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N8 Research Partnership: Agri-Food Resilience programme, job vacancies, events and more

Welcome to the latest news from the N8 Research Partnership.

We’re nearly halfway through 2015 and it’s certainly shaping up to be a landmark year for the N8 Research Partnership.

The N8 Agri-Food Resilience Programme, announced in March, is now gathering momentum, with an interim team in place and further appointments to be made very soon: it forms the focus of our e-newsletter and it will be fantastic to see this initiative bearing fruit in the future.

Meanwhile, our work in engaging with industry was again highlighted by the recent joint-workshop hosted by the N8 Industry Innovation Forum and Croda, and it’s fantastic to see the N8 Policing Research Partnership strengthened further by another northern police force joining the organisation.

Plus, with the addition of some internationally-renowned speakers, the next Regener8 Annual Meeting is shaping up to be a must-attend for the regenerative medicine community.

I’ll be attending a number of major events in the coming months, so please feel free to say hello and discuss your work – and the N8 Research Partnership - with me.

I hope you enjoy reading our latest newsletter. As ever, please get in touch if you have any feedback.

Dr Peter Simpson

Director, N8 Research Partnership



As you may know, The N8 Research Partnership was recently awarded nearly £8 million from The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) for its ground-breaking N8 Agri-Food Resilience Programme - funding which will be matched by the N8 universities.

The programme combines world-leading crop and livestock research with the N8’s extensive expertise in social sciences to create a single research initiative focused on ensuring the stability of national and global agri-food supply chains in the face of the key challenges of climate change, declining resources and rapid socio-economic changes.

Together, the N8 universities have an impressive track record in agri-food science, with more than 370 researchers working on projects in this area and a portfolio of £269 million of research funding over the last six years. The N8 also boasts the greatest concentration of bioscientists engaged in agri-food research in the UK. We are harnessing these strengths to drive the N8 Agri-Food Resilience Programme, which is set to transform food security research in the UK.

For more information on the N8’s work in food security, click here.

You can also watch the video on the N8 Industry Innovation Forum’s ‘Creating A Sustainable Food’ event here.



Professor Sue Hartley, Acting Academic Director of the N8 Agri-Food Resilience Programme, Professor of Ecology at the University of York and Director of the York Environmental Sustainability Institute (YESI), provides an update on the programme’s progress.


“The N8 Agri-Food Resilience Programme is a very exciting initiative and I'm delighted to see it moving forward.

“On May 14, a meeting took place in York which brought together representatives of all of the N8 universities to discuss research priorities based on the key programme themes of sustainable food production, resilient food supply chains and improved nutrition and consumer behaviours. The meeting was a great success and leads for each theme will soon be announced.

“Operationally, an interim team is now in place, which as well as myself includes Dr Richard Smith and Dr Jess Hendon, who are overseeing project start-up and management. And we will soon be advertising for a range of permanent posts – both academic and business-related – to take the initiative further forward. These posts represent fantastic opportunities to work at the forefront of agri-food research and we’d be delighted to hear from interested parties.

“We’re also planning to launch a new website dedicated to the initiative in the future and will be promoting a wide-ranging events programme too.”



The Academic Director and other senior academic positions are expected to be advertised in July but the University of York will soon be recruiting for a number of operational posts for the Agri-Food Resilience Programme.

The first wave of operational roles offered will include an Operations and Business Development Director, a PA to the Director and a Grants and Finance Co-ordinator.

These posts, which will be based at the University of York, will be advertised at https://jobs.york.ac.uk. However if you are interested and would like further information in the meantime, please contact Jessica Hendon at Jessica.hendon@york.ac.uk

Further operational posts, including a Business Engagement and Events Manager and a Business Development Manager, will be advertised over the summer.



A special series of workshops, demonstrations and panel discussions on food security, sustainability, climate change and food health will be taking place on June 15 as part of The York Festival of Ideas 2015The Future of Food, at the Ron Cooke Hub, University of York, will include sessions entitled The Future of Food: The ticking time bomb, You Are What You Eat and Let’s Talk About Meat featuring experts from academia, research, industry and the media, including Professor Sue Hartley, Professor Christopher Ritson, Treasurer of the Food Ethics Council and Kevin Brennan, Chief Executive of Quorn Foods.



