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The Cambridge Corporate Database & Regional Growth

Overview

This project concerns the modelling of the growth of businesses in the local region and providing the data for Cambridge Cluster Insights. It also involves feeding the results into a regional spatial forecasting model used by researchers at the Department of Architecture at the University of Cambridge to study infrastructure constraints and solutions for the regional economy. The various elements of the project are described below.

Cambridge growth analysis

Cambridge Cluster Insights

Since the project group’s formation, we have been concerned with establishing an authoritative analysis of the current scale, make-up and growth rate of economic activity in the region, defined by a 20 mile radius around Cambridge. We were commissioned by Cambridge Ahead to create a dashboard to monitor growth in Cambridge using the original Cluster Map created by Sherry Coutu and Trampoline Systems as a starting point. We began by updating and re-verifying the original Cluster Map data, adding data from sectors outside of high tech and extending the coverage to all companies, however small; and then putting in place curation to keep it up to date. For the first time, there is now a sound and robust measure of the Cambridge economy, and how it is growing, but it should also be possible to wind the clock backwards to see how Cambridge has been growing in the past.

The Cambridge Cluster Insights platform, known initially as Cambridge Cluster Map, was officially launched in July 2016 and is a dataset of information on over 26,000 businesses in the Cambridge region. Using the new methodology, it specifically monitors the growth of Cambridge-based companies, in terms of their global turnover and global employment, and tracks the number of Cambridge-active companies, and public and charitable sector research organisations.

Cambridge-based companies are those with their primary trading address within this area, or those that do not give a primary trading address but have a registered office in this area. Cambridge-active companies are those who have neither their registered office, nor primary trading address in the Cambridge area but do have a trading address in the area that we have identified, examples being Amazon, Apple and Microsoft. Non-corporate Knowledge-Intensive (KI) organisations are those research institutions that are located in the defined region which are neither companies, nor partnerships. Examples of these are the British Antarctic Survey, the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology and the Wellcome Sanger Institute.

Cambridge Cluster Insights has been refreshed approximately twice a year and will be updated with wholly new data annually. The last update was published in March 2021 and includes data right up to the start of the 2020 COVID lockdown. A new and improved Cambridge Cluster Insights platform was launched in September 2019. This new platform, which covers ten years of data for the Cambridge area as well as each of the six local authority districts in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority area, allows for a dynamic, interactive and timely analysis of the business population in the local region.

View Cambridge Cluster Insights

The work underpinning Cambridge Cluster Insights is disseminated locally, nationally and internationally. For example, our approach and key findings were presented at a series of workshops and seminars organised by a number of research institutions in China, including Liaoning University, Shenyang Institute of Technology, Shenyang University and Communication University of China.

Find out more about Cambridge Cluster Insights

Growth data

Using unique growth measurement methodology, the project has so far produced six consecutive sets of growth data for the Cambridge city region, one in February 2016, one in January 2017, one in May 2018, one in April 2019, one in March 2020 and most recently in March 2021.

The last set of data shows robust corporate employment growth in the Cambridge city region in the year before the COVID-19 outbreak. A notable feature of the local economy is the consistently strong performance of its KI sectors, which have grown by 5.5% during 2019-20. As a result of their resilient buoyancy, the share of employment in these sectors has risen to over 28% of corporate employment in the area (68,000 employees) across the last six years. The number of people employed in universities and non-corporate research institutions in the area (37,000 employees) has also continued to grow steadily, making the area one of the largest concentrations of KI employment in Europe. Information technology and life sciences are the largest and most dynamic of these KI sectors, with a strong performance also through the first months of the pandemic. Large companies in the city region have enjoyed the fastest employment growth at 5.6%.

At the same time, there are signs that employment created by new business start-ups does not exceed the loss of jobs due to company closures and this imparts a small, but negative, impact on growth. There are also signs of companies moving out of Cambridge, possibly in response to the rising cost of doing business in the city.

