The Smart Specialisation Hub’s remit has always included an evidence-led observatory function, identifying local areas’ innovation assets, strengths and potential growth areas.

We’re now pleased to announce the release of a progress report, and pilot framework, setting out work done to date and the analytical methodology which underpins it.

Working hard behind the scenes

Over recent months on the Hub’s website, we’ve looked at length at real-world examples of the kind of collaboration, prioritisation and intelligence-led investment which characterises Smart Specialisation.

Whilst the Hub Team have been working hard to encourage partnerships and adoption of Smart Specialisation best practice, a pivotal piece of the puzzle is the development of an observatory of data setting out innovation strengths and assets across England.

The Hub aims to provide an evidence base to inform better decisions in innovation, and use Smart Specialisation as a tool to mobilise collaboration between Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) stakeholders across geographical boundaries and sectors.

Over the last few months, our data analysis team has been working hard gathering and analysing available data ready for presentation.

Presenting our pilot framework

As a result of this, a pilot analytical framework has been developed as a first step toward profiling and comparing innovation performance, and is structured around different actors. These include:

• research/higher education institutions (HEIs),
• business/industry, and
• the wider LEP environment.

It also outlines their contribution to the innovation landscape in terms of funding, talent and observable outputs. You can read the Progress Report here.

Our pilot LEPs

With the launch of this pilot framework, we also aim to ensure some synchronicity with the Government’s ongoing Science and Innovation Audits (SIAs). Our two pilot LEPs, Heart of the South West and Greater Manchester, were chosen as a result of their involvement with these SIAs.

The Hub’s observatory function will showcase a range of visualisations for each of our pilot LEPs, designed to enable users to easily track innovation performance within and across LEPs. You can view the observatory here.

Benchmarking innovation

Benchmarking innovation performance will enable users to compare information between LEPs and analyse progress, and shed light on where the most successful collaboration opportunities may lie based on the information provided.

The Smart Specialisation Hub Team are also available to help consult on these potential collaborations.

What next?

Longer-term milestones include developing a functional analytics tool to better inform investment decisions and points of collaboration within and across LEPs.

The team also plan to extend current profiling to between 10 and 15 LEPs across the suite of innovation indicators, which we will roll out to the Observatory as the necessary data is available. We will present more information on the Smart Specialisation Hub website in the near future.

Get in touch

If you would like any further information on the pilot analytical framework, or any of the other work being undertaken by the Hub team, please do get in touch.

Written by:

Andrew Basu-McGowan, Public Affairs Manager for the Smart Specialisation Hub
Dr Etienne Bailey, Research Analyst for the Smart Specialisation Hub