Imperial College London

Funding for interdisciplinary project that could stop antibiotic resistance

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Antimicrobial resistance

An Antimicrobial Resistance research project led by the Glasgow School of Art (GSA), with partners including Imperial, has been awarded £250k.

RIPEN (Re-envisaging Infection Practice Ecologies in Nursing) is one of three GSA-led studies which received funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to address the “growing global problem” of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), particularly resistance to antibiotics.

The rising number of antibiotics becoming resistant to existing bacteria, combined with a slowdown of new antibiotics in research and development, has led GSA and partners to look at interdisciplinary solutions to tackle one of the greatest problems facing the world today.

Dr Enrique Castro Sánchez RIPEN – the first study of its kind – will use various approaches including design and visualisation to explore the question, “What would a world without antibiotics look like?”

Dr Enrique Castro Sanchez, co-applicant for the grant from Imperial said: “The loss of antibiotics may have implications not just for the society, but it may also transform how healthcare workers practice, and may even shape how the health service operates.”

With nurses making up the largest part of the health workforce, RIPEN specifically looks at the role of nurses in causing and preventing the spread of bacteria. Dr Castro Sanchez, an Academic Research Nurse at the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Healthcare Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance, will be conducting workshops for nurses to allow them to imagine the implications of antibiotic loss with the help of 3D and computer-generated environments previously established by the GSA.

Prof Tom Inns, GSA director, said: "The application of design is helping to devise innovative solutions to many issues facing contemporary society.

"One of the most important challenges is increasing antimicrobial resistance where our experts in environmental research and design in age, health and care have already undertaken ground-breaking projects working with a wide range of interdisciplinary partners."

In response to being awarded the funding, Dr Castro Sanchez said: “I am delighted that the project has been selected, not just for the funding but also for the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues and experts from the arts and social sciences.

“I am optimistic about the promises to further develop methods based on visualisation and working together with the intended beneficiaries.” The RIPEN team will be disseminating the results of the workshop through nursing networks, and ultimately hope to influence nursing policies through links with Government departments.

Other partners involved in RIPEN include experts in nursing, history, health services research and service design from King’s College London, Glasgow Caledonian University and University of the Arts London. 

This article was adapted from materials provided by the Glasgow School of Art

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Ellyw Evans

Ellyw Evans
Faculty of Medicine Centre

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Email: ellyw.evans15@imperial.ac.uk

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