International Collaboration of the Year
The article co-authored by Yulia Vystavna and published earlier this year was awarded by the UK Times Higher Education award for International Collaboration of the Year 2022
Nearly everything we use will eventually reach the aquatic environment, including pharmaceuticals. There, the biology of exposed organisms can be affected at even the lowest concentrations. Research shows that some pharmaceuticals can even exacerbate the global antimicrobial resistance (AMR) crisis.
Challenging our understanding of this problem, little is known regarding the distribution of pharmaceuticals in rivers outside of North America and Europe. We built a global research consortium of 127 people across 87 institutions with the aim of better understanding this problem worldwide.
We overcame challenges as a consortium to collect water from rivers of all 7 continents: 1,052 locations across 104 countries (36 more than ever previously studied). This uncovered the ‘pharmaceutical fingerprint’ of about half a billion people worldwide and produced transformative scientific findings including identification of ‘hotspots’ for potential AMR selection and ecotoxicity. Our consortium is still intact and promises to continue advancing innovative, inclusive and global science.