New index on top cities for innovation published

Greater Manchester comes out top in Cebr study

Greater Manchester is the city with the most innovation potential outside London, according to a major new ranking of UK cities conducted by the Centre for Economics & Business Research (Cebr).

The first-ever UK Local Innovation Index, compiled by Cebr in conjunction with Johnson Press, used 11 discrete data sources to compile a ranking of what it termed “powerhouses of the local innovation economy”.

Ranked according to seven “key innovation ingredients” – connectivity, talent density, living costs, culture, universities, government investment and transport mobility – Cebr’s study identified Greater Manchester as the city with the best combination of ingredients for a thriving innovation ecosystem.

Manchester was also identified by Startups as the top city outside of London in which to start a business, due in large part to its emerging status as a major hub for creative and digital businesses.

Greater Manchester was closely followed by Merseyside and the West Midlands (Greater Birmingham) in Cebr’s ranking.

The study also found that several cities ranked mid-table in the Innovation Index scored highly on facilitating factors, indicating promising potential for growth – in particular, West Yorkshire, Northumberland and Tyne & Wear were highlighted as the innovation centres of the future.

Separately, Cebr’s research also identified Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire as the counties set to rival inner London for the UK’s most innovative workforce and most innovative output of products and services.

These counties came top in the overall “Innovation Index”, indicating their established status as centres of talent and output.

The South Coast city of Portsmouth was identified as the start-up capital of the South East, due to its seaport and airport links, and proximity to four universities.

Colm Sheehy, a senior economist at Cebr, said: “This is the first time that a study of local innovation has been undertaken in the UK. Our aim has been to capture innovative activity across the UK in a more holistic way than has been the case for national level indices of innovation.

“Our UK Local Innovation Index encompasses the marketing, networking and organisational innovations that occur across all industries. The research has revealed innovation that’s not limited by geography.”

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