World Antibiotic Awareness Week

Biofilm of antibiotic resistant rod-shaped bacteria

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Held every November since 2015, World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) gauges awareness levels in all sectors of the population via a short questionnaire and promotes the issue via a number of resources that can be found on the above links.

The University continues to promote antibiotic resistance messages from the UK government and Public Health England as well as the World Health Organization outside of World Antibiotic Awareness Week. 

Details about the University's activities for WAAW 2018 will be added to this page nearer the time.

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Today's events

2018 Antibiotic Guardian Awards

The University’s public engagement work to raise awareness of the issue of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) was recently shortlisted in the 2018 Antibiotic Guardian Awards, on behalf of Public Health England, in the Public Engagement category.

The AMR team, comprising academic and professional services staff, post-doctoral researchers, PhD candidates and undergraduate project students, has held a range of events over the past year – and continues to do so – to highlight the issues surrounding antibiotic resistance and the need to preserve their efficacy for future generations. 

Read the full news release for further information

The battle for supremacy between bacteria and antibiotics normally goes unseen, either behind closed doors in the laboratory or concealed deep within the human body. But now that complex contest is being translated into music thanks to a performance in which the worlds of art and science will combine to striking effect.

In Artibiotics, bacteria and antibiotics are presented as sound, and the performance charts their quest to respectively damage and defend the DNA of their host. 

Artibiotics was part of the Contemporary Music Festival that was cancelled due to extreme winter weather. Now it is one of four pieces being performed in the rescheduled gala concert by ensemblebash on Saturday 13 October at 8pm.

“With a global rise in resistance, developing new antibiotics is one of the key scientific challenges of our time. But the world of synthetic biology currently has something of a negative image – and perhaps the arts can help to break that." (Professor Eduardo Miranda)

Science Museum event

Venue: Science Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2DD


  • Date: 9 November 2017 - Spring 2019
  • Location: Level 0, Tomorrow's World 

Visit the Science Museum's Special Exhibition on Superbugs to explore how society is responding to the enormous challenge of antibiotic resistance. The exhibition feature scientific research from across the globe and the personal stories of those waging war on the superbugs.

Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest significant threats to global health that is facing us today.

KEY FACTS (source: WHO factsheet)

  • Antibiotic resistance can affect anyone, of any age, in any country.
  • Antibiotic resistance occurs naturally, but misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the process.
  • A growing number of infections – such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhoea, and salmonellosis – are becoming harder to treat as the antibiotics used to treat them become less effective.
  • Antibiotic resistance leads to longer hospital stays, higher medical costs and increased mortality.

Antibiotics are medicines used to prevent and treat bacterial infections. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in response to the use of these medicines. Bacteria, not humans or animals, become antibiotic resistant. 

These bacteria may infect humans and animals, and the infections they cause are harder to treat than those caused by non-resistant bacteria.

Why antibiotic resistance is relevant to you:

Antibiotic resistance is rising to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world. Without effective antibiotics many routine treatments will become increasingly dangerous. Setting broken bones, basic operations, even chemotherapy and animal health all rely on access to antibiotics that work.

Without urgent action, we are heading for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries can once again kill.

WHAT WE WANT YOU TO DO: To slow resistance we need to cut the unnecessary use of antibiotics. We invite the public, students and educators, farmers, the veterinary and medical communities and professional organisations, to become 'Antibiotic Guardians'. 

Antibiotic Guardians’ pledge to help raise the profile of antibiotic resistance – you can sign up via the 'Pledge now!' button above.

CALL TO ACTION: Choose one simple pledge about how you’ll make better use of antibiotics and help save these vital medicines from becoming obsolete.

Antibiotic research at the University

Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global human health. Currently, antibiotic resistant infections kill over 700,000 people per year. 

If we don’t manage to stop the increasing rates of these infections, it is estimated that they will kill ten million people a year by 2050, costing society over $100 trillion.

Discover our research into antibiotic resistance and the search for a new class of antibiotic.

View the University's Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) project Facebook page to find out more about AMR and the research being conducted to help fight antibiotic resistance bacteria.

Event photography and video
Please be aware that some of the University of Plymouth's public events may be attended by University photographers and videographers, for capturing content to be used in University online and offline marketing and promotional materials, for example webpages, brochures or leaflets. If for whatever reason, you or a member of your group, do not wish to be photographed, please make yourself known to staff working at the event on arrival or to the photographer.