Research impact

The core mission of the University is to transform lives locally and globally through the creation, sharing and application of knowledge.

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Our research tackles some of today’s most challenging problems, from social inequalities to climate change, from health and wellbeing to economic prosperity, from the depths of the sea to the edges of space. We work with policy makers, industry and civic groups in the UK and internationally to create practical and positive impact.

Social justice

The university’s research is addressing issues of social inequality locally and globally. Our impacts include improved access to oral healthcare for homeless populations in Scotland and Brazil, and the development of tools that help early-years educators identify and tackle language disorders in children – something that disproportionately affects children born into poverty. Our forensic expertise is helping to prevent illicit drugs entering prisons and is changing the way forensic evidence is communicated in courts, while researchers in our Geography and Environmental Science Unit have influenced global policy through the UN General Comment 21, which provides guidance to states on the development of national strategies for children in street situations.

Climate change

Climate change poses an urgent challenge to the ways in which we live and govern, as well as our natural environment. Researchers at Dundee are tackling the problems raised by climate change, using citizen science to empower communities internationally to gather data that enables them to challenge and change their local policies, improving their environment. In the UK, the work of our Law School underpins sustainable development law across devolved nations, and research by Dundee’s geographers provided the critical scientific evidence that led to the establishment in 2015 of the (then) world’s largest Marine Protected Area around the Pitcairn Islands.

Health and wellbeing

Collectively the Schools of Dentistry, Health Sciences, Life Sciences and Medicine have impacted upon standards of care around the world – their work has changed clinical practice, informed policy and widened access to healthcare. Impacts include the introduction of national cancer screening programmes in the UK, and the establishment of new standards for the regulation, provision and education of midwifery that have been adopted by governments on every continent. Research by Dundee’s Dental School informed the international reopening of dental services during COVID-19, and interdisciplinary research involving humanities, health and social science researchers has improved well-being for care home residents in Angus and Tayside.  

Economic prosperity

Our researchers work with industry, policy-makers and businesses to ensure our research is practical and relevant. Our engineering expertise is helping one local business to maintain its market leading position while simultaneously training the next generation of engineers, and research findings from the Business School provided evidence that has led directly to Scottish Government funding for women’s business. The university’s partnerships with global pharmaceutical companies have resulted in many millions of pounds of investment, revolutionising the development of new drugs and vaccines through artificial intelligence (AI) and pioneering the concept of network pharmacology, which combines biological network analysis with chemical biology approaches, to establish a new field of drug discovery.

Innovative technology

Dundee led research is being used to tackle problems in a range of industries and environments from sub-sea surveying and preservation of maritime heritage sites to space exploration and communication. Innovative work on technologies for sub-sea visualisation has improved our knowledge of underwater sites of significance and has enabled the recovery of remains of airmen lost during WWII. Our virtual test environments are being used to support future space missions and in online environments our AI technology is being used to teach school children how to identify fake news and help audiences navigate complex debates.


A virtual reality workshop

Impact through engagement

In 2020 the University achieved the Gold Watermark for engagement from the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE). The award acknowledges the university’s commitment to public engagement across all domains of society and in many different forms. Engagement with business, policy makers and civic organisations helps us to ensure our research is relevant and useful, generating positive impacts.

Delegates in discussion during a research seminar

REF impact case studies

The University of Dundee submitted 47 case studies to REF 2021 across 16 Units of Assessment, ranging from Clinical Medicine to Art & Design, reflecting the diversity of our research portfolio.

Read a selection of impact cases studies

Contact our Research Impact Manager

For further information about the impact of our research, contact our Research Impact Manager