Month: April 2019

Geography of Innovation Clusters in the UK image

Geography of Innovation Clusters in the UK

Kevin Tang, The University of Oxford

I have been working with the Innovation Caucus and Innovate UK on a project analysing the geography of innovation clusters in the UK. Through this work, I have had the opportunity to meet with and learn from several researchers across various government departments, working on a wide range of topics related to innovation and technology, data analysis, and business development. It has been a very interesting experience to meet with and learn more about the work of other researchers and colleagues in the government, as I greatly appreciate applying my academic research background in economics and statistics to contribute to research on very tangible topics that have implications for public policy.

Over the course of my internship, I have given presentations to Regional Managers and other colleagues at Innovate UK and to members of the Innovation Caucus team. From these presentations, I have received very positive and constructive feedback on my work that has contributed to the research process. The feedback has been helpful in learning about different methods and priorities in presenting research for academic versus government audiences. I really appreciate the advice and support from the Innovation Caucus team in these presentations and meetings.

From the meetings, I have had the opportunity to meet with other colleagues working in related areas, learn about their work, and learn about other data resources and methods used at Innovate UK. Colleagues outside of the Innovation Caucus have offered their advice in guiding my research project and helping me to identify other data resources that have assisted in the research process and in formulating the best way to construct a dataset to identify clusters of innovation.

On the project itself, I have extensively studied methods of spatial and network analysis in my PhD, but had not actually found an application of the methods for policy. My initial interest in working with the Innovation Caucus was to conduct this type of data-based geographic and spatial research on a topic, such as identifying clusters of innovation in the UK. From working on this project, I have learned a lot about characteristics that make an innovation cluster, why clusters of innovation matter for economic growth, how they are defined in business and in public policy, and how to use new methods of spatial and network analysis to develop measures of innovation clustering in large datasets of research collaborations and financing.

From this project I used the Innovate UK public dataset to build a graph of innovation collaborations across the UK, and I developed measures to identify clustering based on network analysis of the collaborative innovation graph. This analysis can be combined with other datasets to build larger, more complex, and more detailed graphs, to identify potential clusters of innovation. In my report, I highlight the research process in determining the methods and measures of cluster identification, how the dataset was structured and compiled, and how the report and the results form the foundation of analysis on the identification of clusters of innovation in the UK that can be further developed in future research.

For further information about this internship, please email Howard Partridge, Regional Manager – East of England at Innovate UK,

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Catching the Wave: Social Science & Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund image

Catching the Wave: Social Science & Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund

Monday 20 May 2019, 10:00 – 16:00

The Edge, Endcliffe, 34 Endcliffe Crescent, Sheffield. S10 3ED.

The Innovation Caucus is hosting a free event to explore how the social sciences can contribute to the Industrial Strategy. This event will help social science researchers to engage with the Industrial Strategy and ensure they’re well positioned to participate in calls under the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF).

‘Catching the Wave’ is open to all social scientists who are keen to engage with the Industrial Strategy. With numerous calls live under Wave 2 of the ISCF, and the priority themes of Wave 3 now announced, this will be a valuable and timely opportunity to generate ideas and build connections.

To start the day with presentation about the development of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund we have Dan Hodges (Deputy Director – Strategy, Innovate UK) as our first keynote speaker. Dan will reflect on the “Industrial Strategy and the Social Sciences in ISCF Wave 3”. This will be followed by a panel discussion exploring ‘How the Social Sciences can add value’, where there will be an opportunity to put your questions to panel members, including Sarah Hodgetts (Deputy Director, Department of Business, Energy and the Industrial Strategy and Ben Peace (Head of Manufacturing at the Knowledge Transfer Network) (tbc).

After a networking lunch, we’ll convene round table and plenary discussion, to explore opportunities for social scientists to collaborate and engage with the ISCF. There will be groups focusing on each of the grand challenge areas (Ageing Society, Artificial Intelligence and Data, Clean Growth and Future of Mobility) and related to the shortlisted ISCF Wave 3 challenges. The session will focus on identifying how to frame and articulate the value and offer of social science research when engaging with partners from business and other STEM disciplines around the Industrial Strategy.

The final session we are delighted to have Melanie Knetsch (Deputy Director of Impact and Innovation, Economic & Social Research Council) who will outline the “ESRC’s Business Engagement Vision”. Mel leads on ESRC’s strategic knowledge exchange and innovation activities to ensure its research portfolio is visible to potential users, and has been instrumental in ensuring social science is the golden thread woven through the ISCF. This will be followed by the second panel discussion, focusing on Experiences of ISCF and the Industrial Strategy’. Panel members, including Professor Jacqueline Glass (University College London), Professor Simon Collinson (University of Birmingham), Professor Lucy Kimbell (University of the Arts London) (tbc) and Professor Katy Mason (Lancaster University). This group of academics will share their experiences and perspectives on working on projects linked to the Industrial Strategy and the ISCF.

This event is for ALL social scientists, and we hope you can join us in Sheffield for an interesting day with a practical focus aimed at generating insights and sharing lessons to help the social sciences gear up for future ISCF funding calls.

To avoid missing out, register now at


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