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North East economic review attracts high powered expert panel

World-leading academics are visiting the North East in the next few weeks as part of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Economic Review, chaired by Lord Andrew Adonis. They form an expert panel which is assessing and reviewing options for economic growth in the North East region.

The expert panel includes Professor Susan Christopherson of Cornell University, Professor Henry Overman of the London School of Economics, Professor Philip McCann of the University of Groningen, Professor Iain Docherty of Glasgow University, Professor Linda McDowell of Oxford University, Chris Pywell of the Centre for Industrial Growth and Charles Seaford of the New Economic Foundation.

The panel is being supported by Ian Neild, ‘disruptive futurist’ at BT, Mike Emmerich, chief executive of New Economy, Manchester and Richard Baker from RBLS Consulting and Associate Fellow of IPPR.

The expert panel will report their findings to an evidence base conference to be held on Friday 15 February at the Baltic, Gateshead.

Northumbria and Sunderland universities will also present the results of their evidence-gathering into the region’s manufacturing and services sectors at the event. The region’s universities have made a significant contribution to the huge task of gathering and collating responses from many North East-based private and public sector organisations.

Lord Adonis and members of the review team, including Heidi Mottram, CEO Northumbrian Water and member of the CBI’s national infrastructure panel; Lord Don Curry, leading businessman and chair of NFU Mutual and Bridget Rosewell, economist and chair of Volterra Partners will be present at the conference at the Baltic, along with around 200 business, university and public sector representatives.

Lord Andrew Adonis said: “The expert panel is a great asset to the review and to the critical firepower being brought to bear on the economic future of the North East. This high powered group has significant expertise and value to offer the review. They are all supportive of the region, yet able to bring objective viewpoints to the process.

“The economic review and the expert panel are important decisions by Paul Woolston, chair of NELEP and the NELEP Board, who are leading the way by agreeing to the LEP undergoing forensic external review and – I hope – positive criticism of the range of options ahead.”

The expert panel is reviewing and assessing evidence in six cross cutting themes, framed to meet the strategic objectives of NELEP. These are:- the North East in UK, European and global markets, labour markets and skills, infrastructure and land markets, private and social enterprise, capital markets and public policy.

The North East LEP is now commissioning a ‘synthesis report’ to pull together the academic and sector experts’ input, which will be submitted to the review team.

Lord Adonis and the review team will produce a concise report in Spring 2013 setting out five policy recommendations for the North East LEP, five policy recommendations for key LEP partners in the North East, and five policy recommendations for central government.

Paul Woolston, chair of the North East LEP said: “The input of the expert panel is a pivotal part of the review process. They will provide thought-provoking ideas, options and criticisms, and add a global perspective to the rigorous research being carried out as the review moves towards completion.

“We’re also immensely grateful to the four universities in the LEP region for their active involvement throughout, and to the NECC for its valued contribution. Businesses, local authorities and universities have all worked together incredibly well to create a strong base from which the economic review team can form their recommendations.”

Expert panel members presented and discussed ‘thinkpieces’ to the review team and key NELEP partners at seminars in January. Professor Linda McDowell looked at ‘Education, Skills and Labour Markets’ and Professor Henry Overman presented his findings into land markets.

The North East in a global economy’ was discussed by Professor Phil McCann, innovation by Chris Pywell, transport by Professor Iain Docherty and a skills action plan for the North East by Andrea Glass. Review team member Will Hutton also contributed to the events. These seminars helped to clarify key areas for the evidence base conference in February.

Professor Iain Docherty of the expert panel said: “It is fascinating to be actively involved with such a far-reaching and substantial review. By bringing in people who are acknowledged experts in their areas the North East economic review will benefit from the panel’s thorough understanding and ideas for growth. Transport, for example, is a fundamental aspect of economic success and I will be examining the transport-related challenges and opportunities in the North East to set out ways forward for the review team to consider.”

Further media information from Christine Holland, Holland PR & Marketing Ltd. Tel 01670 790246 or 07711 698246.


