UKRI ‘One Health’ AMR research priorities showcased in Parliament

14/02/2019

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The UKRI Cross-Council AMR Initiative and Stephen Metcalfe MP, Chair of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee and member of the Science and Technology Committee (Commons), yesterday (Weds) hosted a parliamentary panel and Q&A on Antimicrobial Resistance: How Research is Tackling the Challenge.

Event attendees including researchers, policymakers, parliamentarians, industry figures and funders, heard from a leading panel of AMR researchers reflecting the ‘One Health’ approach to tackling AMR, and discussed research progress, outstanding research priorities and what is needed to enable research and innovation to deliver a step-change in tackling AMR.

AMR is now recognised as one of the most serious global threats to human health in the 21st century, with the resistance of bacteria to antibiotics increasingly spreading from one country to the next.

The UK AMR 20-year vision and five-year plan (2019-2024), which was published last month, outlines how the UK will continue to make substantial, tangible progress towards preventing the spread and improving treatments for superbugs. UKRI councils, acting through the MRC-led UKRI Cross-Council AMR Initiative, informed and shaped the ‘One Health’ plan for research and innovation, which acts as a central thread throughout the vision and five-year plan.

The ‘One Health’ approach to tackling AMR spans humans, animals, food and the environment, working at a local, regional, national and international level in a collaborative and transdisciplinary manner to achieve optimal health outcomes.

The UKRI Cross-Council AMR Initiative supports this approach by working across eight out of nine UKRI councils (MRC, AHRC, BBSRC, ESRC, EPSRC, Innovate UK, NERC and STFC). This involves collaborating on a global scale through the Joint Programming Initiative on AMR and other bi-lateral partnerships and coordinating national AMR research through the UK AMR Funders Forum, which brings together 21 research funders, including UKRI councils, government departments, devolved administrations and charities, to improve coordination of research and cooperation between funders.

Investment in AMR research over the past five years has developed capacity, fostered interdisciplinarity and delivered impact. Preventing and containing AMR requires increased and sustained investment and a cross-disciplinary approach, hand in hand with industry and global partners.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jonathan Van-Tam and MRC Executive Chair Professor Fiona Watt opened and closed the event and outlined the case for support for the AMR research agenda.

Professor Fiona Watt, Executive Chair of the Medical Research Council said: “An interdisciplinary approach is crucial for making a step-change in addressing AMR. As Executive Chair of the MRC, I am proud of the strategic direction we are providing in this area, establishing the UK AMR Funders Forum (AMRFF) and leading the AMR Cross-Council Initiative, alongside our fellow research councils.”

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