Government told what’s needed by The North

Northern academic and business leaders have met government officials to help plot future innovation and collaboration in the North of England.

This inaugural Northern Powerhouse collaboration event, at the University of Leeds, brought together the N8 Research Partnership, the regional network of Local Enterprise Partnerships and directors and policy advisors from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and the Cabinet Office.

More than 30 attendees from across the North discussed the shaping of the Northern Powerhouse growth and innovation agendas; Urban and Rural Innovation; the impact and opportunities of the spending review and science and Innovation Audits.

The event was organised by BIS, Cities and Local Growth Unit, and N8 Research Partnership, which is the collaboration body for the universities of Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, and York.

Sir Alan Langlands, pictured, N8 chair and vice chancellor of Leeds University, says: “This inaugural meeting offered an excellent opportunity to better understand each other, and it was great to see such interest in identifying  opportunities for coordination and joint working across the North of England that transcend local interests.

“To translate the Northern Powerhouse concept into increasing impact requires new types of conversations across the Northern universities, LEPs, and government. N8 is committed to delivering excellence in Northern research programmes that lead to economic growth – an agenda that we share closely with the Northern LEPs.”

Dame Nancy Rothwell, vice chancellor of Manchester University, says: “We need to focus on collaboration as a means of growing the Northern economy – though not at the expense of other regions. Growth comes from excellence and opportunity – in the North we recognise the importance of bringing excellence along with our role in the place agenda to secure new investment.

“N8 is a vehicle that can add value to the northern economy. I see opportunities for regional, and also national and international consortia that provide innovative opportunities for investment from government, funders, and industry.”

Mehboob Umarji, senior policy advisor, DCLG, says: “At the heart of government’s vision for Science and innovation lie two key aims, raising productivity and investing in excellence across the whole of the country. In other words adopting a one nation science approach.  This is particularly important to the N8 Research Group and for the Northern Powerhouse.

“We want to make the UK the best place to invest in Europe whilst ensuring a more balanced and healthier economy which is not entirely reliant on London and the South East. One way we can achieve this is by increasing collaboration between universities, businesses and LEPs.”