Mapping England’s Innovation Activity

A new tool to map innovation activity

The Smart Specialisation Hub is pleased to announce the release of Mapping England’s Innovation Activity, our latest report analysing innovation activity across the country’s LEPs. This tool, based on the Hub’s analytical framework and expert-driven data, looks at evidence of innovation activity and provides comparison of LEP sector capability across England. We see it as a starting point on which we intend to build as we gather more evidence and enrich our framework.

The Hub continues to strive to provide evidence that can inform better decisions in innovation and can help identifying potential partners among industry, local authorities and the research community. Our data analysts have built upon the Hub’s analytical framework to compare performance of innovation in core industry sectors.

Through the launch of this document we are responding to a gap in existing analyses to provide a comparative representation of innovation in local areas. However, we do not see this as a definitive representation of those activities and we invite you to discuss innovation assets and capabilities across the country, as well as explore ways to improve the available data.

Some initial observations

Looking through England’s Innovation Activity map we can easily identify hot spots of innovation activity by sectors as well as see LEPs’ overall performance. It is worth noting that the LEPs with the highest average innovation capability, perform relatively well across most sectors. We see that GCGP, and Oxfordshire show good capability in a variety of sectors with Biosciences, Built Environment, Food Supply, Healthcare, HVM, Space and Sustainability doing especially well. This comes as no particular surprise but it also serves as a confirmation of the robustness of the underlying data.

Other interesting observations occur when looking at LEPs with below average innovation capability. The map offers an easy way to spot best performing sectors in those LEPs and also how they compare nationally. A great example is the HVM capability in Tees Valley. It is evident from the map that Tees Valley’s strength in HVM is above average not just within the LEP but nation-wide.

Of course, this document presents numerous other thought-provoking case studies and we encourage you to study it in detail. Meanwhile we will be searching for new ways to constantly improve and enrich the underlying data.

What’s next

Although we have started with England’s LEPs, the Hub will continue gathering data and our long-term objective is to produce a similar map for the whole of the UK.

Our analyst team is also working on adding an indicator for the general innovation ecosystem for each LEP. This indicator will complete the picture of sector strengths as it will look at overall context for innovation. We will be publishing more updates on the Smart Specialisation Hub website.

Read the report

You can read and download Mapping England’s Innovation Activity via the Hub library.

About the author

Ross is Interim Head of Place for Innovate UK, and a Stakeholder Engagement Manager for the Smart Specialisation Hub.

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