Professor Susan Christopherson – Susan Christopherson is an economic geographer at Cornell University whose research and teaching focus on economic development, urban labour markets, and location patterns in service industries, particularly the media industries. Her research includes both international and U.S.-policy-oriented projects. Her international research includes studies in Canada, Mexico, China, Germany, and Jordan as well as multi-country studies. In the past three years she has completed studies on advanced manufacturing in New York’s Southern Tier, the photonics industry in Rochester, the role of universities and colleges in revitalizing the upstate New York economy, and production trends affecting media industries in New York City. She has written more than 50 articles and 25 policy reports on topics in economic geography and economic development. Her current projects include studies of phoenix industries in old industrial regions and a comprehensive economic impact analysis of natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale in New York and Pennsylvania. Susan received her Ph.D. from the University of California-Berkeley.

Professor Iain Docherty BSc PhD CMILT is Professor of Public Policy and Governance and Head of Management at the University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School. Iain’s research and teaching addresses the interconnecting issues of public administration, institutional change and city and regional competitiveness, with particular emphasis on the structures and processes of local and regional governance, policies for delivering improved economic performance and environmental sustainability, and the development and implementation of strategic planning and transport policies. His total research and consultancy awards in the last six years exceed £2 million, and he is currently Co-Director of the Scottish Cities Knowledge Centre and Co-Investigator on two major Research Council projects on sustainable transport and low carbon transitions. Iain has worked with and advised a range of private sector, governmental and other organisations including governments and public agencies in the UK, US, Australia, Canada and Sweden, and the OECD. He served as Non-Executive director of Transport Scotland, the national transport agency for Scotland, from 2006 – 2010, and in 2011 was appointed as one of the inaugural members of the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Young Academy of Scotland.

Professor Philip McCann is the Endowed Chair in Economic Geography at the University of Groningen and is a well respected economic geographer. He studies at the University of Cambridge where he completed his PhD before working at the universities of Pennsylvania, Reading and Waikato. He has written a range of well received publications on spatial economics. Philip is the Special Adviser to Johannes Hahn, the European Commissioner for Regional Policy and has provided expert advice and analysis on reforming Cohesion Policy and the Europe 2020 agenda in particular in relation to smart specialisation. He has also been a Commissioner for the Northern Economic Futures Commission 2011-12.

Professor Linda McDowell is Professor of Human Geography at the University of Oxford, Director of St John’s College Research Centre and a Fellow of the British Academy. She has recently finished a new book on gender, migration and women’s working lives to be published in August 2013. Linda has also just started a new research project about the impact of worklessness and marginal forms of employment on young men living in Swindon and Luton. Before joining the School of Geography and the Environment at Oxford, she held lectureships at the Open and Cambridge Universities, a visiting position at the University of California Los Angeles, and chairs at the London School of Economics and University College London. Linda has been at the forefront in the development of feminist perspectives on contemporary social and economic change. Professor McDowell is on the board a number of journals including the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society. She has been a member of a number of ESRC Committees for the assessment of research training and course recognition and is currently a member of its virtual college.

Professor Henry Overman is Professor in Economic Geography at the department of Geography and Environment at the London School of Economics and director of the Spatial Economics Research Centre. His current research interests include the causes and consequences of spatial disparities and the impact of urban and regional policy. His research has been published in leading economics journals (The Review of Economics Studies and The Quarterly Journal of Economics) and leading economic geography journals (Environment and Planning and Journal of Economic Geography). He continues to publish in journals from both disciplines as well as editing the inter-disciplinary Journal of Economic Geography. He has provided policy advice to, amongst others, the European Commission, Department for International Development, Department for Business Innovation and Skills, Department for Communities and Local Government, the Manchester Independent Economic Review and the Department for Transport. He is a member of the Manchester LEP Economic Advisory Panel and a commissioner for the West End Commission.

Chris Pywell is director of the Centre for Industrial Growth. He helped to found the UK’s National Renewable Energy Centre, directed the creation of autonomous underwater technology and helped to establish low carbon vehicles in Europe. He was formerly One NorthEast Head of Innovation, Industry and Science.

Charles Seaford is Head of the Centre for Well-being at the New Economic Foundation (nef). He has been involved in developing measures of social progress to stimulate new approaches to policy and to service delivery. He also works on industrial and housing policy.

Before joining nef, Charles worked at the UK government’s Sustainable Development Commission where he advised Ministers and officials on a range of sustainable development policy and communications issues. He previously worked in management consultancy, specialising in strategic change and moral purpose in public and private sector organisations in the UK, continental Europe and Australia and co-writing a book on moral purpose in business. Charles holds a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University and an MSc in Business Studies from the London Business School.