ARC awards $5m to establish Research Hub tackling antimicrobial resistance at the Kirby Institute

News | Published on 19 Aug 2019

The Kirby Institute's Professor Rebecca Guy will lead one of four Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Hubs announced today by the Minister for Education Dan Tehan. 

As part of its Industrial Transformation Research Hubs initiative, the ARC awarded almost $5 million to the Research Hub to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance, supplemented with an additional $3.8 million from biotech company SpeeDx and other partner organisations. The Hub will take on the challenge of antimicrobial resistance for Australia through a world-first partnership between industry, researchers and end users.

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing problem globally. Bacteria, viruses, and some parasites are increasingly becoming resistant to antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials, posing a serious threat to human health. Antibiotic overuse combined with an inadequate pipeline for diagnostic technologies and new drugs has led to this development.

The Hub will focus on sexually transmitted microorganisms, which is a critical area of concern in Australia and our region, as an example of the wider problem of antimicrobial resistance.

“By nature, antimicrobial resistance is an inherently shifting and multi-faceted 21st century problem, requiring high-level interdisciplinary collaboration,” says Professor Guy. “We are excited to work with colleagues from over 20 organisations* to tackle this issue.”

The Hub aims to connect the many complex facets of antimicrobial resistance, to provide a highly integrated diagnostic and pharmaceutical solutions to the problem of antimicrobial resistance under the umbrella of antimicrobial stewardship. By doing so, the Hub will establish Australian industry as global leaders.

“We plan to develop new molecular diagnostic technologies and improve the processes for identifying potential new antibiotics,” Professor Guy said. “By securing connections across disciplines working to tackle antimicrobial resistance solutions, we hope to maximise the value of investment in this area.”

The ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hubs scheme aims to engage Australia’s best researchers on issues facing industrial economies and training the future workforce. The scheme supports collaborative research activity between industry and the Australian higher education sector.

*The ARC Research Hub to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance is a collaboration between the following organisations:

Australian universities: UNSW Sydney (Kirby Institute, Centre for Social Research in Health), University of Queensland, Monash University, UTS and University of Melbourne
Industry and partner organisations: SpeeDx Pty Ltd, Cepheid, Recce Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Opal Biosciences Ltd, Boulos and Cooper Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd, The Global Antibiotic Research & Development Partnership (GARDP), The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), the Central and Eastern Sydney PHN, and NPS MedicineWise.
Other collaborating organisations: Murdoch Children's Research Institute, WHO Collaborating Centre for Sexually Transmitted Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance, Melbourne Sexual Health Clinic, Western Sydney Sexual Health Centre, Sydney Sexual Health Centre, Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research, and Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre.


Estelle Jones, Communications Officer, Kirby Institute


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