Regional Consortia

There are at least 12 regional consortia across the UK, all with different aims and agendas.


In 2015 John Harrison, Darren Smith and Chloe Kinton (Loughborough University) wrote a report entitled The New Regionalism of Higher Education. They stated that

“what we are witnessing is the emergence of a new regional geography of higher education. Yet, despite much attention being paid to the uneven geographies of higher education emerging at the global and local scales, there has to date been no systematic attempt to account for the geographical basis of these new regional constellations of higher education.”

The report attempted to map these new ‘constellations’, but they have continued to increase, and there are now at least 12 – and many more if doctoral training partnerships are included.

The Consortia

Listed by year in which they were established.

Yorkshire Universities (1987)

  • Director: Peter O’Brien
  • Members: Bradford, Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam, Hull, Huddersfield, Leeds, Leeds Beckett, Leeds College of Music, Leeds Trinity, York, York St John
  • Rationale: The group promotes and funds collaborative work and capacity building for the region and acts on behalf of the region to promote the education institutions within it.

White Rose Consortium (1997)

  • Director: Craig Walker
  • Members: Leeds, Sheffield, York
  • Rationale: To add value to the partner universities through collaboration in research, teaching and knowledge exchange.

Scottish Research Pooling Initiative (2004)

The research pooling initiative was created by the Scottish Funding Council in 2004 to encourage researchers across Scottish higher education to pool their resources and respond to increasing international competition.

N8 (2007)

  • Director: Annette Bramley
  • Members: Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, York.
  • Rationale: To promote deeper collaboration between universities, business & society; to establish innovative research capabilities & programmes of national and international prominence; to drive economic growth by generating income, supporting jobs and new businesses.

Midlands Innovation (formerly M5) (2012)

  • Director: Helen Turner
  • Members: Aston, Birmingham, Cranfield, Keele, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham, Warwick.
  • Rationale: To drive cutting-edge research, innovation and skills development that will grow the high-tech, high skilled economy of the Midlands and the UK; to build global hubs of research and innovation excellence, addressing topics where we can add value, from engineering and transportation, to medical science and the humanities.

GW4 (2013)

  • Director: Joanna Jenkinson 
  • Members: Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter
  • Rationale: To ‘identify areas of complementary expertise across our universities to develop research communities at scale which address major global and industrial challenges. Our collaborative research and innovation recognises and builds on our region’s strengths in aerospace and advanced engineering; new energy systems; next generation microelectronics; resilience, environment and sustainability; creative and cultural economy; living well and digital innovation.’

Northern Health Sciences Alliance (2013)

  • Head of Research Partnerships: Shirley Hannan
  • Members: Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Preston, Sheffield, Teeside, and eight NHS Teaching Trusts
  • Rationale: To ‘provide one point of access to the health science system across the North of England [and] identify your needs and matches them to the research capabilities of our members.’

Eastern Arc (2013)

  • Director: Phil Ward
  • Members: East Anglia, Essex, Kent, Sussex
  • Rationale: To focus our radical and collaborative principles on four areas of strength and opportunity, creating interdisciplinary networks that will stimulate and galvanise research with social, environmental and economic impact

Science and Engineering South Consortium (2013)

  • Director: Not specified
  • Members: Cambridge, Imperial, Kings, Oxford, QMUL, Southampton, UCL
  • Rationale: To pool demand and resources in the science and engineering communities, giving access to a wider range of equipment and expertise, enabling researchers to achieve things that would otherwise be impossible. 

Midlands Enterprise Universities (2016)

West Midlands Combined Universities (not specified)

  • Director: Wayne Langford
  • Members: Birmingham City, Coventry, Wolverhampton
  • Rationale: In support of the West Midlands Combined Authority’s commitment to increase growth and prosperity in the region, WMCU will work in tandem to train nurses, close the skills gap in the automotive sector, retrain in industry, encourage cross-pollination through applied research, and combine assets and expertise.

Oxford-Cambridge Arc Universities Group (not specified)

  • Director: Alistair Lomax
  • Members: Anglia Ruskin, Bedfordshire, Buckingham,  Buckinghamshire New University, Cambridge, Cranfield, Northampton, Open, Oxford, Oxford Brookes
  • Rationale: To take forward a recommendation of the Partnering for Prosperity, National Infrastructure Commission (2017) and create ‘a knowledge intensive arc that will more effectively link the regions around our universities, retain a firm focus on current and future strengths and unleash our collective capacity and dynamism.’ Emphasis on productivity (i.e. innovation), place-making (life-long learning and community engagement) and connectivity.

London Higher (not specified)

  • Chief Executive Officer: Diana Beech
  • Members: Birkbeck, Brunel, City, Conservatoire for Dance and Drama, Goldsmiths, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, King’s College London, Kingston, London Metropolitan University, LSE, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London South Bank, Middlesex, Queen Mary, Ravensbourne University London, Rose Bruford College of Theatre & Performance, Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Art, Royal Holloway, Royal Veterinary College, SOAS, St George’s, St Mary’s University, Twickenham, The Courtauld Institute of Art, The Institute of Cancer Research, The Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance, UCL, University of East London, Greenwich, University of London, Roehampton University of West London, Westminster
  • Rationale: ‘We are the place where universities and higher education colleges come together to identify the opportunities and address the challenges of working in London.’