What are the UK’s top 20 Virtual Reality cities?

Posted on 16 Aug 2017 by Jonny Williamson

The nation’s most active Virtual Reality (VR) communities have been revealed in the UK Tech Innovation Index.

Regarding Virtual Reality hubs, larger cities have strong innovation ecosystems across all measured sectors – map tiles courtesy of OpenStreetMap Sweden / Map data © OpenStreetMap.

The UK Tech Innovation Index – published by the Digital Catapult and the Open Data Institute (ODI) – measures current activity and potential for Virtual Reality (VR) innovation.

It’s not a surprise that the UK’s most active Virtual Reality community is based in London. However, England’s capital is followed by Cardiff and Manchester.

Tom Forth, head of data at ODI Leeds, who led the project, said: “There are early signs of other new clusters emerging in other new fields, right across the country.

“The data behind these rankings is improving all the time, as more tech events are held, and more scientific papers are published. We hope that by sharing our research at this early stage we can learn from others and improve our techniques even more quickly.”

The research aims to offer a more precise picture of the UK innovation landscape, and help businesses and the public sector make better decisions around new investments and growth strategies.

The city rankings combine data from three sources: tech events, conferences and meet-ups; scientific and academic publications; and data on local skills measures, business start-up rates, and R&D spending.

Each UK city was appointed a scoring point, according to an algorithm, depending on metrics such as the percentage of people degree-level or equivalent qualifications and the amount of money being invested in innovation, for example.

  1. London (42.1)
  2. Cardiff (8.4)
  3. Manchester (6.8)
  4. Sheffield (5.0)
  5. Edinburgh (4.0)
  6. Brighton (3.8)
  7. Oxford (3.7)
  8. Birmingham (3.6)
  9. Glasgow (3.2)
  10. Milton Keynes (3.1)
  11. Newcastle upon Tyne (2.7)
  12. Reading (2.4)
  13. Leeds (2.4)
  14. Cambridge (2.3)
  15. Southampton (2.2)
  16. Portsmouth (2.2)
  17. Norwich (2.2)
  18. Nottingham (2.1)
  19. Bristol (1.8)
  20. Exeter (1.7)

Dr Jeremy Silver, CEO at the Digital Catapult, says: “This research confirms and subverts wide-held views on the UK tech industry. While London continues to be a heavyweight player on the global tech stage – innovation is by no means confined to the capital.

“We’re seeing high potential clusters of innovation across the UK, linked to opportunities identified within the tech sector or aligned to universities or dominant regional industries. Our own Digital Catapult regional centres reflect this too.”