Overall, these figures demonstrate not only the importance of Cambridge to its wider region, but also the value it offers on a national scale as a net contributor to the UK. As cited by Centre for Cities, Cambridge was the third fastest-growing city for jobs in the country between 2004 and 2013.

Read the full press release on the Cambridge Ahead website (March 2021)

The Business Board (formerly Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP)

The CBR was commissioned to create a company database for the 14 local authority districts making up the GCGP Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP, now The Business Board). This work has been completed and the database includes 80,000 LEP-based companies and limited partnerships with their employment and turnover over the last decade. Of these, about 52,000 were alive at the end of the 2019-20 financial year and together represented employment of 519,000 and turnover of £92.9 billion. The analyses carried out examine the sectoral composition and growth of each of the local authority districts. Data for the eight LEP districts outside the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority area are provided on Cambridge Cluster Insights only up to 2017-18.

Greater Cambridge employment updates

CBR research is currently helping local councils and other authorities in the local region to provide support to businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. This research comprises a series of updates, commissioned by the Greater Cambridge Partnership and Cambridge Ahead, which bring up-to-date information about what is happening to corporate employment in the Greater Cambridge area that would not otherwise be available. It provides policymakers with robust and timely data on businesses and sectors in the area that can guide Covid recovery strategies and future investment plans.

Our latest update was completed in July 2021 and captures the effects of the first COVID-19 lockdown in England. The picture is one of continued but lower employment growth in Greater Cambridge during the last year. Although employment growth slowed down in both KI and non-KI sectors, it increased five times faster in KI sectors than in non-KI sectors. The slowdown in employment growth was mitigated by the strong performance of the life sciences and information technology sectors, reflecting their important role as engines for job creation even at times of business and economic uncertainty. Our analysis also reveals that turnover suffered larger falls than employment, pointing to the benefits of the Government’s furlough scheme in protecting employment in sectors with declining sales.

Economic forecasting

We are working with the local authorities to take their current economic model input data and add local understanding to it by using local business and sector-specific expectations rather than national ones. We are seeking to discover what businesses think future growth pressures will be, and what their growth might be if those pressures were better managed, in order to prioritise the infrastructure initiatives that will need to be taken. Creating such a bottom-up regional growth forecast has never been attempted before, and we have a great learning curve to get round to do it, but it should be very powerful when completed.

For example Cambridge has, with Marshall and its supply chains, a large aerospace component in its economy so the growth expectations of the aerospace sector will feature strongly in the local forecast. Where this breaks down though is that the national forecasts will be dominated by what Rolls Royce’s and BAE’s growth expectations are, which could be very different from Marshall’s.

A survey of the largest companies in the Cambridge area has been carried out. The survey focuses on three aspects: the connections between the Cambridge companies and the rest of the UK economy; local constraints on their growth; and their estimates of their sector’s growth over the next five years. It also asks their opinions about their impact on the economy, government policy and the impacts of Brexit on their growth. This survey allows for a bottom-up forecast of how much these companies think their sectors will grow over the next decade. In a nutshell, the survey results suggest that travel to work problems, along with the high cost and limited availability of housing, are affecting recruitment and retention of staff while impinging on productivity. These problems are also identified by companies as major factors limiting their growth in the Cambridge region. Despite these constraints, companies remain quite optimistic about their growth prospects, but are very concerned about Brexit

A further supplementary technical task of comparing the actual and forecast growth rates of employment from the Councils’ East of England Forecasting Model (EEFM) with CBR data is being undertaken. A similar comparison is being conducted with employment growth rates from the Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES) maintained by the ONS.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Economic Review

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough economy is of national and international significance, comprising some of the fastest growing areas within the UK and internationally competitive industry, innovation and research. At the same time, it faces a number of challenges, constraints and imbalances that could hinder growth in the region if these are not properly addressed.

The purpose of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Economic Review (CPIER) is to create a single strategic position to help the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough area consider the case for greater fiscal devolution and powers to unlock the delivery of major infrastructure. The CPIER is led by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Economic Commission (CPIEC) and is co-funded by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, The Business Board and Cambridge Ahead.

Drawing on the corporate database as a unique source of information for businesses in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough area, the CBR produced a number of analyses to support the work of the CPIEC. These include novel and in-depth studies of the corporate anatomy, foreign ownership and ownership changes, business demography and specialness of the corporate sectors in the Combined Authority and in each of its local authority districts.

After the ground-breaking CPIER work, the growth data produced by the CBR are being used to inform the Local Industrial Strategy. Support was also provided to the Digital Sector Strategy for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, delivered by Cambridge Wireless and Anglia Ruskin University, through the provision of a range of quantitative data and analyses. The Digital Sector Strategy was published in May 2019 and is considered a valuable contribution to the Local Industrial Strategy.

Learn more about the CPIER

The benefits and impact of the Babraham Research Campus

We have been working with Cambridge Economic Associates, Cambridge Econometrics and Savills on a project commissioned by Babraham Bioscience Technologies Ltd and its campus partners (BBSRC and the Babraham Institute) to identify, capture and demonstrate the benefits and impact of the Babraham Research Campus.

As part of this work, we designed and conducted a survey of Campus companies to quantify the impacts they make in local, national and international ecosystems. The survey, which achieved an extremely high response rate of 74%, also allowed to assess the scale and type of investment received by Campus companies over time. Responses from the survey were combined with unique information from the CBR corporate database to carry out detailed analyses of companies located on the Campus against those on other business and science parks in the Cambridge region.

The outputs from the impact assessment study are being used to inform the future development of the Babraham Research Campus and the overall contribution it provides to the Cambridge and UK economy. The final report, along with an Executive Summary highlighting the key findings from the impact assessment study, was published in June 2020.

Read the press release and access the final report on the Babraham Research Campus website

Articles

Caselli, G., Cosh, A. and Tyler, P. (2021), ‘The Cambridge Phenomenon: An innovation system built on public-private partnership’, Innovation & Impact.

Caselli, G., Figueira, C. and Nellis, J. G. (2020), ‘Ownership diversity and the risk-taking channel of monetary policy transmission‘, Cambridge Journal of Economics.

Cosh, A. and Caselli, G. (2019), ‘An insight into the Cambridge economy: What lies ahead for Silicon Fen?‘, East Anglia in Business, No. 1, pp. 44-45.

Walsh, L. (2019), ‘How to tend an economic bonfire‘, Research Horizons, No. 38, pp. 6-9.

Working papers

Cosh, A. and Caselli, G. (2021), 2019 BRES results for the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

Cosh, A. and Caselli, G. (2021), Annual draw 2020 highlights.

Cosh, A. and Caselli, G. (2021), Research brief on market towns.

Caselli, G. (2021), Temperature shocks, credit risk and loan pricing.

Cosh, A. and Caselli, G. (2019), Comparison of employment, GVA and labour productivity estimates.

Cosh, A. and Caselli, G. (2019), 2018 BRES results: A preliminary analysis for the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority area.

Cosh, A. and Caselli, G. (2018), Comparison of the employment growth from the corporate database with BRES data.

Cosh, A. and Caselli, G. (2018), Contribution of the Combined Authority to the wider UK economy.

Cosh, A. and Caselli, G. (2018), Corporate anatomy of the Combined Authority.

Cosh, A. and Caselli, G. (2018), Foreign ownership and ownership changes in the Combined Authority.

Cosh, A. and Caselli, G. (2018), Research brief on market towns.

Other publications

Cambridge Ahead (2021), A new era for the Cambridge economy: Spring 2021 Members’ Meeting, May 2021.

Caselli, G. (2021), “How do cooperative banks consider climate risk and climate change?”, in: Migliorelli, M. and Lamarque, E. (Eds), Contemporary trends in European cooperative banking: Sustainability, governance, digital transformation, and health crisis response, Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming.

Cosh, A. and Caselli, G. (2021), Greater Cambridge Employment Update February 2021, report to the Greater Cambridge Partnership and Cambridge Ahead.

Cosh, A. and Caselli, G. (2021), Greater Cambridge Employment Update June 2021, report to the Greater Cambridge Partnership and Cambridge Ahead.

OECD (2021), Local entrepreneurship ecosystems and emerging industries: Case study of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, United Kingdom, February 2021.

Caselli, G. (2020), “The role of bank ownership types and business models”, in: Ferri, G. and D’Apice, V. (Eds), A modern guide to financial shocks and crises, Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, forthcoming, ISBN: 978-1-78990-451-2.

Caselli, G. and Figueira, C. (2020), “The impact of climate risks on the insurance and banking industries”, in: Migliorelli, M. and Dessertine, P. (Eds), Sustainability and financial risks: The impact of climate change, environmental degradation and social inequality on financial markets, Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 31-62, ISBN: 978-3-030-54529-1.

Cosh, A. and Caselli, G. (2020), Greater Cambridge Employment Update November 2020, report to the Greater Cambridge Partnership and Cambridge Ahead.

Cosh, A. and Caselli, G. (2020), SME Observatory Insight into scale-up and high-growth businesses, report to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

ScaleUp Institute (2020), ScaleUp Annual Review 2020, November 2020.

Cambridge Ahead (2018), Cambridge Ahead Annual Publication 2018/19.

Cambridge Ahead (2019), Cambridge Ahead Summer Publication 2019.

Cambridge Wireless and Anglia Ruskin University (2019), A Digital Sector Strategy for Cambridgeshire & Peterborough.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Economic Commission (2018), Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Economic Review (CPIER) Final Report.

ScaleUp Institute (2018), Annual ScaleUp Review 2018.

GCP Employment Updates

GCP Employment Update June 2021

GCP Employment Update February 2021

GCP Employment Update November 2020

2021 release (2019-20 draw)

Press release – Cambridge area (Feb 2021)

Press release – Combined authority (Feb 2021)

Guidance on CBR data and analyses

Summary tables by sectors

Summary tables by firm size

Non-corporate research institutions

Summary tables by districts

Business demography tables

About companies on the Cambridge Cluster Map

CBR database methodology

2020 release (2018-19 draw)

Guidance-on-CBR-data-and-analyses.docx

Table-1-Summary-tables-by-sectors-C-Ahead-Feb-2020.xlsx

Table-2-Summary-tables-by-firm-size-C-Ahead-Feb-2020.xlsx

Table-3-Non-corporate-research-institutions-Feb-2020.xlsx

Table-4-Summary-tables-6-districts-Feb-2020.xlsx

Table-5-Cambridge-Ahead-Business-demography.xlsx

CBR-Database-Methodology-2020.docx

2019 release (2017-18 draw)

Table-1-Summary-tables-by-sectors-C-Ahead-Apr-2019.xlsx

Table-2-Summary-tables-by-firm-size-C-Ahead-Apr-2019.xlsx

Table-3-Non-corporate-research-institutions-Apr-2019.xlsx

Table-4-Summary-tables-6-districts-Apr-2019.xlsx

Table-5-Cambridge-Ahead-firm-demography-Jun-2019.xlsx

Table-6-Growth-composition-Cambridge-Ahead-companies-Jun-2019.xlsx

Table-7-Contribution-to-growth-from-continuing-companies-etc-Jun-2019.xlsx

Business-demography-in-the-Combined-Authority-Jun-2019.docx

2018 release (2016-17 draw)

contribution-of-combined-authority-to-uk-economy-jul-2018.pdf (285 KB)

Table-1-Employment-turnover-by-narrow-sectors-2010-17-May-2018.xlsx (34 KB)

Table-2-Employment-turnover-by-broad-sectors-2010-17-May-2018.xlsx (19.5 KB)

Table-3-Corporate-Growth-by-narrow-sectors-2010-17-May-2018.xlsx (27 KB)

Table-4-Corporate-Growth-by-broad-sectors-2010-17-May-2018.xlsx (71 KB)

Table-5-Employment-turnover-by-firm-size-2010-17-May-2018.xlsx (16.7 KB)

Table-6-Corporate-Growth-by-firm-size-2010-17-May-2018.xlsx (16.6 KB)

Table-7-Cambridge-Ahead-firm-demography-May-2018.xlsx (15.1 KB)

Table-8-Growth-composition-Cambridge-Ahead-companies-May-2018.xlsx (14.9 KB)

Table-9-Contibution-to-growth-from-continuing-companies-etc-May-2018.xlsx (14.0 KB)

Table-10-Non-corporate-research-institutions-May-2018.xlsx (12.4 KB)

Table-11-Summary-of-employment-level-2010-17-6-districts-May-2018.xlsx (17.3 KB)

Table-12-Summary-of-employment-growth-2010-17-6-districts-May-2018.xlsx (16.0 KB)

Table-13-Summary-of-turnover-level-2010-17-6-districts-May-2018.xlsx (18.9 KB)

Table-14-Summary-of-turnover-growth-2010-17-6-districts-May-2018.xlsx (17.9 KB)

CBR-Database-Methodology-May-2018.docx (65 KB)

Corporate-anatomy-of-the-Combined-Authority-May-2018.docx (46 KB)

Foreign-ownership-and-ownership-changes-in-the-Combined-Authority-Jun-2018.docx (62 KB)

Specialness-of-the-Combined-Authority-Cambridge-May-2018.docx (53 KB)

Specialness-of-the-Combined-Authority-East-Cambridgeshire-May-2018.docx (51 KB)

Specialness-of-the-Combined-Authority-Executive-summary-May-2018.docx (26 KB)

Specialness-of-the-Combined-Authority-Fenland-May-2018.docx (51 KB)

Specialness-of-the-Combined-Authority-Huntingdonshire-May-2018.docx (50 KB)

Specialness-of-the-Combined-Authority-Peterborough-May-2018.docx (52 KB)

Specialness-of-the-Combined-Authority-South-Cambridgeshire-May-2018.docx (52 KB)

2017 release (2015-16 draw)

CBR-Cambridge-growth-update-Mar-2017.pdf (404 KB)

CBR-database-methodology-Jan-2017.pdf (431 KB)

Cambridge-Cluster-Map-summary-table-Jan-2017.pdf (0.9 MB)

Distribution-of-2015-2016-growth-by-sectors-Jan-2017.pdf (739 KB)

Number-of-companies-and-their-growth-by-employee-size-classes-Jan-2017.pdf (810 KB)

2016 release (2014-15 draw)

CORPORATE-CAMBRIDGE-1-The-knowledge-economy-Feb-2016.pdf (323 KB)

CORPORATE-CAMBRIDGE-2-Company-births-deaths-in-Cambridge-Feb-2016.pdf (342 KB)

CORPORATE-CAMBRIDGE-3-The-employment-growth-of-Cambridge-companies-Feb-2016.pdf (341 KB)

CORPORATE-CAMBRIDGE-4-Birth-death-growth-of-knowledge-intensive-Cambridge-businesses-Feb-2016.pdf (701 KB)

CORPORATE-CAMBRIDGE-5-The-sectoral-growth-of-Cambridge-companies-Feb-2016.pdf (339 KB)

CORPORATE-CAMBRIDGE-6-Up-scalers-Jul-2016.pdf (319 KB)

Dataset-Jan-2016.pdf (767 KB)

Database-summary-tables-Jan-2016.pdf (267 KB)

Videos

The Camclustermap with Dr Andy Cosh of the Centre for Business Research (Cambridge TV Business Focus)

One of an ongoing series of Business Focus interviews on Cambridge TV, this is the 12-minute interview of Dr Andy Cosh of the Centre for Business Research (CBR) of the University of Cambridge. The topic is the new version of the Cambridge Cluster Map, created by Cambridge Ahead in partnership with Barclays using data from the CBR. Dr Cosh is asked about the CBR and what it does, what the Cluster Map is and does, how it works, what it reveals about the Cambridge region, growth, the impact of Brexit, and how it is of interest to academic researchers. The interview was first aired on Monday 16 August 2016.


New Cambridge Growth data by Cambridge Ahead (Cambridge TV report)

A package by Cambridge TV on the announcement by Cambridge Ahead of remarkable new Growth data for Cambridge companies. Presenter is Karen Thomas while reporter Holly Goodall visits Cambridge Consultants and interviews COO Eric Wilkinson, before visiting Matthew Bullock, Master of St Edmund’s College and leader of the CA Growth Project where the new Cambridge Cluster Map is also revealed.


Cambridge Independent: ‘Cambridge is an engine of job creation – but don’t take it for granted’ says Cambridge Ahead

Further coverage of a new study by the Centre for Business Research, based at Cambridge Judge Business School, which confirms Cambridge’s status…

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Business Weekly: Cambridge at crossroads despite major KI status in Europe

A newly commissioned report led by the Centre for Business Research at Cambridge Judge Business School confirms status of UK as one…

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Business Weekly: Babraham confirmed as global life science power player

A newly commissioned report led by Cambridge University underlines the credentials of Babraham Research Campus (BRC) as a UK and world-class power…

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Cambridge Network: New report confirms Babraham Research Campus at the forefront in supporting the UK’s early-stage bioscience enterprises

Research led by an academic team from the University of Cambridge has demonstrated the benefits and outputs from the significant taxpayer investment…

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Cambridge Network: Latest data reveals year-on-year growth of Cambridge-based companies remains high compared to rest of the UK.

Data shows the largest knowledge intensive sectors of IT and telecoms, life sciences and healthcare and high-tech manufacturing account for turnover of…

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Cambridge Network: Latest data reveals year-on-year growth of Cambridge-based companies remains high compared to rest of the UK

Data shows the largest knowledge intensive sectors of IT and telecoms, life sciences and healthcare and high-tech manufacturing account for turnover of…

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Cambridge Independent: Four ways Cambridge could grow – but they all mean compromise.

Employment growth is increasing so quickly in Cambridge that the economy is being pushed gradually out of balance. With employment being the…

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Cambridge 105 Radio: Cambridge businesses continue to grow

Julian Glover speaks to Matthew Bullock, Vice-Chairman of Cambridge Ahead and Master of St Edmund’s College about newly published data showing growth…

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Cambridge News: Turnover of Cambridge companies rockets again

Cambridge companies saw turnover rocket last year as the city's business scene continues to thrive. Data from Cambridge University’s Centre for Business…

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Cambridge News: Closing the gap between rich and poor key to region’s future

Bridging the gap between the rich and poor is key to the region's future prosperity, according to a new report. The interim…

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Cambridge News: Big names form commission to study Cambridgeshire economy

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Economic Review (CPIER) has been commissioned to review the economy in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Economist Dame Kate Barker,…

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Cambridge Network: New data reveals remarkable growth of Cambridge companies

New Cambridge growth data released by Cambridge Ahead highlights a record of remarkable growth during 2014/15, with Cambridge companies enjoying a 7.7…

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Cambridge Cluster Insights is an interactive dashboard with information on over 26,000 businesses in the wider Cambridge region. It monitors global turnover and employment growth of Cambridge-based companies and tracks the number of Cambridge-active companies as well as non-corporate knowledge-intensive (KI) research organisations. Use the filters provided to create bespoke analyses for the area, organisation type and sector you are interested in. By default the dashboard shows only those organisations that were alive at the end of the latest time period. Further guidance on the data presented on Cambridge Cluster Insights can be accessed by clicking on the information icons that appear on the dashboard.

View Cambridge Cluster Insights

Project team

Andy Cosh
Giorgio Caselli

Project status

Ongoing

Project dates

2014-2022

Funding

Cambridge Ahead, Arm, Marshall of Cambridge, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Barclays, The Business Board (formerly Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP), Babraham Research Campus, Greater Cambridge Partnership and Huntingdonshire District Council