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Discovery Centre Opens in Dundee


On the 1st October, Sir Paul Nurse , Nobel Laureate, President of The Royal Society of London, and EMBO Secretary General, officially opened the new £26 million Discovery Centre at the University of Dundee. The Discovery Centre is home to researchers supported by over £31 million of research grants, bringing the investment in the total operation to well over £57 million. The Discovery Centre for Translational and Interdisciplinary Research will further enhance Dundee’s internationally renowned life sciences capacity, including in drug discovery – an area in which Dundee is the leading University in the United Kingdom and one of the foremost academia-based centres in the world.


Credit: Lewis J. Houghton


The new Centre will provide 180 new, externally funded, high-value jobs for Scotland’s Life Sciences sector. They will join around 900 scientists, research students and support staff from 61 countries who are already based in the College of Life Sciences at Dundee.


“This is a major new facility which will significantly boost Scotland’s biomedical sector and help us make an impact on people’s lives around the globe,” said Professor Michael Ferguson, Regius Professor of Life Sciences at Dundee.


“The Centre will further develop our already very strong drug discovery programmes in neglected tropical diseases and in other areas of unmet medical need, such as cancer, inflammation and eczema.”


The Centre is also home to a new research division of Computational Biology, incorporating Bioinformatics, Biophysics, Data Analysis and Software Development, and a Laboratory for Quantitative Proteomics, integrating expertise in cell biology, mass spectrometry and “big-data” analytics.


“These highly interdisciplinary and high-tech activities are essential to the future of life sciences research and provide many opportunities,” said Professor Ferguson. “The Centre will also provide an in-house biotech spin-out “pre-incubator,” where fledgling spin-out companies can be nurtured before reaching critical mass.


“We are extremely grateful to the organisations and individuals who have generously supported this major investment in Life Sciences at Dundee.”


Sir Paul Nurse said, “I am delighted to be opening the Discovery Centre. Life sciences research in Dundee has an international reputation and this new centre provides exciting opportunities to bring different disciplines together, each bringing expertise to bear on aspects of larger, systemslevel problems relating to biology, drug discovery and drug design.”


The Discovery Centre has attracted funding from public, private and charity sources, including a peer-reviewed Wellcome-Wolfson Capital Award in Biomedical Science of £5 million, with matched funding by the University of Dundee, and a £12 million award through the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund. The Centre also received substantial funding from several charitable trusts, government funding agencies and research councils as well as a significant donation from the late Sir Kenneth Murray, one of the world’s most distinguished molecular biologists.


The facade of the building features large anodised aluminium cladding panels incorporating artistic abstractions representative of four key scales of life science research: molecular, organellar, cellular and tissue. The scientific images have been translated into artwork by Professor Elaine Shemilt and her team from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design. In addition, the new Centre contains a gallery called LifeSpace for art-science collaborative projects.






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Tilmann KießlingTilmann Kießling
Head, Communications
T. + 49 160 9019 3839