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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/M027473/1
Title: Building the Queen's University of Belfast AMR Network (QUBAN)
Principal Investigator: Bell, Professor SEJ
Other Investigators:
Dunne, Dr N Bengoechea, Professor JA McCoy, Professor CP
Elborn, Professor J S Gilmore, Professor BF Graham, Professor WG
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Chemistry and Chemical Eng
Organisation: Queen's University of Belfast
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 July 2015 Ends: 31 December 2017 Value (£): 395,371
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Medical science & disease
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Healthcare Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
23 Feb 2015 Bridging the Gaps - EPS and AMR Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is becoming a serious health issue since the number of bacteria which are resistant to existing antibiotics is rising faster than the supply of new antibiotics. This proposal aims to encourage researchers from Engineering and Physical Sciences in QUB to engage with the AMR problem by bringing them into contact with specialist AMR researchers who are primarily located in the Schools of Biology and Medicine, Dentistry & Biomedical Science (MDBS) and are much more familiar with the issues surrounding AMR. They can also provide a clinical perspective. This will form the basis for a new Queen's University Belfast Antimicrobial Network, QUBAN. The network will focus on the Research Councils' Theme: "Accelerating Therapeutic and Diagnostics Development". We have already identified 33 researchers from across six Schools/Centres in QUB who will be obvious members of QUBAN but we anticipate, and will actively promote, further engagement from other researchers within these Schools and from the wider research community in the University. There are exciting possibilities for using our expertise in advanced materials and processing to develop novel approaches to combating AMR through use of microbicides that are not based on small molecule drugs, these range from photogenerated electrons to cold plasmas. Similarly, modifying surfaces can help in preventing infection while sensors can be used to detect infection at the early stages. There is strength-in-depth in all these areas within QUB.

QUBAN is designed to promote interdisciplinary working through a series of activities that will run throughout the 24 month duration of the programme and beyond. Important among these are the Sandpits which are planned in Months 3 and 14. The Month 3 event will be the first major forum where we will bring together interested parties from across the University to develop novel research ideas away from everyday distractions. Funding for Proof-of-Principle studies to take these projects to the level where they will be sufficiently advanced for external grant application funding will be available. This will be complemented by a parallel funding mechanism which will be an open call for smaller grants and will cover anything from buying out laboratory supervision to free up time for writing grant applications through to travel or small items of equipment. Researchers at all levels, including PDRAs and PhD students will be encouraged to become involved in QUBAN. There is a planned seminar programme but we also envisage funding short (three month) discipline-hopping visits to laboratories in other Schools/Faculties by PhD students and "Dragon's Den" competitions for PDRAs.

The programme will be driven forward by the two PIs along with a Technical Management Group who will prioritise applications for funding the Proof-of-Principle proposals arising from Sandpit events and also help to set the scientific direction to the Seminar series, poster sessions and Sandpits. In addition, we will have a high level Steering Committee who will help to set the strategic direction of the Network. This Committee will be Chaired by Prof James McElnay, the University's PVC for Research and have 3 other senior academic members. Prof Rafael Canton (University Hospital Ramon y Cajal, Spain) a world leading expert on AMR, Prof Duncan Graham (Director of the Centre for Molecular Nanometrology, Strathclyde) a leading proponent of application of physical sciences to healthcare problems, and Prof Chris Hardacre (Head of School CCE, QUB) who has extensive experience in coordinating multicentre research grants. The Steering Committee will review progress every six months against targets, outputs/pathways to impact, publications and any IPR issues that may arise, ensuring the successful investment and delivery of the BTG award.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.qub.ac.uk