Levelling up through innovation

Hubs of innovation can deliver inclusive prosperity. Attracting talent and people. Kick starting creativity and growth.
Station Innovation Zone Application Support and Information Webinar
Join us on Thursday 15th September for the Station Innovation Zone Application Support & Information Webinar
The World Cities Summit
International conference on public governance and the sustainable development of cities.
Digital twins are finding their place
Digital twins are realistic virtual representations of physical assets, processes, and even people, generating insights and interventions which ultimately result in financial savings, improved performance and services, and greater resilience. 
Our New Magazine – Connected Places
How is digital twin technology changing how we think about everything from cities to railway stations? How will the third age of flight change our skies and the airports of the future? And how are UK cities thinking out of the box to fund net zero investment?
Episode 40
Rewilding conversations about place with Claudette Forbes
One of the many things that place leaders need to take into account is not just how successful that economy is in monetary terms, but also how inclusive it is in societal terms. How can the innovation economy benefit everyone is a question we’re interested in at the Catapult and earlier this year we announced […]
Episode 20
Connecting Greater Manchester with Sir Howard Bernstein
In this episode we explore the story of one of England’s most iconic city regions – Greater Manchester – with one of the city’s most influential civic leaders over the last 25 years, Sir Howard Bernstein
Episode 22
Hubs of Innovation II – Servicing the new economy with Chris Oglesby
In this next part of our series on Hubs of Innovation, we return to the question of how innovation happens in a place. What is it about a district, a neighbourhood, or a corridor that makes it possible for innovation to flourish? And how can a deeper understanding of the innovation economy inform our thinking […]
Episode 29
Manchester’s Road to Recovery and Net Zero with Sir Richard Leese
In this instalment of our City Leader’s dialogues, “The net zero road to COP26 and beyond”, we speak to the Leader of Manchester City Council in the north of England; one of the most important cities in the history of the industrial revolution and the story of modern Britain. For centuries Manchester has been a hive of […]
Episode 30
Hubs of Innovation III: Local Authorities as Curators
In the 2021 Budget, the UK Chancellor, Rishi Sunak MP announced a commitment “to stimulating private sector investment to create jobs, develop hubs of innovation, and revitalise local areas and regions across every part of the UK”. This was followed in July by the launch of the UK Government’s Innovation Strategy which aims to make […]
Episode 35
Innovation Places Summit
The innovation economy has become one of the defining features of the economic cycle, especially the role of innovation in the post-pandemic recovery and the wider ‘levelling up’ agenda. Yet there are stark differences between the innovation activity in different parts of the UK, and there is renewed focus on enabling the innovation economy to […]
Episode 02
Innovation Economy
In this second episode of Connected Places, Professor Greg Clark speaks to Professor Peter Tyler from the University of Cambridge. We also meet Dr. Tim Moonen, Director of The Business of Cities – an urban research and intelligence group, and Dr. Amy Hochadel, Director of Global Business Growth at the Connected Places Catapult. Music on this episode is by […]
Episode 04
City Centres
Yet, some of these changes have been rumbling away for years – and they go to the heart of how we think about, imagine and experience the places where we live, work, travel, shop and socialise. In this Connected Places Podcast City Centres episode we’ll be asking, “What now for our cities and city centres? […]
Episode 17
Hubs of Innovation: The Importance of Understanding Place
In the 2021 Budget, the UK Chancellor, Rishi Sunak MP announced a commitment “to stimulating private sector investment to create jobs, develop hubs of innovation, and revitalise local areas and regions across every part of the UK”. The innovation economy has become one of the defining features of the economic cycle, especially the role of […]
Episode 19
Connecting and Levelling Up in the UK: A conversation with Lord Kerslake
The Queen’s Speech this week – which sets out the UK Government’s legislative programme for Parliament – promised levelling up opportunities across all parts of the United Kingdom.
