N8 launches Industry Innovation Forum


The new Industry Innovation Forum (IIF) led by the N8 Research Partnership officially launches today at an event held at the University of Leeds.

The event will bring together senior figures from industry with leading scientists from the N8 universities, with the aim of forging new collaborations and driving innovation, competitive advantage and growth.

The N8 Research Partnership is a collaboration between the universities of Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York, which utilises the combined expertise and capabilities of these research-intensive universities.

Having recently been highlighted as an exemplar model for creating innovation and research clusters by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills; the N8 Research Partnership is launching its Industry Innovation Forum in partnership with the Technology Strategy Board and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

The initiative brings together global companies involved in R&D, government bodies and world leading experts from the North of England's eight most research-intensive universities - known as the N8. The Industry Innovation Forum aims to maximise linkages and market pull between private sector research and development, industrial and consumer needs and the world-class research base in the UK.

The Industry Innovation Forum launches today (31 January 2012) at a high profile dinner attended by key representatives from Government, industry and academia, key partners, and the Minister of State for Universities and Science, David Willetts, who will officially mark the launch of this initiative.

The first Industry Innovation Forum meeting will take place tomorrow (1 February 2012) and will be attended by more than 100 high profile university and industry partners. The meeting will focus on Advanced Materials Technologies - an area that has been identified across a range of sectors, including aerospace and consumer goods, where industry is looking for new and exciting possibilities.

The discussions will be business-led, ensuring industry pull of the N8 world class science base, and allowing new industry-to-industry and industry-to-academic partnerships to be created.

The Technology Strategy Board's role within the Industry Innovation Forum will be to facilitate the forum meetings and encourage industry and academia to 'engage and explore' ideas and insights.

Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, stated: "The Technology Strategy Board's key role is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. We are delighted to pilot and support the N8 Industry Innovation Forum, which aims to help businesses of all sizes to work together and form collaborations, and to develop relationships with research-intensive universities in the North of England, translating new research and innovative technology into commercially-viable products and services. We already have excellent examples of working to support business in the North of England and look forward to building on its strong industrial capacity."

Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said: "The Industry Innovation Forum is an excellent example of the benefits of collaboration across the higher education sector. This initiative will give companies of all sizes access to the resources and expertise of eight research-intensive universities, driving innovation and providing them with informed solutions to the challenges they face."

HEFCE's role is to support the N8 universities to develop and implement the ideas and insights that come from the Industry Innovation Forum events, working with industry, and put them into practice.

Sir Alan Langlands, Chief Executive of HEFCE, said: "I congratulate the N8 universities on coming together on this innovative proposal. It is built on the considerable success of the universities in knowledge exchange to date, and using our Higher Education Innovation funding most effectively in working together. We are pleased to be able to invest further in the venture by making available funds which will provide a catalyst to developments underpinning economic growth and recovery of this country."

Professor John Fisher of the University of Leeds, Executive Director of the N8 centre for regenerative medicine, Regener8, added: "The N8 Industry Innovation Forum is focussed on providing large and small companies with easy and quick access to the critical mass of the N8 universities knowledge base.

We have listened to our industry partners and have designed the Forum so that businesses can talk to us about their key needs and challenges in a particular area. We can match these with science solutions and possibilities from the research base, across a range of disciplines from eight leading universities.

The first meeting in Advanced Materials Technologies presents huge opportunities for ideas and applications across a range of sectors in the UK including chemicals, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals and aerospace, and we are committed to using the 'power of eight' universities working together to stimulate innovation and jobs in the UK."

Further information:

Contact: University of Leeds Press Office, +44 113 343 4031 or email pressoffice@leeds.ac.uk

To find out more about the Industry Innovation Forum visit http://www.n8research.org.uk/working-with-business