A China-UK Joint Workshop on Antimicrobial Resistance in the Environment was held last week to discuss common issues and research interests. Centre for Ecology & Hydrology scientists were among more than 70 experts who attended the workshop in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province (31 October - 2 November 2016). Antimicrobial resistance, especially resistance to antibiotics, is recognised as a growing global problem.

Mark Bailey, Director of CEH and Yong-Guan Zhu, Director of the Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) gave opening speeches as the workshop got underway.

Prof Bailey explained that antibiotic resistance was a common interest for the UK and China and said he was delighted to see cooperation and research progress on AMR from scientists in both countries. Director Zhu said he hoped scientists took the opportunity to positively promote the environmental AMR research and build collaborations to obtain significant breakthroughs in the future.

China-UK AMR workshop

Gareth Taylor, Science & Innovation Consul from the British Consulate General Shanghai, introduced current research progress and details of the Newton Fund’s support on AMR research. He said he expected the scientific exchange and collaboration could be deepened between both sides.

The workshop focused on issues of relevance to environmental regulators. Chemical drivers of AMR in the environment and how these might differ between the UK and China, AMR pathways in the environment, impacts and risk assessment of AMR in the environment, knowledge gaps and mitigation of AMR in the environment were all discussed.

Prof Bailey noted that Chinese researchers attach great importance to environmental antibiotic resistance research. The numbers of their papers published in top journals such as The ISME Journal as well as their academic standards are outstanding, he said, indicating that China had a leading position in the field of environmental antibiotic resistance research. Director Zhu suggested that antibiotic resistance pollution has become a prominent environmental health problem.

The perspectives captured during the workshop will form the basis of publications highlighting the knowledge gaps that need to be addressed to inform potential mitigation measures, he said.

The China-UK Joint Workshop on Antimicrobial Resistance in the Environment was hosted by Jiaxing Municipal People's Government, Institute of Urban Environment (Chinese Academy of Sciences) and Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, part of the Natural Environment Research Council, UK. It was sponsored by Jiaxing Science and Technology Bureau, Jiaxing Agricultural Sciences Research Institute and Zhejiang Huateng Animal Husbandry Co Ltd.

During the workshop a Memorandum of Agreement was signed between the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and the Institute of Urban Environment.

CEH and IUE directors signing Memorandum of Agreement

The two organisations will look to develop collaboration in areas including:

  • Developing world class research on terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems
  • Improving monitoring and observation systems to support decision making, business and innovation
  • Predicting future environment through predictive modeling and data science
  • Management of natural resources and control of environmental hazards
  • Climate and human impacts and adaptation for ecosystem and urbanisation

Opportunities will include bilateral exchange of research scientists, appointment of joint studentships; and development of collaborative research programmes and bilateral national funding.

Additional information

Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences (English language website)

Details of CEH research on Antimicrobial resistance in the environment

The World Health Organization held World Antibiotic Awareness Week from 14-20 November 2016

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