Creating a Global Profile and Attracting Investment
Over the last few years, foreign direct investment (FDI) has become an increasingly talked about point of focus for the UK government. This has become particularly pertinent as they have framed it as a way to build back better from the effects of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic. Whilst the UK has had a 17% […]
Research Commission on Inclusive Innovation launched at inaugural Innovation Places Summit
Pioneering new research to build on momentum surrounding place-based innovation across the UK Connected Places Catapult and the UK Innovation Districts Group today announced the launch of a new Research Commission on Inclusive Innovation. The Research Commission, which will report its findings in spring 2022, will get under the bonnet of the terms and business […]
Why Innovation Districts Need to Continually Pivot
A new container shipping space for collaboration, retail and community events is helping a 62-year-old research park reinvent itself. North Carolina’s Boxyard only opened in June, yet all tenant offerings are occupied, as people within the Research Triangle Park (RTP) and surrounding areas flock to eat, drink, collaborate and innovate. RTP was created in 1959 […]
Locally Rooted and Inclusive Innovation is the Key to Sustained and Scaled Success
The UK is at an important inflection point in its ambition to create world-class hubs of innovation – places fuelled by the technologies, the trust and the teamwork to become genuine destinations of discovery and drivers of new skills, good jobs and broad-based opportunity.  Covid-19, Brexit, Net Zero and Levelling Up provide a compelling set […]
Why the UK’s New Approach to Freeports will be Different
When the UK’s first lockdown loomed in March last year, supermarket shelves were stripped bare as suppliers desperately tried to keep up with rising demand. In manufacturing it took only three days after the prime minister enforced a lockdown for Jaguar Land Rover to shut down due to shortages in components and materials. The pandemic […]
Innovation Hubs – A Platform to Accelerate the Levelling Up Agenda
We are living in a period of immense change. The centralisation of past decades is giving way to multipolarity as, up and down the country, there is recognition that improving investment, productivity, and social infrastructure outside of existing centres should be a priority.  This is, of course, not a new idea – recognition of regional disparity in the UK has long preceded the “levelling up” agenda – but the […]
How Bergen’s derelict shipyards became hubs of innovation
In the 1970s and 1980s Norway’s shipbuilding industry was in decline. In Bergen, the country’s second largest city, the shipyards fell empty and were left to rust. But in recent years these derelict shipyards have had a new lease of life.
Dispersive Innovation
Disruption is one of innovation’s closest allies. History, littered with disruptive events, technological or natural episodes, has changed how we live, work, and play in our urban areas. The invention of the internal combustion engine allowed cities to develop horizontally, whilst the elevator enabled cities to spread vertically.  While the ramifications are yet to be […]
Sparking a broad-based innovation economy is the key to the UK’s revival
Over the past twenty years some 100 places in the UK have attempted to build an innovation node or hub, but only about 10 of them have achieved real scale and maturity. By contrast, in the North West corridor of the US Eastern Seaboard, the area which spans from Boston to Washington DC, with a population of […]
Six steps to sparking a science and innovation superpower
Place is just as important as product when it comes to innovation. This is why Connected Places Catapult has launched a practical tool-box for jumpstarting the UK’s economic recovery by seeding and supporting innovation quarters, districts, and corridors.
The six milestones for innovation hubs
Whether you are a local government official, a real estate developer, an investor, established business or knowledge anchor, establishing an innovation hub can only be achieved through open collaboration and by establishing a precise vision.
A bright future for the UK’s Freeports
As announced by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak in the 2021 budget, the UK will soon have eight new Freeports. But the Government specification for Freeports includes requirements to work as an Innovation Hub for regional growth and support the transition to Net-Zero.
The many faces of the innovation hub
What does it take for innovation to happen within a place? There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but there are some important ingredients.
Goole & Hull Siemens Mobility sites: Connected investments make everyone a winner
Finbarr Dowling is Director of Localisation for Siemens Mobility Limited, which is investing up to £200 million in developing a state-of-the-art rail manufacturing facility in Goole, East Yorkshire. Previously he led the Siemens project to establish a world-class centre of offshore wind manufacturing, assembly and logistics in Hull. In this blog, Finbarr shares a unique and […]
Britain After Coronavirus: Birmingham and How We Recovered and Rebalanced ‘Last Time’
Did central economic planning sabotage Birmingham’s postwar recovery? And might its history and 21st century revival have lessons for Britain’s post-pandemic recovery? Until the early 1960s, booming Birmingham and the West Midlands outpaced London and the South East to have the highest household incomes in the UK. Few people born in the hyper-centralised, London-centric Britain […]
It Takes a Virus? Leveraging COVID-19 to Accelerate Levelling Up
Recent reports on the issue of regional disparities within the UK have revealed how complex, extensive, enduring, and deep the levelling up challenge is. Multiple inter-dependent and self-perpetuating processes, coupled with different place endowments, contribute to the reasons that some regional economies appear to surge ahead, and others become scarred and fall behind. These divides […]
Enriching innovation ecosystems with diversity in business and cities
The question of which places in the UK might be the best targets for investment and attention in terms of R&D-led ‘levelling up’ has been (at least until very recently) a hot topic. Having been deeply embedded in the journey of the Bristol & Bath innovation ecosystems, and more recently in Gloucestershire’s cyber-tech ecosystem, Connected Places Catapult […]
UK growth centres report launched by Connected Places Catapult
Connected Places Catapult has today launched a new report that examines how proposed investments in research and development might be best directed to realise the government’s levelling up ambitions. Authored by Centre for Cities, a non-partisan think tank, ‘Identifying potential growth centres across the UK’ also identifies how places themselves can harness the levelling up opportunities […]
Location, location, location
It is now widely recognised that economic productivity is unevenly distributed across the UK and that something needs to be done to ‘level up’ the towns and cities outside the south east of England. Despite once leading Europe on productivity, the average British worker produced 16% less on average than counterparts in other member of […]