The N8 Industry Innovation Forum (N8IIF) was a £1.6m initiative between the N8 Research Partnership, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE, now Research England), and Innovate UK to connect leading businesses with research intensive universities to create new collaborations for innovation and growth.

The N8IIF acted as a catalyst for collaboration by working with industry partners to identify sectoral challenges requiring a research-led solution and bringing the critical mass of research excellence in the N8 universities to bear to address them.

Workshops were held addressing challenges in Advanced Materials, Active and Healthy Ageing, Industrial Biotechnology, and Achieving a Sustainable Food System.

Collaborative ideas at each of the events were supported by a team of experts, attracting over £10M of external funding, including work that supported the development of the Open Innovation Hub for Anti-Microbial Surfaces at the University of Liverpool. The Open Innovation Hub has attracted £8.4m in investment and is one of the 4 core partners of the National Biofilm Innovation Centre that secured a £12.5m investment from BBSRC.

“The N8 Innovation Forum and initial seed funding was instrumental in enabling this project to be conceived and delivered. The launch of a dedicated laboratory to house the Open Innovation Hub, with a critical mass of researchers and highly active industrial partnerships has created a strong foundation for us to deliver world-leading excellence and innovation over the coming years…I would not have moved from my main research area to this field had it not been for the N8 Innovation Forum”

Professor Rasmita Raval, Director, the Open Innovation Hub for Antimicrobial Surfaces

“The Industry Innovation Forum is an excellent example of the benefits of collaboration across the higher education sector.  This initiative will give companies of all sizes access to the resources and expertise of eight research-intensive universities, driving innovation and providing them with informed solutions to the challenges they face.”

David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science (2010-2014)