29 May 2013

Antibiotic resistance research project

Department of Sociology is part of an interdisciplinary project financed by University of Copenhagen’s 2016 Fund. The overall project has a total budget of just above 4,3 million Euros and Department of Sociology will receive about 400.000 Euros until 2016.

Luca Guardabassi, Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, is Principal Investigator of the overall project, which is called UC-CARE (University of Copenhagen Research Centre for Control of Antibiotic Resistance).

The overall project
Bacterial resistance caused by the use of antibiotics poses great threats for humans and animals, but antibiotics are also essential for curing immediate health problems. It is therefore impossible to eradicate bacterial resistance. However, it is possible to;

  • develop new medicine
  • optimize the methods for tackling bacterial infections
  • improve societal structures influencing the way we use antibiotics

The UC-CARE project is focused on finding solutions that can reduce the number of resistant bacteria while at the same time avoiding negative effects on the overall level of our economy and health. In this regard social sciences and humanities are important disciplines in determining the social, cultural and structural causes for inexpedient prescriptions of antibiotics.

The sociological inquiry
Carsten Strøby-Jensen, Head of Department of Sociology, is in charge of coordinating a work package of four projects within the fields of humanities and social sciences. These projects focus on social and cultural perspectives in the way we use antibiotics.

The project at Department of Sociology is looking for an explanation to how we can explain the variation in the use of antibiotics that is not related to direct differences in the medical reasons for prescribing drug?

Researchers form the Department will approach this question by looking for institutional, cultural and normative causes explaining differences in the use of antibiotics. The research project will be divided into two main levels of analysis:

  1. Macro level: Shedding light on the relation between use of antibiotics and governmental systems in different countries and within the EU. In this part the researchers will study the effect of legislative decisions on prescribers and will try to identify different patterns of uses.
  2. Micro level: Analysing the interactions between users and prescribers to determine how expectations among users are influencing the decisions to prescribe or not prescribe antibiotics.

Three researchers from the department are affiliated with the UC-CARE project:

Next year the Department will employ a Postdoc as well as a PhD Fellow for the sociological projects. Job advertisements will follow.