Edinburgh ranks third in UK as a tech hotspot

Edinburgh has been ranked third and Glasgow ninth in new research revealing the top UK tech hotspots.

The global World Tech Hotspots list, curated by rebranding electronics retailer Carphone Warehouse, has examined metrics such as investment in tech, number of tech centres, number of “unicorns” – tech start-ups with a total market value of more than $1 billion (£705 million) – and average pay for software developers amongst others.

Looking to find out how many cities have been “blessed by the Midas touch of tech”, the study has come up with a total value for each city and has separate global and UK rankings, with the overall list seeing San Francisco coming top and London third.

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Of the UK list, London finds itself at the top of the leaderboard with a score of 88.2 out of 90, and Birmingham second at 31.65, followed closely by the Scottish capital at 31.57. The latter’s top scores include those for high internet speeds, and for having two universities in the top 100 for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem).

Edinburgh's ranking was boosted by having two universities in the top 100 for Stem. Picture: Ian Georgeson.Edinburgh's ranking was boosted by having two universities in the top 100 for Stem. Picture: Ian Georgeson.
Edinburgh's ranking was boosted by having two universities in the top 100 for Stem. Picture: Ian Georgeson.
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Glasgow is ninth with a score of 25.22, and its top scores encompass those for its 26.7 megabits per second internet speed and having two universities in the top 100 in the prestigious QS Top University rankings for Stem.

Looking at industry strength specifically, Edinburgh was given a score of 7.29, thanks in part to having two tech hubs in the city.

For the education and careers category, metrics included the number of universities with top-tier Stem programmes according to the QS Top University rankings, the position of the city’s top university in that rankings, and the average pay offered for tech jobs.

Edinburgh was awarded 14.79 points for having two universities in the top rankings for Stem, and the University of Edinburgh receiving 77.8/100 in the QS Top University list.

Additionally, the Scottish capital was found to have average pay for software developers of £29,000, and Glasgow £30,000. The two cities were also found to have four and five 5G deployments respectively.

For the UK table, 22 cities were assessed across nine factors, and all data was collected in March and April.


The unveiling of the study comes after the publication in March of the annual Tech Nation Report, with Edinburgh ranking fourth-highest among tech hubs for venture capital (VC) investment in the UK in 2020, with the city having attracted £91m.

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Edinburgh-based Loral Quinn, chief executive and co-founder of charity-focused tech start-up Sustainably, said: “The challenge now is how the UK can best leverage investment and [research and development] to be a world-leader in disruptive tech, creating positive impact that is effortless, embedded and sustainable.

"The good news is we have a thriving tech ecosystem, record levels of investment from VCs in 2020 and tech and consumer internet companies increasing their share of capital raised through [initial public offerings], so despite all the challenges, I'm excited about the huge opportunity this represents for global growth of tech for good.”

The World Tech Hot-spots news also comes ahead of next month’s EIE21, which is billed as Scotland’s premier tech investor conference, and delivered by the University of Edinburgh’s Bayes Centre.

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