Some 20 per cent of the British workforce is employed in this sector, according to the Science Council. Despite Britain only making up around three per cent of the world’s spending in research and development, it still produces sic per cent of the world’s scientific publications, and punches well above its weight in almost all other metrics.A major reason for this can be found in the tendency of British science organisations and companies to “cluster” in dense geographic spaces. From Manchester’s original cotton industry to Hollywood film studios in the US, there is a strong historical precedent of clusters of organisations from a particular sector working in the same place to generate powerful economic success. This is because clusters provide a common pool of expertise and skilled workers, easy access to suppliers, and shared best practice for companies. Science parks, innovation districts and university campuses, which closely pack multiple organisations and companies together, demonstrate the rewards of clustering. The University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute, for example, contributes almost one third of a billion pounds to the British economy a year, according to BiGGAR Economics.
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