£10m research competition to tackle antimicrobial resistance

Move aims to encourage the development of innovative scientific approaches to addressing antimicrobial resistance

Manufacturers and academics are being targeted as part of a £10m government-led research competition aimed at tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in humans.

The Department of Health and Social Care has launched the fund to support the development of new innovations to address the growing problem.

This problem is only getting worse – we urgently need to find solutions

AMR, which includes bacterial resistance to existing antibiotics, is on the rise and poses a significant threat to healthcare around the world.

Without a better understanding of how to tackle and prevent AMR, treatable infections could become life-threatening and the advancements made in modern medicine over recent decades are at risk of being reversed.

The competition follows the announcement, in May, of a £30m moneypot to fund research and development projects as part of the Global AMR Innovation Fund (GAMRIF) with CARB-X, the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), the Argentinian government, and Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

The new £10m commitment will be made available in research grants funded through a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI).

It is being run by Innovate UK on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care, with the aim of supporting the implementation of the UK Five Year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy.

Antimicrobial resistance may seem like a distant threat, but people are already dying needlessly in their thousands across the world, including in this country, because they have a drug-resistant infection and we do not have effective drugs to treat them

In 2016, a government-commissioned review by Lord Jim O’Neill highlighted the need for more research and development to reduce the global threat of AMR – prompting the Government to commit to an additional investment of up to £55m over five years from 2016/17 towards the promotion of excellence in AMR research and development in the UK.

The new competition forms part of funding announced in October last year at the global Call to Action conference by the Wellcome Trust, the UN Foundation, and the UK, Ghanaian and Thai governments, to further accelerate action in this area.

NHS chief medical officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, said: “Antimicrobial resistance may seem like a distant threat, but people are already dying needlessly in their thousands across the world, including in this country, because they have a drug-resistant infection and we do not have effective drugs to treat them.

I know there are exciting projects needing support in this area – and this competition presents a fantastic opportunity for the UK to lead this work

“This problem is only getting worse – we urgently need to find solutions.”

More research is critical, which is why the UK Government is calling on some of the country’s brightest minds to come up with new ways to prevent, control and combat these infections in the future.

“I know there are exciting projects needing support in this area – and this competition presents a fantastic opportunity for the UK to lead this work.”

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