Edinburgh ranks second in the UK for innovation

Edinburgh ranks second in the UK for innovation

New data produced by the Open Data Institute (ODI) shows that Edinburgh ranks second behind London for innovation in the UK.

The UK Tech Innovation Index is published by the ODI and the Digital Catapult which shows the UK’s most active innovation communities by industry sector.

The rankings incorporate data from multiple tech-event calendar sites: Meetup, Eventbrite and Open Tech Calendar, and from a new system for classifying scientific publications.

The algorithm built to create the rankings combines this data with more widely-used measures, such as: the number of startups in a city; nearby research and development spending; and the percentage of people with degree-level or equivalent qualifications.

The project aims to show off innovation across the UK in a clear and easy to understand manner, in order to inform private and public sector decision making.

The rankings show how active the innovation community is in 36 of the UK’s largest cities, across seven key industrial sectors:

  • Data
  • Manufacturing
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Health
  • Internet of things
  • Machine learning
  • Virtual reality

Tech innovation is, perhaps unsurprisingly, strongest in London. But there are other hubs of activity across the country including Edinburgh, Reading, Cardiff, and Liverpool.

Innovation in certain locations is oftentimes aligned with the local industry in that area, this is particularly true with smaller cities. Aberdeen, for example, with its offshore engineering, and Coventry with its car industry, are strong in terms of manufacturing engineering.

Tom Forth, Head of Data at ODI Leeds, says: "Our approach to measuring innovation pioneers new ways of picking out the early signs that industrial clusters are emerging.

“Our results are largely as expected, with large cities such as London, Manchester, and Glasgow performing strongly in all areas and well-known overachievers such as Edinburgh, Cambridge, and Brighton punching well above their weight."

"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."

Dr Jeremy Silver, CEO at the Digital Catapult, says: "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."

The Open Data Institute have put together an interactive map of their data which is available here.