Press Office


University partnership signals commitment to County


A new partnership will help Northumberland’s communities, schools and businesses access support from Newcastle University and further important research in the county.

The strategic partnership agreement was signed by Northumberland County Council and Newcastle University to explore areas of collaboration and align the two organisations in addressing issues specific to Northumberland.

Under the agreement, Northumberland firms will be helped with their current and future skills needs by collaborating with the University’s academics and also benefit from graduate talent through paid placements and internships.

It will also see the University and Council working together to build links with local schools and raise awareness of the opportunities available at a research-intensive university.

A particular focus of the agreement is based on Newcastle University’s world-leading research into ageing. It details how the Council will work with academics to maximise the benefits of the county’s growing, ageing population by encouraging older people to start businesses and to attract investment from firms who are providing goods and services to support healthy ageing.

The agreement was signed by Newcastle University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Chris Brink and Northumberland County Council’s Chief Executive Steve Stewart.

Professor Brink said: “Newcastle University has a long history of collaboration in Northumberland and has made significant investment into developing a number of research and teaching facilities in the county over many years.

“One such venture is Cockle Park Farm in Morpeth which is set to become the major centre for our agricultural research and teaching. It is also home to a number of innovative projects including an Anaerobic Digestion Plant which generates power from the farm’s livestock waste. We also have Nafferton Farm in Stocksfield which is undergoing a major redevelopment to convert it to 50% organic production.

“This agreement will build on these developments and deepen our relationship with the Council in order to align our activities to those areas that matter the most to the county and its citizens. As a civic university, our mission is to put our research and teaching to a purpose in society and that is what we want to achieve in Northumberland.”

Newcastle University and the County Council have also recently announced a major investment in Blyth. Working with the Port of Blyth, and securing funding from the European Fisheries Fund, the Council and University are developing the harbour area to support skills training, tourism facilities and to provide a permanent home for the University’s research vessel, the Princess Royal.

Steve Stewart adds: “The partnership agreement with Newcastle University is a welcome step in helping the council to drive forward its goals of achieving economic, social and environmental regeneration across the county. The partnership will enable us to focus on joint activity which will reap benefits in terms of better outcomes for residents and businesses in Northumberland.”


Pictured (l-r): Robin Casson, Head of Enterprise, Lifelong Learning and Quality Assurance at Northumberland County Council, Professor Chris Brink, Grant Davey, Leader of Northumberland County Council and Steve Stewart, Chief Executive of Northumberland County Council.

published on: 30 July 2013