Thursday, 30 July 2015

LeSpar AMR Workshop - The Nottingham Edition, Funding & Final conclusions

This is the last post on a series of presentations that were given by researchers as part of the Learned Society Partnership on Antimicrobial Resistance. The workshops took place in London, Dundee and Nottingham. All my posting covered solely Nottingham's Edition; the one I have been to! If you'd like to read about the different presentations, please access here, here and also here

This final part has to do with funding. The talk was given by Lizzie Garrett and to the best of my knowledge it covered the "Tackling antimicrobial resistance cross council initiative". These are the bullet points I managed to take note of during Lizzie's talk: 
  • UK funded research on AMR, from 2007 to 2013, in approximately £275M;
  • What else is needed then? An AMR funders forum led and managed by the Medical Research Council (MRC). This forum was launched in June 2014 and is restricted to bacterial resistance.
  • Theme I is about understanding bacteria, Theme 2 is about accelerating therapeutic and diagnostics, Theme 3 is about understanding real world interactions and Theme 4 is about understanding behaviour within and beyond the healthcare settings;
  • Looking deeper into what each of these themes entail, theme I is MRC-led, have innovation grants and collaborative grants; theme 2 is also MRC-led with a deadline on the 4th of June 2015 (also innovation and collaborative grants available) and a panel meeting pointing to September 2015 and March 2016; theme 3 is NERC- and MRC-led [NERC = Natural Environment Research Council] and the discussion panel meets in the Summer of 2015;
  • I wasn't able to pick up anything on theme 4, sorry for that!
The organisers then proceeded to producing some funny moments of networking with an 'organised mishmash' of groups and discussion tables.  Participants had to contribute with pertinent questions on the today and tomorrow of antimicrobial resistance research and focus, but also had to offer possible answers to questions posed by other groups. The debate was very interesting, but as I mentioned before in my first post, for most of the students present it was more of a sit-back-and-watch PIs and the like talk rather than actually being able to participate. It was a bit like watching grown ups talk on a Saturday night dinner table and not being heard, even when you know their views are in urgent need of some new fresh approaches. 

The questions prepared by the different groups are listed below:

1) In what way can we identify, group and support people with a common interest in alternative approaches to AMR?

2) Is it too late to attempt to conserve antibiotics?

3) Should we be looking elsewhere for alternatives?

4) Are the experiments that we perform in the lab relevant at all? Can this explain why some strains become dominant?

5) How do we standardise experiments between and among labs in order to latter compare results from different environments?

6) Is selection to AMR happening in the environment? If so, where and how? And what are the implications for human and veterinary medicine?

7) Are we in need of realistic lab-based models and model systems, including alternatives to animals, to study infection and therapeutics?

8) What is resistance anyway? How can we define resistance?

Maybe you can organise a debate in your department and have some interesting discussions trying to find answers for these pertinent questions. I hope you've enjoyed this series of presentations and that you keep visiting The Toxicologist Today.

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