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Global Antimicrobial Resistance Innovation Fund (GAMRIF) – UK-Argentina: tools to tackle AMR in the Environment

UK - Department of Health (DH)

This is a bilateral partnership with Argentina to support research to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in agriculture and the impact on the environment. Successful projects are a partnership of UK companies and research orgnisations, with Argentinian companies and research organisations. The competition and partnership will be delivered in the UK by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) in partnership with the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), both part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and delivered and matched-funded, on a resource basis, by the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) in Argentina.

Programme identifier:

GB-GOV-10-GAMRIF-WP4-UK-Argentina

Start Date:

2018-04-01

Activity Status:

Implementation

Total Budget:

£4,999,999


UK Vaccine Network - One Health Vaccinology Competition

UK - Department of Health (DH)

The former Prime Minister established the UK Vaccine Network in June 2015 to ensure that the UK was at the forefront of the global fight against future disease outbreaks. The UK Vaccine Network has identified that many pathogens of epidemic potential are zoonotic (having both human and animal hosts) and therefore a One Health approach is essential to tackle these diseases. The Department of Health and Social Care has collaborated with Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) (a non-departmental public body principally funded through the Science Budget by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, BEIS), to run a research competition to support One Health Approaches to Accelerate Vaccine Development. This call was wholly funded by ODA and therefore the primary purpose of all funded research must be to support the economic development and welfare of countries on the Development Assistance Committee list. Five successful projects were awarded a research grant by BBSRC, wholly funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. Just under £5.5million funding was made available to BBSRC to fund these successful projects under the provisions of the International Development Act 2002. These projects are managed by BBSRC.

Programme identifier:

GB-GOV-10-UKVN-BBSRC

Start Date:

2017-07-01

Activity Status:

Implementation

Total Budget:

£4,197,463.41


Global Research Partnership Programme (GRP)

UK - Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

To build a new UK-India research partnership with developing country researchers to deliver evidence-informed solutions for global development challenges on health, food and women.

Programme identifier:

GB-1-202766

Start Date:

2014-02-28

Activity Status:

Implementation

Total Budget:

£6,128,565


Global Antimicrobial Resistance Innovation Fund (GAMRIF)

UK - Department of Health (DH)

Global Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Innovation Fund Programme

Programme identifier:

GB-GOV-10-GAMRIF

Start Date:

2017-04-01

Activity Status:

Implementation

Total Budget:

£59,574,122.56


UK Vaccine Network

UK - Department of Health (DH)

The UK Vaccine Network project is a £110 million ODA-funded project which makes targeted investments to support the development of new vaccines and vaccine technologies for emergent infectious disease threats in low and middle-income countries. This will allow outbreaks of diseases with epidemic potential to either be prevented through proactive vaccination campaigns or controlled through quick development of new vaccines and/or responsive vaccination campaigns upon outbreak detection. An investment strategy for the project was developed using advice from the UK Vaccine Network, a group of experts from academia, industry, government and philanthropic organisations, chaired by the DHSC Chief Scientific Adviser

Programme identifier:

GB-GOV-10-UKVN

Start Date:

2016-02-01

Activity Status:

Implementation

Total Budget:

£106,462,002.69


Research and development of vaccines

Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations

CEPI’s vision is a world in which epidemics and pandemics are no longer a threat to humanity. Going into the strategic period from 2022-2026, termed “CEPI 2.0”, CEPI aims to raise the bar to develop and scale vaccines and other promising biologic countermeasures even faster. The R&D community has moved with unprecedented speed in response to COVID-19, developing biological interventions like vaccines and monoclonal antibodies in less than 12 months. While these achievements are historic, what the world needs to avert the consequences of future epidemics and pandemics are countermeasures developed even faster. CEPI’s mission is to accelerate the development of vaccines and other biologic countermeasures against epidemic and pandemic threats so they can be accessible to all people in need. CEPI believes safe and effective vaccine in 100 days from the moment that a pathogen is sequenced and/ or the need for a vaccine is recognised to initial availability for use should be the aspiration. Over the strategic period, CEPI aims to invest USD 3.5 billion across three overall strategic objectives:

