India, Norway to begin collaborative research on antimicrobial resistance


India and Norway will soon begin collaborative research in the area of antimicrobial resistance. The broad research areas covered under this collaborative research programme include, surveillance systems for antimicrobial resistance and antibiotic use in humans and/or animal population; design, implementation and evaluation of antibiotic stewardship programmes including intervention studies to promote infection control and clinical practice guidelines in hospitals, primary care and veterinary medicine; novel strategies for diagnosis and treatment of infections caused by multidrug resistance bacteria; and ecological, evolutionary and molecular properties of antimicrobial resistance.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Research Council of Norway (RCN) are the implementing agencies of this programme. ICMR has invited collaborative research projects in the field of antimicrobial resistance from the eligible scientists. ICMR will fund the Indian component of the studies and will collaborate on this initiative with RCN. Support will be for a maximum of three years. A similar Call for Proposals has been issued by RCN for Norwegian investigators under this programme.

Background of this programme dates back to the year 2014. During the visit of President Pranab Mukherjee to Norway in October, 2014, an MoU for co-operation between ICMR and RCN was signed by India Ambassador to Norway Norman Anil Kumar Browne and Arvid Hallen, Director General of RCN. This cooperation seeks to establish a health research relationship for encouraging research in a range of health-related areas of mutual interest, including human vaccines, infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance. The agreement shall promote direct cooperation within the field being organised through joint calls and funding for research proposals/projects as well as facilitating exchange of scientists and scientific information.

All applications will undergo peer review. The project proposals will be assessed separately according to the rules of procedure in each country. The result of these procedures will be the basis for reaching mutual agreement on the ranking of the projects and a decision on funding. Projects must receive a high assessment score in both countries to be funded. The 5-6 Indian and Norwegian selected projects will receive funding from the ICMR and the RCN respectively. At the time of the review, some applicants may also need to provide additional information or clarification, if requested by reviewers.

Applications will be reviewed according to the criteria such as scientific merit and quality, feasibility of the proposal, relevance to the scope and intent of the India-Norway collaborative research programme, strength of proposed collaboration, impact on developing a new area for collaboration, likelihood that the proposed project will achieve its proposed goals, benefits of the project for the users and the research field and benefits for society at large.

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