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Helping businesses assess the economic outlook

28th April 2023

Northumbria University’s Newcastle Business School has held a special guest panel event in collaboration with its strategic partners the Advanced Manufacturing Forum (AMF) and Open North Foundation (ONF) to offer insights on the UK and global economic outlook.

Expert speakers included David Henig, Director of the UK Trade Policy Project at the European Centre for International Political Economy; Chris McDonald, Chief Executive Officer of the Materials Processing Institute; and Jenny Taylor, Assistant Director for Regional Economic Development at Northumbria University.

Following a welcome address by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, 11-times Paralympic gold medallist, House of Lords Crossbench Peer and Chancellor of Northumbria University, panellists gave a series of presentations and took questions from AMF and ONF members.

Topics covered Levelling Up and the historic £1.4 billion North East devolution deal, ageing workforces, skills shortages along with national and global economic growth forecasts.   There was also an appeal made to government for a more coherent industrialisation strategy, an area many of those present in the meeting felt was lacking in the UK, unlike EU peers and other developed nations.

A community of industry experts, the AMF brings together the North-East of England manufacturing and engineering sector to engage with members and partners within the wider business community. A key remit of the AMF is to exchange ideas and knowledge to generate business growth, share opportunities and to champion advanced manufacturing in the UK. Members can also work closely with Newcastle Business School academics and gain insight into valuable business-focused research.

AMF Chair Richard Swart commented: “This event was a wonderful success, exceeding our expectations, allowing all present to benefit from the superb expert input from our range of keynote speakers on topics so relevant to us all.  We were all so much more enlightened for it and delighted in the knowledge exchange and debate which occurred between all present. This was a wonderful example of collaboration between partners with different constituencies yet with so much to learn from each other, making our region and country so much better for it. It was brilliant to see the room so full of leading academics, business leaders and students engaged in such vibrant exchanges for the common good.”

Dr Adrian Small, Associate Professor of Operations Management at Newcastle Business School, added: “the themes of the event emphasised why it is important to engage with our industry partners. Working with the Advanced Manufacturing Forum and the Open North Foundation allows us to translate our knowledge and know-how into exciting knowledge exchange activities. Through continuing to work together, we hope to add value and increase societal impact to businesses across the North East.

Baroness Grey-Thompson championed the North East, speaking via video link, she said: “I do believe in the North East we are ready to tackle tomorrow’s challenges and face them head on. And come out stronger because of that. But we will only do that if we collaborate, we work in partnership, we work with each other, and we look both inwards and outwards in terms of what we are doing. And for me, I’ve never been prouder to live in the North East of England than I am now.”

For more information on working with Newcastle Business School please visit

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