New study identifies Europe's 34 ICT hubs

ICT excellence is highly concentrated in a few areas in Europe which are closely clustered among themselves. These are the main conclusions of a JRC-led study which maps ICT activity and ranks European regions based on their performance.
Results show that most ICT activity takes place in 34 EU regions (out the 1303 analysed) located in 12 countries, which represent a large share of the total EU ICT activity.
Based on a composite indicator that analyses three ICT activities (business, R&D and Innovation) and values their intensity, their internationalisation and the network role, three main poles of excellence are identified. Out of 100 points, Munich gets the maximum, London 97 and Paris 95. A further 31 regions show outstanding performance. These 34 top-ranked regions score between 41 and 100 points. Another 152 regions score between 20 and 40. The remaining 1115 regions (86% of European regions) score below 20, with some 300 scoring 0.
Conclusions show that a region's ICT excellence is linked to research and development activities, to the ability to take knowledge to market (innovation) and to building an intense business activity around this innovation. It seems that ICT thriving regions:

  • are mostly long standing industrial areas;
  • have high-standard educational institutions and other key innovation players;
  • have long-term policies on research and innovation;
  • have enjoyed historical opportunities (such as being the political national capitals);
  • tend to cluster together (half of the 34 poles of excellence are neighbouring regions).
The study also underlines the importance of smaller regions. For example, Darmstadt -a city of 150,000 people– building on its research & innovative output and on its active business community, ranks number 7 in the EU's top 10 ICT poles of excellence. Other small-sized regions showing strong performance are Leuven, Karlsruhe and Cambridge.
The report findings are better understood through a freely accessible interactive Atlas of ICT activity showing how each of Europe's regions scored. This allows you to see, for example, that when looking for Computer Science graduates, the UK provides 8 out of the 10 top regions and that Germany ranks first on patenting activity (with 9 out of the 10 top locations in this field), while also ranking first on the number of ICT research centres located in its regions (with 14 out of the top 15). It also shows that Grande Lisboa (PT) and Rzeszowski (PL) have the highest employment growth rate in ICT firms.


The EIPE (European ICT Poles of Excellence) Composite Indicator brings together 42 indicators to evaluate ICT activities. Several data sources and databases were used to elaborate the indicators and measurements, from university rankings to citation indexes, FP7 collaboration information, ICT Scoreboard companies, and employment and turn over company level information.
The European ICT Poles of Excellence (EIPE)Project is being developed by the JRC and DG Connect. It aims at setting the general conceptual and methodological conditions for defining, identifying, analysing and monitoring the existence and progress of current and future poles of excellence.

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