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18 September 2007

Big boost to science research at University of Dundee

* Up to 100 jobs over five years
* New labs for Professors Sir David and Birgit Lane
* Creation of two new research divisions

The biomedical research base at the University of Dundee - already one of the largest in the UK - is to undergo another significant expansion through a multi-million pound investment which includes new laboratories for Professors Sir David and Birgit Lane.

The £6 million investment in the College of Life Sciences at Dundee will create two new divisions of Molecular Medicine and Molecular and Environmental Microbiology and see the development of a cell behaviour and tissue biology group.

The refurbished laboratories will provide the facilities required by Professors Sir David and Birgit Lane who are returning from their extended sabbatical in Singapore in January 2008 to lead the new Division of Molecular Medicine.

"This is yet another exciting development for Dundee, and it is great to be coming back here as the medical research base at the University continues to move from strength to strength," said Sir David. "This is the ideal place to be if you are doing this kind of research, and we look forward to continuing our work at the University."

It is anticipated the investment will generate up to £8-10 million of additional research income to the University and create up to 100 new jobs in the first five years.

The investment in new facilities has been made possible by a £2 million grant from the Wolfson Foundation and additional funding from Scottish Enterprise Tayside.

"This further development of life sciences at Dundee gives us one of the most intensive research environments in the UK," said Professor Pete Downes, Vice-Principal of the University and Head of the College of Life Sciences.

"We are vigorously pursuing a recruitment programme to add to the range of world-class researchers and staff we have here in Dundee. When completed, our complex will be home to one of the largest single-site research bases in the UK."

The new facilities will be based in the Medical Sciences Institute building at the University, which has undergone major refurbishment to provide a state-of-the-art research environment for this new phase in the development of the College of Life Sciences.

"This is a complete upgrading of the 1970s Medical Sciences Institute building to bring it up to the same standards as the adjoining Wellcome Trust Biocentre and Sir James Black Centre," said Professor Downes.

"We have created this major research complex in the space of only a decade, firmly establishing Dundee as an international centre for life sciences. We are extremely grateful to the Wolfson Foundation for their long and continued support of the development of life sciences - this £2m grant comes just three years after their £2m grant to finalise the construction of the Sir James Black Centre."

Scottish Enterprise Tayside director of operations Jill Farrell said: "Dundee is already a world-leader in life sciences and this expansion at the University will help commercialise research. We have invested nearly £1million in the expansion which will directly drive growth in the life sciences sector which in turn is good news for the Scottish economy."

The new facilities will underpin the College’s strategy for coupling basic research to the introduction of innovative models of knowledge transfer in the areas of drug discovery, biomarker development, diagnostic tools and smart, tissue-based drug screening technologies.

This strategy in turn builds on a successful track record in knowledge transfer and the application of key discoveries from fundamental research.

These developments will influence, more broadly, the Scottish capacity for knowledge transfer through collaborative initiatives such as Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance and the Translational Medicine Research Collaboration (TMRC).

Dundee is also expected to be the site for a national Scottish Institute for Life Sciences (SCILS).


For media enquiries contact:
Roddy Isles
Head, Press Office
University of Dundee
Nethergate Dundee, DD1 4HN
TEL: 01382 384910
E-MAIL: r.isles@dundee.ac.uk