N8 announces community building awards


The N8 Research Partnership has announced details of the recipients of the first awards from its Collabor8 Fund, designed to support new and emerging groups of researchers with the vision and enthusiasm to work together across the N8 Research Partnership.

Five research communities have received funding from the Collabor8 Fund following the first call earlier this year. They include representatives from all the N8 universities and will develop research agendas that will contribute towards delivering a Net Zero future, in line with call theme of ‘The Road to 2050’ and supporting the N8 Net Zero North programme. The communities span a range of themes including transportation, marine renewables and the impact of the climate crisis upon our health.

Community building activities will commence in June 2022, and run for six months initially. Each community will have the option to apply for second stage funding, to expand and deepen their communities over a further 18 months.

The awarded teams have displayed enthusiasm and fresh perspectives on how multi-institutional collaboration can support a reduction in greenhouses gas emissions and address the broader changes required across society to reach Net Zero by 2050.

The five funded communities are:

Environmental Challenges from Marine Renewable Energy Infrastructure

Led by Dr Pablo Ouro from the University of Manchester, the community will explore mitigation strategies in response to the anticipated, unintended impacts of marine renewables upon biodiversity.


Road Map to Success: The Net Zero Carbon Campus (Campus Zero)

Led by Professor Lenny Koh from the University of Sheffield and Mel Leitch from Newcastle University, Campus Zero seeks to address the challenges of climate change for the N8 universities as businesses, through collaboration, positional mapping, and the creation of good practice guidance.


N8 Climate and Health

Led by a collaboration of academics and professional services staff from the Universities of Leeds, Liverpool and York, N8 Climate and Health proposes to develop solutions that will help protect human life from the direct threat of the climate crisis.


Carbon Operational Net Zero (CONZ)

Led by Dr Simon Breeden from the University of York, Dr Beth Upex from Durham University and Mel Leitch from Newcastle University, CONZ will utilise the expertise of technicians in laboratories and research and teaching facilities to share best practices for achieving Net Zero targets.


Network for Innovative Sustainable Transportation Co-Simulation (NIST-CS)

Led by Dr Zhongbei Tian from the University of Liverpool and Dr David Golightly from Newcastle University, NIST-CS will establish, coordinate and enhance capabilities, expertise and case studies for system co-simulation, to deliver optimised decarbonised transport across the North of England and beyond.


Stephen Parkinson, N8 Research Partnership Manager said: “The expertise of our research-intensive universities can make a vital contribution in helping the UK move towards Net Zero, and the North has the potential to play a leading role in innovating to reach these ambitious targets. The Collabor8 Fund is another example of how the N8 looks to empower researchers across the region as we work towards the collective goal of Net Zero – we can’t wait to see what insights these burgeoning communities will produce.”

Professor Nick Plant, N8 Strategic Executive Group Member said: “Collaboration is at the heart of the N8 universities’ research missions, and we are committed to creating an environment in which people work together across disciplines – both within and beyond our institutions – to tackle some of the greatest challenges we face, not just as a region but as a world. Each of these new communities focuses on an important aspect of the climate crisis and the journey to Net Zero, and I am excited to see them flourish.”