Oxfordshire comes top for innovation in new report

Thursday, 04 June 2015

Oxford town

Oxford Brookes has welcomed a study which names Oxfordshire as the most innovative area of the UK.

The study, Benchmarking local innovation – the innovationgeography of the UKhas been produced by the Enterprise Research Centre (ERC), the UK’s leading independent research institute on the drivers behind business growth and success.

It examined data from 14,000 firms from across Britain and their innovation activity from 2010 to 2012.  

Companies within Oxfordshire reported the highest levels of product and service innovation, and the county was described as being part of an “arc of innovation” stretching from Cambridge through the South-East Midlands and along the M4 corridor taking in Gloucestershire.

In their report the ERC believed the findings could be explained by the concentration of high-end manufacturing companies the county and surrounding area, as well as the strong focus on research and development (R&D), in the county’s universities Oxford Brookes and the University of Oxford.

The significant variation between different parts of the UK suggests that some localities are succeeding in creating a more innovation-friendly environment than others.

Professor Stephen Roper, Enterprise Research Centre

The ERC analysed six key indicators of innovation ranging from new products being brought to market, to collaboration and R&D activity.

Oxford Brookes already has a well-established and growing reputation for research, as recognised in their strong showing in the recent Research Excellence Framework assessment (REF 2014) where 94 per cent was found to be internationally recognised. Research is what provides one of the key inputs into a company’s innovation activity.

The ERC report highlighted that R&D not only provides new knowledge or technological discovery to drive innovation, but there is also substantial evidence that R&D is important in enabling companies to identify external knowledge or technologies which may help to develop their own innovation.

Oxfordshire’s high levels of innovation activity were also linked to the concentrations of high-tech and life sciences companies in the area and in Cambridge.  

Professor Stephen Roper, who led the ERC research, said: “Innovation is strongly linked to growth, exporting and productivity - all areas in which the UK economy needs to improve if we want to boost our international competitiveness.

“The significant variation between different parts of the UK suggests that some localities are succeeding in creating a more innovation-friendly environment than others.”

More about the ERC is available on their website.

To find out more about the research taking place at Oxford Brookes and its impact in the UK and across the world visit the research pages of their website. You can also read the Impact Case Studies submitted to REF 2014.