NEWCASTLE University vice-chancellor Chris Brink has been tasked with strengthening the links between universities and industry when he takes over a key role next year.
Brink will replace University of Sheffield vice-chancellor Keith Burnett as chair of the N8 Research Partnership, which gathers eight research-heavy universities in the North in a bid to create projects linking businesses and academics.
Brink will take on his role on February 23, at which point he will oversee the collaboration between Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and York universities, as well as Newcastle University.
Brink took up the role of Newcastle’s vice-chancellor in 2007 and serves on several boards including the North Eastern Local Enterprise Partnership.
He boasts a Cambridge PhD, an interdisciplinary DPhil, a Masters in philosophy and mathematics and a Batchelor’s in computer science, and has worked at seats of learning including South Africa’s Stellenbosch University.
He said: “As a cluster of research-intensive universities, we have a critical role to play in fostering innovation across the UK in partnership with large and small business, public sector partners and Government.”
N8 mainly focuses on areas such as molecular engineering, regenerative medicine and the economic impacts of demographic change. It has worked with more than 200 new businesses and says it has generated over £37m in income since its formation in 2007.
Brink’s role will be to facilitate collaborations which will support growth and innovation, and will work with bodies such as the Technology Strategy Board and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. He replaces Burnett, who has been chair of N8 since 2009. Brink said: “I would like to pay tribute to Prof Keith Burnett and his achievements as chairman of the N8.
“Together with the pro-vice-chancellor group, Prof Burnett has overseen the development of the N8 Research Partnership and initiated significant research collaborations, which have made an important contribution to businesses across the North of England and economic growth as a whole.
“I look forward to building on this excellent work and developing new and dynamic research clusters to support growth.”