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M5 Universities host a joint meeting of the M5, N8, GW4 and SES consortia

M5 Universities hosted a meeting on the 12th July, which brought together the four major regional higher education consortia from across the UK. Eighteen representatives from the N8 Research Partnership (N8), the Great Western 4 (GW4), the Midlands 5 (M5) and Science and Engineering South (SES) met to share best practice, update each other on current activities and to discuss common issues concerning the sharing of research equipment. The event took place at Loughborough University's Centre for Engineering and Design Education and provided a forum for presentations and discussion.

In addition to the updates from each consortium (Hamish McAlpine from GW4, Rachel Thomson from M5, Graeme Rae from SES), presentations from delegates included an update from Sarah Jackson on the recent report to BIS; an update from Melanie King on the developments of the Kit-Catalogue Project; an insight into the N8's Industry Innovation Forum from Nick Goldspink; and a demonstration on the use of the N8 taxonomy by Gavin Burnell from the University of Leeds. Updates were also provided from the University of Cambridge on their new framework agreement for sharing equipment and from Southampton University on the national equipment portal project, funded by EPSRC http://equipment.data.ac.uk.

Discussions concerned the technology for cataloguing and sharing equipment information, establishing access agreements, justifying charging models and potential training initiatives. At the close of the meeting, thoughts for the future highlighted the need to find the metrics to evidence the impact of our activities to measure the extent of the efficiency savings being made.

July 2013