Programme identifier:

NO-BRC-917687811-CEPI_02

Start Date:

2016-08-30

Activity Status:

Implementation

Total Budget:

£0


UK Vaccine Network - MRC/BBSRC Intramural Centre Vaccine Development Projects

UK - Department of Health (DH)

The Prime Minister established the UK Vaccine Network in June 2015 to ensure that the UK was at the forefront of the global fight against future disease outbreaks. The UK Vaccine Network has identified a range of human diseases with epidemic potential in low and middle income countries (LMICs) for which the development of Vaccine Products is a priority. The Department of Health and Social Care collaborated with the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Medical Research Council, both arms' length bodies of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, in running the 2016 competition which aims to support vaccine research to tackle UKVN-identified priority pathogens. This competition was wholly funded by Official Development Assistance and therefore projects must be primarily for the benefit of LMICs. The successful projects are being managed by the National Institute for Health Research. The Department of Health and Social Care made around £12 million available to fund six successful projects.

Programme identifier:

GB-GOV-10-UKVN-NETSCC

Start Date:

2016-09-01

Activity Status:

Implementation

Total Budget:

£14,376,788.96


Improving water use and accelerating breeding pipelines in Mexican avocado

UK - Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

Mexico is the world's leading avocado producer and Jalisco is the second largest avocado producing state. The global trade in this fruit makes avocado Mexico's most valuable agricultural product and this has a major impact on the the quality of life of thousands of farmers and workers employed in its cultivation and supply chain. Water availability has a major impact on avocado growth and yield, which is of major concern given the growing water crisis facing Mexico. Water demand is so great that ground water supplies are being depleted and droughts are frequent, with large areas of Jalisco being affected by severe drought. Given the economic importance of this crop to Mexico, it is therefore vital that breeding programs focus on improving the resilience of avocado to water stress and improve the amount of crop per drop. This has been recognized by policy makers in the Mexican Agri-Food Agenda, determining that the generation of varieties of avocado adaptable to different agro-ecological conditions is a priority issue. Avocado has a wealth of genetic resources that could be used to achieve this aim yet major barriers exists to utilising these resources. This is because avocado is a perennial species with a prolonged juvenile stage, meaning that it can take years to segregate outstanding characteristics in germplasm with commercial characteristics by traditional breeding. Further, whilst there are significant genetic resources in terms of different accessions, this is poorly supported by genomics resources. For example, as yet there is no genome sequence and limited gene expression data. This project aims to address these barriers and provide a platform for advancing avocado breeding programs. As improved resilience against water stress is a key trait and aim for breeders, as a case-study, we will focus on improving water use efficiency (WUE) and drought tolerance using knowledge gained from work with other plants. To address these issues, our project has three objectives. The first is focused on reducing the time that is required for avocado trees to flower. As a proof of concept, we will utilise biotechnology to increase the expression of a positive regulator of flowering with the future aim of developing non-transgenic approaches to achieve this. Our second objective is focused on identifying and then characterising avocado accessions with improved water use. Here, we will generate a number of genomic resources, in order to enable molecular research in this area, which is currently limited due to a lack of sequence information. Finally, we will focus on facilitating the use of gene editing technologies in avocado, which when coupled to our goal of faster flowering, should significantly accelerate the breeding pipelines of avocado. This research and the resources it develops will be made publicly available to the avocado research and breeding community and will be valuable for advancing breeding steps. This will enable targeted improvement of this Mexican crop and through improved water use, should also reduce the water requirements of this crop, and so reduce pressure on Mexico's freshwater supplies.

