Area of investment and support

Area of investment and support: AHRC research into antimicrobial resistance

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR), especially resistance to antibiotics, is a growing global problem. Tackling AMR was a cross-council programme where the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) formed an essential part of a multi-disciplinary approach.

Partners involved:
Medical Research Council (MRC), Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

The scope and what we're doing

The antimicrobial resistance (AMR) cross-council initiative led by MRC was delivered via four themes:

  1. Understanding resistant bacteria in the context of the host.
  2. Accelerating therapeutic and diagnostics development.
  3. Understanding real world interactions.
  4. Behaviour within and beyond the health care setting.

AHRC’s main investment in this area was related to themes three and four.

Find out more about MRC’s support for research into AMR.

Why we're doing it

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a term used to describe disease-causing organisms that have evolved to survive medicines that have been designed to kill them or stop their growth. While AMR is a concern for all types of pathogenic organisms, including viruses and fungal organisms, it is the increase in the numbers of bacteria that are becoming resistant to antibiotics that is a global priority for AMR research.

Many modern medical advances are reliant on antibiotics – organ transplants and chemotherapy for example. If antibiotics are no longer effective, minor infections and even small cuts and scrapes could be fatal. It is clear that AMR needs a globally co-operative interdisciplinary approach to tackle these challenges and all the research councils have been working together to identify key themes to target current and future investments.

Tackling AMR is one of a number of these cross-council programmes, where the arts and humanities work with different subject areas to tackle a particular idea or issue.

Find out more about MRC’s support for research into AMR.

Opportunities, support and resources available

AHRC is a member of the AMR funders forum which provides a forum for sharing information on AMR activities and, in particular, antibiotic resistance.

Find out more about MRC’s support for research into AMR.

Past projects, outcomes and impact

Antimicrobial resistance: infection prevention through design

Glasgow School of Art received a £600,000 grant to use their expertise in design to better communicate information about how bacteria spreads to change behaviour in hospitals for the better.

Ventilation design on the prevalence of antimicrobial bacteria in homes

Professor Tim Sharpe’s project investigated how modern housing design affects the indoor microbiome of buildings, AMR and, subsequently, the occupants’ health.

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