Creating a granular picture of regional economies.


If you are a policymaker that needs to develop the industrial strategy for your region or a company needing to know the best place to locate your business for growth, then where are you going to find the right level of knowledge to make those decisions? Traditionally you might turn to official statistics or business surveys, but these tend to be at least a year out of date and at an aggregate level that doesn’t really help with accurate decision making.

To this end, in an article recently published by the Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence (ESCoE), Nesta have demonstrated the use of novel data sources to provide a level regional economic knowledge previously not available. Using the descriptions and locations of UK businesses mined from the open web by and natural language understanding technology, Nesta has studied the link between the industrial ecosystem of the UK regions and the number of businesses within those regions engaged in emergent activities. Natural language processing techniques have been used to extract topics describing the activities that are being performed by the businesses to highlight the specialisms that are present across the regions of the UK and to provide the basis for a novel approach to examining economic complexity. The study compares the density of an identified subset of emerging activities with the economic complexity of the regions to suggest sources of guidance for policy or decision making.

The blog summarising the study with links to the full article is available here.