The LSE Festival, running from 25 February to 2 March, is a week-long series of events aimed at engaging the public with social science hot topics. This year’s theme is New World (Dis)Orders and focuses on the changing global situation: a new emergent world order where the US is no longer the biggest world power; rapidly-developing technology and its implications for our democracy; the politics that shape our interpretation of the world…

As part of the LSE Festival, the LSE Global Health Initiative hosted a panel on February 26 addressing a major question about antibiotic resistance policy: how can we reshape existing global healthcare structures, and coordinate international and interdisciplinary action, to combat new antibiotic resistance dangers? The panel, titled “The Drugs Aren’t Working! Confronting the Crisis of Superbugs” provided broad view into a scientific crisis whose solutions lie largely in policy and regulation.

The panel consisted of professionals from International Development, Health Policy, Government, and International Relations backgrounds, each offering solutions to the crisis from their disciplinary perspective, resulting in a comprehensive analysis of this policy-science crisis intersection.

From a healthy policy perspective, for instance, a panelist argued that the issue of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is too interdisciplinary for government plans to be easily implemented. This is despite the estimate that investments of USD$2 per person per year would be enough to prevent 75% of the related deaths, costing much less than the World Bank estimate of antibiotic resistance costing the global economy USD$100 trillion by 2050. Why is investment into AMR treatment so difficult? The International Development panelist contends that investment into drug development is inadequate because the usual incentives for pharmaceuticals to create drugs do not apply to AMR. Antibiotics cannot be stockpiled, and must be made universally accessible for widespread treatment, making it unlikely that pharmaceutical companies can earn back a profit from the expensive process of developing drugs.

Other than panels, the LSE Festival includes an exhibition and prize-giving ceremony of an LSE student and staff social science research competition. These entries are on show in the form of posters, photographs, and research abstracts. Entries cover a vast range of subjects, from “China’s Two-Faced Rhetoric” to “Policing of Live Music in England and Wales”. Film screenings, live debates, child-friendly events, and student-led drama performances are also part of the festival program.

More information about the Festival and available events held on its last day (tomorrow, 2 March) and the research competition exhibition can be found on the LSE Events website. Entry to all events are free but may require booking ahead.