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Our Region

Our region


Our region is a world leader for research and innovation. Its heritage goes back almost two centuries to Isambard Kingdom Brunel, whose vision and engineering genius helped forge the Great West into a hotbed of creative industrial solutions.

That heritage continues to have an impact today. The Great West is home to:

  • The UK’s largest aerospace sector and 14 of the 15 largest aerospace companies (Invest Bristol and Bath – South West Aerospace.)
  • The second most productive digital economy in the UK, outside of London, with £12bn of turnover in the South West and Wales in 2020.
  • The world’s first compound semiconductor cluster, IQE in Cardiff and Newport with 55% global market share in compound semiconductor technology.
  • More expertise in climate and environmental sustainability than any other local region worldwide, with Exeter home to the Met Office and the Joint Centre for Excellence in Environmental Intelligence. (techSPARK – South West tech sector set to create 125,000 jobs and grow to nearly £20bn)
  • The UK’s first nuclear power station in a generation, world-leading expertise in energy systems, and huge planned investments in offshore floating wind power in the Celtic Sea.
  • Universities with a growing portfolio of life sciences spin-outs and the University of Bristol ranking joint 5th with Edinburgh, behind only Oxford, Cambridge, UCL and Imperial. Bristol has 31 businesses that have been ‘spun out’ of universities, representing 6% of the city’s high-growth companies, twice as many as the wider UK
  • Bristol, one of only two areas outside London to have top-ten clusters for both creative and high technology sectors, and over 15% of all businesses in Cardiff are in the creative industries sector.

Our universities along with Southampton and Surrey work together as the SETSquared enterprise partnership – the world’s leading business incubator, providing support to develop ideas into thriving businesses. Companies supported by SETsquared have contributed £15.7 billion to the UK economy over the last 20 years and created 15,600 jobs.

University of Bath
University of Bristol
Cardiff University
University of Exeter