Links pay in knowledge index

November 7, 2003

A league table of the UK's top "knowledge-based" cities reveals the economic clout of higher education working with key industries, according to Cardiff University researchers, writes Tony Tysome.

The Cardiff league table was devised by Phil Cooke and his team of researchers at the university's Centre for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences.

Perhaps unsuprisingly, the top-ranked knowledge-based city is London.

However, the researchers rank Aberdeen above Oxford and Cambridge, Middlesbrough above Manchester, and Derby above Birmingham.

An index was worked out by measuring the level of activity in and around cities in "know-ledge-intensive services", including education, research, health, software, finance and media, as well as high-tech industries such as computing, electronics, aerospace and automotive engineering.

Professor Cooke explained: "The ranking of the cities in the knowledge-economy index points to the presence of universities being a significant factor. Most of the top ten cities have more than one."

But he added: "Some in the below-average category also have more than one university. So, to score above average a city requires something extra such as a strong media, finance, software or healthcare sector. Such industries feed off university-trained talent."

The research team has produced a similar index for European cities, and it plans to test the hypothesis that the gap between cities with the most healthy knowledge economies and those with the weakest knowledge economies grows over time.

UK knowledge-based city index


City Index  1 London (outer) 162  2 London (inner) 138  3 Aberdeen 137  4 Bristol 120  5 Edinburgh 119  6 Oxford 118  7 Southampton 110  8 Cambridge 108  9 Cardiff 106 10 Bournemouth 100 Source: Cooke, Clifton and Huggins


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