ICARS Strategy 2022 -2026

Since its inception in spring 2019, ICARS has bolted out of the starting blocks and achieved a great deal in its first years. These achievements were based on the strong strategic pillars that were developed in the early days to address the clear need, expressed by low- and middle-income countries, for tailored solutions to support National Action Plan implementation.

In this, our first official strategy, we draw on the lessons we have learnt, and project ourselves into the future. Guided by our vision of a world without drug-resistant infections, we have revised our outcome framework and refined the scope and goals of each of our interconnected pillars. In the following we are pleased to present a succinct overview of ICARS unique value proposition, followed by our overarching strategy that will run until 2026, as well as a roadmap that details our planned activities per pillar.

We look forward to what the next four years hold and anticipate many fruitful partnerships and initiatives to deliver on our mission, working with low- and middle-income countries to tackle antimicrobial resistance.

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ICARS’ Interconnected Strategic Pillars:

Pillar 1: Develop and test context-specific solutions for AMR mitigation

Pillar 2: Support the translation and uptake of existing evidence and innovation into policies, programmes and practice

Pillar 3: Advocate for context-specific, country-owned AMR mitigation solutions

Pillar 4: Support targeted capacity and capability building

Cross cutting pillar: A trustworthy partner and platform for delivering country-owned AMR solutions

Pillar 1: Develop and test context-specific solutions for AMR mitigation

ICARS simultaneously uses top-down and bottom-up approaches, engaging with ministries and central agencies, research institutions and other stakeholders (e.g. medical practitioners, farmers, implicated communities, civil society organisations) to co-develop and implement research projects.

Project activities are guided by the AMR challenges that countries are committed to solving, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.

ICARS’ co-development process culminates in a project proposal and a roadmap for implementation, developed with the country stakeholders to ensure buy-in and ownership from inception.

While bringing together multiple stakeholders to address AMR together is not easy, ICARS believes that such a comprehensive approach is essential for bringing evidence into action leading to sustainable behaviour change to mitigate AMR.

Are you a government official from a low- or middle-income country that is committed to fighting AMR, who could use support from ICARS to implement its National Action Plan?

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We will

Produce new evidence-based and context-specific solutions for AMR mitigation in LMICs via a portfolio of projects

Generate support for the uptake, implementation and scale-up of solutions in LMICs

In order to

Channel evidence from ICARS’ projects into LMIC systems, policies, programmes or practice

Pillar 2: Support the translation and uptake of existing evidence and innovation into policies, programmes and practice

We identify opportunities where ICARS can help to translate existing evidence into action or support the uptake of innovation (particularly from other LMICs) in partnership with LMIC ministries and other stakeholders.

We do this by analysing and reviewing previous efforts via reports, completed research and scientific publications, and evaluating which solutions could be potentially suitable for national and regional needs including cost-effectiveness.

We aim to identify enablers of and barriers to uptake, build mutual trust between stakeholders and create the additional evidence needed to close the gap between evidence and its practical implementation in LMICs.

This is primarily done in partnership with other funders and relevant stakeholders to avoid duplication and facilitate complementarity.

We will

Identify existing evidence (research evidence, tools and methodologies) and engage scientists and stakeholders in the development of projects/activities to support adaptation and uptake in LMICs

Partner with LMIC governments on projects/ activities to support adaptation and uptake of solutions

In order to

Support the integration of existing evidence and uptake of innovation into LMICs systems, policies, programmes and practices

Pillar 3: Advocate for context-specific, country-owned AMR mitigation solutions

We are working to raise awareness of and mobilise international commitment for solutions, informed by intervention and implementation research, as a means to deliver on AMR National Action Plans.

We aim to influence funders and policymakers, at a national and international level, to prioritise and increase their investment especially in LMICs with a high burden of AMR.

Our LMIC focus also allows us to provide a platform for south-south knowledge exchange, whereby countries and regions in the global south can share learnings via ICARS facilitated/convened engagements, networks and events.

ICARS will create regional knowledge exchange hubs that include but are not limited to regional conferences/ webinars, platforms for the exchange of adaptable, good practice AMR solutions, repositories of tools and resources to support virtual communities of practice.

We are in a unique position as an independent organisation to forge partnerships with both AMR specific and AMR sensitive players to get their support and expertise to advocate for implementation and intervention research to address AMR.

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We will

Advocate and help mobilise political commitment for LMIC governments to prioritise context-specific solutions informed by intervention and implementation research to mitigate AMR

Encourage investments and influence research funders, UN agencies and other stakeholders to support context-specific solutions using intervention and implementation research for the mitigation of AMR

In order to

Influence actors at national and international levels to recognise the need for context-specific, country-owned solutions informed by intervention and implementation research as a means to mitigate AMR, and mobilise more funding and support for this area of research and implementation

Pillar 4: Support targeted capacity and capability building

ICARS facilitates capacity and capability building of LMIC policymakers, champions, prescribers, dispensers, consumers, and users of antimicrobials, amongst others, through relevant training and engagement as well as strengthening of human, veterinary and environmental health systems to address AMR.

ICARS aims to fill gaps identified in relation to the activities performed under pillars 1 and 2 by supporting targeted knowledge exchange and training.

We aim to improve skills and competencies around implementation and intervention research and the scale-up of ICARS co-developed solutions to tackle AMR.

We want to participate in the development of educational and awareness-raising resources that enable countries to translate their NAPs into practice.

We will target researchers and individuals that are part of ICARS projects, as well as staff in Ministries of Health/Agriculture/Environment who are partnering with ICARS.

We also want to work with other AMR-specific players who are developing capacity building tools and approaches to strengthening health systems in countries.

Capacity building ensures the sustainability of mitigating AMR and other related public health issues in countries’ health systems.

We will

Provide training and share knowledge on best practices to local researchers and policymakers in partner countries to support NAP implementation through intervention and implementation research

Strengthen human, veterinary and environmental health systems’ capacity to deliver on ICARS projects in partnership with LMICs

In order to

Strengthen the capacity of people and health systems (human, veterinary and environmental) in partner countries to mitigate AMR using intervention and implementation research

Cross-cutting pillar: A trustworthy partner and platform for delivering country-owned AMR solutions

In November 2021, ICARS became an independent self-governing organisation with its own legal identity by Danish law.

It is governed and led during its inception phase (2022-23) by an international Board of Directors appointed by the Danish government. The Board of Directors is anticipated to grow during the inception phase as other countries and foundations join ICARS as Strategic Funding Partners and are offered a seat on the Board in that capacity.

ICARS thus actively seeks to attract funding from a range of countries and foundations.

As a new and functionally independent organisation, it is important to establish strong policies, processes and activities that translate ICARS’ mission and values within the legal framework and statutes that ICARS is bound by. We commit to transparent and effective operational procedures that comply with fit-for-purpose policies.

We will continue to establish partnerships with LMIC implementing partners such as governments and researchers, as well as partnerships to attract members aligned to our mission that can co-fund and support AMR mitigation.

We will

Operate as a well-functioning organisation working at an international level, with the ability to attract and retain the best of talent while maintaining an agile structure seeking partnerships with a range of stakeholders

Ensure that ICARS fulfills a niche gap in AMR mitigation worthy of investment by donors

In order to

Achieve recognition as a trustworthy partner and implementation platform for developing context-specific and country-owned AMR solutions informed by intervention and implementation research with a strong, well functioning governance structure