The university-based group The Enterprise Research Centre (ERC) which has drawn up a new map revealing the “innovation geography of the UK” has found that the Tees Valley ranks highly in almost all of the sections within the report with the area reported as the best performing of the Northern local economic areas.
The table was based on new products being brought to market, collaboration and research and development (R&D) activity. Oxfordshire was the most innovative overall, followed by Greater Cambridge and Peterborough, South East Midlands and Gloucestershire.
Nigel Perry, CEO Centre for Process Innovation and chair of the Tees Valley Unlimited (the Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership) LEP Innovation Leadership Group said:
“Innovation sits at the heart of economic growth and Tees Valley boasts nationally significant innovation assets particularly in relation to advanced manufacturing, industrial biotechnology, biologics and subsea engineering – all of which offer fantastic opportunities to generate significant economic growth for the area and the whole of the UK.
“Only by creating new products and processes and exploring new technology solutions can we grow our business base, export our expertise and provide new jobs for our residents.”
The Enterprise Research Centre (ERC), an independent research institute on the drivers behind business growth and success, has compiled a league table of UK Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas and similar zones using key innovation measures.
The ERC was established in 2013 as a focal point internationally for research, knowledge and expertise on SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) growth and entrepreneurship.
It is a partnership between five business schools at the Universities of Warwick, Aston, Imperial College, Strathclyde and Birmingham.
The one area highlighted for improvement in the Tees Valley region by the report is collaboration between businesses and organisations.
The findings are based on a new analysis of data from the 14,000 firms which responded to the UK Innovation Survey 2013, relating to their innovation activity over the period 2010 – 2012. This survey found that while nationally 45% of firms reported being ‘innovation active’, only 18% were engaged in new product innovation.
On the findings of its new report, the ERC says: “For the first time this provides a clear “geography of innovation” for the UK highlighting areas of strength and weaker performance.
“Firms’ ability to innovate successfully plays an important role in their ability to sustain growth and competitiveness.
“For local areas this means that the more innovative are local companies the stronger the prospects for growth.”