Research & Publications

Over time we will build up an archive of useful research, publications and media articles – some our own and some from third parties – that will serve as a useful resource for our Members, academics, business and other bodies and people interested in the future of Cambridge.

Cambridge City Council Peer Challenge Feedback Report

Cambridge City Council were pleased to welcome a Local Government Association peer challenge team to the council in December 2017. A small team of senior officers and councillors from other councils came to Cambridge to see how Cambridge City Council works, how it is planning for the future, and how it is preparing to meet the challenges ahead. The council found the process valuable and challenging, assisted and informed by the involvement and responses of the many organisations it works with. The full report can be downloaded below and further details of the action plan the council now has in place for the next year, informed by the findings of the review can be found here.

Review of Web Lab Space and Incubator Space for the Life Sciences in the Cambridge Area

Authored by Nick Mansley, Cambridge Real Estate Research Centre, University of Cambridge, this commissioned report explores the current and future landscape of wet lab and incubator space provision for start-up and early-stage life science companies in the Cambridge sub-region. It examines the economics of this type of commercial space and the costs associated with supplying it. The report was kindly sponsored by AstraZeneca, Bidwells and Howard Group.  The report is designed to be read in conjunction with David Gill’s recently updated paper on ‘Cambridge Incubator Space – Engineering, IT & Digital’.

Cambridge Incubator Space: Engineering, IT & Digital

Cambridge Ahead has dedicated considerable thought to understanding the demand for – and drivers behind – flexible accommodation for high-potential firms around Cambridge. This report, authored by David Gill, Managing Director, St John’s Innovation Centre, Cambridge focuses mainly on ‘dry’ facilities typically used by engineering or IT-based start-ups, and is designed to be read in conjunction with the companion report ‘Review of Web Lab Space and Incubator Space for the Life Sciences in the Cambridge Area on ‘wet written by Nick Mansley of the Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge.

Cambridge Ahead Annual Publication 2017/18

With so much going on within Cambridge Ahead, we thought it was time to produce a comprehensive publication which tells you about the work we are currently doing as well as what we plan to do.  Whether you read this cover to cover, or just dip into the parts which you find most interesting, you will see that there is a lot going on. What is particularly exciting is that we are at a point in the history of this city where transformational change is, increasingly, a real possibility.

Prime Office and Lab Rents in Cambridge Surge Ahead: Bidwells Reports 8th September 2017

“Knowledge is power” is a quote most commonly attributed to Sir Francis Bacon but the principal is even more important in today’s economy.

Strong demand for office and lab space in the ‘Golden Triangle’ outside of London continues to push up rents. The first half of 2017 has seen prime office and lab rents in Cambridge and Oxford surge ahead as the UK continues to refocus towards the ‘knowledge’ economy.

Prime office rents in Cambridge shifted up by 2.7% to £38 per sq ft in the first six months of this year, whilst Oxford saw a staggering rise of 7.1%, with rents growing to £30 per sq ft.

On the counter side, Central London office rents moved into reverse, with prime rents in the City of London down by 6.7% to £70 per sq ft in h1 2017, whilst West End rents are down by 12.5% to £105 per sq ft.

Download the following two reports from Bidwells for their complete view of the office and lab market in Cambridge and beyond.

Office and Labs Autumn Report 2017

Cambridgeshire Office Labs Autumn Report 2017

Affordable Mass Transit for Cambridge and the Wider Region: Report 3rd July 2017

Cambridge is where the atom was split, the structure of DNA was discovered, the jet engine was created and where countless other world-changing ideas have and continue to be developed.

For 800 years the University, the City, and the wider Cambridge region have benefited from energetic collaboration between civic society, academia, and commerce. The last 50 years have seen a remarkable development of knowledge-intensive clusters that has made Cambridge a household name around the world, created the biggest entrepreneurial powerhouse in the world outside Silicon Valley, and made the area synonymous with science, technology, and creative thinking.

The result is a thriving, growing economy that is bringing jobs and opportunities for the whole region. But the rapid expansion means Cambridge and surrounding areas needs ever more, and better, housing and transport as well as a skilled workforce to sustain this success.

