Data format update & new LEPs published

by Andrew, Etienne, and Kim

As ever, the Smart Specialisation Hub is focused on the experience of our end users. Ultimately, the Hub has to service the needs of local and national innovation stakeholders; as we continue to develop and refine our offer, we’re pleased to be able to present a new approach to visualising the innovation strengths of England’s Local Enterprise Partnerships.


Outlining the new…

As you know, part of our offer here at the Hub is our robust base of evidence that underpins the data we present. We’ve been piloting our Observatory function with two LEPs, Greater Manchester and Heart of the South West, and you can find the results of this pilot and details of the Smart Spec Progress Report launch from October this year on our website.

Improving our offer

As we continue to build our stock of LEP data – built on our now-established framework – we’re able to accelerate the production of new suites of information for each LEP. In line with our approach of aligning the development of our observatory with the Science and Innovation Audits, we are pleased to be able to deliver analysis for the Sheffield City Region and Lancashire LEPs, which can be found here.

In our recent Annual Report, we detailed the next steps for this Observatory function. We will be continuing to expand the number of LEPs with available data to include the ones shown below.

However, whilst our initial work toward this LEP profiling has been an important step forward for demonstrating each region’s sectoral strengths in innovation, we have recently looked further into the way that these strengths are showcased on the Hub’s Observatory page.

Reporting on the data

As a result, we’ve decided to try and make it even easier to define each LEP’s strengths as reported by our data. We’ve reworked the tables that we display on our framework pages in order to separate these sectoral strengths to better match the indicators used in our charts. See below for an example.

As you will see, we have now categorised each LEP’s strengths according to whether they relate to a particular specialism for research, business, or research-business collaboration. This will help LEPs not only identify particular strengths with more granularity, but it also aligns more closely to several of the Hub’s central remits; this includes being able to identify possible areas of cross-LEP collaboration, which may provide more inclusive, cohesive, and widespread growth.

How does the new format work?

The new table format demonstrated above will come at the top of each LEP page published from December 2016 onward. More specifically, the new format will first be showcased on the upcoming framework pages for Sheffield City Region and Lancashire LEPs, which have been published alongside this update.

Our data analytics team plans to complete all LEP framework pages in this new format, with plans to update Greater Manchester and Heart of the South West once the first wave of observatory data is complete and fully published. We hope that this new, three-category format will more clearly outline the discipline or sector strengths for each LEP.

The Hub team will, of course, keep you updated as to progress, and make you aware of any new framework pages for LEPs as and when they are available for you to view.

Access the map

Please visit the Hub’s Observatory page, where you can use the interactive map to select a LEP of interest, observe a snapshot of its sectoral strengths, and take a deeper dive into discrete innovation indicators. Should you have any queries, or would like more information on the new format for visualising the LEP data, please do get in touch.

About the author

Andrew Basu-McGowan is the Policy Manager for the Smart Specialisation Hub, a role he assumed in April 2016. Andrew’s chief focus is on forging the collaborations and policy links that drive connected localities and regions, and promoting the role of universities in building diverse and resilient economies.

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