Child of the North

Developing a platform for collaboration, high-quality research and policy engagement that will improve the lives of children living in the North of England in a post-pandemic age.

The universities that make up the N8 Research Partnership, and the North more broadly, are home to a wealth of expertise, innovative initiatives and collaborations, and cutting edge infrastructure to support research about children and childhood.

The Child of the North initiative seeks to build on these for the benefit of children growing up in the region and beyond. This includes by connecting to policy makers and stakeholders to encourage the uptake of evidence into policy by government and other organisations.

Working in Partnership

Child of the North is a joint collaboration between the N8 and Health Equity North, which forms part of the Northern Health Science Alliance. By acting together and with other regional partners, our aim is to create as a new focal point for the harnessing of research evidence to achieve transformative impact for children living in the North and beyond. It will also seek to add value to the nationally and internationally significant initiatives and collaborations in this area that already exist within the region.

Building on these collective strengths will help us to gain better traction in addressing complex and deep-rooted issues affecting children. It will also help to champion the rich and distinctive features of a northern childhood.

Co-production of evidence and publications with children, practitioners and policy makers will be a core element of Child of the North. This will build on existing N8 strengths in engaging children and young people in participatory science, co-design and co-creation of research, and crowd-sourcing data collection.

We are also forming partnerships with like-minded organisations who work to champion and improve the lives of children and young people. This includes the Centre for Young Lives, with whom we have launched a major new campaign and report series.

A country that works for all children and young people

In 2024 we are embarking on a campaign with the Centre for Young Lives to encourage the next government to rethink how it organises and prioritises its work to focus on improving every aspect of childhood. Our call for a ‘Children First Government’ is centred around a major new report series, which sets out practical, evidence-informed ways in which government can reset its vision for children and young people.

Find out more about the campaign and read the reports that have already been published.

All Party Parliamentary Group

The Child of the North All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) was established with the purpose to create a fairer future for children across the North of England and to develop policy solutions that will tackle the stark inequalities across our region so we can enable the children of the North to fulfil their potential. The APPG brings together key sector organisations and MPs from across the political spectrum.

The APPG is co-chaired by Emma Lewell-Buck MP and Mary Robinson MP. It holds regular meetings with its members to discuss issues regarding children in the North and works to develop policy solutions that will create lasting change.

Find out more about the work of the APPG and its outputs.

Recovery after COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic created or exacerbated a number of challenges and inequalities facing children which have both short- and long-term consequences.

The impacts on mental and physical health, education, the uneven effects on disadvantaged children and those from ethnic minority backgrounds, and the longer term threat to social mobility, have led some to talk about the possibility of the pandemic creating a ‘lost generation’.

Many of these impacts have been felt disproportionately across the North of England. There is a pressing need to act to mitigate them, but also to use this period of upheaval to drive change that will improve the lives of children in the North and prepare them with the skills they need to thrive in the 21st century.

The N8 Research Partnership has significant capacity to help address these challenges and seize the opportunities. This includes world-leading researchers in child wellbeing, physical and mental health, data and social science, the arts and humanities, as well as influential and innovative research infrastructure, and a track record of research impact.

Our first report, Child of the North: Building a fairer future after COVID-19, outlines how the pandemic exacerbated existing inequalities for children in the North. It also argues for a child-first, place-based recovery plan to enable our children to fulfil their potential.


Copies of all previous Child of the North research publications are available on our reports page.

Contact Us

Stephen Parkinson, Research Partnership Manager

via email