Programme identifier:

GB-GOV-13-FUND--Newton-BB_S012850_1

Start Date:

2019-02-08

Activity Status:

Implementation

Total Budget:

£541,029.43


BEFWAM-BIOENERGY, FERTILISER AND CLEAN WATER FROM INVASIVE AQUATIC MACROPHYTES

UK - Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

The project will focus on utilising invasive aquatic macrophytes such as water hyacinth in combination with nutrient rich waste and immobilised microbial systems to maximise the production of biogas whilst generating clean water and recovering nutrients in low income communities, by developing innovative biotechnology solutions that promote resource efficiency and long-term sustainable services. The project will provide practical solutions for processing water hyacinth with other wastes (e.g. faecal matter, food waste) in novel bioreactors. These ought to be capable of producing affordable clean energy (as per the UN's Sustainable Development Goal # 7- a.k.a. SDG 7) with improved biogas yields and quality, and be suitable for use in cooking, refrigeration and power generation. The proposed processes of biogas production will be designed to be scaled appropriately to either urban areas (cities) and to smaller communities such as villages and schools (SDG 11). In addition, the integrated approaches will allow the potential for the recovery of valuable nutrients from the macrophyte feedstock for growing food and for the production of clean water. The integrated approaches will result in reduced emissions and health impacts associated with combustion of wood (SDG 3) and support more sustainable use of biomass resources (SDG 13). The use of aquatic macrophytes as an alternative biomass resource for energy generation can mitigate the over-reliance on firewood for cooking, thus promoting a more sustainable use of biomass resources (SDG 12). It also provides a solution to the growing problem in many African and Asian regions associated with invasive macrophytes resulting from eutrophication and pollution associated with poor sanitation and regulation of industry (SDG 6, 9 and 13). BEFWAM will support knowledge transfer from high- and mid-income countries (UK and India) to low-income countries in Africa (Uganda) and the delivery of training and supporting partnerships between stakeholders and local business.This will be effected through the application of the innovative technologies developed within the project while all stages of development are to be informed by the analysis of the social implications of energy production from macrophytes and waste. Special emphasis of the social analysis will be devoted to the gender-poverty nexus.

Programme identifier:

GB-GOV-13-FUND--GCRF-BB_S011439_1

Start Date:

2019-01-31

Activity Status:

Implementation

Total Budget:

£1,708,769.40


OPTIMISE: Optimal preconception nutrition to offset inflammation and non-communicable disease risk in pregnant women and their children

UK - Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease and diabetes rapidly increasing in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). These diseases are occurring at younger ages in LMICs compared with high-income countries with accompanying economic and societal costs. Between 1980 and 2014, the prevalence of diabetes doubled in sub-Saharan Africa, India and China and is now higher there than in many high-income countries. There are now ~166 million people with diabetes in India and China alone (40% of the world's total). Current approaches to preventing diabetes or heart disease focus on weight reduction and increased physical activity in middle-aged adults with existing risk factors such as obesity or high blood pressure. While such approaches offer some benefit to the individual, they do little to address the risk in future generations. Research from many countries across the world has shown that low birth weight and poor growth of the fetus in the womb is related to an increased risk of developing diabetes and heart disease in later life. These effects are exacerbated by greater weight gain during childhood, adolescence or adulthood. With rapid socio-economic transition, LMICs are experiencing not only undernutrition and low birth weight, but also increased weight gain during later childhood and adolescence. The consequence of this combination results in women in these countries entering pregnancy with poorer nutrition and increased rates of diabetes during pregnancy. It is therefore possible that measures to improve the nutrition of young women before and during pregnancy may have long-term beneficial effects. Research has also shown that chronic inflammation (a normally protective response of the body to injury or infection) has been associated with NCDs including diabetes and heart disease. Nutrition plays a key role in the regulation of this inflammatory response. It has been shown that diets consisting of a greater intake of red meat, high-fat products, refined grains, and simple carbohydrates can result in higher levels of markers of inflammation, even in the absence of injury or infection. In this context, the Healthy Life Trajectories Initiative (HeLTI) programme was set up as a joint initiative funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Department of Biotechnology (India), Medical Research Council (South Africa) and the National Natural Science Foundation (China), in collaboration with the World Health Organisation. There are four separate but harmonised intervention studies in Mysore (India), Johannesburg (South Africa), Shanghai (China) and two provinces in Canada. The studies will test the concept that interventions addressing maternal nutrition and well-being from before pregnancy, and continued through pregnancy and after birth will improve maternal and child health including the long-term well-being of the child. As part of the main study, we will collect a range of biological samples (blood, buccal and vaginal swabs, urine, stool, cord blood and placenta) from the women/mothers, fathers and children. In this study, we will undertake analyses of a selection of these biological samples. We aim to understand the nutritional factors (such as body size and diet) that affect inflammation in young women in three countries (China, India and South Africa). We will explore whether inflammation is related to maternal complications such as diabetes during pregnancy, and whether it affects fetal growth. We will also assess whether the intervention reduces inflammation and the risk of maternal complications, and improves fetal growth. Finally, we will explore the pathways by which nutrition, inflammation and NCDs are related. The findings will have important global policy implications for maternal and child health as the studies cover urban and rural populations in various stages of socio-economic transition.

