UK Tech Innovation: London leads on data, but Edinburgh punches above its weight

DataIQ News

A new UK Tech Innovation Index shows that London leads on all seven measures taken of activity, but looking at just the data dimension, Edinburgh scores an over-performing second place. This reflects the activity and investment of bodies like The Data Lab as well as the cluster of academic institutions which have embraced the data and analytics revolution.

The index has been created by the Open Data Institute, the Digital Catapult and Innovate UK and aims to identify the most active innovation communities among 36 of the largest UK cities. Data has been gathered on tech events, conferences and meet-ups, together with academic publications, local skills measures, business start-up rates and spending on research and development. The results can be explored via an interactive map

London leads on all measures, unsurprisingly given its size, including data (44.3) but Ediburgh scored 6.3, while initiatives such as Manchester’s open data strategy helped to propel it into third place with a score of 5.1 and Brighton sits in fourth place with 4.8. A sophisticated ranking system was developed by ODILeeds to help commercial decision makers and public sector decisions on investment.

Jeni Tennison, CEO at the ODI, said: “This new research reveals that innovation around data isn’t a London-based phenomenon, with the current methodology highlighting active communities in Edinburgh, Manchester, Brighton and Southampton. Using real-time data to identify clusters should help inform innovation policy, where it’s especially important to respond to how things are, rather than how they were, as well as the behaviour of businesses and jobseekers. Developing measures like this in the open also helps to increase our understanding about what drives innovation and which activities create real impact.”

Dr Jeremy Silver, CEO at the Digital Catapult, added: “This research confirms and subverts wide-held views on the UK tech industry. While London continues to be a heavyweight player on the global tech stage, innovation is by no means confined to the capital. We’re seeing high potential clusters of innovation across the UK, linked to opportunities identified within the tech sector or aligned to universities or dominant regional industries. Our own Digital Catapult regional centres reflect this, too." 

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