Press Release: Smart Centres Index 2

Tuesday, 22 December 2020


In the second Smart Centres Index (SCI 2), New York takes the top spot from London, while Singapore holds third place.

The top 10 centres in SCI 2 are all in countries with a high performing university sector across the fields of Engineering & Technology, and Mathematics, each having multiple universities rated in the top 20 worldwide in these subjects. A strong research and teaching base is important in building a technology and innovation culture.

An interesting point in the results is the high ratings of Oxford and Cambridge in the UK, which may highlight the importance of clustering, with these cities along with London forming a close network of academic and business development and collaboration.

Index Results

  • Three of the top ten places in the ranking are taken by US centres, and three are taken by UK centres, with Oxford and Cambridge rising in this edition of the index.
  • The leading centres are strong across all three of the SCI dimensions - Innovation Support, Creative Intensity, and Delivery Capability.
  • Despite the dominance of US and Western European centres, Chinese contenders strengthen, and centres such as Singapore, Tel Aviv, or Dubai show that in the future, centres will be more evenly distributed across the globe.

The top 20 ranked centres in SCI 2 are shown in the table below:

SCI 2 Top 20.png

Full details of SCI 2 can be found at

Professor Michael Mainelli, Executive Chairman of Z/Yen, said:

“Innovation for its own sake is worthless. The goal is to improve society and the economy by addressing the challenges we face together. Through the Smart Centres Index, we are detecting deep changes around the world as smart centres proliferate, expand, specialise, and integrate with increasing rapidity. We look forward to the continued success of cities and innovation clusters across the world and to the increase in collaboration for success.”

We invite all those with an interest in the development of innovation centres to take part in SCI 3 by rating the financial and commercial centres you know here –


Notes For Editors

About SCI 2

The SCI is a factor assessment index, combining a number of instrumental factors - data measures drawn from a range of data providers across the world - and assessments given by business and finance professionals of three dimensions related to innovation and technology in major commercial and financial centres:

  • Innovation Support - the approach taken to regulation and support for the innovation and technology industry provided by the commercial ecosystem.
  • Creative Intensity - the extent to which technology and innovative industries are embedded in the economy of the centre.
  • Delivery Capability - the quality of the work being undertaken in the field in the centre.

These dimensions are brought together in the overall SCI ratings to produce the index, which is updated every six months. SCI 2 was compiled using 126 instrumental factors. These quantitative measures are provided by third parties including the World Bank, The Economist Intelligence Unit, the OECD, and the United Nations. The instrumental factors were combined with 1,508 assessments provided by 220 respondents to the SCI online questionnaire.

To find out more about sponsorship opportunities, joining the Vantage Financial Centres network, further research, and bespoke reports on individual financial centres, please contact us.

Previous Editions

Previous editions of the SCI can be accessed at

Z/Yen & Long Finance

Z/Yen is the City of London's leading commercial think-tank. It was founded in 1994 to promote societal advance through better finance and technology ( The SCI is part of Z/Yen’s research into economic centres alongside the Global Financial Centres Index and the Global Green Finance Index.

For more information please email Mike Wardle at or phone on +44 (0) 7880 737319.