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Credit SanohMachinery in a lab environment - Sanoh


Famed for its originality and innovation, Bristol is leading the field in artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning, biotech, deep tech and quantum technologies. For example, the Quantum Technologies Innovation Centre which is home to six quantum businesses currently and has plans to scale up as part of the Temple Quarter development.

We are proud to create an environment for technologies that disrupt the field, create new markets and tackle global issues such as the climate emergency, world hunger, and the future of healthcare.

The two universities’ vital academic programmes attract the best local and international students. Both run innovation schemes connecting academia to real-life contexts and leading local employers such as Airbus, Rolls-Royce and the Ministry of Defence.

Science Creates, a Bristol-based deep tech ecosystem was launched in 2020. It consists of incubators, venture capital funds and a strong network backed by successful entrepreneurs that helps scientists and engineers accelerate their ideas and build disruptive businesses from scientific discoveries.

Bristol is also home to SETsquared Bristol, a world leading university incubator, while the Smart Internet Lab at the University of Bristol – one of the cornerstones of the UK’s world-leading 5G capability, according to Digital Catapult – offers expertise across the fields of optics, networks and wireless technologies.

This ecosystem sees startups and fast-growing companies work alongside top players such as Boeing, Hewlett Packard and Toshiba. The city hosts events such as Bristol Technology Festival, Response-ability Summit , Bristol Technology Showcase, Bristech and the Festival of Ideas, a year-round programme of stimulating talks and debates.

  • Bristol’s 5G sector has grown by over 32% since 2010 – the UK average is 17%
  • 17% of digital tech businesses are classified as high growth
  • The UK has more than 77 tech companies valued at over $1 billion


Bristol is one of the top technology hubs in the UK, itself Europe’s top-scaling tech nation, and third in the world for tech unicorns behind only the US and China. Home to the UK’s most productive tech cluster, with 36,000 people employed in digital tech alone and a turnover of $10.2 billion, the city has seen major investments from top players like Cray and Oracle, HP Labs, Dyson and Strava. Bristol-based tech companies receive the third most investment of all UK cities, behind London and Manchester. TechNation estimates the tech sector growth potential is 88%.

Digital tech underpins innovation across many other areas, such as the growing health technology sector, from advanced manufacturing and design, to the development and production of digital and diagnostic systems. The  deep tech of biotechnology and synthetic biology is underpinned by long term research, such as that conducted at the University of Bristol.

 In 2017, Bristol was recognised as the UK’s top smart city, thanks to a successful collaboration among its private companies, local government, and citizens to improve the city’s public services and urban environment.

Dr Carolyn Porter – CytoSeekDr Carolyn Porter looking into a microscope

Importance to the city

Bristol’s rapidly growing reputation as a sustainable, innovative city with a dynamic culture of highly skilled talent and innovation is matched by its desire to ensure all share the benefits. The One City Plan for Bristol sets out how digital and smart technologies will shape our city’s future, our interactions, and our economy.

And there’s a lot to share. The city has the highest turnover per worker (£269,000 on average) outranking Reading and London. UWE Bristol’s Future Space incubator alone generated more than £2 million for the region’s economy within its first year of opening in 2017, with companies raising more than £10 million in funding, creating four new patents and generating 25 new jobs.

Innovation in health and life sciences is helping us give our children the best start in life, shape our recovery from COVID-19, tackle health inequalities, protect the environment, and enhance wellbeing. This is embedded into the city’s planning. The Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone will help Bristol respond to the growing demand for high-level medical technology digital and design skills, while city-wide investment in digital convergence technology training focuses on the development of medical devices, diagnostic and display systems.

Credit Science CreatesScience Creates Xiao Ai looking into a microscope

City support

World Bank research shows that to flourish startups must be embedded in an innovation ecosystem – a network of universities, government, professional services, community groups, and investment firms.

Bristol has just that-rich innovation ecosystems to support deep tech advances:

  • Science Creates: a Bristol-based deep tech ecosystem that helps scientists and engineers accelerate their ideas and build disruptive businesses from scientific discoveries.
  • Bristol Quantum Information Institute: world-leading centre for quantum experiments, application and information
  • UWE Bristol’s Future Space: innovation centre connecting entrepreneurs and tech innovators with scientists, researchers and graduate talent
  • Bristol and Bath Science Park: shared space for start-ups and innovators
  • Bristol Robotics Lab: a collaboration between the universities of Bristol and the West of England, the largest academic centre for multi-disciplinary robotics research in the UK
  •  Spin-out Imophoron’s development of a Covid-19 vaccine candidate
Credit Science CreatesScience Creates Unit showing people around a desk in a boardroom senario

Sector voice

“‘I look forward to seeing the continued growth of the scientific sector in Bristol, and the support systems that surround it. There is a wealth of talent in the city and we need to ensure there are job opportunities that allow people to work in a sector they’re passionate about.”

Dr Ashley Brewer, Centre Director – Science Creates Incubators

Ashley Brewer headshot

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