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N8 Research: Industrial Biotech, Dinosaurs, Diamonds and Policing

It’s been a busy quarter for N8 – here are a few of the exciting events and ideas that we’ve been taking forward.

Industrial Biotech is set to transform sectors such as chemicals, waste, energy, plastics and pharmaceuticals, and the UK market is predicted to be £12bn by 2025. The N8 Industry Innovation Forum in October focussed on identifying new innovations in this area, bringing together 60 scientists and biotech business leaders, together with the Technology Strategy Board and BBSRC.

Our N8 High Performance Computing (N8 HPC) facility, launched earlier this year, is being used on a range of innovative research projects, including tracking how the world’s biggest dinosaur walked and another, looking at diamonds.

The fourth workshop in our Arts and Humanities research project took place in November, called Imaginative North. Our latest collaboration was also launched - the new N8 Policing Research Partnership had an inaugural meeting with the Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) last month to understand the common needs for new research and knowledge. 

Finally, we are delighted to announce Prof Nick Wright, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at Newcastle University as the new Chair of the N8 Executive Management Group. He is taking over from Prof Trevor McMillan who is moving from his current role as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at Lancaster University to be Deputy Vice Chancellor and Provost at Keele University.  I would like to express huge thanks on behalf of everyone involved in N8 for Trevor’s leadership and commitment over the last 4 years – our loss is certainly Keele’s gain!

As ever, please get in touch with your comments and ideas. Best wishes for a very Happy Christmas and New Year – see you in 2014!

Best regards,
Sarah Jackson
Director, N8


North academics and Industrial Biotech experts aim for innovation

Experts from the N8 universities and business are working together to solve one of the greatest challenges facing modern society – how biological substances can be used sustainably to create materials and energy.

At the latest N8 Industry Innovation Forum (N8 IIF) event, academics from the N8 universities and more than 60 industrial scientists and senior biotech business leaders discussed strategic collaborations between academic and industry researchers to accelerate new ideas and new opportunities in this crucial area.

Read more.


N8 supercomputer tracks first dinosaur steps in over 90 million years

Scientists at The University of Manchester have used Polaris, the N8 Research Partnership High Performance Computing (N8 HPC) facility, to simulate for the first time ever how one of the world's largest dinosaurs would have walked.

Argentinosaurus is the biggest animal that ever walked on the surface of the earth and understanding how it did this can tell us a lot about the maximum performance of the vertebrate musculoskeletal system.

Read more.


Polaris helps shine light on diamonds

Polaris, the N8 High Performance Computer, is also helping scientists gain a better understanding of how natural diamonds, and synthetic versions, can be used more effectively in diamond-based technologies in a range of research and industrial applications.

A team at Newcastle University has worked with De Beers to conduct quantum-level analyses of the surfaces of natural diamonds to identify and better understand how defects are formed within diamonds.

Read more.


N8 Policing Research Partnership set up

Policing, community safety, crime prevention and victim services have all gone through unprecedented change in recent years. This provides an ideal opportunity for research collaboration and knowledge exchange between the research, policy and practitioner communities.

The aim of the new N8 Policing Research Partnership (N8 PRP) is to establish and formalise a regional network of research and innovation in policing. It will provide a platform for collaborations between universities, Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs), Government, police forces, and other partners working in policing policy, governance and practice.

The N8 PRP will build collaborative relationships, focussed on a number of themes including cyber crime, drugs and alcohol and serious and organised crime, as well as Partnerships and community engagement.

Read more about the N8 Policing Research Partnership.


Imagination creates creative and successful collaborations

The imagination is being used as a tool to help academics and arts and humanities practitioners rethink collaborations and develop new research ideas, attendees at ‘Imagination North’ event demonstrated.

Forty-five arts and humanities practitioners, academics and funding partners came together at the event  - the fourth in the ‘New Thinking from the North’ project to explore how the imagination is being used to develop new ways of working and influence social and cultural development in the North.

Participants at the event engaged in activities that sought to identify new creative ideas for research projects, and had a vibrant discussion about the type of collaborations that need to be forged and their relevance to public policy and communities.

Read more.


New chair of N8 Executive Management Group announced

Professor Nick Wright, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at Newcastle University, has been appointed as Chair of the N8 Executive Management Group.

As Chair of the N8 Executive Management Group, his role will include providing leadership in the development of new ideas for research themes involving collaboration between businesses and academics, supporting innovation and economic growth.

Read more.


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