Lancet publishes BSAC funded paper on UK & EU funding for antibacterial and antibiotic research

The British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy is delighted that the article ‘UK and European Union public and charitable funding from 2008 to 2013 for bacteriology and antibiotic research in the UK: an observational study’ based upon a report for the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Antibiotics was published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases on 25th July .

This article reveals that less than 1% of research funding awarded by public and charitable bodies to UK researchers in 2008–2013 was awarded for research on antibiotics. The study, which is the first detailed assessment of public and charitable funding to UK researchers focusing on bacteriology and antibiotic research, suggests that present levels of funding for antibiotic research in the UK are too low, and will need to be urgently increased if the growing crisis of antibiotic resistance is to be tackled effectively by UK researchers.

Dr Nicholas Brown, BSAC President and Consultant Microbiologist, Addenbrooke’s Hospital Cambridge said: “This article once again reiterates the need for more research to help preserve the efficacy our current but diminishing stock of antibacterial drugs.  Only through significant investment in research, stewardship and monitoring plus professional and public education and engagement will we make the difference that is needed”.


Professor Laura Piddock, BSAC Chair in Public Engagement and Director of Antibiotic Action, senior author on the Lancet Infectious Diseases article stated: “Data in this article provides a baseline by which UK funding for basic science and research across all sectors on antibiotic research can be measured. I hope that it also provides the stimulus to the UK government to provide new financial support to RCUK in their new activities in this area so that they do not have to fund the new calls on antimicrobial resistance from their current budgets.’’

Professor Piddock added “Having been a member of several funding committees, I am well aware of the numerous factors that influence funding decisions, so this article is not intended as a criticism of their activities. With the new calls for research applications to tackle antimicrobial resistance, it is imperative that any committee, described by ‘Sir John Savill as a ‘war cabinet’, has the appropriate breadth and depth of basic to clinical research expertise on antibiotics. To prevent duplication of previous efforts this committee should also include leading ex-senior Pharma researchers, whose data is often not in the public domain.”


The BSAC President-Elect and Professor of Infectious Disease at University of Dundee, Professor Dilip Nathwani said: “By identifying the inadequacy of the  funding currently available for antibacterial research this  paper signifies the importance of antimicrobial stewardship, which BSAC regards as a pivotal effective evidence base strategy, in combating antimicrobial resistance. One of the innovative and exciting responses to this is challenge which BSAC is leading is to produce a high quality, interactive and readily accessible stewardship educational resource for health care professionals that will be free at the point of access. This will be delivered through the development of a massive open on line course [MOOC] that is supported by a range of key national and international stakeholders