Welcome to Bristol & Bath

The West of England is a place where creative, digital and high tech meet traditional industry. Our region is highly collaborative, with research and development (R&D), academia, industry and the public sector working together across multiple sectors – an approach which has made us the home to the UK’s most productive tech cluster.

Bristol Robotics Lab

We’re proud of our internationally recognised centres of excellence and academic institutions, and the pioneering businesses that start-up, scale up and succeed here – including two unicorns: AI chip designer Graphcore and clean energy provider OVO Energy. Business start-ups and spin-outs are growing rapidly thanks to some of the best incubator support in the world.

A dedicated regional network including Future Space, Engine Shed and the Bristol & Bath Science Park provides the space, expertise and support to accelerate companies’ innovation and growth. We’re home to SETsquared Bristol and Bath, the world’s number 1 university business accelerator, while smaller centres such as the NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator Programme and Bath based Rocketmakers work alongside specialist facilities like Unit DX, the Health Tech Hub and Bristol Robotics Laboratory to catapult businesses into the future.

With a population of over 1.1 million, the West of England is a place where highly-skilled people live, ideas flourish, and businesses grow.

The West of England is finding new ways of doing things that are more efficient, more sustainable and more productive.

The West of England’s Local Industrial Strategy, led by the West of England Combined Authority, highlights our strengths as a region of innovation and opportunity. We understand that diversity breeds creativity, and the benefits of a strategic approach to fuel sector development. Our strategy focuses on innovation that crosses sectors and communities, to tackle global, systemic challenges that are relevant to the region, such as climate and biodiversity emergencies, healthy living, mobility, digital transformation and inclusivity.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the need to innovate and adapt the way we live and do business. The West of England’s Recovery Plan recognises the crisis also presents opportunities to find new ways of doing things and increase resilience – particularly through digital transformation. Innovation will bring productivity gains to a wide range of sectors, create new skills and employment opportunities for our residents, and help the shift towards a low-carbon economy.

Our region is accelerating innovation, with a clear focus on sustainability, inclusivity and cross-sectoral collaboration. This approach will ensure our region remains a thriving, successful place for the future where the environment is protected for future generations.

Innovation from our region plays a key role in the shift to a low carbon economy globally. In the West of England, we’re already leading the way; carbon emissions have reduced 35% since 2005, and we’re home to a thriving low carbon sector. With our strong capabilities in R&D across aerospace and advanced engineering, digital and tech, our expertise, coupled with our dynamic and collaborative ecosystems, means that we are a place that is creating and leading the global industrial transition to clean energy and clean economic growth.

Achieving net zero will require a sustained whole system approach, and our focus is on bringing together key private, public, and civic organisations to address systemic challenges. We are investing significantly to accelerate innovation that will reduce carbon emissions and create the sustainable products and processes of the future, including:

  • The Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS). IAAPS will ultimately change the future of automotive travel through the combination of academic rigour with a commercial focus to accelerate the development of ultra low emission vehicle technologies. Innovations developed here will fundamentally influence the future of industry, not just for the benefit of our residents but across the UK and beyond. IAAPS works with industry, inventors, researchers and academics to deliver rapid research and innovation that will accelerate the transition from low carbon to zero carbon vehicles.
  • The Future Transport Zone (FTZ) programme is trialling innovative new solutions, powered by digital technologies, to make public transport better and more connected within local communities.

Providing last-mile transport options to connect more people to public transport, it will combine journey-planning and ticketing in a convenient mobile application to make it easier to use and pay for public transport. From e-scooters to e-cargo bikes and a transportation data hub, the FTZ will create seamless journeys from A to B.


Artist’s impression of IAAPS

Across the West of England, there are a host of incredible, collaborative initiatives which form the bedrock of our innovation ecosystem. We focus on creating cross-sectoral collaboration, uniting people from diverse backgrounds and drawing on different areas of expertise. With R&D, academia, industry and the public sector working together, our approach has led to collaborative networks such as:

  • The Digital Engineering, Technology and Innovation (DETI) programme.
    DETI is a research, innovation and skills initiative, developing and accelerating digital engineering across multiple industry sectors. DETI will identify and develop the tools, technologies, processes and skills needed to accelerate digital engineering and the sustainable products of the future.

DETI will lead to shorter product development times, faster routes to market and through-life product sustainability for some of the most complex products in the world.

DETI brings together leading companies, technology disruptors and universities to push the boundaries of digitally enabled engineering to address global challenges. DETI is delivered by the National Composites Centre (NCC), a world-class research facility innovating through composite materials research and cutting-edge light weighting technology to reduce environmental burden and increase overall industrial efficiencies.

