Funding of up to £4.5 million over four years has been awarded to two Canada-UK research teams addressing the challenges of antibiotic resistance.

The collaborative efforts supported by the Canadian government and the UK’s Medical Research Council (MRC) stem from the Canada/UK Partnership on Antibiotic Resistance, launched following a joint workshop in 2008 between the MRC and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Infection and Immunity (CIHR-III).

A call for grant proposals from two large Canadian/UK teams pursuing research into antibiotic resistance was conducted last year. The funding opportunity included a maximum Can$4 million payable over four years to Canadian researchers by CIHR-III and a maximum £2 million payable over the same period to UK researchers by the MRC.  

The successful applicants are:

•    A team led by Professor Gary Dmitrienko of the University Waterloo in Canada and Professor Tim Walsh of the University of Cardiff in the UK. It will focus on hospital-acquired infections, with the aim of developing a new treatment for infections caused by bacteria resistant to beta-lactam antibiotics (e.g., penicillin, carbapenems).                          

•    A team led by Professor Anthony Clarke of the University of Guelph in Canada and Professor Chris Dowson of the University of Warwick in the UK. It will look to improve understanding of bacterial cell wall growth and production, with the aim of identifying new targets for the development of antibiotics.

Following the workshop on antibiotic resistance held in London by the MRC, CIHR III and the Canadian High Commission in February 2008, two Canadian/UK research projects were awarded funds under a one-year Catalyst Grant opportunity launched in December 2008.

The objective was to promote the development of UK-Canadian basic and translational research collaborations in the area of antibiotic resistance and to provide funds for strategy development that would pave the way for larger-scale consortia and funding opportunities in the future.