Oxfordshire's Innovation Engine

Welcome to Oxfordshire’s Innovation Engine.

Information about Oxford and Oxfordshire’s knowledge economy, the innovation landscape and ecosystem is available here.  You can access research reports, including Oxfordshire’s Innovation Engine 2023 report and the Oxfordshire Innovation Ecosystem Dashboard.  Scroll down the page to access the content.

Our analysis on gender diversity is now available.  A companion paper to Oxfordshire’s Innovation Engine, 2023, this report looks at gender diversity across technology and IP-based companies at different stages, comparing female participation in Oxfordshire with the rest of the UK.  Scroll down to the ‘reports’ section.

Case studies – Oxfordshire’s Innovation Engine 2023 contains case studies on leading companies and investment activity in the region.  Our case studies are now being published on this page – take a look at the first two, Perspectum and regional angel network, OION.

Oxford and Oxfordshire – a scientific super-cluster

The ambition to place the UK at the forefront of science and technology is embodied in the Government’s concept of the UK as a ‘Scientific Superpower’. The role of science and technology in fuelling economic growth and new jobs is at the heart of this ambition.  Oxfordshire’s Innovation Engine, 2023, has been produced to ensure that Oxfordshire builds on its position as a leading tech cluster, and to assist in positioning Oxford, and the Oxfordshire region, as a place that is consistently associated with science and innovation.

Oxfordshire’s innovation ecosystem

  • Oxfordshire is a thriving innovation ecosystem which has grown and developed substantially in the 10 years
  • The region is recognised for its universities and research institutions and for its strong industrial base and its thriving community of spin-outs and start-ups.
  • There are 2,950 high-tech businesses employing 29k people.
  • 1,500 of these companies are highly innovative, science, technology, engineering and maths-based companies.
  • 12k people are employed in R&D intensive companies.
  • 5.7k patent applications have been made by Oxfordshire based firms and institutions in the last 5 years (to 2022).
  • The region’s science parks and campuses have swelled in numbers and have grown substantially in the last decade.
  • 64% of the region’s businesses are innovation-active according to the UK Innovation Survey

Oxfordshire’s Innovation Engine – “a jewel in the crown of the UK Innovation Economy”

The first Oxfordshire Innovation Engine report, Realising the Growth Potential, was published in the autumn of 2013. It was followed two and a half years later by an ‘Update Report’ that assessed progress against the actions and recommendations proposed in 2013. Ten years on, Advanced Oxford has produced Oxfordshire’s Innovation Engine 2023, which reassesses the region’s science and technology ecosystem, looking forward, but also looking back over the last decade. Has the growth potential been realised – have challenges been addressed and the opportunities pursued?

Writing as Oxfordshire’s Innovation Engine 2023 was published, Minister of State at the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology, George Freeman MP said, “The Innovation Engine 2023 report provides valuable insight into the growth of Oxfordshire’s innovation ecosystem over the last decade.  Whilst the report highlights the region’s huge successes, it also helpfully presents some challenges that need to be addressed – from infrastructure to skills and more.  This report provides a roadmap to help the region and Government work to address these challenges.  With great local leadership, growing inward investment and instrastructure improvements, the Oxfordshire Cluster has a huge future and role as a jewel in the crown of the UK Innovation Economy.”

Speaking on 6th June, 2023, Nicola Blackwood, Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford said, “While over the past decade we have seen this super-cluster continue to flourish, our job is not yet done. We cannot rest on our laurels. The Oxfordshire’s Innovation Engine 2023 report and Dashboard are crucial resources in helping us take stock of all we have achieved, but more importantly they must aid Government – at all levels – to ensure Oxford continues to play a leading role in helping the UK achieve its Science Superpower ambitions.”  Watch Baroness Blackwood’s speech by clicking on the adjacent image .

Oxfordshire has a thriving and diverse innovation ecosystem. The region’s knowledge economy has grown considerably in the last decade, both the stock of companies and employment, although high and medium-tech manufacturing has declined, possibly as manufacturing activities move out of the region as companies scale.  The region’s growth has a more international outlook. Companies that started in Oxfordshire are trading and expanding internationally as inward investors into new territories, reflecting the global markets in which they operate.

