Press release

Levelling Up Fund to benefit University initiatives

Published on 10 May 2024

Two University of Dundee initiatives are to benefit from millions of pounds of UK Government investment.

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The University’s Centre for Targeted Protein Degradation (CeTPD) and a collaboration between Thorntons solicitors and Dundee Law School are to receive a combined £3.1 million from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities’ Levelling Up Partnership. The award was announced by Jacob Young, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Levelling Up), following a visit to the University on Thursday.

The CeTPD, a research centre at the heart of a revolution in drug discovery, is to receive £2 million to develop the next phase of its dedicated building on the Technopole site. Meanwhile, £1.1 million has been awarded to facilitate a dedicated space for the integrated delivery of education and innovation in law and technology, which will be operated as a collaboration between Thorntons and the University’s Law School.

Research at the CeTPD utilises Targeted Protein Degradation (TPD), whereby proteins in the cell that lead to disease are targeted for removal, or degradation, using molecules called degraders. 

Professor Alessio Ciulli, from the University’s School of Life Sciences, is a leading figure in TPD. Degrader molecules developed by himself and his team are now utilised around the world in the quest to develop new treatments for illnesses such as cancer, as well as dermatological and neurological conditions. TPD research has attracted billions of pounds of investment globally in recent years, with Dundee widely recognised as a world-leader in the field.

Under Professor Ciulli’s directorship, the Centre is expected to double in size over the next five years and support more than 120 high-skilled jobs. It will also support and create new spinout companies, translating research into commercial products that can benefit patients across the world.

Professor Ciulli said, “Since 2019, we have worked together to build our initial CeTPD facilities to time and on budget, staffed it, installed initial critical instrumentation and infrastructure, published some of the field’s most recent breakthrough papers, and continued to make progress on our drug discovery programmes toward the clinic.

“We really see this as only the tip of the iceberg in the field. Now, we want to push forward our vision to unravel the full potential of TPD and accelerate the development of novel tools and therapeutic molecules in areas such as cancer, immunology and neurodegeneration. This instalment of funds is very welcome indeed and will greatly help us achieve this goal.”

The changing use of technology in law firms is to be addressed by a new project between the University’s Law School, in conjunction with leading Scottish law firm Thorntons, which is based in Dundee.

While the legal sector has been quick to embrace new technology, law schools can struggle to keep up with this unprecedented rate of change. The investment will allow students to work with the latest technology and see how it is being used in practice, ensuring that the curriculum prepares them fully for the workplace. It will also allow students, staff and legal practitioners to collaborate on developing innovative products and services for legal, and other professional services, companies.

Professor Sarah Hendry, Head of Dundee Law School, said, “We are delighted that there will be investment in Dundee. This investment will enable the University and the Law School to further develop our cutting-edge curriculum, whilst bringing the best graduates to Dundee and expanding highly skilled jobs in both law and technology into the city.

“This expanding area of practice needs practitioners, academics and law-tech specialists to work together, to ensure that the lawyers of the future have the skills they need to meet the pace of change in the workplace and in wider society. “

Dr David McBeth, the University’s Vice-Principal for Enterprise & Economic Transformation, said, “The University is delighted that the Levelling-up Partnership has recognised the important role we have to play in the economic transformation of the city of Dundee, and the wider Tay Cities region. 

“These investments will each deliver positive impacts on employment and skills in our city, and we hope they will help underline Dundee’s growing economic strengths in health and life sciences and in professional services.

“The CeTPD investment will make it ready for the next phase of its growth in collaboration with global pharmaceutical companies, while the investment in our Law School’s partnership with Thorntons has the potential to make Dundee a focal point for innovation in professional services.” 


Jonathan Watson

Senior Press Officer

+44 (0)1382 381489