DETI is a two-year strategic programme from the West of England Combined Authority, delivered by the NCC in partnership with the Centre for Modelling & Simulation (CFMS), Digital Catapult, the University of the West of England (UWE), the University of Bristol, and the University of Bath.

West of England 5G Smart Tourism trials

5G Smart Tourism trials in the West of England brought together 21 organisations and smart network partners to demonstrate 5G capability, establishing the West of England as a world-leader in the development of advanced fixed and mobile communication systems.

As part of the project, visitors took part in a variety of interactive pursuits ranging from virtual reality and augmented reality to 360° video and locative media, allowing them to sample a wide range of the future applications of 5G technology and its potential to transform tourism and commercial activity in the West of England, as well as supporting the emergency services and managing safety at events. Our successful 5G trials hold the key to a more connected, more advanced and sustainable future.


Bristol & Bath is home to the most skilled workforce of any English city region. The region has a highly skilled workforce, with 10,000 graduates from our four top universities joining the talent pool each year. Our region also attracts diverse, highly motivated people across sectors including: digital, creative, health, engineering, legal and financial services each year

The West of England Combined Authority is investing in the region’s skills pipeline to create greater inclusion. We are investing in apprenticeships, digital skills and adult education to ensure that our home-grown talent has the opportunity and expertise to join our vibrant economy, to enable all residents to reach their potential through programmes such as:

  • Workforce for the Future is designed to help businesses get fit for the future by helping equip employees with new skills, knowledge and experience. The programme provides tailored, in-depth support to help businesses plan and adapt for the future, by helping them to identify their current and future skills needs, implement development plans to upskill or retrain employees, and supporting them to bring in apprenticeships or work placements to drive their business forwards.

Workforce for the Future also connects businesses with training and education providers to help shape the West of England’s talent pool, ensuring our region is equipped to meet the needs of tomorrow.


This edition of INNOVATE™ Bristol & Bath explores how our region is innovating across different areas of industry and society.

Each chapter of INNOVATE™ Bristol & Bath illustrates how we’re shaping the future, spanning developments in housing and commercial space, to flight, transportation and digital infrastructure.

  • How is our region meeting the demands of the 21st century?
  • How are we exceeding these expectations?
  • and most importantly, how are we creating a new standard?

Bristol Port courtesy of Bristol Port Company

The region’s engines for growth are our seven Enterprise Zones and Areas (EZ/EA).

Each one has a unique set of businesses thriving within:

  • distribution and logistics hub at Avonmouth/Severnside EA
  • creative and digital hub at Bath and Somer Valley EZ
  • tech and financial district in Bristol Temple Quarter EZ
  • advanced engineering and aerospace at Filton EA
  • food and drink and agri-tech hub at Junction 21

The West of England’s enterprise zones and areas are the engines of our success; built on innovation, creativity and inclusivity.


  • 8km long covering 1,800 hectares and adjacent to the M5 and M49
    motorways and Bristol Port
  • It has 45 million people living within a 300km radius
  • Dominant uses are large-scale industrial, warehousing, distribution, energy, waste processing, port and associated activities
  • Key companies operating here include: Amazon, DHL, GKN and Warburtons


  • Spread across 50 hectares in two locations in the centre of Bath and the Somer Valley
  • It provides a mix of iconic office and high value manufacturing spaces, linked to the region’s world renowned advanced engineering clusters with the potential to create 6,000 jobs
  • The EZ covers 12.5 hectares with the potential to deliver 540,000 sqm of bespoke employment floor space. The site is perfect for manufacturing, engineering and supply chain sectors
  • In Bath City Riverside EA, Bath Quays South is currently under construction in a prime riverside location within easy walking distance from Bath Spa train station. It will provide 5,000 sqm of new ‘Grade A’ office space at No.1 Bath Quays and 4,500 sqm of creative workspace in the ex-industrial Newark Works building
  • Bath Quays North is even more centrally located on the north side of the River Avon. The site has outline planning consent and is being developed by Legal & General, Bellhammer and Bath & North East Somerset Council in a joint venture
  • It will deliver up to 25,000 sqm of new ‘Grade A’ office space alongside new homes, leisure facilities and a business hotel, creating a new commercial quarter for the city
  • Altogether Bath Quays will generate 2,700 jobs
  • Existing occupiers include BMT, Future Publishing and Buro Hapold
  • Roseberry Place is located at a riverside location within the EZ and within walking distance of Oldfield Park train station. It will provide up to 6,000 sqm of ‘Grade A’ office space and has full planning (zoning) consent
  • It will deliver up to 25,000 sqm of new ‘Grade A’ office space alongside new homes, leisure facilities and a business hotel, creating a new commercial quarter for the city
  • Altogether Bath Quays will generate 2,700 jobs
  • Existing occupiers include BMT, Future Publishing and Buro Hapold
  • Roseberry Place is located at a riverside location within the EZ and within walking distance of Oldfield Park train station. It will provide up to 6,000 sqm of ‘Grade A’ office space and has full planning (zoning) consent

Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone


  • At 100 hectares, it offers capacity to accommodate over 4,000 new homes plus 320,000 sqm of commercial space and 22,000 new jobs
  • Highways infrastructure, pedestrian routes and cycleways, new public spaces in key locations and bridging across the city’s historic Floating Harbour all feature in the plans for the area
  • Within the EZ, there are 4,000 jobs and 150 businesses that have been attracted to here since 2012
  • Based in this zone are many key businesses, including: Engine Shed, SETsquared, Burges Salmon, Deloitte, PWC, Bank of Ireland, Osborne Clarke, and OVO.


  • Recognised by the UK Government as a key UK technology node, it is home to Bristol & Bath Science Park (BBSP) on which, the internationally recognised National Composites Centre (NCC), part of the UK High Value Manufacturing Catapult is located alongside the Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS)
  • BBSP is set in 24 hectares in North Bristol, providing a diverse scientific eco system offering facilities and services designed to enhance performance and to accelerate commercial success. Notable residents include The Centre for Modelling and Simulation (CFMS) and HiETA Technologies.
  • It is also the location for IAAPS – the University of Bath’s £60m Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (due to open in 2021). It is a world leading institute for ultra-low emissions vehicle testing. Small, Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) collaboration and multi-disciplinary R&D.
  •  Emersons Green is the area proven to be truly inspiring for industries specialising in science, research, technology, creativity and digital connectivity.

Filton Enterprise Zone


  • Filton is on the north fringe of Bristol close to the M4/M5 motorway interchange with direct east-west access to London and Cardiff and access to the Midlands and South West
  • Home to the UK’s largest aerospace cluster
  • World giant Airbus and their R&D hub, the £40m Airbus Wing Integration Centre, is actively exploring how the next generation of wings will be designed and developed
  • GKN’s £32m, 10,000 sqm Global Technology Centre will be the hotbed of advanced manufacturing and industry 4.0 research and multidisciplinary collaboration. One of four Global Technology Centres, it will be an ‘open access’ collaborative R&D centre that will bring together a vibrant ecosystem of universities, R&D organisations, catapults, Government organisations and industrial partners

Bristol & Bath Science Park, Emersons Green Enterprise Area


  • The 72 hectare Junction 21 EA provides an attractive mixed-use destination at the southern gateway to the region and rapidly expanding Weston-super-Mare
  • Junction 21 EA is strategically located on the M5 corridor, with easy access to the South West, South Wales and the Midlands
  • It is located 20 minutes south of Bristol, Bristol International Airport and Bristol Port
  • Aside from a range of technology and manufacturing businesses the EA is home to the £13m Food WorksSW, a food and drink research and innovation hub for the West of England and South West food and drink sector. This sits within the designated Food Enterprise Zone (FEZ), land set aside specifically for food and drink manufacturing
  • £90m has been recently invested to develop circa 30 hectares through a mix of public and private investment. This will provide, once fully complete, 200,000 sqm of commercial space, 10,000 jobs and 6,000 new homes by 2036

FoodWorkssw at Junction 21 EA

In order to get the most out of our region, to understand and play an active role in shaping the future of the West of England, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Invest Bristol & Bath.

Invest Bristol & Bath is the inward investment agency for the West of England Combined Authority. We support businesses who are seeking to enter the region to grow, innovate and collaborate.

Our team is experienced, knowledgeable and well connected.
Through a tailored account management service, we provide the following
free services:

  • Bespoke research and provision of regional economic information to support business planning
  • Talent support in accessing and recruiting high quality employees
  • Support in identifying the right property and location for your business
  • Relocation advice, support and assistance for relocating employees
  • Simplified access to relevant council, regional business services and suppliers
  • Introduction to cluster networks, meetups and event activity in the region
  • Ongoing support ensuring your business continues to develop and grow
  • Internationalisation support through invitations to join virtual and in-person trade missions through links with the Department for International Trade

We’d love to learn more about your business and how we can provide the right support for you. For further information and to speak to a member of the team, please contact us at:


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