Who Are N8 AgriFoodN8 AgriFood was a unique programme working across the food system. It combined expertise from the 8 most research intensive universities in the North of England:

  • Durham University
  • Lancaster University
  • University of Leeds
  • University of Liverpool
  • University of Manchester
  • Newcastle University
  • University of Sheffield
  • University of York

The aim of the collaboration was to harness the collective expertise within the 8 institutions to tackle the challenge of food security regionally, nationally and internationally.

It collaborated with external stakeholders from across the sector including industry, government, small to medium businesses, non-governmental organisations and charities to address the various aspects of the food security challenge we face.  

As a key initiative under the N8 Research Partnership, the N8 AgriFood programme began in 2015 with £8 million funding support from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and a further £1 million from each of the N8 universities. These funds supported a wealth of collaborative activity across the agrifood sector.

The N8 AgriFood team comprised of a secretariat, a board of academic leads and chairs across the eight institution and an external advisory board.

Influencing change and generating impact

There have been significant outputs for the programme. N8 AgriFood:

  • Attracted a total of £40 million of external funding for agrifood projects.
  • Funded over 180 pump priming projects.
  • Held a multitude of networking and learning events across the N8 universities.
  • It also established a successful legacy initiative – the Food Systems Policy Hubproviding independent research evidence and thought leadership to inform policy at local national and international levels. There is now a dedicated website for the hub where you can explore our activities and impact.

Underpinning N8 AgriFood has been the desire to influence change and generate impact. To achieve this the team drew upon the multiple disciplines and skills across the N8 universities.

Taking this approach provided the interdisciplinary competence required for such a complex challenge and the ability for greater socio-economic impact, than if the universities worked alone.

This cohesive programme enabled N8 AgriFood to:

  • Create sustainable and influential partnerships across the global agrifood community.
  • Influence change in agrifood and environmental policy and practice both in the UK and globally.
  • Help develop a more sustainable food system, as well as improve food security and sustain natural resources.
What we did

N8 AgriFood’s activities were categorised into the three areas below. Click on the images to find out more.

Within these three core themes work was split into the following strategic areas. Click on the images to find out more.


Find Out more about N8 AgriFood activities via the News, Blog and Events archives.