Northwest of England and Northern Ireland have fastest-growing knowledge economies, says report
2015 Knowledge Economy Index is the only analysis of empirical economic data on the UK’s innovative sectors
NISP Connect has released the findings from the 2015 Knowledge Economy Index, which studied 21 economic indicators to reveal the size and growth rate of the regional knowledge economies in the UK. The independent report—the only one of its kind, and sponsored by the Bank of Ireland UK—revealed that the North West of England and Northern Ireland have the fastest-growing knowledge economies. The sector is vital to the UK’s overall economic health because it is characterised by high wages, high productivity, and highly skilled jobs.
According to the report, produced by the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre, eight out of the twelve UK regions grew faster than average in the past year, while London and the South continue to dominate as the largest knowledge economies.
However, the Northern regions are fast catching up. The North East was the fastest growing region last year dropping to fourth this year, while Northern Ireland maintained its second place position. The report’s 21 indicators included: employment, salaries, venture capital investment, research and development, start-ups, PhDs and patent registrations.
Steve Orr, Director of NISP CONNECT said, “Here in Northern Ireland we are implementing programmes that have achieved results in the most tech-savvy places on Earth. Every job in our regional knowledge economy creates one job elsewhere in the supply chain, and salaries are 50% higher than in other sectors. Taking stock of the economic indicators is part and parcel of achieving our aims of fostering innovation. In this age of austerity we have to offset policies that put our economy at risk. Our message is simple: funding education and innovation are critical to remain competitive.”
Steve Orr continued, “All of the world’s growth countries know that the best option for global export growth is in knowledge economy-based companies, and increasingly we have to depend on the quality of our workforce as our main resource.”
Ian Sheppard, Bank of Ireland UK’s Regional Director of Business & Corporate Banking NI welcomed the findings on the knowledge economy’s contribution to growth, high wage employment and wealth generation through exports.
“The KE Report is very encouraging in highlighting the impressive growth and contribution to productivity, external sales and new start-ups. However the real challenge is in the ability to scale up at all levels. We need to learn the lessons of our highly successful KE businesses, share best practices and encourage those businesses with ambition and potential to invest in growth sooner rather than later.”
Looking to the future Steve Orr has recommendations for supporting innovation: “The winning formula is this: skilled people, plus funding, plus a culture of innovation equals opportunity. This report produces trend data over a lengthy period which is essential to guiding long-term political and corporate policies.”
The Full Report can be downloaded here.
For further information contact Emily McDaid 07456094649 or Sheila Davidson 07785 793672