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South West Tech Analysis Report 2022: Raising the profile of the region’s tech sector

31 March 2022

4 minutes to read

South West Tech Analysis Report 2022: Raising the profile of the region’s tech sector

The University of Exeter is a proud sponsor of the South West Tech Analysis Report 2022. Drawing together data and insight from the tech sector, the report reveals challenges, opportunities, and key developments across the ecosystem.

The South West Tech Analysis Report 2022

Commissioned by Tech South West, the South West Tech Analysis Report 2022 has been led by Whitecap Consulting and supported by headline partner Deloitte alongside Natwest, Astley Media, leading tech companies Censornet and Core Blue, and the University of Exeter.

The analysis report indicates that the industry is set to grow to almost £20bn gross value added (GVA) a year by 2026, creating over 125,000 new jobs for the South West.

It reveals that the South West has the fifth largest tech sector of the 12 major regions in the UK, worth £11bn GVA annually, and is now generating nearly 8% of all new tech startups in the country. With almost 170,000 people working in the sector, the study reveals that the GVA per capita is the second-highest in the UK compared to other regions outside London and the South East.

It also shows that the South West is rapidly becoming a global leader in environmental tech, with specialisms, including environmental science, marine tech, climate science, cleantech, fintech, deep tech, and robotics.

Dan Pritchard, co-founder of Tech South West, said: “The South West of England’s tech sector is on an upward curve. Not only is this fantastic for the economy and jobs, but it’s also evidence of the role the region plays globally in tackling climate change. The South West is fast becoming the UK’s natural green powerhouse of tech.”

The project report includes findings on startups, scaleups, research, innovation, investment and funding, and talent across the largest English regions, covering Bath, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Exeter, Gloucestershire, Plymouth, Somerset and Wiltshire.

Key facilities and research centres flourish, including universities and science parks in Bristol, Exeter, Falmouth and Plymouth, the National Composites Centre, Quantum Technologies Enterprise and Innovation Centres, Met Office, Spaceport Cornwall and Plymouth Marine Laboratory.

Chris Evans, director of Innovation, Impact and Business at the University of Exeter, said: “This research is perfectly timed and emphasises that we have an opportunity to achieve something really significant as a region. We must work together to target resources such as Levelling Up and the Shared Prosperity Fund to make sure our innovative R&D can help drive the sectors with a real competitive advantage.”

However, whilst the new £200m South West investment fund announced by the Government is seen as a major opportunity, there is recognition that the region still does not attract sufficient funding and investment from national bodies such as Innovate UK and investment funds.

Tech at the University of Exeter

The University of Exeter prides itself on being at the forefront of innovative technology in South West. Our researchers continually work on breakthrough technology with regional, national and international benefits. We are home to a range of advanced institutes and centres, helping our researchers to thrive. 

Our research does not stay within the walls of the University – we forge pioneering collaborations with organisations and institutions, working with businesses, universities, local authorities, the community, and others to bring the benefits of our expertise to industry and society.

Currently, academics at Exeter are working with immersive technologies to explore human challenges. These include the role of anxiety in falling for the elderly, cognitive bias in decision making in the military, and whether audiences’ attention is grabbed the way creatives intend. This spring, the University is launching an interdisciplinary and multi-lab network, Exeter Immersive, to push this research even further.

Additionally, our Immersive Business Unit at our Penryn Campus supports SMEs with a Cornish base to explore and apply immersive tools and experiences to their business. The unit helps develop new products, experiences or productivity tools, and companies can access a range of bespoke support.

The University also leads the South West Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications (SWCoESA), part of the national Space community established by the Satellite Applications Catapult & UK Space Agency.

The SWCoESA grows the South West Space Cluster, supporting innovators and researchers to develop and commercialise space technologies and satellite applications. This includes earth observation, satellite communications, and navigation. 

Yet, it’s not just tech-focused research making innovative steps with technology. Psychologists from the Universities of Exeter and Cardiff have teamed up to develop FoodT. This new brain-training app helps users automatically put the breaks on when they come face-to-face with problem foods, encouraging a healthier, more nutritious diet.

Beyond the region, our researchers have worked on the MX3D Bridge, the world’s largest 3D printed metal structure. Based in Amsterdam, University of Exeter researchers designed the digital twin element of the bridge, which collects real-time structural data from a sensor network to measure, monitor and analyse the bridge’s structural performance.

Helping to shape international travel to and from the UK, our engineering researchers are currently working on Project Bluebird, a probabilistic digital twin of the UK’s airspace. Led by Professor Tim Dodwell, they are developing an AI system for air traffic control – a real-time computer model to choreograph plane movements as efficiently as possible for safety and reduce fuel burn. The system will be trained on a NATS dataset of at least 10 million flight records and accounts for weather and aircraft performance uncertainties.

Dr Andrew Dean, Head of Regional Impact at the University of Exeter, said: “The Tech SW Report recognises the need to demonstrate to Tech companies the opportunities and benefits of partnering with universities to build a talent pipeline. It also emphasises the importance of collaborative research and innovation projects in developing the South West’s competitive advantage in key tech specialisms.”

For more information please contact:

Download the South West Tech Analysis Report 2022 HERE.

For more information on the report, please contact

To find out more about the innovative projects taking place at the University of Exeter, please get in touch with Sarah Brooks at

Read Dr Andrew Dean‘s South West Tech Daily blog on how our universities can help drive sustainable growth and innovation in the tech sector HERE.


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