Four of the eight audits in this second wave announced by Philip Hammond in his inaugural Autumn Statement have been developed by N8 and other Northern universities working in close partnerships with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).

The themes of these audits align closely with the Northern Powerhouse Independent Economic Review published earlier in the year, which identified key Northern capabilities in Energy, Digital, Health Innovation, and Advanced Manufacturing that could provide the foundations for closing gaps in productivity, generating new jobs and enhancing global competitiveness.

The SIA for Offshore Technologies is led by Newcastle University with a range of partners across the North and beyond. This audit will cover the Offshore capabilities of the three major Northern ports on the rivers Humber, Mersey and Tyne.

The University of York has been asked by the government to lead a consortium of universities, research establishments, Local Enterprise Partnerships and industry to carry out a comprehensive audit of the bio-economy of the North of England.

A SIA led by the University of Liverpool and the Liverpool City Region LEP highlights regional strengths in Materials Chemistry, Infectious Diseases, and High Performance Computing and Cognitive Computing.

Finally, a SIA highlighting the UK’s Medical Technology strengths is to be led by the University of Leeds.

Director, Dr Peter Simpson, said: “The North of England has a fantastic research base, strong business-university interactions, and a growing economic vibrancy.

“The recent publication of Wave 1 Science and Innovation Audit reports provided ample evidence for strong advanced materials, advanced manufacturing, and health innovation assets and capability across Greater Manchester, East Cheshire, Sheffield City Region, and Lancaster.

“The N8 welcomes this excellent opportunity for the expansion of the Science & Innovation Audit evidence base that underpins Northern economic potential.”

“These Wave 2 announcements see the government recognising additional important hotspots in the primary areas of Northern economic opportunity. The SIAs will strengthen the evidence of regional capabilities in Health Innovation within Bio-economy, MedTech, and Infectious Disease; in Energy through the Offshore Technologies and Bio-economy audits; in Advanced Manufacturing & Materials through the analysis of Materials Chemistry strengths; and in Digital through analysing capabilities in High Performance and Cognitive Computing.”

In delivering his first financial statement today, Chancellor Philip Hammond also said that the government intends to work with the N8 to advance proposals around enterprise and innovation.

The statement said: “Funding of £100m will also be provided until 2020-21 to incentivise university collaboration in tech transfer and in working with businesses. This will support universities across England, including in the North, to commercialise research.

“The N8 universities, Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York, have proposed a programme of support for start-up and scale-up businesses in the North, and the creation of a network of Urban Transformation Centres to translate research excellence into direct action. The government will work with the N8 universities to explore these proposals further, including whether and how this additional government funding could support delivery of these ideas.”

Dr Simpson added: “Innovation and Entrepreneurship can play key roles in realising a new and resilient Northern economy.

“N8 is delighted that this has been recognised by the Chancellor, and we look forward to working closely with the government on detailed proposals to advance the North’s capacity and capabilities in Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise skills.”