University welcomes Tay Cities Deal announcement

A £40 million investment in two University of Dundee projects from the UK and Scottish Governments will create jobs and attract further investment.

Professor Sir Pete Downes, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University, has welcomed the news that the Tay Cities Deal has agreed to support bids for the Growing Tayside Biomedical Cluster, as well as for JustTech, the world’s first institute for innovation in forensic science.

The deal’s Heads of Terms Agreement, revealed on Thursday, announced support of £25 million for the biomedical cluster from the Scottish Government, and a further £15 million from the UK Government for JustTech.

Professor Downes said, “I am delighted to see our bids included in the Heads of Terms agreement. This will be an investment in the proven excellence we have developed in life sciences, plant sciences, medicine and forensic science research. We have world-leading innovation in these areas and the Tay Cities Deal will allow us to build on these strong foundations.

“This agreement of the Tay Cities Deal will have a great impact on Dundee and the surrounding areas, creating new jobs and attracting further inward investment. The city continues to move from strength to strength, with the University at its heart, and we are delighted to be working with local partners and both the UK and Scottish governments to further strengthen the economy in the Tay Cities area and stimulate innovation and enterprise.

“The hard work of delivering the projects can now start in earnest. We are in close contact with both governments and will be seeking to progress the delivery of the projects as soon as possible. We would hope to see a timetable for delivery in place within the next three months.”

The proposed Tayside Biomedical Cluster aims to build on Dundee’s world-renowned reputation for Life Sciences research and drug discovery. Incorporating the University of Dundee, NHS Tayside and Dundee & Angus College, the project promises to house and grow new BioTech and MedTech companies, as well as providing high quality training for a local workforce.

Professor Mike Ferguson, Regius Professor of Life Sciences, said, "Tayside is home to outstanding life sciences research and we are committed to ensuring our research has a significant impact on the quality of people’s lives.

"New companies generated in Dundee are at the forefront of life sciences innovation, for example in the automated design of new medicines and in creating data management systems to manage scientific and clinical data. The Biomedical Cluster project aims to catalyse a sustainable step change in innovation-led growth and the Tay Cities deal will enable us to accelerate company formation, company growth and deliver new jobs for the region."

JustTech, meanwhile, promises to capitalise on the University of Dundee’s burgeoning reputation in forensic science research. It will create a new economic cluster for the Tay Cities Region, harnessing the economic benefits of new knowledge while working with start-ups, SMEs and corporations to define, develop and deliver the science and technology needed to serve justice in countries across the world.

Welcoming the announcement, Professor Niamh Nic Daéid said, “The UK Government has invested in our JustTech vision - to build the world’s first institute for innovation in forensic science.

“JustTech will bring together industry, with forensic science practitioners, judges, lawyers, law enforcement and leading academic researchers to develop collaboratively the new tools and techniques needed for forensic science to better serve justice and to apply forensic science methods in the broader economy.