Antimicrobial Resistance in the Real World

Petri dish

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is recognised as one of the most important global issues for human and animal health in terms of societal impact. One of the key gaps in our understanding of AMR is the role of the outdoor and host environments in AMR. To address this, NERC is leading a call on AMR in the Real World on behalf of the AMR cross-council initiative.

Research funded under the AMR in the Real World programme will examine the role of the environment and host microbiome in influencing the evolution, acquisition and spread of antibacterial resistance, and as a reservoir for resistance. The focus will be antibacterials and resistant bacteria or resistance genes, of relevance to bacteria of clinical and veterinary importance. Research will be supported in the agricultural, aquaculture, wastewater and natural environments (freshwater, marine, soil, air and their interfaces), and will also include elements of the way people and communities interact with the environment.

UK-China AMR Centre Partnerships Initiative - Expressions of interest for workshop

Closing date: 19 Sep
2017

1 Sep 2017

The Research Councils UK are pleased to invite expressions of interest to participate in a joint workshop (20-24 November 2017, Shanghai) to explore opportunities for UK-China collaboration in the area of antibacterial resistance.


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Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is recognised as one of the most important global issues for human and animal health in terms of societal impact. There are increasing numbers of resistant infections, many existing antimicrobials are becoming less effective, and there is rapid spread of multi-drug resistance bacteria. This means that we could be close to a reality where we are unable to prevent or treat everyday infections/diseases. Furthermore, there is a lack of significant commercial innovation in antimicrobials.

Part of the research challenge must therefore be to conserve the antimicrobials we have left by understanding and mitigate the development of resistance. To develop a complete picture we need to understand the role of the outdoor and host environments in AMR, an area where there has been very little coordinated research effort to date.

The government has published a Five Year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy (2013-2018) that sets out the actions and research needed to tackle AMR. Both the government's AMR Strategy and the Science & Technology Select Committee's recent report on 'Ensuring Access to Working Antimicrobials', have highlighted the need to understand AMR in the real world, and the Select Committee's report recommends "a research programme that will recruit expertise across the UK to fill the knowledge gaps on how antimicrobial resistance exists and may be transmitted via environmental routes". In parallel with this, the AMR Funders' Forum (AMRFF) and the AMR Cross-Council Initiative have been created specifically to enable the interdisciplinary research required to address the issue of AMR.

The AMR Cross-Council Initiative is led by the Medical Research Council (MRC) on behalf of the research councils and will be delivered via a thematic approach with research to be commissioned under four themes:

  • Theme 1: Understanding resistant bacteria.
  • Theme 2: Accelerating therapeutic and diagnostics development.
  • Theme 3: Understanding the real world interactions.
  • Theme 4: Behaviour within and beyond the health care setting.

A phased approach to delivery is being taken with the timing of calls under each of the themes being determined on a case-by-case basis. To date, the AMR Initiative has committed £28·5 million to new research activities and the total investment will increase as new activities are commissioned.

This programme, AMR in the Real World, falls under Theme 3 (Understanding the real world interactions) of the AMR Cross-Council Initiative. Theme 3 aims to address the need for a greater understanding of the role of the bacterial environment, defined in the broad sense, in influencing the evolution, acquisition and spread of antibacterial resistance, and as a reservoir of resistance. This programme is concerned with AMR in outdoor environments and the host microbiome.

Research funded under the AMR in the Real World programme will examine the role of the environment and host microbiome in influencing the evolution, acquisition and spread of AMR, and as a reservoir for resistance. The programme will be restricted to antibacterials and resistant in bacteria or resistant genes, of relevance to bacteria of clinical and/or veterinary importance, and excludes antibacterial resistance in plant pathogens. Research can be supported in agricultural, aquaculture, wastewater and natural environments (freshwater, marine, soil, air and their interfaces), human and animal host microbiomes (including the gut, skin, respiratory and oral microbiomes) and also includes elements relating to the way people and human communities interact with the environment.

Timing

2015 - 2020

Can I apply for a grant?

No, there are no current grant funding opportunities for this programme.

Budget

NERC are providing £3·5 million, BBSRC are providing £2 million and MRC are providing £1 million.

Programme awards

Award details are shown in our online grants browser - Grants on the Web.

View details of funded applications - external link

Antimicrobial Resistance in the Real World town meeting, 11 September 2015
Thistle Marble Arch Hotel, London

This town meeting was hosted by NERC, the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

It was a one day meeting with its principal aim being to disseminate information about the scope and requirements of the Antimicrobial Resistance in the Real World call, and provide an opportunity for attendees to exchange ideas, discuss potential projects and identify collaborators. During the event attendees also had the opportunity to discuss more specific queries with the funders.

The detailed agenda along with the papers and presentations given at the meeting can be downloaded below.

Town Meeting agenda (PDF, 284KB)

Town Meeting information papers (PDF, 359KB)

AMR in the Real World AO presentation (PDF, 264KB), Lizzie Garratt, NERC

AMR cross council initiative –Developing interdisciplinary approaches presentation (PDF, 739KB), Ghada Zoubiane, MRC

The arts and humanities and AMR presentation (PDF, 173KB), Gail Lambourne, AHRC

Understanding real world interactions: a policy perspective presentation (PDF, 536KB), Katherine Grace, VMD

Research gaps - medical needs presentation (PDF, 43KB), Neil Woodford, PHE

AMR in the Real World: AstraZeneca Perspective and Opportunities presentation (PDF, 1.1MB), Jason Snape, AstraZeneca

Antimicrobials in the livestock sector presentation (PDF, 431KB), Martin Smith, AHDB Pork

Antimicrobial resistance in the real world town meeting, industry opportunities presentation (PDF, 1.1MB), Alejandro Amezquita, Unilever

KTN the Knowledge Transfer Network presentation (PDF, 2.2MB), Bryan Hanley, KTN

Engaging policy makers and industry in AMR research (PDF, 671KB), Sian Rowland, BBSRC