In 2015, the government announced several regional Science and Innovation Audits (SIAs) with the intention of encouraging local associations to analyse areas of regional strengths and realise their potential.
A recent SIA - a collaboration between two of the N8 universities, Sheffield City Region and the Lancaster Local Enterprise Partnership - suggests that the Northern Powerhouse has the potential to usher in "a fourth industrial revolution" in the UK, through the integration of modern technologies into manufacturing.
According to the report, the creation of a Northern Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Corridor (NAMC) - an area stretching from Sheffield City Region to Lancashire - could drive productivity and innovation, specifically in High Value Manufacturing, by bringing together existing and emerging capital assets and research programmes.
Driving Productivity Growth Through Innovation in High Value Manufacturing, sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, was launched at the Innovate UK conference by Greg Clarke, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Set against a UK-wide economic problem of the stagnation of productivity growth since 2008, the report includes a broad-ranging analysis of the region's capabilities, and the challenges and opportunities for future economic growth. It discusses how integrating technology into manufacturing will increase productivity and add value to companies that are willing to change.
You can view the full report on the University of Sheffield website.