N8 leaders share vision for Northern economic growth in Parliament
Professor Adam Crawford was part of a senior team representing the N8 Universities to present at a Parliamentary Reception on 8th February which outlined the N8's vision for Innovation-led Northern economic growth. N8 presented itself as a willing partner in ensuring that northern research voices are heard in national innovation and economic policy-making. Newly appointed Chair of the N8 Research Partnership, Koen Lamberts delivered the keynote address to an audience of MPs, government department officials and leading academics at a specially convened reception at the Houses of Parliament. He began by underlining the strength of the North’s research and innovation base, which has world class assets and expertise in academic, research centres and business. Professor Lamberts explained that the Northern universities, through the N8, are driving increased collaboration across the region. He reiterated that the N8 universities are passionately committed to playing a central role in regional economic growth and called for further major investment in Northern world-class research and innovation capabilities, improved infrastructure, and support for research translation and cross pollination between academia and public and private sectors.
Professor Lamberts said: “The North has distinctive research strengths that can be translated into innovation-led growth – taking the region towards an economic future built on world class research centres. However, Northern innovation ambitions will need national government support to turn them into reality. The N8 Research Partnership can serve as a coherent regional voice with national government about the exciting potential of an innovation-led economy for of the North.”
The event was sponsored by Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Upon Tyne Central and Shadow Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills, as well as Culture, Media and Sport. Ms Onwurah said: “Increasing the skills base for the region is key to our economy. Also, ensuring we provide a careers path and attractive lifestyle to retain our highly skilled graduates within the region. N8 Universities can play an important role in addressing these key challenges.”
One of two key N8 research areas highlighted throughout the event in the field of 'Urban Transformation' was the N8 Policing Research Partnership which is leading the way in delivering research excellence with impact. This pioneering research collaboration, led by Professor Adam Crawford at the University of Leeds, with the Northern police forces and Police and Crime Commissioners enables policing innovation to address real-world challenges.
Professor Crawford said: "The N8 Policing Research Partnership is a dynamic Northern Powerhouse in policing research and knowledge exchange that is harnessing the skills, capabilities and resources across the North of England and providing multi-disciplinary expertise in problem-solving. It is already delivering research co-production and knowledge exchange at a scale with real impact by fostering cross-force collaborations. It provides a model of how to build sustainable relations of trust, openness and honesty as a platform for expert-led collaborations with implications for other sectors."
Professor Crawford added: "Our philosophy is that those who are going to use research and apply the knowledge base should be involved in building it by actively co-producing the evidence. Policing professionals need to become knowledge producers as well as evidence users.”
Professor David Hogg, Pro-VC for Research and Innovation at the University of Leeds also spoke on how N8 High Performance Computing is supporting business innovation. Other speakers at the event included Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President of University of Manchester, who articulated the strengths of collaboration exemplified through equipment sharing between N8 universities, and the existing regional strengths in advanced materials and life sciences.
The North of England’s devolution deals, track record of reinvention through regeneration and the current need for addressing societal needs based on innovation poses a unique opportunity.
The N8 universities are established as anchor institutions in their cities to help drive economic regeneration. Through their expertise in engaging with public and private sector bodies to co-produce research with direct, real world applications, the N8 universities are taking a lead in:
• Applied urban policy – provision of an evidence base that will provide practical solutions for better urban living, and societal success.
• Policing research – helping police forces to meet and address the changing nature of law enforcement in the 21st century
• Community-based research – developing new methods for mutual benefit
• Culture and Heritage – ensuring integration and utilisation of cultural asserts for community cohesion, graduate retention and urban growth.