BioDesign for the Dundee

Dundee University, I learned recently, has great ambitions to become Scotland’s highest ranked university within 25 years. It is pursuing a new entrepreneurship and innovation strategy which is currently being worked on by Alastair McGill to help it achieve this goal.

I spent a few days up in Dundee this month and will write a few notes on my visit. I delivered a workshop on Stanford’s BioDesign programme as a model I think could work really well for the university and Dundee as a City. The event was hosted by BioDundee. Later that evening we attended a life sciences dinner that was hosted by Deborah Spencer, a PhD Student at the University of Abertay’s Business School, and a business development director for the BBSRC.

Dundee has never really recovered from the loss of industry after the decline of the industrial revolution. It has been somewhat forgotten by policymakers and is too far away from Aberdeen to benefit from the oil industry boom there, and also too far away from Edinburgh or Glasgow to have its economy more than slightly stimulated by all the good things going on in these two cities. This could be the reason Dundee voted 57% in favor of YES during the recent Scottish Referendum on Independence.

However, the City is trying to enter the new age and I believe that medical device innovation is a great way to leverage the core strengths of Dundee. I can see it becoming the  medical device invention capital of the UK. Even broader than that, medtech in general. I met a couple of up and coming bioinformatics companies there as well.

Dundee has a creative spirit and open-minded people who are welcoming to change, overall. Its an emerging story that the Academic Entrepreneur will be following.


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  1. #1 by Kenny Fraser (@sunstonecomms) on December 23, 2014 - 17:53

    Interesting article. There is a great history of innovation and strong start up community in Dundee which will surely help. My own area of interest is innovation in business models and I feel it is the business model aspect that is sometimes missing from academic thinking in Scotland.

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