Which cities are the UK’s next economic growth centres?

A recent study by Centre for Cities, commissioned by Connected Places Catapult, analysed which of Great Britain’s 62 cities and largest towns have the most potential to harness extra public R&D funding and convert it into wider local economic growth – helping level up the whole UK.

Report published on 22 March 2020 by Kathrin Enenkel and Lahari Ramuni

The Government has pledged to level up the cities, towns and regions of the whole UK and one area that it has identified as a priority is research and development (R&D) investment.

In his 2020 Budget the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that, to boost innovation across the UK, public R&D investment will increase to £22 billion per year by 2024-25.

Before the levels of public R&D funding are decided for different cities, towns and regions, better understanding is needed about where it will deliver a tangible economic impact, and value for money for the Government and the public.

To aid this understanding,  Centre for Cities has authored a new report, commissioned and published by Connected Places Catapult. It analyses the innovative capacity of Great Britain’s 62 largest cities and towns and aims to propose which of them are most likely to successfully harness extra public R&D funding and convert it into wider local economic growth and level up the UK.[1]

  • First, the report examines the factors that affect innovation and shows how these play out across the country.
  • Second, it proposes several ‘innovation models’ that Great Britain’s largest cities and towns can follow to make the most effective use of public R&D investment.
  • Third, it applies our new understanding to identify places where extra R&D investment has the greatest potential to level up the UK.

[1] Data for Northern Ireland are not available.

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