Bureau awarded grant to investigate global superbug threat

The Bureau has been awarded a prestigious €130,000 grant from the European Journalism Centre for a year-long project investigating the global problem of superbugs.

We secured the award with a proposal to investigate how the growth of drug-resistant infections can threaten health systems and stop us meeting global development goals to eradicate epidemics of disease. As part of the project we will report from some of the world’s poorest and wealthiest countries, highlighting solutions as well as problems.

The Bureau was one of seven organisations awarded a total of €800,000 for news coverage raising awareness to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) using distinctive storytelling ideas, new engaging content forms and emerging data journalism techniques.  

The other winners of The Innovation in Development Reporting Grant included CNN and Elle magazine in the UK; Society magazine in France, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a newspaper in Germany; Volkskrant newspaper and VPRO radio and TV channel, both in the Netherlands.

The Bureau has been reporting on the topic of antibiotic resistance since February 2016, publishing stories with partners such as The Telegraph, The Times, The Guardian and the i newspaper. We revealed twice as many people are dying from antibiotic resistant infections as the Government’s official figures and that superbug-infected pigs can get into the UK unchecked.

In May 2017 we held a roundtable on antibiotic resistance, which brought together a range of experts from the Wellcome Trust, the Longitude Prize, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics, Infection Prevention Society and Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance among doctors and campaigners.

Global health and public policy journalist Sam Loewenberg, who has written for a range of publications including The Lancet and the New York Times will lead the new project alongside the Bureau’s health and science reporter Madlen Davies.

Commenting on the winning of the grant, Bureau managing editor Rachel Oldroyd said: "The Bureau of Investigative Journalism is absolutely delighted to have received a grant from the European Journalism Centre. The funds will allow us to dig deep into how the rise of superbugs could seriously undermine the world's ability to deliver several of the SDGs. This is an area the Bureau has been investigating for some time, and we are grateful to have considerable added resource to allow our reporters to undertake crucial on-the-ground reporting and apply some innovative production resources to help our storytelling."

Adam Thomas, director of the European Journalism Centre, said: “The scope, quality and volume of applications for this round of publisher grants was unprecedented. From globally-renowned media to emerging startups, seven winners demonstrated an innovative and impactful approach to the storytelling topics and technology. This reporting will inform communities throughout our target countries, proving them with data and information about global issues of employment, health, food and gender that affect all of us.”