On AMR Panel with Lord Jim O’Neill at University of Nottingham Chancellor’s Lecture

Last night I had the enormous privilege of being on a panel following Lord Jim O’Neill’s lecture on AMR as part of the University of Nottingham’s Chancellor’s Lecture series.

oneillpanel

It was a real coup for the university to have Jim O’Neill speak. It was a great event – well attended by alumni and many other’s. The lecture was brilliant: O’Neill is a very engaging speaker and spoke with confidence and passion on the findings of his report. He mainly focussed on the ten point plan:

 

10-point-plan_white

It was especially interesting seeing AMR from the perspective of an economist: not just in quantifying the problem in monetary terms (his argument that $40B spend will save $100T costs is compelling) but also how he breaks down the solutions into ‘supply’ and ‘demand’ side solutions and especially his emphasis on the importance of reducing demand for antibiotics through 6 of his points. (I’m not sure where our emphasis on waste management fits into that – but that is another matter – and actually having an economist (Steve Ramsden) on our project also helps framing it).

Professor Liz Sockett kindly asked me to serve on the panel (along side Dr Mat Diggle from EmPath) – this was a new experience for me – I was a little nervous – but the questions were good and interesting. The first couple of questions were more clinically focussed and answered by Liz and Mat. A question came up about how we prevent rapid spread of resistance to any new antibiotics we might discover. Mat gave a good answer from a clinical perspective, and I was able to add that there would need to be very wise use (if at all) of any new clinically important antibiotics in veterinary use. (To be fair, that point is  made in the O’Neill report anyway!) And then got a question direct to me about agricultural waste  management practises in developing countries. This was a nice one – as I have recently visited China and then had visitors from South Africa. So I was able to speak about the challenges of AMR from pig farming in China – the Chinese government are very committed to environmental research and China has a very well-funded research programme; South Africa is also very interesting because there is a mix of modern farming where the challenge of reducing antibiotic use is similar to in the UK, and then traditional subsistence farming, where nutrition is the biggest challenge, and the antibiotic challenge is more about access to antibiotics rather than use reduction.

After the talk, many interesting people came to speak with me, which was really nice, while Professor Christine Dodd looked after our stand and she also received many questions.

Official photographs will follow. The photograph at the top is thanks to Adam Roberts (from his twitter feed).

 

 

 

 

Brilliant assurances to our European staff, students and collaborators from our Pro-VC Research

The University of Nottingham’s Pro-VC for research – Jessica Corner – has just issued this wonderful assurance to our European staff, students and collaborators. I am posting it in full:

EU Referendum and research
Dear colleagues,

We know you may be anxious about the implications of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union (EU). I’m writing to reassure you that we value your contribution to The University of Nottingham. I’d also like to update you on some of the steps we are already taking to safeguard that contribution – and on our commitments for the future.

The University is committed to being a global institution and we recognise the value and significance of all of our EU and international researchers – whether they are research academics, post-docs or M.Phil/PhD students. As the UK’s Global University, we will do all that we are able to ensure that you have a productive and worthwhile experience, that our engagement with you continues into the future, and that your research develops to be world-leading, enhancing your opportunities for career development and contributing to the University’s reputation for high-quality research.

We value the contributions our international research community and international research links make towards achieving our goals for the University to be a world-class institution. While the UK Government advises that it may take at least two years for anything to change following on from the referendum, our University is being proactive now to ensure that our international and European engagement is maintained and enhanced.

We want you to benefit from this and will welcome your contributions and input for suggestions which can help pump-prime and cement long-term research relationships between our University and you as individuals and like-minded European and global universities that we want as our partners to address global research challenges.

