Choose Devon is focusing on five sectors - advanced engineering and aerospace, creative, digital and tech, food and drink and lifestyle. 

But the county excels in plenty more, with significant growth in marine, data analytics, healthcare, life sciences and agri-tech sectors, manufacturing and professional services.

Science research, engineering, manufacturing and hi-tech industries have created a dynamic agrifood grouping within the South West Agritech Cluster. New and relocating companies focus on robotics and UAV, satellite and sensors, aquaculture, big data, apps and the Internet of Things.

Agri-tech research is driven by the Food Security and Land Research Alliance, comprising Exeter University, Devon’s Rothamsted North Wyke Farm Platform, Bath and Bristol Universities and Duchy College. The Alliance makes ground-breaking discoveries in global food security, crop, soil and land management, animal health and marine science, attracting business partners from across the world.

The MET office’s £97m Supercomputer at Exeter Science Park will advance environmental futures offering long-term, detailed global climate prediction and agri-management big data. 

Across Devon and the wider South West there are nearly 3,000 marine and maritime companies, including Babcock International, SEA, Cohort PLC, Marine Biological Association, MSubs, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Princess Yachts International, SC Group, Seiche, Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science and Valeport Ltd.

Oceansgate in Plymouth is set to become the first Government Marine Enterprise Zone in the country. 

One of the largest dockyards in Europe, with a complex of office and industrial buildings and docks for commercial use, it has direct deep-water access to the English Channel. Further development of office and industrial space for marine and advanced manufacturing companies is already underway, along with a new Marine Technology Centre.

The Universities of Plymouth and Exeter lead technology and innovation around the marine maritime industries including renewables, science, design and manufacturing, robotics and autonomous systems.

Plymouth is home to key marine bodies including The Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science (SAHFOS), the Marine Biological Association and Plymouth Marine Laboratory.

The Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership is a key organisation helping to drive investment in key infrastructure projects in many of these sectors both in Devon and Somerset.

Key facts from Heart of the SW LEP (Devon and Somerset)


  • 79.6% of working age population (aged 16-64) economically active (78% UK average)

  • 12.3% skilled trade occupations (10.4% UK average)

  • 5.8% process, plant and machinery occupations (6.3% UK average)

  • 3.9% unemployment rate (4.6% UK average)

  • 149,300 in professional occupations, 18% of all jobs (20.2% UK average)

  • 99,700 managers, directors and senior officials, 12% of all jobs (10.8% UK average)

  • Higher proportion of skilled tradespeople than the UK as a whole

  • Skills levels above national average, with 57.7% qualified at NVQ level 3+ (56.7% UK average)

  • Labour costs below average - at £12.33 per hour (£14 UK average)


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Thanks to Devon Wildlife Trust, Exeter City Council, Exeter Science Park, Kor Communications, The Met Office and case study brands for photo permissions.