Programme identifier:

GB-GOV-13-FUND--GCRF-MR_V001566_1

Start Date:

2021-02-09

Activity Status:

Implementation

Total Budget:

£1,465,251.49


A Scalable Bio-based Solution to Eliminate Cyanotoxins in Drinking Water

UK - Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

One of the greatest global challenges facing human-kind is access to reliable safe drinking water. This is particularly acute in developing countries where human activities significantly impact water quality. While the Earth is known as the blue planet with 71% of the surface covered by water, most of this is seawater and not suitable for human consumption, industrial applications or agriculture, all of which are essential for socioeconomic development. Only a tiny proportion of the Earth's water is freshwater (~3%) but <1% is available for use. This small amount of available water is under strain and a recent UN report predicted that 5 billion people could suffer water shortage by 2050 as a consequence of climate change, increased demand and pollution. One serious threat to water quality and public health is the occurrence of blooms of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) as a result of nutrient pollution (nitrate and phosphate) from industry, agriculture and domestic waste. Cyanobacteria produce dangerous toxins (cyanotoxins) causing acute and chronic symptoms leading to fatalities, most notably in Caruaru, Brazil with over 71 fatalities and cancer humans, including primary liver cancer documented in China. In addition, there is concern that these toxins may be responsible for rising cases of chronic kidney disease of unknown origin (CKDu) in Asian countries such as Sri Lanka where cyanotoxins can be perennial. These toxins are very stable and not removed by typical drinking water treatment processes or even boiling, therefore an innovative, simple and sustainable solutions are needed for their removal. Professor Pathmalal Manage, (University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka) along with Dr Christine Edwards & Professor Linda Lawton (both of the Aberdeen Industrial Biotechnology Institute, RGU) have demonstrated the effectiveness of microbial populations for safe elimination of these toxins from water. They have found that natural microbial consortia, even with no previous exposure to specific toxins, contain active biodegraders. Degradation is promiscuous meaning that, for example, exposure to peptides will enrich the microbiome with consortia members with the ability to eliminate microcystins (heptapeptide cyanotoxins). Furthermore, there is evidence that some naturally occurring microbes can actively kill toxin-producing species of cyanobacteria. This project aims to harness and stimulate this microbial capability, naturally immobilised on biochar to provide a scalable water treatment system that can be used at all magnitudes from rural wells through to municipal water treatment facilities in Sri Lanka. The biochar will be developed to provide a low cost support for optimized microbiomes and will be produced locally from biogenic waste (e.g. coconut husks/shells, rice straw) exploiting the global expertise of Dr Ondrej Masek, of the UK Biochar Research Centre (UEd). Ensuring that water is rendered free from harmful concentrations of cyanotoxins a simple field kit will be developed using antibodies that react to multiple classes toxins, led by Dr Katrina Campbell (QUB) with world leading expertise on development of innovative diagnostics for a wide range of toxins. On completion of the research, the project will provide low cost, simple, scalable, nature-based water treatment systems for elimination of commonly occurring toxins from cyanobacteria. In addition, local communities will benefit from better use of agricultural waste to produce biochar which can be useful for a wide range of applications such as fertiliser with the added bonus of gas generation as it is produced providing an alternative energy source. This water treatment solution will have wide application in many developing countries and will contribute to achieving UN SG6 while embracing the philosophy of the United Nations World Water Development Report which emphasises the benefits of 'Nature-Based Solutions for Water.'

