Nobel Laureate opens Dundee's £26m Discovery Centre in Life Sciences

Discovery Centre opening

Nobel Laureate and President of The Royal Society of London Sir Paul Nurse has officially opened the new £26million Discovery Centre at the University of Dundee on Wednesday October 1st. The Discovery Centre is home to researchers supported by over £31million of research grants, bringing the investment in the total operation to well over £57million.

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 UK and one of the foremost academia-based centres in the world.

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 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, systems-level, 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 £5million, with matched funding by The University of Dundee, and a £12million award through the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund.

Other co-funders of the Centre include The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Wellcome Trust, GlaxoSmithKline, Medicines for Malaria Venture, Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines, the Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Enterprise, and several local charitable Trusts. The latter include, the Binks Trust, Leach Family Charitable Trust, Leng Charitable Trust, Lethendy Charitable Trust, The Margaret Murdoch Charitable Trust, Tay Charitable Trust, The Sylvia Aitken Charitable Trust and The Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust. The late Sir Kenneth Murray, one of the World’s most distinguished molecular biologists, also bequeathed a generous donation to the Centre.

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) also made a contribution towards a networking space in the Centre, thanks to the BBSRC Excellence with Impact Award won by the College of Life Sciences in 2011.

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.



The Wellcome Trust is a global charity dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. The Trust's breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. It is independent of both political and commercial interests.

The Wolfson Foundation is a charitable foundation set up in 1955. Grants are given to support excellence and to act as a catalyst. There is a continued emphasis on funding infrastructure for science and technology, health, education, and the arts.


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