back to article Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich

The European Commission has decided Munich, not London, is Europe's top technology hub. The judgement is delivered in a new Atlas of ICT Activity in Europe released this week. The Atlas rates Europe's “ICT Poles of Excellence”using an “empirical framework” that considers over 40 factors to measure the following: R&D …

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  1. frank ly Silver badge
    Coat

    If you want Poles of excellence ....

    ... you should go to Gdansk or Warsaw.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If you want Poles of excellence ....

      or talk to this guy:

      "A Polish MP is working as a handyman in London as he tries to find out why so many young Poles come to the UK." ....."Mr Debski, of Polish opposition party Your Movement, said he had begun to see why Polish people came to Britain" ....

      If only our own MPs would show similar initiative and get up off their backsides to investigate what normal people do by actually doing it themselves even if there aren't TV cameras present

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: If you want Poles of excellence ....

        Thats unfair - so many of our MPs are prepared to get up off the backsides to discover why people want to be on the boards of Tobacco companies, defence companies and lots of other companies recieving contracts from their departments

        Some are so dilligent in their undercover research that you almost never see them in westminster

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If you want Poles of excellence ....

      I'm in Gdansk at the moment, helping mobilise a cable lay ship in the dockyards. I've never seen a work ethic like it! They work relatively short shifts- from about 7am to 4pm- but during that time they just swarm over any jobs that need doing. There have been crane lifted bits of kit placed on deck within 2, 3mm of their intended landing place, just plonked down softly and correctly.

      The welding they do just to fasten our kit down is better than the welding on the kit itself.

      I stood watching them today and realised why our shipyards had to shut in the UK- Tory, Labour, Lib Dem- they're all happier to push for shit like Silicon Roundabout rather than pushing training.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If you want Poles of excellence ....

      "But Germany is the clear leader in terms of number of Poles within its borders"

      I'm pretty sure its ahead in Turks too...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If you want Poles of excellence ....

      Surely all the good ones are already manning our coffee shops?

  2. Evil Auditor Silver badge
    WTF?

    Tier one, tier two, etc

    And this is relevant, how?

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Tier one, tier two, etc

      Didnt you know? The mere fact it was conceived and executed by a bunch of faceless Eurocrats who are suckling at the teat of our taxes and who have failed every year to achieve a fully audited set of accounts makes it relevant.

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

        Re: Tier one, tier two, etc

        Good lord 4 downvotes? How many of them had Brussels IP addresses?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I take it we're talking hard R&D here

    And not innovative new ways of buying flowers, via an app?

    1. Naughtyhorse

      Re: I take it we're talking hard R&D here

      yup

      hence bongland cul-de-sac missing out.

      though awarding so many poles to the roundabout makes me think the whole process is a waste of time and money.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: I take it we're talking hard R&D here

      Yep, and you have a lot of big industry R&D and HQs around München - BMW, Siemens etc. as well as a very large IT presence and a good startup community. It is the hip place to be.

      Although Berlin is generally seen as the German start-up city in the German media.

  4. Credas Silver badge

    Not a surprise

    If you look at the sheer breadth and depth of tech companies in Munich - real tech companies, doing hard R&D, not fluffy "let's all close our eyes and make a wish" start-ups - it's no surprise at all that Munich comes out ahead. East London's forte seems to be in blagging money out of government and clueless investors fixated on Silicon Valley firms' multiples, which presumably is why it scores highly under "business".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: East London's forte seems to be ...

      I must have missed it ... why "London East" and not just London? Because wrt another commentards remarks as to the value of universities, it seems to me that "London East" seems rather cleverly to exclude most of London's universities, especially the higher ranked ones such as Imperial, UCL, KCL.

      I'm not fussed either way about the ranking itself, just unclear as to why they chose "all of Munich", but only "London East" (and also I'm too busy/lazy to trawl through the whole report to see if a reason might be lurking somewhere in there...)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: East London's forte seems to be ...

        Maybe due to the population? Munich is a tiny village compared to London.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: East London's forte seems to be ...

        just been through report and I didn't see a plausible explanation of why "Inner London - East" and not "London". I did however notice two main things that struck me as just plain wrong? Firstly, the university figures are all based around Computer Science faculty information; no indication of how they take into account Electronic Engineering or other disciplines which can just as easily "feed" ICT innovation - did I miss that?

        Secondly, the disclaimer on the front page that says "we're not responsible for anything you do based on our report" is missing the second half, which should read "for which you have paid - it's great being paid for stuff but not having to accept responsibilty for it! Aren't we lucky?" ;-)

  5. Thesheep

    Interesting*

    *by which I mean "wrong".

    As always these composite indicators are determined by the choice of the input data. And as is often the case they have chosen things that are easy to measure... A great example (which explains, in part, why Cambridge does so well) is the presence of a University. And another is the academic ranking of its Computer Science degree. And another is the number of citations coming form the Computer Science department. Good news that only CompSci counts for innovation in IT.

    There are some interesting network metrics, but it seems they are based on things like joint patents and company ownerships - neither of which reflects startup innovation (it takes years to be granted patents, and usually you get bought up after you have innovated things, not before).

    It would also have been nice to know what time period the data reflected, not just when the report covered...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They Actually Make Things In Germany

    Where here in the UK we just borrow to spend on consumer goods and houses.

    Britain did used to be a manufacturing powerhouse but between the unions, shoddy management, short term city economics and Margaret Thatcher, this has been consigned to history and the only place you see industrial machinery is now in a museum.

    1. FlatSpot
      WTF?

      Re: They Actually Make Things In Germany

      You realise Thatcher left office almost 25yrs ago? The UK does high tech manufacturing very well, think Satellites and F1 as examples.

      Pulling coal out the ground or weaving jumpers is cheaper in China and Asian countries from a wage perspective but there is a resurgence in clothing manufacturer in the UK, again high end and not the 2 for a £1 T-shirts in Asda.

      Also don't forget the EU affect, it's obsession with global temperature which has pushed for the reduction of Carbon output, typically manufacturing/industrial and coming to a motorway near you soon. When we are crawling along at 60mph I presume you will blame Thatcher for that as well?

      1. Naughtyhorse

        Re: They Actually Make Things In Germany

        yup

        it's all that bitches fault.

        if she hadn't died then satan wouldn't have to have stoked the fires of hell so high as to cause global warming in this realm.

      2. Don Jefe

        Re: They Actually Make Things In Germany

        You know, the Romans left even longer ago than Thatcher and they still drive much of the lifestyle on your island. Hitter has been gone quite a while, but what he did does affect your daily life. What he did has such a big impact that the 80% of 'the Internet' not only misunderstands what Goodwin was talking about, more than a few also believe Godwin a contemporary of Hitler. I made decisions more than 25 years ago that are still providing jobs for people.

        It's pretty foolish to believe that because you are young, and 25 years seems like a long time to you, that decisions made two and a half decades ago aren't shaping the works today.

        1. Naughtyhorse

          Re: They Actually Make Things In Germany

          I cannot believe you would compare hitler with thatcher

          she was worse

          much worse

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They Actually Make Things In Germany

      Britain makes lots of things, cars, high performance vehicles, satellites, pharma, engines, aerospace, etc, etc, stop buying into the myth that Britain doesn't have manufacturing. We just don't make wingnuts or dig expensive coal anymore...

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: They Actually Make Things In Germany

        And you don't build it in London, which is why London does badly.

        How many high performance sports cars or F1 teams have their factories inside the M25? The same for Pharma, aerospace etc. You find all of those in and around Munich (and other major cities in Germany).

        Creative expense account reporting doesn't actually count towards innovation, which is why the City does badly. :-P

        1. JLH

          Re: They Actually Make Things In Germany

          I work for a F1 team, which makes high performance sports cars.

          And you're right - just outside the M25. In fact a lot of us commute outwards from London.

          1. big_D Silver badge

            Re: They Actually Make Things In Germany

            Woking per chance?

            1. JLH

              Re: They Actually Make Things In Germany

              > Woking per chance?

              Could be :-)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They Actually Make Things In Germany

        We just don't make wingnuts or dig expensive coal anymore.

        No we just run a huge fiscal deficit and an enormous balance of payments deficit.

        http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/sn01942.pdf

        and

        https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/277158/ep2-government-policy-since-1945.pdf

        1. Squander Two

          Re: They Actually Make Things In Germany @ rm -rf /

          If you're posting links, might I respond with this?

          http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/timworstall/100016398/the-insanity-of-subsidising-manufacturing/

          I'm sure you'll object to the author's opinions, but ignore the piece and just look at the graphs, especially the first one.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: They Actually Make Things In Germany @ Squander Two

            Hmm Adam Smith institute and all their wonderful ideas of Lassaize Faire and supply side economics..

            All government subsidise home manufacturing to a degree. I really would read the second paper I've listed as it's much more comparative to our international competitors.

            PS do you know Swiss Manufacturing is 20% of GDP ?

            1. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

              Re: They Actually Make Things In Germany @ Squander Two

              "PS do you know Swiss Manufacturing is 20% of GDP ?"

              No surprise here. When travelling around the place it's not uncommon to see high tech manufacturing companies in small villages out in the countryside.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: They Actually Make Things In Germany @ Squander Two

                ""PS do you know Swiss Manufacturing is 20% of GDP ?""

                Presumably largely covered by chocolate, watches and cookoo clocks!

                1. Chemist

                  Re: They Actually Make Things In Germany @ Squander Two

                  "Presumably largely covered by chocolate, watches and cookoo clocks!"

                  Er, no. Pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals, engineering

                2. Chemist

                  Re: They Actually Make Things In Germany @ Squander Two

                  "Presumably largely covered by chocolate, watches and cookoo clocks!"

                  http://www.countriesquest.com/europe/switzerland/economy/manufacturing.htm

                  Esp. 3rd paragraph "world's largest producer of textile manufacturing machinery"

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Squander Two

      Re: They Actually Make Things In Germany

      British manufacturing output has steadily increased for decades. What has decreased is the number of people employed in manufacturing. This is because of these new things we have: machines.

      Obviously the unions want everyone to believe that if an industry employs fewer people it can only be in terminal decline, but one would hope that IT types might appreciate that automation and destruction are not the same thing.

      And why do people only believe this myth about manufacturing? No-one complains that British farming no longer produces anything because we no longer send the whole village out with scythes to harvest the wheat, or that British accountancy has died because one guy can now do with Excel what used to take a roomful of clerks with dip-pens and inkwells.

      1. Don Jefe

        @Squander Two

        You're partially correct, but too far off to the side and you're conflating two different issues. British manufacturing has been increasing because they're producing things that are simple to produce and have skinny margins that can't compensate for being made elsewhere. So while there are most certainly lots of people who aren't needed to produce things, it isn't the efficiencies of production that's responsible, it's the fact very little of complexity is produced there anymore.

        The few complex things that are produced there use US made equipment to produce and have US engineers doing the R&D. I've got three people in England right now on a BAE project, one of which is leading the project and the other two will come back in a few months to oversee the design and construction of the equipment that will be built here, and sent to Britain in about two years when it's completed.

        But there's nothing of British design or construction here except a chest of British sockets and wrenches and a few motorcycles I use to practice patience and use of the Force to keep running. There's also an old London phone booth I use as a gun cabinet and four old a English double rifles, but that's it and they're all really old. I've got lots of very expensive, very complex equipment from France, Germany and Japan, but not from England. Why do you think that is?

        1. Squander Two

          @ Don Jefe

          > You're partially correct, but too far off to the side and you're conflating two different issues.

          Really? Because, as far as I can see, you're replying to some point made by someone in your imagination, not to what I actually wrote.

          Did Thatcher destroy British manufacturing? No. Do we still have active industrial machinery in Britain? Yes, and lots of it. Is our economy based purely on borrowing money? No, the economic output of the manufacturing sector has steadily increased. Quite why you think the fact that you bought something from France once contradicts any of this is beyond me.

          1. Naughtyhorse

            Re: @ Don Jefe

            Did Thatcher destroy British manufacturing? No.?????

            and you are claiming the other guy is delusional - the bitch _decimated_ British industry- not just manufacturing, anything with a broadly left wing working class workforce. where do you think the millions on the dole through her reign came from?

            Is our economy based purely on borrowing money? No,????

            Orly. i'd say 78% is as close to purely as you are going to find in the real world (im sure you must have at least read about it somewhere)

            the economic output of the manufacturing sector has steadily increased

            this is in fact correct, thanks to the incredibly low baseline set by thatcher

            oaf

            1. Squander Two

              Re: @ Naughtyhorse

              > the bitch _decimated_ British industry- not just manufacturing, anything with a broadly left wing working class workforce. where do you think the millions on the dole through her reign came from?

              Sorry, are we talking about manufacturing or employment? They're not the same thing. The point I was responding to, from Mr rm -rf /, was that we no longer manufacture anything in the UK, not that we don't employ as many people in manufacturing as we used to.

              Incidentally, more coal mines were shut under Wilson's governments than Thatcher's, but don't let facts get in your way.

              > i'd say 78% is as close to purely as you are going to find in the real world

              Then you are hideously abusing the word "purely".

              > this is in fact correct, thanks to the incredibly low baseline set by thatcher

              What low baseline? UK manufacturing output increased under Thatcher. Yes, I realise a lot of people have shouted very very loudly that the opposite is true, but their volume doesn't make them correct. I'm sure you don't believe me, so try looking it up.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @ Squander Two

                Thatcher just hammered the nails in the coffin by withdrawing subsidies (the strong medicine) and allowed many firms to fail using free market theory (RIP Keynes). Manufacturing in the UK was on life support in the 70s brought about by bad management and bolshie trade unions. This resulted in poor capital investment , outdated working practices and low productivity. A lot of these industries are now gone and will never return, it takes a long time to build and moments to destroy.

                By the way if you knew the slightest about economics you would know coal mining is not manufacturing (i.e.secondary) but a primary industry.

                1. Squander Two

                  Re: @ rm -rf /

                  > Thatcher just hammered the nails in the coffin by withdrawing subsidies ... Keynes ... trade unions ... outdated working practices ... [blah blah blah]

                  Sorry, are you saying that Britain now has a manufacturing sector or that it doesn't?

                  > if you knew the slightest about economics you would know coal mining is not manufacturing

                  And if you knew the slightest about basic reading comprehension, you'd have noticed that I was replying to this:

                  > the bitch _decimated_ British industry- not just manufacturing, anything with a broadly left wing working class workforce

                  I did it make it easy to spot by explicitly quoting it, but hey.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @ Naughtyhorse

                "Incidentally, more coal mines were shut under Wilson's governments than Thatcher's, but don't let facts get in your way."

                Suppose an industry is too large and needs to be 'rationalised'. Such happens. Only what is essential is left. Then someone else comes along and destroys most of that.

                1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Don Jefe

            Re: @ Don Jefe

            It's nice to know you don't understand your own point. That must make life fun for you. You said that machines were responsible for reducing employment in the British manufacturing sector. That's correct, but not complete.

            Because Britain isn't producing many complex things they can get by with simple machines that require fewer operators. Complex output and the advanced machines need to make those things have significant operator requirements and if complex production goes up, then so does employment. The simple circuit boards and low precision parts coming out if Britain don't need much to operate. Obviously an advanced high volume machine will need fewer operators, but a big pick and place machine can use 15-18 people, per machine, per shift, just to keep it fed. That's quite a bit more than the single operator making simple boards. I won't even bother with precision machining, there isn't any there.

            Thatcher didn't ruin anything. The idiots that put her in power and waved her banner did that. Hell, they're still doing it and I'm pretty sure some of them have even figured out how to use the government subsidized Internet to be 'virtual idiots'. Thatcher was far too stupid to ruin anything but your dinner and her marriage bed. I met her twice. The first time I went to England to present a paper and the second time about six years later.

            The paper was on research I had done with Titanium alloys in He cooling systems. Afterward she asked some prepared questions and I'm still 100% certain that dumb bitch had no idea what my paper was about or what the markings on her note cards meant. I was told it was an honor, I was afraid I had been brain damaged and my position at ORNL would be jeapordized as a result. I was able to restore full functionality after cleaning my brain and soul with copious amounts of bourbon.

            The second time was at a dinner and her protocol droids had obviously informed her we had met in the past. I denied ever meeting her and her look of panicked confusion, then the look of anger forged in the hottest fires of stupid from being embarrassed that caused her toady to turn pale will always be one of my fondest memories. Oh for a picture.

            So no, I blame that dumb slag for nothing. She couldn't have done anything positive, or negative, that a cucumber couldn't do.

            My point about France, Japan and Gernany was that I've got several million dollars in equipment from companies in each of those countries but none from Britain. It isn't cost or bias that's kept me from buying equipment from there. Hell, I'm certain it would be priced better because I can get manufacturing equipment from Britain through reduced duty ITA programs, but there's nothing to buy! Britain is consumption only as far as advanced manufacturing equipment, but I've got good trade both ways in France, Germany and Japan but Britain just buys, doesn't produce.

            1. localzuk

              Re: @ Don Jefe

              Seems some of the people commenting are still mixing up a decline in manufacturing with a reduction in manufacturing employees. We manufacture more now than ever before. We build more cars here now than every before. Sure, the companies aren't UK owned any more but we still do the work.

              Also, @Don Jefe - your anecdote about not being able to buy advanced manufacturing equipment from the UK makes no sense, in a wider look at the sector as a whole. The UK also doesn't manufacture cheap t-shirts. So what? We do manufacture many other things. We manufacture heavy plant machinery (a heck of a lot of it) for example. We manufacture satellites! We manufacture nuclear reactors! Boilers. Cars. Pharmaceuticals. Aircraft parts. The list goes on...

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @ Don Jefe

              "Britain just buys, doesn't produce."

              In the grand scheme of things its fair to say that the US is in the same basket as the UK. I'll take your views on advanced manufacturing equipment at face value, but that hasn't been a UK export strength except when the Bessemer converter was regarded as advanced. Problem is that one narrow sector isn't representative of a whole economy.

              Look at the analysis of recent US job reports - many of the old blue collar jobs lost (say in Detroit) have been replaced just as UK jobs have been with part time and lower value unskilled work. So although many but not all of your comments are accurate, your belief that the US is doing something different to the UK is wrong. The US likewise has a huge budget deficit, a huge trade deficit, and your economy is being hollowed out, with nothing but money printing to keep it afloat..

              If we look at balance of trade in goods, last year the US ran a deficit of about $700bn, the UK a deficit of about £100bn, say $150bn. Per capita that means the trade deficit for the US is $2.24k compared to $2.38k for the UK. So for a country that doesn't manufacture much of value in your eyes, I'd suggest that we're not doing much worse than you lot.

            3. Squander Two

              Re: @ Don Jefe

              > It's nice to know you don't understand your own point. That must make life fun for you. You said that machines were responsible for reducing employment in the British manufacturing sector. That's correct, but not complete.

              Well, of course it's not complete. You're right: I didn't list every single factor that has had any impact on either increasing or decreasing British manufacturing output over the last forty years. So fucking what? Since I was responding to someone who was repeating the popular myth that we no longer manufacture anything at all in Britain, I hardly think I needed to.

              However, I don't think you're making the right comparison. You're comparing the number of people required to operate a modern manufacturing process in various countries today, but, when people talk about the decline in British manufacturing, they're comparing today to the Seventies and earlier. And whilst some developed nations may well be using more manufacturing labour than the UK today, they are still using less than they did in those days. Because of machines.

              But I appreciate that you really wanted to just find a way of working the conversation around to yet again telling us all how many squillions of dollars you have. Oh, I see you have done so now. Well done.

              As for your anecdotes....

              > The paper was on research I had done with Titanium alloys in He cooling systems. Afterward she asked some prepared questions and I'm still 100% certain that dumb bitch had no idea what my paper was about

              What's your point here? Does anyone seriously expect any world leader to understand the specialist area of every person they meet? I'm sure it would be trivially easy to list a dozen sciences that Obama doesn't understand. It's trivially easy to list a dozen sciences that most scientists don't understand. And?

              > The second time was at a dinner and her protocol droids had obviously informed her we had met in the past. I denied ever meeting her

              You know why politicians mention previous meetings? It's to try and be polite. Yes, they are often using records instead of actually remembering, because they meet thousands of people. But they are at least trying to be nice. And, in response, you lied! In order to embarrass! How clever! It's interesting that you think that reflects well on you, but then you appear to also think turning every argument on El Reg into an excuse to mention your fabulous riches reflects well on you, so hey.

          3. airbrush

            Re: @ Don Jefe

            Well 40% of manufacturing in the early 80's, much of our knowledge based industry has been bought by French, American and German companies. The result of these sales is that the jobs and profits eventually go overseas, incidentally income inequality is now back at Edwardian levels. Great job. No ones being negative about Britain, what she allowed was a kind of unilateral disarmament of our industry. Remember when UK companies could make power stations??

            1. Squander Two

              Re: @ airbrush

              > what she allowed was a kind of unilateral disarmament of our industry.

              No matter how many times people repeat this, it is still the case that the UK's industrial output increased under Thatcher and has continued to increase (with a couple of blips during recessions) since. The ONS are now online, so don't take my word for it.

              I actually have no axe to grind here, believe it or not. I don't subscribe to the popular myth that manufacturing is somehow "proper" or "real" economic activity whilst services aren't, so I don't feel any need to claim that UK manufacturing is thriving in order to prove that our economy isn't screwed or whatever. If British manufacturing were dead, I wouldn't particularly mind. But the fact is that it's not.

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