New rankings show UK’s most innovative tech clusters

A new UK Tech Innovation Index shows the most active innovation communities in the UK by innovation categories, captured in an online map

The new UK Tech Innovation Index highlights not only business activity, but the influence, specialisms and location of universities and other academic institutions – and the concentration of events and networking opportunities – in a given area. An online map can be seen here online map.

The Index goes beyond standard pre-determined geographies, enabling it to reveal vital business and academic links across cities and county boundaries, demonstrating that innovation communities are often made up of groups of cities or conurbations.

The top 10 overall clusters across all sectors are shown below, including the percentage of activity in the UK as a whole.






London, Luton

Greater London, East



Birmingham, Coventry

West Midlands



Manchester, Stoke, Burnley

North West, West Midlands



Reading, Aldershot, Slough

South East



Bristol, Cardiff, Newport

South West, Wales



Oxford, Northampton, Milton Keynes

South East



Leicester, Nottingham

East Midlands



Leeds, Sheffield, Bradford, Barnsley, Huddersfield, Wakefield

Yorkshire and the Humber



Romford, Dartford

Greater London, South East



Edinburgh, Dundee



The index uses machine learning to classify millions of data points capturing sector-specific functional clusters, showing the true picture of innovation in the UK today. It will be updated every month as new data is collected. The results of the analysis are published as open data for others to reuse, providing an open and useful record of innovation communities.

It’s published by Data City, with support from the Open Data Institute (ODI). The project is part of the ODI’s innovation programme, a three-year, £6m programme to support and build upon the UK’s strengths in data and data analytics, funded by Innovate UK.

The open data from the first UK Tech Innovation Index, published in July 2017, was used in an independent review on how the artificial intelligence industry can be grown in the UK. The UK Tech Innovation Index 2.0 looks to build and improve upon its predecessor, using new methods for data collection and clustering, to gain a clearer and more accurate picture of where the UK innovation landscape is flourishing.  

“The Index goes beyond standard pre-determined geographies, demonstrating that innovation communities are often made up of groups of cities or conurbations.”

The first index ranked 36 UK cities by their innovation performance and potential in niches of technology using data about businesses, events and scientific publication records.

This second index uses more data sources and machine learning to produce more accurate results, and focuses on five sectors that mirror the innovation priorities of UK government and categories in the Industrial Strategy – AI and data, clean growth, smart cities and mobility, ageing society, and advanced manufacturing.

The data shows different geographical clusters for each of the sectors. London comes top in the overall score and in all categories.

Tom Forth, Co-founder and Head of Data at The Data City, said: “Our new approach covers more of the UK, and by using many times more data points we have found and measured more clusters of innovation, and more of them away from cities. With millions of rows of data, and thousands more rows being added every week, we no longer classify businesses and events by hand; we use machine-learning techniques instead. We are also explaining what would be possible if more data were available to us in the future, in the hope that it will be.

“We believe this information will help private investors looking to invest in companies, existing businesses looking to expand, national government departments looking to assign investment, and local and regional governments looking to assign funding locally or make a case for inward investment to their regions.