N8 Research Partnership June Newsletter

June 2018

Director's Update

The Times, They Are A-Changing

In the months before I joined N8, in my previous job at EPSRC, I used a slide in my presentations which asked the question - what connects Sir Mark Walport and Bob Dylan?  The answer is, of course, “the times, they are a-changing”.  While the higher education landscape is evolving rapidly at present, with the creation of UK Research and Innovation, and the Office for Students, Brexit, REF 2021 and son on, it is essential for us also to lift our eyes to the horizon and anticipate, so far as we can, the next wave of disruptions which will lead to change.

I attended two workshops on consecutive days this month, with very different audiences and subjects.  A couple of recurring themes emerged in both; the need to evolve our university cultures for research in the 21st century and the need to incentivise and reward the behaviours and environments that will allow our investigators to flourish now and in the future.

For me, this has to include some hard thinking on:

• the impact of digital technologies, including virtual reality and artificial intelligence, on how universities go about their business of research and education;
• developing an investigative body for the 21st century, where the role of academic, research, technical and administrative staff is properly and equitably recognised and rewarded with career structures that reflect the crucial roles all of these people play in delivering high quality research and teaching;
• how might we better involve local communities and those with lived experience in determining our research directions, to deliver impacts that are meaningful to them?

These are non-trivial issues that require real leadership to address; I believe that by working together and pooling ideas, perspectives and good practice the universities of the N8 research partnership can lead the way to an even stronger, more effective research and innovation system in the North of England.

Enjoy the newsletter.

UK needs foreign workers to keep the nation fed

UK needs foreign workers to keep the nation fed

A renowned academic and veterinary surgeon has warned that the implications of Brexit on the nation’s food production are “major” and include the potential diminution of the workforce required to take food from farm to fork.

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Jake Berry MP

Placing the Northern Powerhouse at the heart of the 4th Industrial Revolution

In our latest blog, Dr Annette Bramley and Northern Powerhouse Minister, Jake Berry discuss how the Northern Powerhouse can be at the heart of the 4th Industrial Revolution.

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The N8 Advocates Day

Advocating closer working and new research areas across the N8

University leaders and researchers have come together to deepen the impact of the collaborative work of the N8 Research Partnership and to deliver a step change in its ambitions.

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Professor Bruce Grieve

N8 AgriFood on the BBC

The N8 AgriFood resilience programme has been the subject of two BBC radio reports and one television story in the last month, featuring the universities of Manchester and Sheffield.

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N8 shares knowledge with South Korea

N8 Research Partnership recently hosted a meeting with the South Korea Public Procurement Service (PPS).

The visit to the N8 was part of a fact finding mission and to share knowledge and best practice relating to procurement and equipment sharing.


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