The AWARE project is led by a consortium of four institutional partners, each in a different European country: the Netherlands, Germany, Romania, and Sweden. The principal investigators in these countries have a broad experience in the field of antibiotic resistance, wastewater treatment plants, occupational and environmental epidemiology, and next-generation sequencing. Therefore, this project is one of the very first to combine complementary proficiencies to tackle a complex antibiotic attribution issue: epidemiology (LMU in Germany) and mathematical modeling (RIVM in the Netherlands), and traditional cultivation-based microbiology (UB in Romania) with high-throughput next- generation sequencing (UGOT in Sweden). AWARE-WWTP is ideally suited for this interdisciplinary collaboration due to the participation of European experts that have frequently been involved in interdisciplinary research. As this project studies wastewater treatment plants as both collection and dissemination hubs, in countries with low and high antibiotic resistance prevalence, we are confident we will be able to collect a critical quantitative dataset to resolve human exposure routes, within a consortium keen on sharing and exchanging their expertise.
Our project also benefits from the independent expert view of an external advisory board. In addition, local water boards, wastewater treatment plant operators, and residents contribute to the project as participants or collaborators.