Northern research partnership appoints Chief Executive
The ‘N8’ research partnership, comprising eight research-intensive universities in the North of England, has appointed Dr David Secher as its first Chief Executive.
The N8 group comprises the Universities of: Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York. The eight institutions, which have a total turnover of £1.75 billion and a combined research income of £620 million, represent the most research-intensive universities in the North of England.
The N8 group, with Dr Secher as Chief Executive, will provide leadership and coordination in university-based research in the North of England and will further the application of research to the economic benefit of the region.
The initiative has been formed in response to The Northern Way, a high level collaboration between the three Regional Development Agencies of the North that aims to rebalance the UK economy and remove the £30 billion output gap between the North of England and the average of the other English regions by 2025. The N8 Universities are committed to helping to address this gap.
Dr Secher is currently Director of Research Services at the University of Cambridge and formerly Director of Drug Development for the Cancer Research Campaign. He is also Chairman and co-founder of Praxis, the technology transfer programme.
Dr Secher will take forward a unique, multi-disciplinary research programme and develop new partnerships between universities and businesses. He will be based at the University of Sheffield. Dr Secher, a Northerner by birth, said he relishes the challenge ahead: “The N8 universities contain some of the best research in this country. I am delighted to have this unique opportunity to lead the collaboration and continue the outstanding work already undertaken in the North of England.”
Sir Graham Hall, Chairman of The Northern Way, said: “I am delighted that David Secher has joined the N8 research partnership. David’s breadth of experience makes him a valuable addition to a key project that will strengthen the North’s knowledge base.”
The N8 partnership will initially focus on five key themes that exploit unique research strengths in the North and major opportunities for technology-based economic growth:
- Ageing and Health – conducting research into the causes of shorter life expectancy in the North and the interventions that will help elevate healthy life expectancy; developing products that support healthy ageing; developing clinical facilities for research on ageing and health
- Energy Research and Development – developing the potential for nuclear energy and improving energy transmission infrastructure; conducting research into environmental impact and public acceptability of different forms of power generation
- Foresight for Sustainable Water Use – developing a strategic programme for sustainable water management; conducting research to further understanding of the earth’s water cycle and relieve pressure on this much-exploited resource
- A Molecular Engineering Toolkit – developing the capability to produce high-knowledge content components through the purposeful manipulation of matter at the molecular level; creating products and services that respond to human needs, for example sensors and implants providing health care, easier interactions between humans and IT, adaptive surroundings and informatics