N8 Research Partnership

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The N8 Research Partnership is a partnership created in 2007 of the eight research-intensive universities in Northern England - Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York. The N8 Research Partnership aims to maximise the impact of this research base by identifying and co-ordinating powerful research teams and collaborations across the North of England. To support the collaborations, N8 creates teams with a critical mass of world class academics. These teams form a network of virtual centres of science and innovation excellence. Collectively, the N8 universities undertake more than £650 million of research income per annum and employ over 18,000 academic staff, thus forming the largest research-pooling partnership ever undertaken in the UK.[1] The N8 Research Partnership also works closely with industry to ensure businesses have an efficient and effective route to access world-class research from these leading universities through a single point in key markets.[2]


The N8 Research Partnership initially focused on five areas of research: Ageing and Health, Energy, Molecular Engineering, Regenerative Medicine and Water. The themes were chosen to build on existing research within the partnership which had the potential for economic and social benefit. They aimed to deliver £25 million of research funding and 140 new collaborations with industry by December 2010.

In March 2007, the N8 Research Partnership was awarded grant funding of £6 million from The Northern Way Growth Fund to set up 'virtual' collaborative Research Centres around each of these themes.[3]

Today, the N8 Research Partnership's main research themes include: Bioeconomy,[4], Urban Transformation [5] including Policing,[6] Digital Creativity,[7], and AgriFood Resilience.[8][9]

In 2015, multimillion-pound funding was awarded to N8 Research Partnership, to advance Food Security, and Policing, research areas across N8 institutions and with partners.[10][11][12]

N8 has become a leader in equipment sharing, having launched a project to map the research equipment across universities in the North, and has published a toolkit and a white paper to point the way to greater collaboration between universities and improved research links with industry.[13] A toolkit, and database, have been developed to advance this area nationally.[14][15]

The N8's key aim of fostering greater collaboration with industry was boosted in January 2012 when the N8 Industry Innovation Forum launched. There have to date been five IIF meetings focused on topics where there is significant cross-sector, industry-led demand for new insights and research capability on topics such as advanced materials, Food Security, and Active and Healthy Ageing. These have generated a number of ideas for further research, four of which have received Stage 2 funding.[16]

Another development was the launch of the N8 High Performance Computing facility in March 2013. This provides industry and university researchers with access to high performance computing alongside consultancy and e-infrastructure training. At its peak the HPC is capable of performing 110 trillion operations per second, the equivalent of half a million iPads.[17][18], [19], [20].

The N8 continues to drive innovation opportunities across the North of England, coordinating proposals and fostering new innovation ideas.[21]


The Northern England universities in the N8 Group are:

North East England

North West England

Yorkshire and the Humber

Between them, these universities educate 133,000 undergraduate and 51,000 postgraduate students every year.


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