Tuesday 16 December 2014

Sheffield is set to launch its International Economic Commission next month, in an ambitious drive to engage the best brains from around the world in driving the city forward.

The commission will involve a series of visits from internationally-renowned delegates, to enable decision-makers in Sheffield to share expertise and ideas on a global level and boost confidence in the city’s economic plans.

Councillor Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for business, skills and development at Sheffield City Council, said: “We’re driving forward our economic vision in a bold and ambitious way. This is very much about ‘doing’ – not about meetings and presentations – but about moving forward with creativity and confidence, with input from movers and shakers across the world.

“A big part of this is about thinking not just on a national, but on an international, scale. When the very best people in the business want to come to Sheffield to see the city and what it has to offer for themselves, it is a clear sign that we are on the right path.

“Internationally, we want Sheffield to increasingly realise its role in the global marketplace and look at examples from cities around the world for inspiration. More regionally, we want to punch our weight in the Leeds – Manchester – Sheffield economic triangle and make Sheffield City Region the advanced manufacturing and engineering capital of the UK.”

Bruce Katz, vice president of the Brookings Institute and former advisor to President Obama, will be visiting Sheffield City Region in January, hosted by Sheffield and Rotherham Councils and the University of Sheffield. The visit forms the first part of Sheffield’s the new International Economic Commission.

In what is a major coup for city leaders, he is coming to Sheffield and Rotherham to see Europe’s leading research led manufacturing cluster, centred around the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and the wider Advanced Manufacturing Park at Waverley.

Mr Katz’s visit is the first of a series of “city charrettes,” which will showcase Sheffield to the world and enable city leaders to make global investment connections.

He said: “I’ve heard great things about the Sheffield City Region and particularly its research-led Advanced Manufacturing capability, so I’m keen to come and see it for myself.”

Mr Katz, founding director of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Programme, which advocates the importance of cities in stimulating economic growth, is internationally renowned for his work on policy reforms and strategic investments that can drive cities forward.

He co-led the housing and urban transition team for the Obama administration and previously served as Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Bill Clinton.

Also in the delegation from the United States are Julie Wagner, Senior Fellow at the Brooking Institute and Kelly Kline, Economic Development Director of the City of Fremont, California.

The group will be sharing their work on driving growth through innovation districts and focusing on Sheffield’s unique innovation based manufacturing capability.

During the three-day charrette from 14 to 16 January next year, organised in association with Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council and the city’s two universities, Mr Katz will meet influential business leaders in the region, visit the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and deliver a public lecture in partnership with the University of Sheffield at Sheffield’s recently-restored historic Cathedral.

Professor Keith Ridgway, Director of AMRC with Boeing, said: “We are pleased to welcome Mr Katz to the AMRC and look forward to working with everyone to position the City Region as a global force in manufacturing.”

Councillor Dominic Beck, cabinet member for Business Growth and Regeneration at Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, added: “I am looking forward welcoming to Bruce Katz and his team and sharing his insight into how we can work together across Sheffield City Region to maximise the benefits in terms of jobs, growth and prosperity from the world-leading manufacturing expertise clustered around Rotherham.”

Next month’s visit will be the first in a series of visits by influential policymakers to Sheffield. Details of futures guests will be announced in due course.

The Centre for Cities will be supporting the International Economic Commission, providing advice and insight on how to maximise Sheffield’s opportunities.

Acting chief executive Andrew Carter said: “Sheffield is a fantastic city with huge potential to take a more prominent role in driving national economic prosperity.

“I have no doubt that Bruce’s visit, bringing an enormous amount of expertise and experience, will represent an important step forward for Sheffield – one that I hope other cities will also be able to learn from and emulate.”