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First national PhD training programme to tackle antimicrobial resistance

13 Sep 2017

New scientists will explore ways to tackle antimicrobial resistance through a £2.85m investment in a PhD training programme by the Medical Research Foundation (MRF), the charitable foundation of the MRC.

The first intake of the Antimicrobial Resistance PhD Training Programme will fully fund 18 students for four years, in one of 16 participating universities across the UK.

Antibiotics transformed healthcare in the 20th Century and are considered one of the greatest medical achievements of the era. Today, we still rely on antibiotics to treat everything from minor cuts to life-threatening bacterial infections, and to prevent infection after surgery. These drugs have drastically improved our quality of life and increased our lifespan.

In the 21st Century, antibiotic overuse and misuse has led to antibiotics rapidly becoming ineffective. Antimicrobial resistance, specifically antibiotic resistance, now poses a global threat to human life. We need urgent action to halt resistance and to speed up new treatments for bacterial infection. The MRF’s Antimicrobial Resistance PhD Training Programme has been designed in response. 

Dr Matthew Avison, Principal Investigator at the University of Bristol and academic lead for the national training programme, said: “The fight against antimicrobial resistance is serious, life-threatening and global – it is a fight we must win. I look forward to leading an incredible group of research leaders in 16 universities and institutes across the UK. The programme will train the next generation of researchers to develop the multidisciplinary research skills that are required to tackle this major health problem.”

Working with the MRC, the MRF spotted a gap in funding for PhD studentships in this field of research – currently there are few emerging researchers trained in the multidisciplinary approach required to tackle the antimicrobial resistance problem. The programme is designed to help build a strong, active network of new researchers to approach this global challenge in innovative ways. 

The MRF’s Chair, Professor Nicholas Lemoine, said: “The Medical Research Foundation is delighted to be funding the UK’s only national PhD Training Programme in antimicrobial resistance research.  We believe this will help to strengthen the UK’s research capacity to respond to the global health challenge of antimicrobial resistance, including antibiotic resistance and drug-resistant infections.”

The MRF is continuing to seek funds from its supporters and other sources to fund two further cohorts of PhD students in antimicrobial resistance in the future.

Find out which universities and institutes are hosting PhD students through the training programme.


  • Categories: Funding
  • Health categories: Infection
  • Locations: Other
  • Type: News article