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Medical Research Foundation National PhD Training Programme in Antimicrobial Resistance Research: Linking Restoration of Natural Capital to Reduction in Selection for and Dissemination of AMR in Aquatic Systems

Project Description

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global threat in terms of health, economic and societal outcomes. Resistance to drugs used to treat bacterial infections is increasing rapidly and there is growing emphasis on the importance of the environment in the evolution and transmission of AMR bacteria with the majority of common resistant infections being community acquired (i.e. outside healthcare settings). This project will focus on the role of environmental pollution in driving selection for and spread of AMR bacteria and how restoration of natural capital (the worlds natural assets that provide ecosystem services to humans) will reduce economic and health risks to society. Wastewater treatment plant effluents and run-off from agricultural land are known to contribute to spread of AMR, however the relative contributions of humans and animals to environmental reservoirs is poorly understood as is the efficacy of interventions to reduce pharmaceutical and bacterial pollution. Professor Gaze recently wrote a report for the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment, Frontiers 2017 which highlighted AMR pollution as one of the greatest environmental threats of our time.

The student will receive training in molecular microbiology, evolutionary biology, ecology, pollution science, economic theory in valuing natural capital relating to its role in reducing spread of AMR and translating science into policy. The research environment at Exeter and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology is world leading in the environmental dimension of AMR and the project will emphasise interdisciplinary approaches and transferable skills necessary for a wide variety of career paths.

Potential applicants interested in further information are encouraged to contact Professor William Gaze

Benefits of joining the Medical Research Foundation National PhD Training Programme in AMR Research:
• All PhD projects will be based within interdisciplinary research consortia funded by the UKRI Cross-Council AMR Initiative.
• All students will have access to enhanced training opportunities including residential skills and training courses, cohort-building activities, and annual conferences. All are designed to expose students to a range of discipline-specific languages and interdisciplinary research skills, which are essential for enabling them to thrive as multidisciplinary AMR researchers.
• PhD students will undertake a fully-funded 3-month interdisciplinary AMR project allowing them to work outside of their primary research area or an elective placement in industry, publishing, media, policy development or in AMR-relevant charities and organisations.
• All Medical Research Foundation-funded PhD students will also be part of a wider cohort of 150 PhD students from across the UK who are also studying AMR. The cohort will have access to a bespoke, innovative online learning environment, which will facilitate peer-to-peer networking, question setting and mentoring.

Further information can be found on our website:

Applicants must ensure that they meet the eligibility requirements of the University of Exeter. To qualify for Home tuition fee status, you must be a UK or EU citizen who has been resident for 3 years prior to commencement. Please note that overseas students not eligible for Home (UK/EU/EEA citizens) tuition fee status will be eligible for funding through this Programme but the student must pay the difference between the annual Home tuition fee and the tuition fees required for overseas students. Overseas students should be able to demonstrate adequate financial support to cover the difference between the Home/EU fee and the overseas fee. Applicants are also required to meet the University of Exeter’s English language requirements.


In order to apply, please click on the 'Apply Now' button in the link above. Please quote reference 3457 on your application and in any correspondence about this studentship. For admission enquiries please contact .

Funding Notes

This is 4 year fully-funded PhD studentship funded jointly by the Medical Research Foundation National PhD Training Programme in AMR (led by the University of Bristol) and the University of Exeter. The studentship covers:

• Annual tuition fees at the Home/EU rate
• Stipend at MRC ’plus’ rate £17,000 (2019-20) rising to £18,500 (tax free)
• Yearly travel allowance
• Research costs
• Interdisciplinary 3-month research project/placement allowance

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