June 16 - Integral perspectives on food security in South Africa - a replicable global model? Research seminar hosted by the University of Leeds' School of Earth and Environment.

June 24 - The Sociogenesis of Climate Change and Finitudes of Earth’s Resources: The China-Brazil Connection seminar at the Sustainable Consumption Institute, University of Manchester.

July 7 - Food Choice and Behaviour, Nutrition Interventions, and Implications for Waste seminar at Newcastle University, part of the European Economic & Social Research Council’s seminar series on Food Options, Opinions and Decisions (FOOD).

July 9 - Grow to Greatness with Research Excellence event at the Lancaster Environment Centre at Lancaster University, run in association with Envision DTP.

In addition, as part of a project funded by the N8 Industry Innovation Forum, the University of York is planning to lead a stakeholder workshop to bring together academics, farmers, producers, policy makers, NGOs and environmental groups to talk about the policy barriers and incentives for farmers to act in a more environmentally sustainable way. The date is to be confirmed.



The potential of academic-industry collaboration was demonstrated at a workshop hosted by the N8 Industry Innovation Forum (N8 IIF) and global speciality chemical manufacturer Croda.

Taking place on May 15, the workshop was attended by more than 50 people and saw academics from all N8 universities take on real industrial challenges set by Croda.

This workshop was born out of the long-standing relationship which has grown between the N8 IIF and Croda since the forum's launch in 2012: representatives from Croda have attended all four of the N8 IIF's events on Advanced Materials, Healthy Ageing, Industrial Biotechnology and Food Security and Technology. Workshop themes included formulation, delivery and biobased surfactants.

To read more about the workshop, click here.



Professor Anthony Hollander, part of the team that successfully created and transplanted the first ever tissue-engineered windpipe, and John Ferris, from Cytori Therapeutics, a leading company in the development of cell therapies based on autologous adipose-derived cells, have been announced as keynote speakers for this year's Regener8 Annual Meeting.

Now in its eighth year, The Regener8 Annual Meeting will focus on 'The Delivery of Regenerative Medicine: Getting Regenerative Therapies to the Patient and the Market', and will form part of the MEIbioeng15 event to be held at the University of Leeds on September 7 and 8.

MEIbioeng15 is the UK's largest gathering of biomedical engineers, bioengineers and medical engineers and the Regener8 Annual Meeting will also appeal to delegates interested in nanotechnology, biomaterials and tissue engineering.

To read the full story, click here.



Cheshire Constabulary and the Police & Crime Commissioner for Cheshire have announced a formal collaboration with the N8 Policing Research Partnership (N8 PRP). Cheshire Constabulary joins ten other police forces across the North of England that have committed to form a collaborative partnership with the N8 PRP, to provide a regional hub for the north, generating research and knowledge exchange work of national relevance and international significance.

The N8 PRP enables universities and policing partners to develop research and exchange knowledge activities that address key policing issues, and was recently awarded a £3 million grant from HEFCE, supplemented by in excess of £4.2 million from policing partners and the N8 universities, for its five-year 'Innovation and the Application of Knowledge for More Effective Policing' programme.

To read the full story click here.



N8 Director Dr Peter Simpson (pictured) will be speaking at a range of events in the coming months, including the Bionow Life Science and Healthcare Showcase Conference on July 7 at The Centre for Life in Newcastle. The event will bring together life science and healthcare companies from across the UK, showcase the key strengths of the North East region and leverage supply chain opportunities.

At the conference, Dr Simpson will be speaking on healthcare and life sciences in the North East and chairing a session on HEIs working with industry to deliver value.

To view the programme, click here.



Dr Peter Simpson was recently interviewed by the Efficiency Exchange. In a wide ranging interview, he discussed asset sharing, deep collaboration, his background and more with writer Rosie Niven. To view the interview, click here.

Plus, you can read about the work of the N8 IIF in an article featured on the website of National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB), a membership organisation that promotes, develops and supports university-business collaboration across the UK. The article, written by N8 IIF Director Colin Reid (pictured), examines the role of the forum in creating new partnerships and collaborations and looks at how it has created "real traction" between industry and academia. To read the article, click here.



Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to keep up to date with the latest developments from the N8 Research Partnership.


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