Stephen Fox has extensive and long standing experience in agriculture policy and rural development with a strong EU flavour. He now works as a freelance EU funding facilitator and project broker. He started a Civil Service career with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries of Scotland. He then followed a path on EU policy and funding, after first cutting his EU teeth on writing the first ever rural development programme adopted by the EU – the Integrated Development Programme for the Western Isles in 1982. Since then he has been active in pursuing EU funds under regional and rural policies and many other programmes. He was responsible for drafting the first Highlands and Islands Objective 1 programme and was involved in setting up the first generation of LEADER programmes.
Apart from working in Scotland, these activities has seen service working for the European Commission in Brussels, the Swedish Agriculture Ministry in Stockholm and the Czech Ministry for Regional Development in Prague which also involved advising the Czech Ministry of Agriculture on rural development.
Following these travels, including a spell in Brussels as a diplomat, he became Rural Bidding Champion for the West Midlands (England). In this role, he helped to secure €7 million of EU funds (2009-11) and, in particular, worked on attracting EU funds for renewable energy and biomass projects as well as advising on Rural Development Programme and LEADER in West Midlands. In 2011, he provided advice to the Icelandic Government on developing Rural development and LEADER style programmes.