North science set to rival golden triangle.
Two universities in the North-East are getting a slice of a new pounds 6m fund to make the region a research centre to rival the "golden triangle" of Oxford, Cambridge and London.
The N8 project will see Newcastle and Durham joining six other universities in the North to work together on world class research in a number of fields.
The project is funded by the Northern Way, a partnership between regional development agencies One NorthEast, Yorkshire Forward and the NorthWest Regional Development Agency. Scientists from the universities will collaborate on areas where the North has the potential to be a world leader, including energy, regenerative medicine and molecular engineering.
Durham's deputy vice chancellor Professor Phil Jones said: "This initiative has the potential to effect positive change in the North of England.
"Durham University is delighted to be involved in it and we welcome today's funding announcement. Durham already has very strong collaborative links with most of the research intensive universities in the North and its research strengths will bring a lot to each of the five research centres.
"As well as having strong research in molecular science, alternative energy and sustainable water use, we have very good links in polymer science with Sheffield and Leeds and collaborate closely with Newcastle and the NHS on stem cells and regenerative medicine."
Newcastle pro-vice-chancellor Professor Trevor Page said: "This is a very important move to join up the considerable expertise of these eight Northern universities and it should reap many rewards for the North-East and the UK.
"All universities will benefit greatly from the networking opportunities, industrial links and business experience that increased collaboration will bring.
"Newcastle University will be contributing to all five research themes identified, as we already have great expertise in these areas."
As well as Newcastle and Durham, universities in York, Sheffield, Lancaster, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool are involved in the scheme.
Housing Minister Yvette Cooper launched it yesterday with a call for the universities to rival the American Ivy League colleges.