Each year, students in grades 4-12 around the world convene at Future Problem Solving Program International’s (FPSPI) International Conference to take part in events and workshops, brainstorm scenarios, collaborate with groups to complete creative problem-solving exercises, and learn from experts during presentations and Q&A sessions.

Additionally, Community Problem Solving competitors have the chance to showcase their projects from the past year both in-person and online, displaying and celebrating their solutions to issues facing their local communities.

This year, over 1,800 brilliant young minds will be attending the hybrid event beginning on June 9th, 2022 to tackle an important challenge facing the future of global health care – antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria undergo mutations that render antibiotic medicines ineffective against them. This means that doctors must continuously develop new drugs to treat patients with resistant infections, as well as to preserve the usefulness of existing antibiotic drugs.

There are many factors that contribute to the rising emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including over-prescription of antibiotic drugs, environmental pollution and poor pollution controls, agricultural misuse, and poor patient adherence to treatment instruction. Today, antibiotics are not only in medications, but also in food sources and plastics, creating more and more opportunities for antibiotic resistant microorganisms to develop.

In the United States alone, more than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur every year, leading to over 35,000 deaths. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has only contributed to creating conditions that may have reversed our progress on antibiotic resistance. Staffing shortages, record high numbers of patients, and longer hospital stays during the pandemic have led to increased difficulties implementing infection control practices.

The World Health Organization warns that, “While there are some new antibiotics in development, none of them are expected to be effective against the most dangerous forms of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Given the ease and frequency with which people now travel, antibiotic resistance is a global problem, requiring efforts from all nations and many sectors.”

FPSPI Global Issues Problem Solving and Scenario competitors will have the chance to tackle this incredibly relevant and important issue during the International Conference by researching all aspects of antibiotic resistance in preparation for challenges where they will need to analyze and address futuristic scenarios centered around the topic. Winners will be announced during the awards ceremony on June 12th, 2022.

To learn more about FPSPI’s International Conference, check out the readings, schedule, and more here.  To learn more about the antibiotic resistance topic, check out FPSPI’s video and resources here.

Stay tuned for more updates about the amazing work FPSPI students are doing with their research and writing during the 2022 Hybrid International Conference!