New international partnerships on antimicrobial resistance, climate change and soil security

22 January 2019

New international collaborations to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the environment, prepare for health risks posed by climate change and ensure healthy soils for food security are part of world-leading international research announced today.

Handful of soil

The three NERC-led projects are among 14 research collaborations supported by the £79 million Fund for International Collaboration (FIC) delivered by UK Research & Innovation (UKRI). The fund aims to enhance the UK's excellence in research and innovation through global engagement, forging new bilateral and multilateral research and innovation programmes with global partners. Advanced crop breeding, tackling infectious disease, and clean energy technologies, are among the areas for which the UK will partner with world-leading collaborators to push boundaries and meet 21st century challenges.

The FIC projects were announced by Science & Universities Minister Chris Skidmore, who said:

The UK has a reputation for globally influential research and innovation, and is at the centre of a web of global collaboration - showing that science has no borders. We have a strong history of partnering with other countries - over 50% of UK authored research involves collaborations with international partners. The projects being announced today reinforce our commitment to enhance the UK's excellence in innovation at home and around the world, driving high-skilled jobs, economic growth and productivity as part of the modern Industrial Strategy.

UKRI Chief Executive Professor Sir Mark Walport said:

From tackling climate change to preventing and treating infectious diseases, the search for knowledge is a global endeavour that requires collaboration between the world's best minds. The Fund for International Collaboration and the creation of 12 global research hubs demonstrate the commitment of the UK to ensuring our researchers and innovators can work with their counterparts across the world to address important questions.

The FIC has been announced alongside a £200 million investment in 12 UKRI Global Challenges Research Fund Hubs, which will work with governments, international agencies and non-governmental organisations on the ground in developing countries and around the globe, to address some of the most complex development challenges. Further FIC projects will be announced in due course.

The NERC-led FIC projects are:

  • Tackling AMR in the Environment (India) will develop global wastewater and environment regulations to tackle AMR focusing on pharmaceutical, industrial and wastewater pathways. Research will focus on the situation in India, as a major producer of antibiotics in the global supply chain of UK-based pharmaceutical companies.
    UKRI support: £3·5 million

  • Delivering Healthy Soils: Signals in the Soil (USA) will develop new solutions for delivering healthy and resilient soils to improve food security, climate change mitigation and public health. This programme will use the UK-US community to co-design an approach that integrates basic soil science research with new sensor, network and data approaches to transform understanding of soil health through research and monitoring capability.
    UKRI support: £8·3 million

  • Climate, Environment and Health - NERC, Medical Research Council and Economic & Social Research Council (multilateral through the Belmont Forum) will provide new knowledge, evidence for action and tools to improve understanding of the pathways between climate, environment, and health to protect and promote health in the face of climate challenges. This programme will support community building of required networks of researchers and implementation partners, and identify the critical knowledge gaps in the pathways from climate to health where new research is needed.
    UKRI support: £3·5 million, of which £2·8 million is from FIC

To read about all the FIC projects, visit UKRI website - external link.

Further information

Mary Goodchild
External Communications Manager
01793 411939
07710 147485


1. NERC is the UK's main agency for funding and managing research, training and knowledge exchange in the environmental sciences. Our work covers the full range of atmospheric, Earth, biological, terrestrial and aquatic science, from the deep oceans to the upper atmosphere and from the poles to the equator. We coordinate some of the world's most exciting research projects, tackling major environmental issues such as climate change, environmental influences on human health, the genetic make-up of life on Earth, and much more. NERC is part of UK Research & Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.

2. UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) is a new body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. We aim to maximise the contribution of each of its component parts, working individually and collectively. We work with our many partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas.

Operating across the whole of the UK with a combined budget of more than £7 billion, UKRI brings together the Arts & Humanities Research Council, the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council, the Economic & Social Research Council, the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council, Innovate UK, the Medical Research Council, NERC, Research England, and the Science & Technology Facilities Council.