Guest Speakers

Professor Brian Cox MBE – “In Conversation” 

Professor Brian Cox MBE is Professor of Particle Physics at The University of Manchester, The Royal Society Professor for Public Engagement in Science and a Fellow of the Royal Society. As a broadcaster, he has presented a number of highly acclaimed science programmes for the BBC, boosting the popularity of subjects such as astronomy and physics and garnering a host of accolades, including two Royal Television Society awards and a Peabody Award for Wonders Of The Solar System.
He has also authored a series of best-selling books, including the widely acclaimed Human Universe and Universal: A Guide to the Cosmos, and is recognised as the foremost communicator for all things scientific. His critically acclaimed BBC series, Forces of Nature, aired in 2016, and he hosted a new series of Stargazing Live, as well as Stargazing: Moon Landing Special in the summer of 2019. He holds two Guinness World Record titles for his sell out live tours, the most recent of which – for most tickets sold for a science show - was set during his current world tour which is taking in venues around the world and saw 11,433 people attend his show at The Arena Birmingham (he also holds the current records for most tickets sold for a science tour at over 150,000).
Brian’s latest BBC Two series, The Planets, aired in May 2019 and was greeted by rave critical and audience reviews, becoming one of the channel’s most watched series of the year with huge consolidated audiences.

Councillor Andrew Western, Green City Region portfolio leader

A lifelong Trafford resident, Andrew is the recently elected Leader of Trafford Council and has been a local councillor representing Sale town centre since 2011.
Andrew’s professional background is in project management, predominantly in civil engineering specialising in supporting delivery of large scale infrastructure programmes. He has also worked on IT transformation projects including at Manchester Airport Group.

Build Back Better Panel

Alison is Chief Executive at Wigan Council and was formerly the Deputy Chief Executive with strategic responsibility for a wide range of services.
Alison is also the GM lead CE for Culture and the GM lead CE for Environment.
Alison is passionate about public services and determined to make a difference for residents and communities. She is dedicated to inspiring the next female generation and committed to collaboration, innovation and technology.
She is a Board Member of Unify Credit Union, spokesperson for SOLACE on the digital agenda and sits on the Board of Open Data Manchester.
Alison was named in the Northern Power Women Top 50 Power list and one of the nine most influential digital leaders in Greater Manchester.
Wigan Council was named LGC Council of the Year 2019 and Northern Power Women Large Organisation.


Jessica Bowles is the Strategy Director at Bruntwood having joined the business in April 2016, a new role to support the company’s ambitions for long term growth. She is working across the Group with the teams in our existing markets to look at future opportunities and setting this in the context of the way that cities are growing and changing.

Previously Jessica worked at Manchester City Council as head of City Policy. She developed the 10 year Manchester Strategy ‘Our Manchester’, lead work on the Northern Powerhouse with Sir Richard Leese and other city leaders and took a central role in the devolution agenda. Before coming to Manchester Jessica spent 15 years in Whitehall in a diverse range of roles related to transport and local government.

Nigel Topping is the UK's High-Level Climate Action Champion, appointed by the UK Prime Minister in January 2020. Nigel works alongside the Chilean High-Level Climate Action Champion, Gonzalo Muñoz. The role of the high-level champions is to strengthen collaboration and drive action from businesses, investors, organisations, cities, and regions on climate change, and coordinate this work with governments and parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Nigel was most recently CEO of We Mean Business, a coalition of businesses working to accelerate the transition to a zero carbon economy. Prior to that he was Executive Director of the Carbon Disclosure Project, following an 18 year career in the private sector, having worked across the world in emerging markets and manufacturing.

Sarah is the Interim Chief Officer of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, working closely with the other NHS organisations and councils in the city region. The Partnership is responsible for the £6bn health and social care budget which aims to:

  • Develop a population health approach across Greater Manchester ensuring that prevention and protection are at the heart of what we do.
  • Continue to progress GM’s primary care strategy which sets out how more effective integrated care offered by GPs, pharmacists, dentists, opticians and the local community will be delivered.
  • Standardising acute and specialist care across GM 
    Develop and lead an effective commissioning system (which includes specialised commissioning) for GM that will drive performance standards and enable the 5 Year Taking Charge Strategic Plan to be delivered.

Until February, Sarah was the Exec Lead for Population Health and Commissioning, overseeing the delivery of GM’s population health plan which has invested in programmes across the city region to improve health outcomes for residents. Sarah also led on the commissioning of primary care, specialised services, screening and immunisation and health and justice support.
Previous to this, Sarah was the Chief Officer at Haringey CCG for four years. Sarah championed the development of new models of care for people in Haringey and changed the way key services are commissioned focussing on outcomes.
Before this she was the first non-medical director of public health in London in 2003 when she took up the role of Director of Public Health for Islington Primary Care Trust and the London Borough of Islington. In 2010 she also took on the role of Director of Public Health for North Central London, the senior lead on public health across North Central London and was responsible for the delivery of the transition programme for the changes outlined in the 2012 Health and Social Care Act.


International Mayors Panel

Eduardo Vítor Rodrigues (born in Vila Nova de Gaia on March, 30 1971) is a Portuguese university professor and politician. He is an assistant professor of the Department of Sociology at the Faculty of Arts (FLUP) of Oporto's University. Currently he is the Mayor of Vila Nova de Gaia, the biggest city of Porto Metropolitan Area, having been elected for the Portuguese Socialist Party in 2013 and 2017 municipal elections. He is also president of the Porto Metropolitan Council since 2017.


As Deputy Mayor, she has led and developed emblematic projects in Barcelona. A change of model in the Public Space, with the aim of making it healthier and more habitable, through the creation of Superblocks, Green axes and the increase of bike lanes, among others. In the area of housing, one of the central policies has been to guarantee that 30% is allocated to affordable housing in private developments. Other measures have also been carried out against gentrification, such as reducing the impact of tourism through the hotel moratorium (PEUAT), in highly saturated areas and the control of illegal tourist flats.

Governing Mayor Johansen has been the City Head of Oslo since 2015. He has lived in Oslo all his live. Previously he work for as Head of Department in the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation and as Secretary General for the Norwegian Refugee Council. With a population of 700,000, Oslo is a fast growing city with an ambition green agenda. Their green credentials were recognised by the European Commission last year when they were designated 2019 European Green Capital.