Edinburgh and Glasgow excel in UK Tech Innovation Index

lightbulb innovation metaphor

A new UK Tech Innovation Index published today by the Open Data Institute and the Digital Catapult shows the most active innovation communities in the UK by industry sector, captured in an online interactive map.

The rankings show Edinburgh as having the most active tech innovation community outside of London, closely followed by Glasgow in fourth place.  Of the 36 UK cities included in the Index, the top four cities ranked are London, Edinburgh, Manchester and Glasgow.  Aberdeen features in 20th place, with Dundee following in 22nd place.

Looking at specific tech sectors, Edinburgh has some of the most active innovation communities outside of London:

  • 2nd for Internet of Things
  • 2nd in Data Innovation
  • 2nd in Artificial Intelligence Innovation
  • 2nd in Health Innovation
  • 3rd in Creative Innovation
  • 5th in Virtual Reality Innovation

Shed new light

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.

Data on tech events, conferences and meetups from a range of sources have been brought together with data such as academic publications, local skills measures, business start-up rates, and research and development spending. Together these shed new light on where British innovation is flourishing. The rankings show how active the innovation community is in 36 of the largest UK cities, across seven key industrial sectors:

  • Data
  • Manufacturing
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Health
  • Internet of Things
  • Machine learning
  • Virtual Reality

“Pleased but not surprised”

David Smith, Sector Director of Digital and Engineering at Scottish Enterprise, commented:

“I’m pleased but not surprised to see both Edinburgh and Glasgow in the top four UK locations for innovative technologies.”

“Scotland already has around 150 data innovation and exploitation companies with a combined turnover of £1 billion.  We also have world-class academic excellence and data assets such as Edinburgh University’s School of Informatics, a collaborative culture between industry, public sector and academia to breed further innovation which includes DataLab – our dedicated data innovation centre – and a growing number of investors choosing Scotland as a location for their data-driven businesses.”

Tom Forth, Head of Data at ODI Leeds, who led the project, explains how it is different from other pieces of innovation research:

“Our approach to measuring innovation pioneers new ways of picking out the early signs that new 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.


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