Bridging the Gaps: Systems-level approaches to antimicrobial resistance
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is significant and growing challenge. Existing antimicrobials are becoming less effective and pathogenic bacteria, viruses and fungi are increasing the rate at which they become resistant to treatment. Multi-drug resistant bacteria are also being discovered with accelerated frequency.
The issues are manyfold, with few new antibiotic treatments being discovered, existing treatments becoming less effective and inappropriate use of drugs such as antibiotics increasing the incidence of AMR.
The increase in AMR is a global concern and solutions must be innovative and cross-disciplinary if we hope to slow the rate of resistance. Without taking urgent action we risk infections which cannot be treated, threatening global human and animal health, agriculture and the wider environment.
The University of Nottingham has exceptional expertise in exploring the complex challenge of AMR, including internationally recognised microbiology and parasitology research teams. Nottingham was successful in obtaining funding for Bridging the Gaps, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), as part of a network of UK AMR projects.
Bridging the Gaps aimed to create and support cross-disciplinary networks of researchers to develop novel systems-level approaches to antimicrobial resistance. We delivered a programme of activities to promote new collaborations between engineering, the physical sciences and the biological sciences, and included non-EPS researchers such as social scientists whenever this was of benefit to EPS research. Researchers explored diverse subjects such as AMR in the environment, water supply, agriculture, drug discovery and delivery, GP prescribing, Point of Care testing and AMR data discovery tools.
We promoted collaborations with events focused on addressing AMR challenges. These included industry Challenge days, sandpit events and networking events. Challenge days brought researchers together with industrial partners and clinicians to align research developments with the needs of potential end users and to research specific questions with immediate impacts. Sandpits supported researcher groups to identify specific research problems and to find solutions to those problems in novel and unpredictable ways. Researchers also benefited from the expertise of leading AMR experts in our Visiting Scholar seminar series. Pump prime funding was available to cross-disciplinary research groups via direct application to the Bridging the Gaps Award fund and via Sandpit prizes.
Bridging the Gaps supported the new generation of research scientists by offering AMR undergraduate projects and by organising AMR clubs and events for PhD students and postdoctoral researchers.
Bridging the Gaps was directed by its own Strategy Group, formed of ten researchers from across The University of Nottingham.
Antimicrobial resistance activity at The University of Nottingham is now supported by the AMR Research Priority Area.