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High Performance computing and funding for innovation partnerships launched

Welcome to the March news from N8.

Our new high performance computing facility is now open for business, already being used by the BBC and SMEs, and we also have updates on new funding for innovation partnerships, Innovate 2013 and the Regener8 conference. 

Earlier this month, the N8 High Performance Computing centre was showcased to industry. We heard a speaker from the BBC who used the capabilities of N8 HPC to solve a music channel problem in 6 hours, which would have previously taken 1.5 years! Delegates also heard from Procter & Gamble and a fantastic story from Iceotope –an SME based in Sheffield who are building liquid-cooled computer servers that could reduce the carbon footprint of the internet. 

The N8 team had a great couple of days at the Technology Strategy Board and UKTI Innovate 2013 conference. The N8 Industry Innovation Forum (N8 IIF) was featured in a best practice workshop on industry and university partnerships, which was very popular - standing room only at the back! Among the visitors to our stand was the Universities and Science Minister, David Willetts MP, who was keen to hear about the progress since he launched the N8 IIF last year.

The latest call for Innovation Awards was launched at a METRC event in York – helping companies in Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology to innovate. The deadline is April 19 and the METRC team is there to help with advice on funding and finding company or academic partners.

Finally, this year’s Regener8 Annual Conference will take place on Thursday 10 October. Following the success of last year's sell-out event, this year's conference will focus on ‘Translating regenerative therapies to a global market’. You can keep up to date with the latest conference news via the Regener8 website.

As ever, I hope you enjoy reading our latest news and please do get in touch with your comments and ideas.

Best regards,
Sarah Jackson
Director, N8 Research Partership


N8 HPC showcased to boost collaboration with industry

The N8 High Performance Computing (N8 HPC) centre was showcased to over 100 representatives from industry and the N8 universities earlier this month.

The new facility provides access to a high performance computing facility for the N8 Universities and industry, alongside consultancy and e-infrastructure training.

Based at the University of Leeds and run jointly with the University of Manchester, the £3.25m facility, funded by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC), offers high performance computing on a scale which previously has not been readily available to researchers in the North.

A number of organisations have already benefitted from the N8 HPC's capability, including the BBC Research & Development team. They approached the N8 HPC to get help to re-categorise 128,000 separate music tracks according to mood – an exercise that would normally have taken over 18 months to complete. N8 HPC was used to simultaneously run thousands of tasks to analyse each track a total of 53 times according to criteria ranging from tempo, key and over 36,000 keywords that define the emotional response the music elicits, creating the world's largest time-varying musical feature database.

Also present at the showcase was Sheffield-based Iceotope, which designs and manufactures novel immersive liquid cooling systems for computing servers. The company already has an established relationship with the University of Leeds and the N8 Research Partnership, and is keen to explore how N8 HPC will benefit the research programme it has planned over the longer term.

Read more.


Partnerships for successful innovation

The latest call for funding from METRC to help companies innovate in partnership with universities was formally launched on 14 February 2013.

The event took place at the National Railway Museum in York and attracted 150 attendees drawn from industry, academia and networking organisations.

Through the METRC Innovation Awards, funding is available to support new research and innovation projects between Durham, Newcastle and Sheffield universities and companies in the fields of Nanotechnology, Science and Engineering. Any company is able to apply but preference is given to Small or Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).

As well as launching the METRC Innovation Awards the event also showcased successful research and innovation partnerships instigated by METRC between companies and universities.

For information about the awards and to apply, visit www.metrc.co.uk.

Read more about the Partnerships for Innovation event here.


N8 Industry Innovation Forum at Innovate 2013

The N8 Industry Innovation Forum (N8 IIF) featured at Innovate 2013 as a best practice example of the innovative approaches being adopted to increase collaboration between universities and business to boost competitiveness.  Innovate 2013 was a three-day multi-sector event to provide opportunities for technology companies looking to accelerate their growth through innovation, international trade and investment.

Dr John Weir, N8 IIF Director, was among the speakers on day one, talking about how the N8 IIF is connecting businesses with universities to provide a new way of working and stimulate new ideas. The presentation proved to be very popular, attracting around 200 delegates – so much so that it was standing room only at the back of the seminar hall! There was much interest in how academia and companies can work closer and also questions about how the N8 IIF could work with PhD students to help prepare them to innovate when they join industry – something the N8 IIF has begun to consider in recent months.

Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science, who delivered a key note speech on the first day of the event, also took time out to visit the N8 IIF exhibition stand and ask the team about progress the N8 IIF had made since its launch last year.

Over the three days, there was a highly encouraging response to the N8 IIF with more than 100 people taking the opportunity to visit our stand and meet with us. The discussions that took place will help us shape the topics that the Forum could look at in the future.

Read about the N8 Industry Innovation Forum here.


Regener8 Annual Conference - date and speakers announced

This year’s Regener8 Annual Conference – the leading event for the regenerative medicine community – will take place on Thursday 10 October, 2013.

Following the success of last year's sell-out event in Newcastle this year's conference will be held in Leeds at the Royal Armouries and will be the biggest Regener8 event to date.

The Regener8 conference is a one day meeting with a focus on the translation and commercialisation of regenerative therapies. The theme for 2013 will be focussed around Translating Regenerative Therapies to a Global Market.

One of the keynote speakers will be Michael May, Chief Executive of the Canadian Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM), a not-for-profit organisation supporting tecnholodies to accelerate the commercialisation of products and therapies by connecting businesses with high-value innovative translational technology platforms. Also speaking will be Matthew Durdy, Chief Business Officer of the Cell Therapy Catapult. Matthew is responsible for commercial evaluation and negotiation of new projects and developing funding streams.

The final programme will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information, visit the Regener8 website.


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