UK tech boom drive by academic centres -

UK tech boom drive by academic centres

LONDON — Research done by the English Tech Tour Association — an organisation involved in a competition to find England's top 25 most promising technology companies — shows that academic centres such as Cambridge, Oxford and Bristol are driving the technology boom. The major growth technologies are semi-conductors and components, wireless applications and infrastructure and enterprise software.

The research shows that these clusters often reflect specific skills within the local universities. For instance, Oxford's strength in visual imaging which feeds from world leading academic research that has spun off innovative start ups such as NaturalVision. While in Cambridge the bias towards semi-conductors is continuing to flourish with new companies such as Level 5 Networks joining established world class businesses such as ARM and Cambridge Silicon Radio.

The data also illustrates an emerging and diverse national technology map which spreads well beyond the established South Eastern 'golden triangle of technology' to growing clusters in Manchester and Bristol. Bristol's strength in radio frequency technology has spun out companies such iCera and Manchester's strength in computer sciences has spun out companies such as Transitive.

Jamie Mitchell, President of the English Technology Tour, said, “The exciting prospect for these newly emerging technology regions is that as their technology expertise deepens, more relevant people and businesses will be attracted to the area, and more companies will be started. Genuine clusters bring great economic benefits; they also attract investment. Bristol benefits from the SULIS and SETsquared initiatives, a government backed spin-out fund and a government backed enterprise centre, and is increasingly attracting London based VCs into the area, and is why we have chosen to visit Bristol during the English Tech Tour.”

Jeremy Milne of Questor — which manages SULIS seed corn fund — said, “The South West has emerged as the centre of IC design in the UK with over 25% of all the IC design and continued growth in the sector is now being driven through new wireless opportunities. This heritage can be traced back as far as the 1970s and the IMMOS project but recently exciting new opportunities have emerged from technology transfer from Bristol, Bath and Southampton Universities. Bristol in particular has led the way through its radio and mixed signal design expertise leading to innovative spin off businesses such as Clear Speed.”

The largest area of technology specialism within the UK is to be found within the Enterprise Software sector where London is driving forward the growth of new internet based business-to-business solutions.

The researches data has been collected from the English technology companies which have entered into the English Tech Tour Association competition. The winners will then be given the opportunity to liaise with 60 global technology investors and decision makers who have around $1billion worth of money available for investment.

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