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Pitch on bacteriophages selected as winner of My Science Inquiry

8 November 2022

Bacteriophages as an alternative to antimicrobial drugs has been selected by the Commons Science and Technology Committee as the winning My Science inquiry idea. The idea was presented to the Committee by Professor James Ebdon on behalf of Applied Microbiology International.

The Committee of MPs will now develop and launch an inquiry into bacteriophages, viruses capable of destroying bacteria, and their potential to combat antimicrobial resistance. This outcome is being announced at the Royal Society of Biology Biosciences Parliamentary Reception 2022 starting today at 7pm.

The My Science Inquiry initiative called for the public to submit 200 word suggestions on what the Committee should investigate next. The Committee received over 90 ideas for new inquiries and selected six ideas to hear more about in person at a livestreamed session of the Committee on 19 October.

A formal inquiry and call for evidence on bacteriophages will be launched during UK Parliament Week, which begins in the week commencing 14 November 2022.

Several submissions to the My Science Inquiry recommended the Committee investigate areas of artificial intelligence policy. The Committee notes in its Report that it agrees this is important topic and encourages all those who put forward an inquiry proposal to submit evidence to its inquiry into the governance of artificial intelligence.

Chair's Comment

Science And Technology Committee, Chair, Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, said:

“I want to thank everyone who submitted an idea as part of the My Science Inquiry call for ideas. We were really impressed by the calibre and range of the submissions.

“Hearing from the science and technology community on the areas that deserve more parliamentary scrutiny is a crucial part of our work.

“The Committee looks forward to exploring the potential of bacteriophages in tackling antimicrobial resistance. Our inquiry will build on our evidence session in June which heard about phage therapy as an innovative treatment for drug-resistant illnesses.”

Professor James Ebdon, Professor of Environmental Microbiology, University of Brighton and Member of Applied Microbiology International said:

“We are delighted that the Science and Technology Committee selected our pitch on ‘The therapeutic use of bacteriophages (viruses capable of destroying bacteria)’ as the focus for an inquiry, as they offer a potentially powerful tool in the UK’s response to antimicrobial resistance.

“Pitching to the Committee was not only a fantastic and thoroughly enjoyable experience, but also a rare opportunity to potentially steer the gaze of MPs, parliament and Government towards novel and emerging areas of research.”

Further information

Image: PA