Grow Smarter

NZN: Grow Smarter
NZN: Grow Smarter
NZN: Grow Smarter

Driving a revolution in the use of land in the North of England

Grow Smarter will deliver our vision for a thriving, innovative, and integrated net-zero landscape of the future – driving innovation and carbon-efficient land management in the rural economy, including natural carbon capture, regenerative agriculture, and bio-derived materials.

How will we achieve net-zero for the North?

Net Zero North will re-create the North as the cradle for a new industrial revolution, delivering high-skilled service jobs with global value, and setting the North on a pathway of leadership in clean growth and technologies, driven by a unique combination of regional strengths in biotechnology innovation and manufacturing, primary agricultural production, and existing rural, urban and peri-urban natural resources.

Grow Smarter aims to deliver the following outcomes for the North by 2050:

  1. Achieve net-zero carbon manufacturing based on sustainable and renewable resources, with a substantial contribution from biotechnology.
  2. Revolutionise our primary agricultural production for net-zero through automation, innovative technology uptake, and a regenerative approach to integrated land management across green- and brownfield sites.
  3. Utilise the natural assets of the North to support a circular carbon economy and negative emissions capacity, with balanced land use to create resilient, connected urban-rural communities and economies.
  4. Demonstrate success in a network of living labs that design, implement and operate solutions to net-zero. Enabling the region and beyond to benefit through the export of products, skills and technologies that create and serve markets worldwide, and that are driven by the urgent global climate and environmental challenges.

Why N8 Net Zero North?

Our existing resources and programmes across the N8 universities offer a combination of collaborative strengths and innovative research teams, making us best placed to deliver the outcomes of Grow Smarter for the region.

Some examples are:

  • Tackling challenge of food security regionally, nationally and internationally, with the N8 AgriFood programme.
  • The AMRC’s globally-leading model for conducting demand-led research and innovation.
  • Expansion of the technical and scientific work on urban and rural sensing (Newcastle’s Urban Observatory; University of Leeds Research Farm environmental observatory; Manchester’s City Verve project) across the N8, to deliver data and evaluation tools necessary to deliver proof-of-concept for the innovations delivered by this initiative.
  • Newcastle’s National Innovation Centre in Rural Enterprise with expertise in collaborative research and living-labs to create real world test beds.
  • The Centre for Global Eco-innovation at Lancaster University, which has engaged with over 700 SMEs in the region, and trained approximately 90 PhDs and 50 MRes.
  • GISMO: Greater Innovation for Smarter Materials Optimisation at Lancaster University. Over 250 innovative SMEs in the Cheshire and Warrington areas will benefit from the £4.4 million GISMO programme, which has been created specifically for chemical-using industries, such as the chemicals, aerospace, automotive, energy, applied healthcare, and life sciences sectors.
  • Next Gen Chem: Co-designed between Lancaster University and the Yordas Group, the Next Gen Chem programme will enable 300 Lancashire chemical-using SMEs to innovate using ‘next generation’ chemistry.

N8 partnered with National Parks UK in November 2020 to deliver this Net Zero North webinar – Nature-based interventions for a green recovery


To keep up with our developments for Net Zero North, join our mailing list and follow our Net Zero North Twitter and Net Zero North Instagram pages.