The purpose of Industry Innovation Forums (IIFs) is to attract industry participants and other external stakeholders such as engineers, vets, farmers, policy makers and NGOs, with an aim to developing collaborative research projects with the N8 universities.  Key priority areas such as: food policy operations and health; agrifood; livestock systems; engineering; digital innovation and socioeconomics are just some of the areas targeted so far. Below are a list of project ideas which have emerged from previous IIFs.

N8 AgriFood have put together 6 IIFs since the start of the Programme, attracting 100+ industry and external stakeholders, some of whom are now actively engaged in ongoing projects seeking solutions to business critical problems.

Please contact Malou Lindholm, Events & Business Engagement Manager if you would like more information on these or future IIFs.

Supply Chain Traceability & Transparency, 18 April 2018

1. Honest Technology

This project is focusing on the concept of a system of technologies which aims to allow combining various sources of data to provide multiple validation along the supply chain

Participants: York Cocoa House /Department for International Trade /GS Fresh/Newcastle University/ The University of Sheffield/ The University of Manchester/ University of Leeds

2.  Collaborations for Creating Shared Value in Agrifood Supply Chains

This project aims to identify where, and for whom, is it possible to produce meaningful value in more transparent supply chains, by shining a light on constructive models of collaborative co-creation of value. Participants: Nestlé /Co-op/York Cocoa House / University of York

3. Certification+

Given the current limited reach of certification schemes, this project aims to investigate the role of data in assurance/risk mitigation models


Waitrose/Nestlé Research/University of York/The University of Sheffield/University of Leeds

Newcastle University

Next steps: An intensive one day workshop will take place in Leeds in September to help drive forward what has emerged from the IIF. The workshop will define the detail of the Theme 2 (Resilient Supply Chains) N8-industry programme of work going forward.


Digital Innovation in Livestock, 26th September 2017

1.Reduced antibiotic use in broiler production systems

This project is focusing on the development of targeted selective treatment to devise:

  1. a method capable of identifying disease within a broiler shed.
  2. a method of separation of the disease hotspot animals.

iii. a method of delivery of antibiotics to the birds .

Participants: Newcastle University / Applied Solutions / British Poultry Council/ Westpoint Farm Vets

National Farmers Union/ KTN /Agricultural Industries Confederation/AHDB/ University of Sheffield/University of Cambridge/ Broiler equipment supplier

Next steps: Awaiting delayed ISCF funding call which this project was deliberately targeting

2. Multi-purpose tags for grower/finisher pigs

The purpose of this project is to develop added-value tags with a multi-purpose use across the life-cycle of the animal to provide:

  1. A technological answer to the question of ‘under-performance’.
  2. The integration of data across different sectors.

Participants: AHDB/ Harbro / Scottish pig producers/ Agri-Epi/ Raft/ Agrimetrics


3. Open data farming

This project focuses upon the characterisation and early recognition of health and welfare problems using free access sensor systems to:

  1. Develop a free-to-access sensor system for farmers
  2. Mine resulting data to identify variables able to detect health and welfare problems

iii. Develop a system update routine which identifies health and welfare problems over time

  1. Model the economic benefit of automatically identified early detection of health and welfare problems
  2. Understand the social and economic response of farmers to early warning systems via stakeholder consultation
  3. Develop engagement across the supply chain for access to data andengagement with consumers

Participants: Durham University /CasCom Ltd / Newcastle University / Zoetis / University of York CIEL/University of Liverpool /IceRobotics / Agrimetrics / RAFT

4. Cross-sector data collection and data integration in order to quantify meat quality

This focuses upon the collection and integration of physical and biological datastreams in the supply chain to characterise meat ‘quality’ including the

  1. analysis of existing metrics of meat quality, definition of measures of quality, and quantify consumer experience of quality
  2. Organisation and physical and biological datastreams in the supply chain to tell a single provenance ‘story’

iii. Big data/analytics of pre-existing and new metrics of quality

  1. Stakeholder engagement across a single examplar supply chain

Participants: Agrimetrics / Farmex /British Poultry Council /Lancaster University/ British Retail Council/ Westpoint Farm Vets / National Pig Association /RAFT Solutions Ltd /Tulip Ltd /AHDB


AMR/AMU 4th May 2017 (with NFU and AHDB)

5 projects developed on the day – 3 progressing

1. Understanding and reducing transmission of antimicrobial resistance through the food chain

An MRC grant for  £3M has been secured from this project “DRUM: Drivers of antimicrobial Resistance in Uganda and Malawi”. The research is a multidisciplinary programme aiming to define the features of a population that drive the development and maintenance of AMR in a low- and middle-income setting.The IIF enabled the team  to establish a network of researchers to address a gap in AMR sensing, and to plug into a NW-driven collaboration which joins up microbiology, clinical science, sociology, and advanced quantitative methods

Participants: Lancaster/Durham/York/APHA/Cranswick/Cellular Systems/LEAF

2. Reducing antimicrobial resistance in pigs

The team are currently investigating  the international connections they have as a group to broaden the scope of the project. They  are also seeking funding opportunities. A new KE fellow, specialising in livestock, has been employed to drive this project forwards.

Participants: Leeds/Liverpool/Newcastle/AB Neo/AHDB/Tesco/FSA/Leaf UK/Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics.

3. Identification of biological markers to better understand and inform AMU in beef calves

An application has been submitted  for an AHDB studentship in collaboration with the Royal Agricultural University, Synergy Vets, Buitelaar and Dovecote Park titled “Predicting calf pneumonia risk and carcass quality”. Additionally, the working group have received N8 pump priming funding for a project (Title: What drives the use of Critically Important Antimicrobials by UK dairy farmers?). The team are working with Tesco Sustainable Dairy Group farmers. A pilot workshop has been run and 4 more are planned.

Participants: Liverpool/Synergy Farm Health/AHDB/Buitelaar/CIEL/Marches Vets


Soil Health 31st March 2017 (with ADAS and YEN)

6 projects developed on the day with 3 so far progressing:

1. Multi-functional benefits of optimised crop rotation and cover crop design:

Sheffield/Leeds/ADAS/James Hutton Institute/Stockbridge technology Centre/Soil Association/LEAF.

2. Micronutrient management for yield enhancement and improved nutritional quality in wheat:

Leeds/Durham/York/Newcastle/Lancaster/Croda/Stockbridge Technology Centre/LEAF.

3. Novel approaches to managing water in arable soils to increase crop yields:

Newcastle/Leeds/York/Durham/Sheffield/Lancaster/ADAS/Precision Decision.