Increasing pressure on the transport network and the stifling effect of traffic congestion is a major challenge that needs transformative solutions to maintain growth and the quality of life for those who live and work in and around the city, and beyond.

This report continues the tradition of collaboration, taking an idea that originated within the University and developing it into a concept which might serve Cambridge and the wider region. In future, it may also serve the needs of many other small, vibrant, cities across the UK and abroad.

The Greater Cambridge Partnership (formerly City Deal) and Cambridge Ahead co-funded the study with the University, and worked together to ensure that it looks at the options for the whole travel to work area.

The study represents a truly creative approach to a very real problem: how to use new and future technologies to transform our local transport system to make better connections between Cambridge and surrounding towns and villages, but within a capital and operating budget that is affordable and viable for a small but growing city region.

The report illustrates the nature of what might be. It seeks to contribute to the debate, rather than proposing a definitive solution. It represents the continuing spirit of collaboration in Cambridge between civic, academic, and commercial minds and it will be one of the options to be considered as we develop our thinking on future transport for Cambridge and the wider region.

Download report


Attracting and retaining teachers in Cambridgeshire: Report 21st March 2017

The supply and retention of teachers in schools has been identified as a central concern for the city and the region, particularly given that much of the economic growth in and around Cambridge is dependent on the intellectual capabilities and skill sets of its workforce.

Cambridge Ahead commissioned research, carried out by RAND Europe, to investigate working conditions (pay, type of contract and employment status) and teacher flows (numbers of new entries to the profession as well as those leaving) in Cambridgeshire.

The report highlights an issue within our region that puts future economic growth at risk and, whilst confirming issues across all schools, particularly highlighted the challenges faced in the secondary sector, where there are too few new secondary teachers to replace those who retire or leave. This gap is even more pronounced in the STEM subjects.

Download Report


Why AstraZeneca chose Cambridge for its Global HQ and R&D centre 18/06/15

This short presentation by Shaun Grady, VP Business Development Operations, AstraZeneca is from the Cambridge BID event at the Cambridge City Hotel on 18th June 2015 and crucially explains why AstraZeneca chose Cambridge for its Global HQ & R&D centre.

The presentation covers:

  • Snapshot of AstraZeneca’s global business.
  • Main therapy areas.
  • Why AstraZeneca chose Cambridge.
  • The current dispositions of AstraZeneca’s employees around Cambridge.
  • Snapshot of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

Download the presentation

Cambridge City Deal explained by Cllr Tim Bick 18/06/15

Excellent short presentation by Cllr Tim Bick of Cambridge City Council on the Cambridge City Deal. This slidedeck covers:

  • What is the City Deal?
  • How is it run?
  • Transport Programme
  • Benefits and challenges

Whilst simple, this is amongst the best available of documents that clearly explains the City Deal. This presentation was made on 18th June 2015 at the Cambridge BID event at the Cambridge City Hotel.

Download the presentation

Cambridge Growth Project Phase 1 Summary by Cambridge Ahead 03/06/15

This short, 13-slide presentation is a summary of 2-3 years’ work by Cambridge Ahead and the Centre for Business Studies at Cambridge Judge Business School and represents Phase 1 of the Cambridge Growth project. The phases are:

  1. Analysis of existing economy and recent growth
  2. Bottom up forecast of growth and local barriers to growth
  3. Review of spatial growth options

The presentation reveals the methods used to analyse the local economy and also the sources of its growth.

The methods are of interest because they segment Cambridge organisations according to whether they are knowledge-intensive (KI) or not, and distinguish as to whether they are Cambridge-registered, Cambridge-trading, Non-corporate, Public sector, and sole trader/partners. The methodology created will enable us to repeat analysis and track growth annually.

The three drivers of Growth are revealed to be:

  • Cambridge-registered KI companies.
  • University and other research laboratories.
  • Outside companies, often large multinationals, acquiring locally or setting up own operations.

This slidedeck was first revealed publicly on 3rd June 2015 at a breakfast seminar at the Møller Centre, Cambridge. See more info including video.

