£2.2m awarded to arts and humanities researchers to tackle anti-microbial resistance

Date: 12/07/2017

AMR Awards Image

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) has announced it is giving more than £2m to fund research that will take innovative approaches to tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in indoor and built environments.

The 11 awards will go to projects targeting the challenges of AMR in places such as schools, hospitals, shopping centres, public spaces, and even homes.

AMR is the ability of a microorganism such as a bacteria, virus, or parasite, to become resistant to an antimicrobial, such as antibiotics. The 11 funding awards will be used to address this global challenge by exploring design, architecture, policy, human behaviour, and other research areas under the AHRC remit to tackle infection as a result of resistant microorganisms.

Gillian Gray, Portfolio Manager at the AHRC said: “AMR is a global challenge, and we at the AHRC are excited to support the novel approaches that the arts and humanities will bring to this real-world issue.

“Researchers in the arts and humanities bring different and valuable perspectives to the challenges commonly found in medical establishments and beyond.”

Among the projects, researchers are looking for solutions to AMR in nursing, to pathogens in hospitals, and AMR in surgical environments and pharmacies.  

Meanwhile, one project led by the University of Leeds aims to develop better ways to improve hygiene in primary school toilets, while another, by the Glasgow School of Art, will examine the impact ventilation design has on AMR in homes.

The AHRC launched its AMR call in November 2016 as part of the wider AMR research initiative led by the Medical Research Council (MRC). The initiative highlighted that AMR cannot be tackled purely by biomedical and clinical expertise, but through global and interdisciplinary approaches. By incorporating arts and humanities research, these 11 awards will offer a significant step forward in combating AMR.

The organisations to receive the awards and their projects are:

Glasgow School of Art

  • Influence of ventilation design on the prevalence of anti-microbial bacteria in homes
  • Re-envisaging infection practice ecologies in nursing through arts and humanities approaches
  • AMR Sim: a microbial reality simulator

Lancaster University – in collaboration with the Medical Research Council (MRC)

  • Exploring hygiene practices in different home environments in Ghana to understand how homes are a source of infection of AMR bacteria carried by dust

RAND Corporation

  • AMR policy development: looking forward through history

University College London

  • Paths of resistant pathogens in hospitals: architecture, design interventions, transmission risks
  • Niches for organic territories in bio-augmented design

University of Cambridge

  • Excising infection in the surgical environment

University of Leeds

  • Lifting the lid on bacteria: designing ambient communications to improve hygiene in primary school toilets

University of Reading

  • Information design and architecture in persuasive pharmacy space: combating anti-microbial resistance

University of York

  • Pathways, practices and architectures: containing antimicrobial resistance in a cystic fibrosis clinic

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Notes for Editors

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About the Arts and Humanities Research Council:

The Arts and Humanities Research Council funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: history, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, languages, design, heritage, area studies, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98 million to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits and contributes to the economic success of the UK but also to the culture and welfare of societies around the globe. You can find out more information via www.ahrc.ac.uk or following us on Twitter at @ahrcpress, on Facebook at Arts and Humanities Research Council, or Instagram at @ahrcpress

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