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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/M027333/1
Title: Bridging the Gaps: Systems-level approaches to antimicrobial resistance
Principal Investigator: King, Professor J
Other Investigators:
Dodd, Professor CER Sockett, Professor RE Searle, Professor M
Bayston, Professor R Gomes, Dr RL Twycross, Dr J
Barrow, Professor P Fromhold, Professor TM Alexander, Professor C
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Mathematical Sciences
Organisation: University of Nottingham
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 20 October 2015 Ends: 19 October 2017 Value (£): 491,232
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Medical science & disease
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Healthcare
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
23 Feb 2015 Bridging the Gaps - EPS and AMR Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an increasing challenge, not only in the context of healthcare but also in, for example, food safety and agriculture. The prevalence of resistant bugs such as MRSA has received widespread media coverage and the problems relating to resistance are now more widely recognised than ever before, as is the importance of developing new approaches, particularly given the increase in issues associated with multidrug resistant species. The current proposal seeks to drawn on wide-ranging applicable expertise in engineering and the physical sciences that, in collaboration with biological-science researchers, clinicians and industry, offers hitherto unexploited opportunities to contribute significantly to addressing these very significant challenges.

We shall accordingly deliver a programme of activities that promotes new interdisciplinary collaborations across traditional boundaries between engineering, the physical sciences and the biological sciences. The University of Nottingham has an outstanding history of such discipline-bridging activities, as well as of research relevant to AMR, and will bring this experience to bear upon the challenge of AMR.

The primary mechanism for promoting new research collaborations will be that of themed Sandpits, building on the success of the Mathematics-in-Medicine Study Groups pioneered by the University in 2000 (and subsequently spawning the Mathematics-in-the-Plant-Sciences Study Groups and others). In these, presenters from the biological sciences, clinical medicine or industry will describe issues that could benefit from new approaches drawn from engineering and the physical sciences; intensive brain-storming work on these topics will identify the skills needed and establish the relevant cross-disciplinary teams; seed funding will then be provided for the most promising projects identified. While the process is now well-established, the outcomes of such workshops are very far from predictable and the aggregation of the range of disciplines outlined above should ensure that innovative approaches come to the fore. Other mechanisms will include Challenge Days (modifying the successful approach of the Industry Challenge Days held by the Business School to ensure that research developments align with the needs of potential end users), discipline-hopping secondments, speed-networking sessions, cross-disciplinary workshops (focussing on specific methodologies, to enhance further the opportunities for identifying potential crossovers between research fields) and annual showcases in the form of a launch event and a concluding 'forward-look' workshop. These activities will be augmented by a Visiting-Scholar programme whereby leading experts in complementary areas will contribute their expertise to the initiative.

Funding from the programme will be assigned in competition to multidisciplinary projects judged on their research excellence and their capacity to contribute to addressing AMR challenges. The programme's Strategy Group will be responsible for assessing applications and for monitoring progress; the activities outlined above are specifically designed (in particular by bringing together researchers from diverse disciplines) to ensure that the research ideas developed are highly innovative and that the associated projects have the required mix of research expertise. The programme will be very explicitly outward-facing, drawing extensively on input from clinicians, industrialists and other potential end users, as well as interacting with complementary research elsewhere. In combination with the excellence and innovation of the research developed, such collaborations will ensure the sustainability of the initiative.

Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk