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Edinburgh Ranked in Top 10 European Cities for Digital Social Innovation

Duncan MacRae


Scottish Tech Companies

Charity Nesta has ranked 60 European cities on how their ecosystems support digital social innovation to thrive.

Edinburgh has been named as one of Europe’s top 10 cities for digital social innovation by UK-based foundation Nesta.

The innovation charity produces the European Digital Social Innovation Index (EDSII), which it believes to be the first tool to rank how different cities support digital social innovation (DSI) and tech for good to grow and thrive.

The Index ranks 60 EU cities on how their ecosystems support DSI, based on 32 indicators grouped into six themes: Funding; Skills; Civil Society; Collaboration; Infrastructure; and Diversity and Inclusion.

According to the charity’s research, “London is a long way in the lead”, thanks to its strong performance on all themes, including a top ten ranking in five of the six themes.


A Nesta spokesperson said: “London does particularly well on Skills, with a high number of research institutions working on subjects relevant to DSI, and access to employees with data science, software development and service design skills; Collaboration, with a strong culture of collaboration between civil society, the tech sector and the public sector, as well as a large and active community of people engaged with the field; and Infrastructure, with good open data provision at the national and city level, significant support for socially-focused businesses such as accelerators, incubators and co-working spaces, and access to digital fabrication and manufacturing facilities.”

Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Paris take the other top spots, all ranking in the top ten for at least three themes. As is the case with London, these cities are well-known as homes for digital entrepreneurship and innovation. Madrid, Brussels, Utrecht, Barcelona and Edinburgh round off the top ten cities.

Northern and Western Europe overwhelmingly dominate the top half of the rankings (28 out of 30 places). Spain is the only country in Southern Europe with any cities in the top half, and Eastern Europe has none (Ljubljana just misses out in 31st place).

Out of 60 cities studied, Edinburgh ranked fourth in Europe for Collaboration, tenth for Funding, 14th for Infrastructure, 24th for Diversity & Inclusion, 26th for Civil Society and 33rd for Skills.

Nesta’s spokesperson said: “We believe that by understanding how cities are performing in different areas, and by stimulating some friendly competition, we can incentivise policymakers to proactively support DSI. And through our accompanying Ideas Bank, we want to increase sharing, adaptation and collaboration between cities.”

Duncan MacRae


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