Today the ESRC has launched a new multi-million pound initiative which aims to expand understanding of how the behaviour of professionals, organisations and the public impacts on anti-microbial resistance (AMR) – particularly resistance to antibiotics and other drugs.
The new call is part of the wider cross-research council initiative on AMR. The ESRC is looking for academics, from across the social and medical sciences and the arts and humanities, to lead collaborative research on how we can enhance or control the spread of AMR.
As the new call launches, the University of Bristol‘s Dr Christie Cabral and Dr Helen Lambert, ESRC AMR Champion, look at how spreading knowledge across the sciences is key.
Anti-microbial resistance (AMR) is a ‘wicked problem’ which leads to drug resistant infections. The evidence is incomplete or contradictory, there are many different interest groups with different needs and views, and the ‘solution’ depends on how the ‘problem’ is framed and vice versa. Like other ‘wicked problems’ (eg climate change, species conservation, pandemic influenza) that result from the complex interaction of a huge range of influences, there is no single, simple solution and so our response needs to be multifaceted. Continue reading
Helen Lambert, the ESRC AMR Research Champion, is a social anthropologist at the University of Bristol School of Social and Community Medicine, who has done a vast range of health-related qualitative research.
Her research interests include the application of anthropology to public health research and evaluation; lay perceptions of illness and health-seeking practices in India and the UK; indigenous therapeutic traditions in South Asia; HIV and sexual health; people’s understandings of suicide; lay perceptions of risk; and notions of evidence in medicine, epidemiology and anthropology.
Here – marking European Antibiotics Awareness Day – Helen looks at the role social scientists can play in addressing the challenge of drug-resistant infections:
The global health problem of drug-resistant infections has been identified as a key issue for the UK, and the threat posed has been likened to terrorism or global warming. To date, many of the proposed solutions have focused on new technologies, such as the £10 million Longitude prize to develop a new diagnostic test for bacterial infections. Yet the phenomenon of antimicrobial resistance is largely a consequence of human action, and both its drivers and its consequences are socially patterned.