London Press Service Informs
THE BRAINIEST CITY IN EUROPE
A recent report investigating 258 European cities reveals that Edinburgh and London are among fewer than six per cent of cities that can be categorised as “knowledge hubs” – more likely to be economically successful – and that Scotland’s capital tops the education stakes.
The State of the European Cities report – commissioned by the European Commission and compiled by economic and social development specialists Ecotec Research & Consulting – analyses factors such as economic capacity and growth; employment rate; demographics; transport, and the educational background of the population.
In relation to the last category, Edinburgh leads all 258 cities, with 42.4 per cent of its residents educated to degree level. With good reason, Edinburgh continues to be held in high esteem by leaders in academia and industry around the world.
Sixty per cent of the five-star research departments in Scotland are in Edinburgh. The Times Higher World University rankings has placed Edinburgh University in the top 30 institutions in the world, and in the top 10 across the whole of Europe.
Edinburgh’s “Science Triangle”, meanwhile, builds on more than 30 years of experience with the aim of becoming one of the top 10 European areas of science and technology excellence. It is already home to more than 3,300 world-class researchers and has the potential to create 15,000 new high-value research jobs, across a 500,000 square-metre super-campus.
The region brings together a breadth of expertise under one “virtual roof”, from life sciences and micro-electronics to petroleum discovery and brewing. It creates an environment that encourages active collaboration and promotes the exchange of ideas, encouraging industrial and academic partnerships that produce real commercial benefits.
There are no fewer than seven science and technology parks within the Edinburgh Science Triangle: Alba Campus, Biocampus, the Centre for Biomedical Research, Edinburgh Technopole, Heriot-Watt Research Park, Pentlands Science Park and the Roslin Biocentre
From right across Edinburgh’s scientific community, key discoveries are always in the news. Among the latest is a pill that may cut the risk of breast cancer. A team of experts from Edinburgh University has made a huge breakthrough with a contraceptive pill that they hope may protect against breast cancer, as well as being helpful in the treatment of fibroids, endometriosis and pre-menstrual syndrome. The medicine could be available within five years.
Well read: Edinburgh’s enthusiasm for knowledge means the annual book festival is always a popular event. The city is rated top in Europe for the educational background of the population, with 42 per cent of its residents educated to degree level.
Elsewhere, key advances have been made between Florida-based Viragen and its collaborators at the Roslin Institute who successfully achieved expression of significant quantities of the human protein in the whites of hens’ eggs.
This means they are now capable of cost-effectively producing many types of therapeutic proteins within eggs; a flock of a few hundred hens for example could satisfy the entire US market demand for interferon beta-1a, the active ingredient in several leading multiple sclerosis (MS) therapies.
As the head of the new Centre for Regenerative Medicine, Ian Wilmut will help to attract the very best scientists from across the world to Scotland. The centre, based at the Centre for BiomedicalResearch, will develop new treatments for human disease through innovative research with stem cells and will complement the existing expertise already in Edinburgh at the Institute of Stem Cell Research and the Roslin Institute.
How have Edinburgh and London come to be so highly rated in the new European Cities report?
The director of Ecotec Research & Consulting and principal author of the report, Jan-Maarten de Vet, said: “During our analysis we identified a number of characteristics that are shared by London and Edinburgh and each of the other 13 cities categorised as knowledge hubs. These characteristics combine to place these cities right at the top of the European League.”
Among the 258 cities analysed, the cities identified as knowledge hubs are Amsterdam, Barcelona, Cologne, Copenhagen, Dublin, Dusseldorf, Edinburgh, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Helsinki, London, Lyon, Munich, Milan and Stockholm.
Each knowledge hub is able to demonstrate significant GDP level (65 per cent above the EU average); good economic growth; high levels of employment and participation – including younger and more mature members of the population; a large share of the private sector as part of the economy; strong innovation and entrepreneurship; a high share of the population with a university education; high commercial and residential property prices; and excellent accessibility via a range of transport methods.
The State of the European Cities report is based on the Urban Audit initiated by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional Policy. The Urban Audit was coordinated by the EC and Eurostat – the European statistical office – with the involvement of national statistical offices and local authorities in all EU member states and the then candidate countries.
It involved the collection of data for 258 cities in the 27 current member states of the EU. The resulting data set allows objective comparisons to be made between the cities included from across Europe, in the fields of demography, social conditions, economic aspects, education, civic involvement, environment, transport and culture.