Heavyweight speakers from business and politics will descend on Sheffield Town Hall on Tuesday to set out a vision for the Northern Powerhouse.
Dan Jarvis, Labour MP for Barnsley, former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott and Sir Richard Lees, leader of Manchester City Council, will be among those at the summit, organised by the Institute of Public Policy Research.
The independent body is publishing The State of the North report which sets out 10 tests for the project.
It measures the challenges facing the northern economy, the education and skills system, infrastructure and democratic engagement.
The North’s productivity trails the national average by 10.6 per cent and it needs to halve the gap, rising by £8.50 per hour from £26.73 to £35.20 over the long term, the report states.
Meeting demand for skilled workers is also key. Three quarters of new of jobs - a total of 2.4m - will require QCF level 3 or above by 2022.
Ed Cox, head of IPPR North, said: “The State of the North summit is a chance to take stock of how the North’s economy is faring. We’ll be asking: ‘How will we know if the Northern Powerhouse is working?’.
“We must harness the focus on devolution and the northern economy to maximise the benefit for people living and working across the North. Otherwise we risk simply replicating a trickle down growth model used in London, which has led to high levels of poverty and inequality.”
Dan Jarvis will set out his vision for a Northern Powerhouse economy, Lord Prescott will talk about the challenges facing the government in make the project a reality and Sir Richard will reveal how Greater Manchester Combined Authority pioneered devolution deals, followed by Sheffield City Region.
Last week, the head of the Confederation of British Industry said better coast-to-coast and north-south transport links were key to rebalancing the economy.
John Cridland also said devolution of powers to the regions could spread the recovery across the UK.
And he called for urgent action, to benefit local people sooner rather than later.