Together, the N8 Universities have an impressive track record in food science and technology, 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 Universities have a significant concentration of bioscientists engaged in agri-research, and a reputation for delivering ground-breaking research in this field.

The 2013 Witty Review highlighted a number of the N8’s core strengths in food science and technology, reporting that the N8 Universities contributed:

  • Almost a third of the total publications in Agri-Tech by the top 20 UK universities and 33% and 31% of publications from the top 20 universities in the Global Top 1% and the Global Top 10%.
  • A quarter of the total publications in Agri-Science by the top 20 UK universities and 27% and 26% of publications from the top 20 universities in the Global Top 1% and Global Top 10%.

Examples of the N8 Universities’ current grant portfolio include:

BBSRC Strategic Longer and Larger Grants (sLoLas):

  • Multiple Herbicide Resistance in Grass Weeds (Newcastle University, The University of Sheffield, The University of York, Rothamsted, Institute of Zoology, £2.1m).
  • Rapid Evolution of Enzymes and Synthetic Micro-organisms for the Development of Industrial Biocatalysts (The University of Manchester, Liverpool University, £3.6m).
  • The Interplay of Rodent Behaviour and Semiochemistry: from scientific principles to control strategies (Liverpool University, £3m).
  • Learning from Marine Wood Borers; enzymes and mechanisms of lignocellulose digestion (The University of York, The University of Portsmouth, Cambridge University, £2.8m).

TSB Agri-Tech Catalyst Awards:

  • Renewable Fertiliser Production to Improve Agricultural Efficiencies & Avoid Environmental Harm (ITM Power, BPE Design and Support, Food and Environment Research Agency, University of Sheffield, Waitrose, £1.3m).
  • A Catalyst for Automated Capture and Analysis of Behaviour and Performance Changes in Pigs for Early Detection of Health and Welfare Problems (Zoetis, Harbro, Innovent UK, Newcastle University, RAFT Solutions, £1.2m).
  • WheatScan: Tractor-mount sensing for precision application of nitrogen and control of milling wheat protein content (Adas, Sainsbury’s, University of Manchester, £200k).