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Enlisting a hacking approach to antimicrobial resistance

Annual worldwide deaths due to drug-resistant infections are currently on the rise and are expected to increase in the near future if no measures are taken. Medicine, as we know it today, relies on having effective antibiotics to treat and prevent bacterial infections. Meanwhile, antibiotic resistance is growing, and we are running out of treatment options. Against this backdrop, the Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance (JPIAMR) is hosting a Hacking AMR 2019 event in Stockholm.

“Before the world reverts to a pre-antibiotic era due overuse or misuse of antimicrobials; before we run out of ways to fight infections and allow resistance to rise and endanger not only healthcare system but also agriculture and other activities such as tourism and world economy, we need to react and equip ourselves with new ammunition,” explains Édith Brochu from the Canadian Institute of Health Research. “Through our JPIAMR Hacking AMR 2019 event, we engage experts in the human and animal health as well as the environmental sectors to put their minds together with experts from the digital space to come up with creative and actionable ideas to fight this global threat that is antimicrobial resistance (AMR).”

The European Commission’s Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance began in 2011 with 11 European member countries. JPIAMR is a global collaborative platform and has engaged 27 nations to curb antibiotic resistance (AMR) with a One Health approach.

Hacking AMR 2019

Hacking AMR 2019, JPIAMR, StockholmA global hackathon further enriches the diversity of participants and teams. Participants and mentors come together from across Europe, and as far afield as Japan, China, India, Israel, Turkey and Canada. The competitive nature of a hackathon adds to the fun and inspiration. The winners of the hackathon will receive mentorship as ongoing support is essential to help you plug your solution into the ecosystem out there to help you nurture it after the hackathon to make an impact on AMR.

“Hacking AMR 2019 is critical to bring all these brilliant ideas from a plethora of various minds to be expressed and developed, under the guidance of our fabulous mentors from various fields of expertise as well as our skilled consultants at Hacking Health, and ultimately be materialized thanks to the collective help of people all over the globe,” adds Brochu.

The goals of this Stockholm hackathon are;

  1. to use the digital world to challenge and disrupt conventional antimicrobial resistance (AMR) research models;
  2. to design new ways to get the most out of the AMR research innovations;
  3. to find breakthrough solutions to the AMR challenge;
  4. to raise awareness about important issues, and;
  5. to bring people together under a common goal.

AMR Hackathon collaborating partnersThis Hacking AMR event has come about through the collaboration of JPIAMR, Swedish Research Council, Research Council of Norway, Canadian Institute of Health Research Institute of Infection and Immunity, Uppsala Antibiotic Centre, Edinburgh University, and Hacking Health Foundation. The Swedish Research Council hosts the Secretariat of JPIAMR in Stockholm, where the hackathon will be hosted at the Nordic Forum on December 13-15. As Hacking Health we are delighted to contribute to the design and facilitation of the hackathon.

Virtual Research Institute

The JPIAMR is establishing a Virtual Research Institute on antimicrobial resistance (the JPIAMR-VRI). A virtual platform that will increase coordination, improve visibility of the AMR research networks, research performing institutes/centres and infrastructures, and facilitate knowledge exchange and capacity development across the globe, covering the full One Health spectrum. The six domains of the JPIAMR-VRI are explored below.

JPIAMR-VRI AMR Research Capacities

Connecting – The JPIAMR-VRI will bridge multi-stakeholder partnerships and promote the development of collaborations between all sectors of the AMR community, including researchers, research policy and research funding. Actions will enable the integration of activities via, for instance, forums, workshops, and webinars, as well as the exchange of knowledge between research and innovation and industry.

Access – By enabling global access to knowledge, infrastructures and expertise, the JPIAMR-VRI will allow for the creation and extension of new and existing networks, centres, projects and frameworks to facilitate and structure the AMR community.

Data Sharing – The JPIAMR-VRI will provide avenues for sharing of AMR knowledge, infrastructures and facilities. In addition, the JPIAMR-VRI will allow for the standardisation and harmonisation of data handling, data distribution, and legal and ethical issues solutions.

Scientific Innovation – By facilitating collaborations and communication, the JPIAMR-VRI will build evidence in all domains of AMR, including human and animal health and the environment. This evidence will be able to be accessed for the development of policy and guidelines. It could, for example, provide a platform and tools for early discovery, antibiotic pipeline, alternatives to antibiotics, increasing scientific and technological excellence.

Capacity Building – One of the major activities of the JPIAMR-VRI is the possibility to provide capacity building within the AMR community. By delivering virtual education, training programmes, train-the-trainers and exchange programmes the JPIAMR-VRI has the potential to propel AMR research.

Awareness – The JPIAMR-VRI will contribute to maintaining AMR at the forefront of the political momentum for the Global Agenda. It will raise the visibility and profile of AMR by developing and sharing research results and putting this research forward. It will ensure a constant flow of discussions and communications to and from the AMR Research community, the policymakers and the general public.

A new global scenario

This Hacking AMR event is creating new scenarios for engaging the hackathon participants. We have long realized that the pre and post engagement is as vital as the hackathon weekend itself. For many hackathons, we have offered development workshops or pitch clinics in the weeks running up to the start of the hackathon weekend.

For this JPIAMR-VRI hackathon, participants are spread around the world and prevented getting together face to face. We choose to use Vidyard’s GoVideo tool to produce a series of videos to assist the participants, including one on how to sign up on Sparkboard. The series of pre-Hacking AMR videos can be viewed here.

Video 1 – What is a hackathon?

Video 2 – What is the design thinking pathway

Video 3 – How to use the design thinking pathway to create

Video 4 – How to deliver a stunning pitch

Video 5 – What to expect at the hackathon

AMR Hackathon


The JPIAMR hackathon is not the only one to consider AMR. In November, EIT Health ran an AMR Hackathon in collaboration with our Hacking Health Berlin chapter. We look forward to reading the white paper planned from this hackathon.

Hacking AMR 2019, Sparkboard

We encourage you to folllow this hackathon using hashtag #HackingAMR2019

Hacking Health TorontoEnlisting a hacking approach to antimicrobial resistance