Download the Growth Project Phase 1 Summary

Quality of Life in Cambridge Survey Summer 2014

This 84 page slidedeck gives the results of a survey of thousands of employees which reveals what employees of businesses and organisations feel about their quality of life in Cambridge. Respondents were not just asked about overall quality of life but also for more detail on their use and the quality of local services across a range of areas, including health and transport.

The research was undertaken by RAND Europe, an independent research institute in Cambridge and member of Cambridge Ahead. Cambridge Ahead was well-positioned to conduct the survey as its then membership of 28 organisations contributed the majority of the target audience. The balance came from employees of the three councils, and John Lewis. In total, over 30,000 employees were canvassed, approximately 30 per cent of the total working population of Cambridge and there were over 4,800 responses.

The hard data continues to be analysed but it is hoped that the results of the survey will enable Cambridge Ahead to work alongside other organisations and the Government to find ways to improve the quality of life for all workers in Cambridge. It is intended to publicly share the hard data later to enable organisations and individuals to conduct their own analyses.

Download the survey results

Cambridge Ahead interviewed by Cambridge Business magazine

This article is an interview of Jeremy Newsum (Chairman) and Jane Paterson-Todd (CEO) of Cambridge Ahead by Jenny Chapman, the editor of Cambridge Business magazine. The feature appears in the Jan/Feb 2014 edition of the magazine on pages 44-47. View or download the article

Good Growth for Cities – a report by PwC

The national economy is picking up yet there is some way to go yet before the recovery is secure. Cities have a critical role in achieving long term growth and reducing the structural deficit. But how should they define their economic success? We know from our ongoing research with think tank Demos that the public wants growth that’s financially, socially and environmentally sustainable. Good Grow this not just about GDP or GVA, but broader measures of economic wellbeing.

PwC, a member of Cambridge Ahead, has produced it’s latest Good Growth for Cities Index which measures the performance of the UK’s largest cities against a basket of ten categories defined by the public – and business – as key to economic wellbeing. Jobs, health, income and skills are deemed most important – they’re fundamental to living standards. Housing, transport, sector balance, income distribution, work-life balance and the environment are also considered important.

Download the report (PDF)

Cambridge Ahead Launch brochure

The brochure is a 6-page item produced specifically for the launch of Cambridge Ahead and contains identical information found on this website. You can download a pdf of the brochure via the link below or contact our PR agency who can send you a printed copy by post.

Download brochure (PDF)

The Business of Cities: The private sector, Local Enterprise Partnerships and growth

Shortly after the Coalition came into power, they established Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPS), private-sector led organisations designed to incorporate business in the leadership of cities. Yet we know very little about exactly how and why businesses are interacting with LEPs. This paper considers business engagement in LEPs.

Download the report (PDF)

A meeting of minds in Cambridge: key figures from Silicon Fen’s tech economy

This article was taken from the May 2013 issue of Wired magazine and is featured because it reveals 23 of Cambridge’s ‘tech  stars’. With the help of Charles Cotton of Cambridge Phenomenon, Amadeus Capital Partners’ Hermann Hauser and Alex van Someren, and serial entrepreneur and investor Sherry Coutu, Wired gathered as many of the city’s tech stars as could fit into the stairwell of The Fitzwilliam Museum. “This was a historic gathering of people,” says Coutu. “We see each other often, but have never all been in the same place”.

There are now over 1,500 technology companies, employing more than 53,000 people, in Cambridge’s “Silicon Fen”. They’re attracted by a combination of entrepreneurialism and innovation “unrivalled probably anywhere outside the US”, according to Charles Cotton, technology investor and author of The Cambridge Phenomenon: 50 Years of Innovation and Enterprise.

Read the article

2030 Vision for the Cambridge sub-region

Cambridge and the surrounding sub-region make a significant contribution to the national economy, but different groups from unconnected sectors must work more closely together to ensure that the area’s full potential is realised and that growth doesn’t compromise local quality of life. That call to action is one of a number of findings published in ‘2030 Vision for the Cambridge sub-region’.

Download Report (PDF)