New online map plots top technology clusters

Tech job-seekers and start-ups are among those browsing a new online map of the UK, which uses machine-learning to pinpoint the most active IT communities in five niche sectors.

It lets viewers browse regional clusters – ranked in order of size -- for AI & Data, Clean Growth, Smart Cities & Mobility, Ageing Society, and Advanced Manufacturing.

Predictably perhaps, London comes top in terms of overall index score and in all of the map’s categories, such as Businesses, Research Papers and Events (all measured by volume).

However its cartographers, the Data City and The Open Data Institute , emphasise that the distribution of many of the top 10 for each category covers most of the UK population.

“In deciding where clusters are, we consider only the geography and links between businesses, universities, institutions, event venues, and people,” they said.

“[The map] will help private investors looking to invest in companies, existing businesses looking to expand [and] national government departments looking to assign investment”.

Jeni Tennison, chief executive of the Open Data Institute, said the map (which can be filtered via one of the five technologies), gives a “bird’s eye view” of innovation networks in 2018.

She added: “The index…[is] showing where there are active tech communities in different sectors, and where there are gaps.”

To be updated monthly as new data is collected, the map-cum-tech-innovation-index shows that innovative IT communities are often made up of groups of cities or conurbations.

The top 10 clusters across all five sectors are shown below, including their percentage share of activity in the UK as a whole:

Rank Cluster Region(s) Percentage
1 London, Luton Greater London, East 21.5%
2 Birmingham, Coventry West Midlands 7.3%
3 Manchester, Stoke, Burnley North West, West Midlands 6.4%
4 Reading, Aldershot, Slough South East 5.0%
5 Bristol, Cardiff, Newport South West, Wales 5.0%
6 Oxford, Northampton, Milton Keynes  South East 4.7%
7 Leicester, Nottingham East Midlands 4.7%
8 Huddersfield, Wakefield Yorkshire and the Humber 4.7%
9 Romford, Dartford Greater London, South East 4.0%
10 Edinburgh, Dundee Scotland 3.9%
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