A tradition of impartial, evidence-based, expert analysis for Greater Manchester strategy was first established in 2009 with the publication of the Manchester Independent Economic Review (MIER). The MIER found that Greater Manchester was functioning as a major regional centre, containing key growth assets of national and international importance, and had broadly successfully navigated the change to becoming a modern service-rich economy. It also noted that the sharing of the benefits of economic change across Greater Manchester’s people and places was constrained by the low levels of education and skills experienced by a significant minority of the resident workforce.

The recommendations of the MIER review were instrumental in shaping subsequent Greater Manchester strategies for driving economic growth and reforming public services. They were also central in initiating the strengthening of Greater Manchester's governing capacity, leading to the creation of the UK's first combined authority in 2011 and the election of the Greater Manchester Mayor in May 2017.

Greater Manchester has continued to invest in building its evidence base over the past decade, most recently with the publication of its deep dive reports which give a comprehensive analysis of the productivity performance of the city region at a detailed sectoral and geographical level. The publication of the Northern Powerhouse Independent Economic Review in 2016 significantly strengthened understanding of the key drivers of, and barriers to, growth across the North of England and Greater Manchester's role in this broader context.

The development of the Local Industrial Strategy offers a key opportunity to revisit and refresh the analysis that underpinned the MIER in recognition of the fact that the key features of the environment in which the Local Industrial Strategy is being developed are very different from those in which the MIER’s analysis and recommendations were formed.