Recommendations from Oxfordshire’s Innovation Engine, 2023

Recommendation 1: Strengthen leadership across the region in relation to innovation.

Recommendation 2: Develop a much needed, future-looking transport system, which is Oxfordshire-wide, not just focused on the City of Oxford.

Recommendation 3:  Grow and diversify the number of risk capital investors operating within the region.

Recommendation 4: Develop a new clear, strategy, with collective buy-in, for inward investment into the region. Different players within the ecosystem need to work together to ensure that Oxfordshire is open, coherent and can respond to potential investors.

Recommendation 5: Join up nodes of innovation across the region and help internal and external stakeholders to navigate the landscape through better defined pathways and connectors.

Recommendation 6:  Develop a suite of communications tools and assets, tailored to the needs of different audiences, which can be used by all players, to tell Oxfordshire’s innovation story.


Interested in supporting implementation of the recommendations? Sign up to help to drive forward Oxfordshire's Innovation Engine, 2023

We are interested in hearing from people who would like to contribute to the recommendations in Oxfordshire’s Innovation Engine, 2023.  You can express an interest for one or more of the recommendations by completing this form.

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Download the Oxfordshire’s Innovation Engine reports

Download Oxfordshire’s Innovation Engine, 2023 – a scientific super-cluster, looking back, looking forward.  An Executive Summary of the 2023 report is also available to download.  The 2023 report builds on two earlier reports, The Oxfordshire Innovation Engine (OIE) – Realising the Growth Potential, published in 2013; and The Oxfordshire Innovation Engine Update Report of 2016 – both are available below.  

OIE 2023 presents data on gender diversity within Oxfordshire, relating to founders and senior leadership in innovation-based companies.  A comparison is given between the region and the UK, examining companies at different stages in their funding lifecycle.  More data and analysis is provided in a companion paper, which will be published shortly as a companion paper to OIE 2023. 

View the Dashboard

Oxfordshire’s Innovation Ecosystem Dashboard draws together a set of indicators that attempt to characterise the ecosystem in relation to science and technology driven business.  The dashboard has been created by Advanced Oxford and International Center for the Study of Research at Elsevier to provides a picture of the knowledge economy across the region, allowing users to understand the composition and dynamics of innovation activity across the region.

As new data/indicators become available, the dashboard will be updated.  If you have suggestions for improvements, or would like to suggest new datapoints for inclusion, please contact [email protected]

The dashboard is free to access and free to use.  Please provide your e mail below.

Innovation Ecosytem dashboard

Case studies

Perspectum - cutting edge clinical digital technologies

Perspectum span out of Oxford University in 2012, based on a pioneering discovery by Dr Rajarshi Banerjee. Perspectum case study

Oxford Investment Opportunity Network (OION)

The Oxford Investment Opportunity Network (OION) is the business angel platform of Oxford Innovation Finance and is Oxfordshire’s principal angel network. OION Case study

Sophos - international cybersecurity company, HQed in Abingdon

Sophos span out of the University of Oxford, starting life in a house in Kidlington. The company has international reach, but maintains its Abingdon HQ.  Sophos case study.

Immunocore - harnessing the immune system

Commercial biotech Immunocore develops novel therapies that harness our immune system by using T Cell Receptor (TCRs) biology to fight disease using science that originated from research conducted at Oxford University.  Immunocore case study.


Oxford Science Enterprises - investing into Oxford spin-outs

OSE is an independent investment company that helps to found, fund and build new enterprises, drawing on University of Oxford ideas and expertise.

Read the Oxford Science Enterprises case study here

Oxford Nanopore - DNA sequencing, from Oxford to the World

The company’s DNA sequencing technology is now being used by researchers in more than 120 countries, supported by a worldwide team of more than 1000 staff. In the UK, Oxford remains its global HQ with offices and a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at Harwell Campus.

Read the Oxford Nanopore case study here

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