Programme identifier:

GB-GOV-13-FUND--GCRF-BB_S011579_1

Start Date:

2019-01-31

Activity Status:

Implementation

Total Budget:

£1,621,061.58


GCRF South Asian Nitrogen Hub

UK - Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

Humans have massively altered flows of nitrogen on our planet, leading to both benefits for food production and multiple threats to the environment. There are few places on Earth more affected than South Asia, with levels of nitrogen pollution rapidly increasing. The result is a web of interlinked problems, as nitrogen losses from agriculture and from fossil fuel combustion cause air and water pollution. This damages human health, threatens biodiversity of forests and rivers, and leads to coastal and marine pollution that exacerbates the effects of climate change, such as by predisposing reefs to coral bleaching. Altogether, it is clear that nitrogen pollution is something we should be taking very seriously. The amazing thing is that so few people have heard of the problem. Everyone knows about climate change and carbon footprints, but how many people are aware that nitrogen pollution is just as significant? One reason for this is that scientists and policy makers have traditionally specialised. Different experts have focused on different parts of the nitrogen story, and few have the expertise to see how all the issues fit together. This challenge is taken up by a major new research hub established under the UK Global Challenge Research Fund. The ""GCRF South Asian Nitrogen Hub"" is a partnership that brings together 32 leading research organisations with project engagement partners from the UK and South Asia. All eight countries of the South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP) are included. The hub includes research on how to improve nitrogen management in agriculture, saving money on fertilizers and making better use of manure, urine and natural nitrogen fixation processes. It highlights options for more profitable and cleaner farming for India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and the Maldives. At the same time, the hub considers how nitrogen pollution could be turned back to fertilizer, for example by capturing nitrogen oxide gas from factories and converting it into nitrate. The fact that all the SACEP countries are included is really important. It means that lessons can be shared on good experiences as well as on whether there are cultural, economic and environmental differences that prevent better management practices from being adopted. It is also important from the perspective of international diplomacy, and provides an example to demonstrate how working together on a common problem is in everyone's interest. It puts the focus on future cooperation for a healthier planet, rather than on the past. The South Asian case provides for some exciting scientific, social, cultural and economic research challenges. The first is simply to get all the researchers talking together and understanding each other. There are dozens of languages in South Asia, matching the challenge met when different research disciplines come together. This is where developing a shared language around nitrogen can really help. There are lots of nitrogen forms ranging from unreactive atmospheric nitrogen (N2), to the air pollutants ammonia (NH3) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), to nitrate (NO3-) which contaminates watercourses, and nitrous oxide (N2O) which is a greenhouse gas. The impacts of each of these are being studied to provide a better understanding of how they all fit together. The result is an approach that aims to give a much more coherent picture of the nitrogen cycle in South Asia: What is stopping us from taking action, and what can be done about it. One of the big expectations is that the economic value of nitrogen will help. India alone spends around £6 billion per year subsidising fertilizer supply. It means that South Asian governments are strongly motivated to use nitrogen better. At which point research from the South Asian hub can provide guidance on where they might start.

Programme identifier:

GB-GOV-13-FUND--GCRF-NE_S009019_2

Start Date:

2019-12-01

Activity Status:

Implementation

Total Budget:

£15,378,580.65




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