Collectively, they could achieve even more if they pool their expertise – and resources – so they can gain a world-leading reputation when it comes to developing the technology which will be integral to a low-carbon economy of the future as Britain aims to eliminate harmful emissions by 2050.
As such, it is eminently sensible that senior academics will meet to forge an unprecedented alliance which, in time, has the potential to turbo-charge the Northern Powerhouse from political wishlist to an economic game-changer.
This is important. Though much of the focus has been on transport infrastructure and schools funding as the Power Up The North campaign, launched by The Yorkshire Post and 33 newspapers last month, presses politicians of all parties to take affirmative action to narrow the North-South divide, energy policy is also fundamental to this agenda.
Not only does this involve harnessing sufficient wind power – and building on the pioneering work being undertaken by Siemens and others along the Humber estuary – to keep the lights burning, but it also means the advancement of carbon capture technology so this region’s manufacturers are not compromised when attempting to meet their wider environmental obligations.
Fortunately, much of this work is already taking place in the North’s universities – and existing partnerships with major employers. The challenge, given how academics have worked in isolation in the past, is making the most of this expertise so households and industry reap the rewards of the winds of change taking place when it comes to powering up the North from an economic and environmental perspective.