Today, we make the following commitments:

  • To support all our international and European research students, researchers and academic staff within the University to be productive members of our global research community.
  • In particular, to support European research students by providing assurance that previously agreed tuition fees will not change, and will indeed continue for the remainder of the programme of study. This applies to current students, and those due to commence study in the 2016/17 academic year.
  • To be proactive in competing for international funding  from all sources including Horizon 2020 ERC and Marie Sklodowska-Curie programmes and Erasmus+ (with nothing changing until Article 50 is invoked and for a further two years as the UK’s disengagement from the EU – but not Europe – is negotiated).
  • To demonstrate the University’s commitment we will invest strategic funds in key European partnerships, including funds for PhD studentships, to pump-prime grants, to enable travel for European networking, and to fund visiting positions at Nottingham.
  • To put our full commitment into delivering current contracted EU projects to deliver the products of international research collaboration in terms of quality and impact.
    To be proactive in developing international and European links and collaborations with individuals and global institutions.
  • To work with the Russell Group, UUK and other representatives of the UK research community to lobby for the UK to continue to play a leading role in EU and international research. We will work tirelessly to make the case to the UK Government for the benefits of all forms of international research collaboration, mobility and exchange and to retain access to Horizon 2020 and other EU programmes to underpin these activities.

Nothing changes until Article 50 is invoked and the terms of the UK’s disengagement from the EU have been determined, which will take at least two years and maybe much longer.

However, in these uncertain times, the University will underwrite its commitments by drawing on its significant budgeted resources for international research collaboration to strengthen our long-established links with EU partners, fund postgraduate scholarships for EU citizens, and to address immediate challenges that arise as a result of the referendum. The University will redouble its commitment to build long-term and sustainable European research partnerships through research collaboration, through mobility and through doctoral training.

Our Professional Services can provide advice and guidance on dealing with specific referendum issues that may arise:

  • Postgraduate students should contact the Graduate School [contact details removed]
  • Academic and research staff should contact Research Enterprise and Graduate Services (REGS) [contact details removed] for issues related to current awards and planned and future proposals

FAQs for staff and students addressing immigration status, undergraduate funding and a range of other issues are also available (and being updated continually) at http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/go/euref

Professor Dame Jessica Corner

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange

The University of Nottingham

Modelling and Microbiology Summer School

Modelling and Microbiology Summer School
University of Nottingham, 20-23 August

The aims of our summer school are:
•       To bring together microbiologists and theoreticians in a practical-led training workshop at the interface of modelling and microbiology
•       To provide modellers with the opportunity to carry out laboratory experimental work
•       To provide experimentalists with the opportunity to carry out mathematical modelling
•       To show how working together with the two approaches on the same data can enhance our understanding of the natural world
•       To provide research seminars at the interface of modelling and microbiology to showcase state-of-the-art systems biology research

For the two practical days, delegates with experimental and theoretical backgrounds will be paired, working together first in the laboratory, and then in the computer room. This exciting format enables people with different disciplines to learn from each other.

Open to all – MSc and PhD students, post-doctoral researchers, PIs, pharma and biotech R&D.

We welcome applications from all sub-disciplines – you don’t have to be a microbiologist to attend!

Places are limited to 28. We will ask whether your background is mainly experimental or theoretical and a brief statement of what you hope to get out of the workshop. Thanks to support from BBSRC under the StoMP and Bioluminescence grants the course fee is only £80 and this covers tuition, single en-suite accommodation for 3 nights, and all meals and refreshments.

Confirmed seminar speakers

Paul Williams (Nottingham)
Gail Preston (Oxford)
John Ward (Loughborough)

Course Organisers: Dov Stekel (University of Nottingham) and Jamie Wood (University of York).

Applications are now being accepted – please complete the application form at:

http://www.cpib.ac.uk/events/microbiology-workshop-registration-form/

If you have any problems or questions, please contact Mirela Axinte (Mirela.Axinte@nottingham.ac.uk)

To download a flyer, please click the following link:

Modelling and Microbiology summer school flyer

International Scholarships Available for MRes or PhD at University of Nottingham

Are you an international student interested in studying for an MRes or PhD in Bioinformatics or Systems Biology? Would you like to join my group at the University of Nottingham? We have a wide range of projects available looking at microbial gene regulation.

Details of all Masters and PhD scholarships can be found here:

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/internationalstudents/scholarshipsfeesfinance/scholarships/index.aspx

In particular, for potential PhD students, there are

If you are interested in coming to study with us and applying for one of these scholarships, please be in touch, sending CV and short paragraph describing your research ambitions.