The University of Dundee has received £1 million to furbish a new centre that will foster the commercialisation of world-leading science while anchoring new biomedical companies and jobs in the city.
The grant from the Wolfson Foundation will help contribute to the costs of fitting-out the Tay Cities Regional Innovation Hub with the flexible, state-of-the-art laboratories and facilities required by high-growth companies seeking to develop new medicines and medical technologies.
The Innovation Hub is central to Growing the Tay Cities Biomedical Cluster, a project that will help the post-Covid recovery by marrying entrepreneurial expertise with Dundee’s strengths in life sciences research, drug discovery and medical innovation.
Work that has emerged from Dundee has significantly improved lives and advanced science across the globe. Despite this, a lack of sites capable of housing spinout companies generated from the University’s stellar research activity meant the city has struggled to retain the firms it birthed.
The Innovation Hub will fill this critical gap and a strong pipeline of new companies will be accommodated and supported through their high-growth phase. It is anticipated that construction of the Innovation Hub will commence early next year and it is scheduled to open in Autumn 2023.
Professor Iain Gillespie, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University, said, “We are delighted to receive this generous funding from the Wolfson Foundation, which recognises the potential of the Innovation Hub to make a real difference to people’s lives locally and globally.
“Following on from the announcement of the Growing the Tay Cities Biomedical Cluster funding announcement earlier this year, there is a real momentum behind our goal of making Dundee a powerhouse of the bioeconomy.
“Biomedical innovation activity is at an all-time high here, with a record number of companies ready to spinout from the University. As well as creating high-quality jobs and attracting investment, this innovation also means earlier access to health care advances for an area with considerable pockets of high deprivation.”
Independent economic assessment of the impact of Growing the Tay Cities Biomedical Cluster predicts that some 280 new biomedical jobs will be created by 2033, rising to 800 new jobs and over £190 million benefit to the local economy by 2053. The project has received initial funding of £25 million from the Scottish Government as part of the Tay Cities Deal, £20 million of which has been earmarked for the development of the Innovation Hub.
The Wolfson Foundation is an independent charity with a focus on research and education. Its aim is to support civil society by investing in excellent projects in science, health, heritage, humanities and the arts.
Paul Ramsbottom, CEO of the Wolfson Foundation, said, “We are thrilled to be able to continue our long partnership with the University by funding the new Innovation Hub. Dundee has a highly impressive research footprint in the life sciences, and it is this rich track record as well as the clear need for the Hub that stood out through our assessment process. Wolfson Foundation has its roots in Scotland and we remain committed to supporting outstanding research across the country.”
Kate Forbes, the Scottish Government’s Economy Secretary, added, “I’m very pleased that this funding will further enable the Innovation Hub to support high-growth companies to expand and create more skilled jobs in the biomedical sector, complementing our own investment in the project.
“The Scottish Government has committed £150 million to the Tay City Deal, as well as a complementary additional investment package of £50 million. This means we are investing a total of £200 million in the region. The commitments we have made with our partners will help deliver sustainable, inclusive growth in the region through funding for skills, connectivity and innovation, and make a crucial contribution to economic recovery and renewal in the years to come.”
Nobel Prize winning poet and honorary graduate Seamus Heaney has described the University of Dundee as ‘having its head in the clouds and its feet firmly on the ground.’ The ability to be both aspirational and down-to earth and to blend ground-breaking intellectual achievement with practical applications, has given the University its distinctive character.