The N8 Universities – individually and working in collaboration with each other, industry and additional educational institutions – boast a wide range of established research centres. Together, they represent a formidable resource in the field of food security and technology.

The aim of collaborating in this area is to build on this expertise. By working together, we can develop new insights, technologies and knowledge to address a grand challenge – to support sufficient, safe and nutritious food for a growing, affluent population.

These centres of excellence include:

The Durham Centre for Crop Improvement Technology (DCCIT)

Based at Durham University, The Durham Centre for Crop Improvement Technology integrates plant genetics, cell biology, and biochemistry, with chemistry, physics, maths and engineering to develop technologies for crop improvement and protection.

Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP)

Based at The University of York, CNAP undertakes research to develop plants and microbes as ‘green factories’ to develop plant oils, high value chemicals, and biomass/biofuels e.g. development of new hybrid varieties of Artemisia annua, the primary source of the leading anti-malarial drug, Artemisinin.


The largest interdisciplinary centre for water research in the UK, Water@Leeds, at the University of Leeds, tackles major water issues.

Plant Production and Protection (P3 project)

This centre, at The University of Sheffield, takes a holistic approach to providing sustainable solutions to UK and world food security.



Centre for the Study of Environmental Change (CSEC)

Part of Lancaster University, CSEC works to develop a fuller understanding of the social, political and cultural dimensions of debates around environment and new technologies – research areas include conflicts over basic human resources (including food and water) and climate change.

Centre for Mobilities Research (CeMoRe)

CeMoRe, at Lancaster University, analyses the global, national and local movements of people, objects, capital, information and material.

Sustainable Consumption Institute

Sited at the University of Manchester, the Sustainable Consumption Institute works to understand the role of consumption in sustainability, through challenging orthodox thinking and developing novel methodologies.

Human Nutrition Centre

Based at Newcastle University, this is a multi-disciplinary cross-faculty research centre looking at the links between health and nutrition.

Food Security Network

The Food Security Network, an initiative by the University of Liverpool, provides multi-disciplinary research in areas such as supply and demand, market responses, and drivers of change.

Sustainable Practices Research Group

Lancaster University, the University of Leeds and the University of Manchester are part of this multi-university consortium, which focuses on food, energy and water consumption.