15 years of the N8 Research Partnership in the North of England


The N8 Research Partnership is the most enduringly successful of the strategic university partnerships in the UK, and in 2021 we celebrate a decade and a half of research, innovation and training excellence bringing benefits to the economy and society in the North of England and beyond.

Founded in 2006, through the incorporation of N8 Ltd, the N8 Research Partnership is the strategic research alliance of the eight most research intensive universities in the North of England. The N8 has provided a means for our members to speak with one voice on policy issues related to research and innovation in our region and to share both resources and risk to develop collaborations around their research strengths.

We have championed new ways of working in the sector, helping to shape policy in equipment sharing, efficiency and the economic contributions of the N8 universities to the Northern Powerhouse.
Our research programmes have also supported the development of evidence-based policy and practice in Policing, Food Systems, High Performance Computing, Decarbonisation of Transport and more. Innovation in partnership with business was championed through the N8 Industry Innovation Forums; and is crucial for Net Zero North- a research and innovation initiative that will lead the Northern Powerhouse in its transition to a net-zero economy by harnessing the unique mix of industry, science and research capabilities in the region.

Over the coming year we will be celebrating the significant achievements and impact of the N8 Research Partnership, as well as looking forward to what the next 15 years of collaborative research in the north may bring.

N8 Director Dr Annette Bramley offered her perspective on 15 years of collaborative research across the N8:

“The outputs and real-world impact of the N8 Research Partnership’s work over the past 15 years is testament to the power of collaborative research and innovation, and demonstrates the significant capabilities and potential of our combined research assets and strengths right here in the Northern Powerhouse. The N8 is truly an organisation that is greater than the sum of its parts.

This anniversary is a good time for reflection, but also to shine a light on what we hope to achieve in the next 15 years. Looking ahead, we’re determined to support a green recovery from COVID-19 through our Net Zero North programme, in addition to our researchers continuing to develop research based solutions to challenges across society.”


Chair of the N8 Research Partnership, and Vice-Chancellor of Newcastle University, Professor Chris Day added:
“The N8 Research Partnership has brought together a wealth of research expertise from our outstanding universities across the north, delivering an abundance of innovative research programmes of national and international prominence, and has been fundamental in driving economic growth and investment for the region.

It has pioneered a culture of deeper collaboration, with not only our partner institutions, but also key regional players with whom we share common goals – enabling the north to take a leading position in rebalancing research excellence. We look forward to the next 15 years and all that we can achieve together as the N8.”


We would love to hear your stories of taking part in N8 collaborations over the years, whether from the early days of the partnership when it was being set up with funding from the Northern Way, or from more recent activities.  We’d love to hear about the relationships you’ve built and friendships you’ve made as well as the fantastic research outcomes that you’re rightly proud of.

Tweet us at @N8Research to share your stories and successes.