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NESTA, the UK government’s endowment for innovation in technology and the arts, this week launches a report on the history and development of microelectronics in the SouthWest and how this impacts on support for technology clusters such as the recent ‘Silicon Roundabout‘ in East London. The report, with input from SiliconSouthWest and other key players in the region, highlights the role of Inmos and Plessey as well as the Universities of Bristol and Bath in creating one of the leading electronics cluster in Europe.

“NESTA’s ‘Rebalancing Act’ highlights how the continuing success of innovative companies will be important to the UK economy,” says the report, Chips with Eveything. “A starting point for government in considering how to support innovative, high-tech companies and regional clusters is to understand the  challenges facing these industries. This report examines the semiconductor industry in the UK, particularly in the South West, to identify how this cluster has grown over the past 30 years and how government, with very limited resources, can effectively support regional clusters.”

“The South West cluster has grown because of a combination of factors. Large semiconductor companies present in the region in the 1970s  and 1980s, such as Inmos and Plessey, have endowed the region with a highly skilled  workforce and contributed to attracting entrepreneurs, companies and investors to the region. This has been supplemented by intelligent, targeted support from local universities,” says the report.

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