London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Brighton, and Southampton have been named as the top five UK cities for data innovation, according to a new UK Tech Innovation Index published by the Open Data Institute and the Digital Catapult.
The research was undertaken as a first step to gain a clearer picture of the UK innovation landscape, to help inform business and public sector decision-making around investment and growth.
The rankings are based on both tech events and conferences together with local skills measures, business start-up rates, and research and development spending. Together these shed new light on where British innovation is flourishing.
They show how active the innovation community is in 36 of the largest UK cities, across the seven key industrial sectors of data, manufacturing, AI, health, Internet of Things, machine learning and virtual reality.
While London continues to be a heavyweight player on the global tech stage – innovation is by no means confined to the capital. There are high potential clusters of innovation across the UK, linked to opportunities identified within the tech sector or aligned to universities or dominant regional industries.
In many places, particularly smaller cities, innovation is aligned with local industries. For example, Aberdeen, with its strong offshore engineering industries, and Coventry and Birmingham with their car industries, are today very strong in manufacturing innovation.
Tom Forth, head of data at ODI Leeds, who led the project said: “Large cities such as London, Manchester, and Glasgow perform strongly in all areas and well-known overachievers such as Edinburgh, Cambridge, and Brighton are punching well above their weight.
“Interestingly, our techniques seem to spot early signs of more focused excellence. In Reading and Liverpool we see real strength in Internet of Things. Leeds does very well in health. And in Aberdeen and Coventry, manufacturing is notably strong.
“There are early signs of other new clusters emerging in other new fields, right across the country. The data behind these rankings is improving all the time, as more tech events are held, and more scientific papers are published. We hope that by sharing our research at this early stage we can learn from others and improve our techniques even more quickly.”
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