March 2020

Director's Update

It’s a hugely exciting time to be the Director of the N8 Research Partnership.  The possibility of increased funding for research and innovation and the new Government’s focus on ‘levelling up’,  combine to generate a once in a generation opportunity for securing a significant uplift in our universities based on excellence and impact. 

The N8 Research Partnership is the strongest strategic research alliance between universities in the UK.  No other alliance has 8 of its members in the top 30 UK universities; when combined our volume and quality of research outputs makes us competitive with the best universities globally.  Truly, the N8 Research Partnership has the potential to be a creative engine of research and innovation that can deliver for the whole of the Northern Powerhouse, the UK and the world.  This potential will only be realised if we can come together to harness the added value that the critical mass of research, innovation and training excellence could unleash. 

Last week, the N8 Board and Strategic Executive Group supported a proposal to collaborate strategically around the research and innovation needed to achieve Net Zero.  The most urgent challenges are not technical.  Rather, there are many social and behavioural challenges that need to be addressed at pace and scale to bring down our Carbon emissions.  It’s essential that social sciences, the humanities and the arts are at the core of our collaboration and we are keen to engage broadly with these communities to build new collaborations and help shape and sharpen our thinking.

I’m delighted that the N8 universities will be coming together later in the Spring to hold a workshop in Liverpool around the Social Sciences and ISCF, with specific focus on Clean Growth and Ageing.  I’m looking forward also to the EPSRC-N8 Big Ideas workshop on the Green Industrial Revolution, which takes place next week in Leeds. Thus has a truly interdisciplinary mix of attendees from across the Northern Powerhouse, including universities outside of the N8 and a great line–up of speakers from business, local government and social sciences to stimulate discussion.

If you are interested in getting involved with N8 activities, or you have an idea for pan-northern research collaboration, please do get in touch.  We love hearing from you.



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