from 2015 to 2050, the cost of AMR will be $ 3.5 billion per year on healthcare alone.

Top image:  Credit: FatCamera, E+ via Getty Images

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