Mike Emmerich, chief executive of the Commission for the New Economy, the policy think tank within the 'Manchester Family', has been appointed to the local monitoring committee for the European Regional Development Fund in the North West.
ERDF is a grant programme for property and economic development initiatives and is worth £625m to the North West between 2007 and 2013. Allocation of funds has slowed since the Coalition came to power and abolished the regional development agencies, traditionally the source for match funding; ERDF cannot cover more than 50% of a project's cost under European Union rules.
Emmerich will represent the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership on the ERDF local monitoring committee. He said: "As a member of the ERDF local monitoring committee, I will be ensuring that the interests of our Local Enterprise Partnership are represented across the conurbations ERDF proposals. The key goal is to drive local investment as effectively as possible and to represent Manchester's private sector through projects which will drive growth in the region. Likewise, it is important that the regulations set out by ERDF are considered by the LEP prior to submitting proposals, so that we maximise the potential of the opportunities within Manchester."
Emmerich is a former advisor to the Treasury and the Prime Minister's policy unit. He was director of the Institute for Political and Economic Governance at the University of Manchester before he joined New Economy.
The monitoring committee guides the investment of ERDF resources in the North West and is chaired by Philip Cox, director of local economies, regeneration and European programmes at the Department for Communities and Local Government in London. Sir Howard Bernstein, chief executive of Manchester City Council, is deputy chairman.
Emmerich and his team are strong advocates of investing in Manchester city region's knowledge-based economy through commercialisation of inventions such as graphene, the super-thin Nobel Prize-winning material invented at Manchester University which recently secured £50m support from government.
Emmerich's appointment was noted in the minutes of the last meeting of the Greater Manchester LEP. The minutes stated that Eddie Smith, chief executive of economic development agency New East Manchester, and Richard Guy, chief executive of Manchester Solutions, which delivers chamber of commerce and business advisory services for the public sector, have been appointed as Greater Manchester representatives on the North West European Economic Strategy Group, which sits alongside the monitoring committee.