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Lady with Bionic arms
Image credit: Open Bionics

The UK's most productive tech cluster

Bristol & Bath is one of the most exciting areas for electronics technology in the world.

  • World icon Our region is world-leading
  • Innovation icon Most innovative UK city outside of London (Paymentsense)
  • Digital connection icon A magnet for hardware and software development
  • Lightbulb icon Home to five unicorns: Graphcore, OVO Energy, Pax8, Pismo & Vertical Aerospace

Highly collaborative

We're home to a highly collaborative ecosystem, uniting people from diverse backgrounds and drawing on different areas of expertise, with R&D, academia, industry and the public sector working together. The region is home to a number of R&D centres including Oracle’s Cloud Development, HP Labs, and the University of Bristol Smart Lab team which in 2018 staged the world’s first public trial of 5G.

The region's four universities play a central role in strengthening the region’s digital and tech sector, from establishing SETsquared (UK's No.1 University Incubator) to the new Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus. Our universities collaborate closely with businesses in life sciences, cyber security, quantum and robotics including several autonomous vehicle projects. The universities also produce a constant stream of highly-skilled graduates with one of the highest graduate retention rates in the country.

Bristol has built a name for itself as the UK's 'home of science, media and innovation', and has both a wealth of locally-grown talent and the power to attract new skilled workers to the region.

Andy Blackmore, Head of Financial Services at EY in the South West and Wales in Insider Media Limited

Tech for good

Robot arm eating cake Image credit: Open Bionics

Creating the ‘Hero Arm’, which is the world’s first 3D-printed prosthetic arm for children.

Lady at a computer

Addressing the gender pay gap by combining data science with economics and psychology to improve decision-making in HR.

Coloured optical lights

Reinventing the way we learn and develop cyber-skills.

QTIC has all the right ingredients that enable us to use their network and build new links. The labs and equipment are fantastic – there is nothing comparable for quantum and quantum service companies in the UK.

Dr Josh Silverstone, Qontrol
Robot Image credit: Bristol Robotics Laboratory

The region features an internationally-leading robotics subsector, including:

  • The Bristol Robotics Laboratory: Europe’s largest multi-disciplinary lab
  • Future Space: These specialist facilities are located at the University of the West of England (UWE) campus. They provide support and workspace for the region’s robotics, tech, and science-based scale-ups.
Graphic of cloud based technology
Cloud technology

Bristol & Bath has many innovators in cloud technology, including:

  • Oracle's Global Cloud research and development (R&D) centre, based in Bristol
Lady playing on a violin
Smart Internet Lab

The University of Bristol’s Smart Internet Lab is one of the UK's most renowned ICT research centres. The lab’s research addresses major societal and industrial challenges and around 200 experts work there to push technological boundaries.

These experts specialise in research and innovation in the areas of 5G radio/wireless and optical communications, and work in fields like AI, smart cities, machine learning, and network softwarisation. Their unique offerings in optical, wireless, and cloud technologies bring together end-to-end network design for regional, national, and global ICT innovations.

Bristol is Open logo
Bristol is Open

Bristol is Open (BiO) was set up by Bristol City Council and the University of Bristol to develop a ‘test-bed’ programmable, digital infrastructure, that launched in April 2015.

The programme’s research areas included:

  • Software Defined Networking (SDN)
  • Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data analytics
  • 5G
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)
  • CCTV analytics
  • High-Performance Computing (HPC)

Umbrella scheme

In collaboration with Toshiba Research Labs, South Gloucestershire is building a 5G testbed in the north of Bristol. It will be an open 5G network connecting the Science Park, the NCC, UWE, and the IAAPS.

Our expert partners

Timeline of innovation in the region


Inmos founded. Invented the transputer chip in the 1980s in Bristol


Inmos sold to Thorn EMI for £192 million


Hewlett Packard chose the city for its European labs, the first outside the US


Inmos absorbed into ST Microelectronics the transputer core powers a third of all the digital TV set-top boxes around the world. ST remained in Bristol at the site built for Inmos on the Aztec West until 2015


Picochip fabless semiconductor company founded in Bath


SETsquared Bath opens at Innovation Centre


Icera founded in Bristol | SETsquared Bristol opens


Spinout from HP called Elixent was bought by Panasonic to be another European chip design centre


Bristol & Bath Science Park opens | Nvidia Corporation acquire Icera for US$367 million


Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL), the largest robotics laboratory of its type in the UK opened | Mindspeed acquires Picochip for $52 million


Ultrahaptics founded in Bristol | Intel acquires Mindspeed's small-cell assets including the Picochip technology | The Guild opens | Cray acquires Bristol start-up Gnodal and opens European Headquarters in Bristol | National Composite Centre opens | Engine Shed open


Just Eat choose Bristol as their new tech development hub


Rolls-Royce announce Bristol the location for the firm’s centre of advanced fan system composite technology development | SETsquared awarded Global Number 1 University Business Incubator, awarded by UBI Global


Graphcore founded in Bristol - founders include team from Icera | Strava open European HQ in Bristol | Graphcore Series A $32m


Graphcore Series B $30m | UltraSoc opens in Bristol. The CEO is former Picochip, selected Bristol due to high talent levels | Ultrahaptics raises $23m | Unit DX opens | Oracle opens second global Cloud Accelerator in Bristol | Graphcore Series C $50m | Dyson open IoT hub in Bristol


Graphcore Series D $200m. Becomes Bristol's first Unicorn valued at $1.7bn | Graphcore Series D $200m. Becomes Bristol's first Unicorn valued at $1.7bn | SETsquared awarded Global Number 1 University Business Incubator for the second time by UBI Global | Ultrahaptics Series C $45m | University of Bristol spin-out company Ziylo acquired by global healthcare company Novo Nordisk in a deal which could be worth around $800 million | Tech Nation name Bristol & Bath the UK's Most Productive Tech Cluster


SETsquared awarded Global Number 1 University Business Incubator for third consecutive time by UBI Global | Netflix announce multi-year deal with James Honeyborne creating Wildspace Productions in Bristol | SETsquared awarded Global Number 1 University Business Incubator for third consecutive time by UBI Global | Ultrahaptics acquires Leap Motion for $30m and becomes UltraLeap. Team is now more than 150 with locations in Silicon Valley, US and Bristol | OVO Energy becomes Bristol's second Unicorn following investment from Mitsubishi Corporation | HPE acquires Cray


Graphcore Series D2 $150m. Company valued at $1.95bn | Siemens acquires UltraSoc | Unit DX relaunches as Deep tech ecosystem Science Creates with new Unit DY incubator and £15m early stage investment fund | BT announce new multi-million pound Bristol hub for more than 2,000 staff, opening 2022 | Graphcore Series E $222m. Company valued at $2.77bn. HQ Bristol and offices in London, Cambridge, Paolo Alto, Oslo, Hsinchu, Seoul, New York, Seattle, Austin, Paris, Beijing, Singapore, Munich and Tokyo


Codasip opens new UK Design Centre in Bristol | SETsquared Bath celebrates 20th Birthday | UltraLeap Series D $49m | Pismo open European HQ in Bristol | Tech Nation name Bristol & Bath the 3rd largest hub for tech investment in the UK with businesses raising $414m | Science Creates Old Market opens


Tumelo has raised $19m in a Series A round | Pax8 becomes a Unicorn