Antimicrobial resistance (AMR), in which bacteria are increasingly resistant to antibiotics, is an explosively growing problem worldwide. An international interdisciplinary consortium including the University of Amsterdam will study social awareness of AMR and the development of alternatives to traditional antibiotics.
As part of the National Science Agenda, the Dutch Research Council (NWO) is providing a grant of 9.8 million euros to the DARTBAC project: Dutch Antimicrobial Resistance Technology development and Biofilm Assessment Consortium. The project is coordinated by Maastricht UMC+ and includes partners from social sciences, communication sciences, materials sciences, medical sciences as well as medical specialist organizations, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, communication experts, health funds and industrial partners. The industry partners contribute an additional 1.3 million euros to the budget.
AMR increases the risk of life-threatening infections after surgery, resulting in poorer treatment outcomes and an increase in healthcare costs. In the last 20 years, no new antibiotics have been introduced on the market that offer a solution. Without a solution 10 million people worldwide will die every year from the effects of AMR by the year of 2050, urging the need for alternative technologies to reduce the use of antibiotics.
The coming 6 years DARTBAC will focus on the development of these alternatives to traditional antibiotics, through the use of new material technology with a keyrole for innovations in the field of biomedical materials and advanced imaging techniques. Next to technical solutions, DARTBAC will study social awareness of AMR.
The University of Amsterdam will focus on social awareness around AMR, an important aspect as explained by one of the researchers Dr Gert-Jan de Bruijn: 'The main problem surrounding AMR is that its severity and impact are currently underestimated. This creates a situation of false security in large segments of not only the population, but also amongst patients and healthcare professionals.’
DARTBAC will provide the opportunity to understand where this sense of false security is coming from and learn from it, so that future awareness campaigns will be more effective. In cooperation with among others Maastricht University, the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, UvA researchers will analyse large amounts of diverse historical data and engage with relevant stakeholders. ‘This will enable us to make sure that the developed technological solutions reach the intended audiences, but also that the severity and impact of AMR is clearly visible for the broad public, patients, and healthcare professionals’, explains De Bruijn.
The NWA-ORC call is part of the NWA programme that NWO is carrying out on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. The NWO programme for the National Science Agenda currently has four main objectives, which together implement the goals and ambitions.
DARTBAC is part of Research on Routes by Consortia (ORC). This stimulates liberal research through open calls for multi-year research of broad, inter- and transdisciplinary consortia with a (social) goal, on scientific and/or socially relevant topics with a clear added value for a broad, national approach.
For questions about the overall project please contact the coordinator Maastricht UMC+. Find the contact details in their press release.
For question about the study on social awareness and the role of the UvA you can contact Dr Gert-Jan de Bruijn. See the contactdetails below.