Published: 21 Mar 2019 | Last Updated: 21 Mar 2019 15:33:55

Fourth year PhD student Alana Dowling has co-authored a research briefing for Parliamentarians as part of her three month science policy internship at the Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology (POST).

POST research briefings, also known as a POSTnotes, are four-page summaries of public policy issues. These briefings are a vital aspect of the political process as they give politicians advance knowledge of key issues before they reach the top of the political agenda.

The timing of Alana’s POSTnote coincided with the government’s release of the ‘UK 5-year action plan for antimicrobial resistance 2019 to 2024’ and the ‘UK 20-year vision for antimicrobial resistance’ on 24th January.

Alana Dowling
Alana Dowling

Alana, who is in Professor Dirk Werling’s research group, co-produced a POSTnote titled ‘Reservoirs of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)’ with POST advisor Dr Peter Border. The POSTnote evaluates the main reservoirs of antimicrobial resistant microbes arising from the use of antimicrobials in both humans and animals. It describes the current reporting mechanisms for AMR data in both human and veterinary medicine in the UK. The POSTnote concludes by highlighting the commitments made in the Government's new action plan that will improve upon the quality and quantity of AMR data currently reported, which in turn will inform more targeted approaches for tackling AMR.

In the ‘UK 5-year action plan for antimicrobial resistance 2019 to 2024’ government has committed to work with global partners to establish surveillance systems overseas for AMR. Government also stated plans to establish an international AMR One Health UK reference centre that would bring together and analyse data from international partners on common or emerging threats to humans, animals and the environment.

The ‘UK 20-year vision for antimicrobial resistance’, meanwhile, emphasises the UK intention to combat AMR through collaborating with other organisations that are taking One Health approaches to the issue.

Commenting on her internship, Alana said “The Science Policy Internship was a fantastic opportunity to experience something very new to me - the world of science policy. Researching the vast topic of AMR made me step back and look at the bigger picture. Trying to become an expert in a subject in just three months was no small task. I gathered information by interviewing experts, visiting networks and debating the topic of AMR. This process was novel, engaging and insightful. The Parliamentary Estate was a fascinating a place to be based. I would recommend the scheme highly to all PhD students that want to expand their skill set and communicate scientific research beyond the academic audience.”

To read the full POSTnote see: Reservoirs of Antimicrobial Resistance


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  • The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is the UK's largest and longest established independent veterinary school and is a constituent College of the University of London.
  • The RVC offers undergraduate, postgraduate and CPD programmes in veterinary medicine, veterinary nursing and biological sciences.
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