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THE UNIVERSITY OF DUNDEE. Research Highlights. History. Distinguished academic tradition dating back to 1881 Key contributions include: RADAR Keyhole surgery Computer screens Solar energy panels. Highlights.

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The university of dundee

Research Highlights


  • Distinguished academic tradition dating back to 1881

  • Key contributions include:

    • RADAR

    • Keyhole surgery

    • Computer screens

    • Solar energy panels


The University continues to engage in groundbreaking research applied to real-world problems:

  • World-leading research in Cancer, Diabetes and Cell Signalling

  • Translational Medicine

  • Accessible Computers

  • Civil Engineering and Architecture

  • Energy Management and Policy

  • Law

  • Art and Design

Research facts and figures
Research Facts and Figures

In 2007/8 research awards to the University of Dundee grew to nearly £90 million

  • Charities 40%

  • Research Councils 35%

  • Collaborative Research 13%

  • Industry 12%

    Dundee ranked 17 in UK annual research income – 3 by pro-rata (Research Fortnight)

Current research strengths
Current Research Strengths

The Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) rates the research quality of all UK Universities. In the most recent RAE (2008):

  • College of Life Sciences top in Scotland in bioscience and in the UK's top 5

  • College of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing in the UK’s top 5 in clinical sciences.

  • Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design top in Scotland for research in art and design, and one of the best in the UK.

  • Areas of continued strength: civil engineering, law and history, with computing, economics and nursing emerging areas of strength





GENETICS & HEREDITY   1070   16 %      

PHARMACOLOGY & PHARMACY   797   12 %      

CELL BIOLOGY   698   11 %      

BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES   541   8 %      

ONCOLOGY   536   8 %      

PSYCHOLOGY   504   8 %      




IMMUNOLOGY  421  6.4482 %      DERMATOLOGY   419   6 %      



INFECTIOUS DISEASES   315   5 %      


CHEMISTRY   282   4 %      

SURGERY   279   4 %      


BIOPHYSICS   268   4 %      

MICROBIOLOGY   267   4 %      

PATHOLOGY   266   4 %      

PHYSIOLOGY   263   4 %      

MATHEMATICS   262   4 %      


Source: ISI Web of Knowledge


Thomson Scientific Index ranked Dundee top university in the UK for research impact in Biosciences, surpassed only by the Institute of Cancer Research.

Institute of Scientific Information, Philadelphia found the University of Dundee

  • first in Europe in pharmacology and toxicology,

  • second in Europe (and first university in the UK) in biology and biochemistry, and

  • fourth in Europe (and second in the UK) in molecular biology and genetics.

College of life sciences
College of Life Sciences

With over 760 researchers and support staff from 55 different countries the College of Life Sciences is a dynamic research environment offering excellent research opportunities at every career level.

Expertise in the College encompasses biomedical, biological and chemical sciences, ranging from molecular structure and drug design to genetic and cellular control mechanisms and the anatomy and physiology of whole organisms.

Research themes
Research Themes

School of Research is headed by Professor Mike Ferguson.

Major Research Themes:

  • Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery (Prof A Fairlamb)

  • Cell Biology and Immunology: (Prof D Cantrell)

  • Cell and Developmental Biology: (Prof CJ Weijer)

  • Environmental and Applied Biology: (Prof G Gadd)

  • Gene Regulation and Expression: (Prof A Lamond)

  • Molecular Physiology


  • MRC Protein Phosphorylation Unit: (Prof Sir Philip Cohen)

College of medicine dentistry and nursing
College of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing

The College of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing is home to a number of world class researchers.

Research activity varies from understanding the genetic basis of disease to child care and protection.

Research themes1
Research Themes

Major research themes include:

  • Cancer

  • Cardiovascular and lung disease

  • Diabetes

  • Neuroscience

  • Population sciences

  • Medical education

  • Oral biosciences

  • Clinical dental sciences

  • Dentistry individual and population research

  • Early years and parenting

  • Improving care delivery and well-being

Translational research
Translational Research

Capacity for translational research enhanced by:

  • the Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) within the Division of Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery.

  • Translational Medical Research Collaboration

The university of dundee

The Dundee Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) aims to translate basic science to identify new drugs.

The DDU has two major research focuses:

  • neglected tropical diseases

  • innovative targets and pathways

The university of dundee

  • partnership of 4 leading universities (Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow), 4 NHS trusts, Scottish Enterprise and a global pharmaceutical company (Wyeth).

  • core research laboratory (in Dundee) linking with the four major clinical academic centres

  • to develop new drugs and treatments by focusing research on new tests for the diagnosis and monitoring of human diseases

College of art science and engineering
College of Art, Science and Engineering

  • The College of Art, Science & Engineering (CASE) has many leading researchers and research groups.

  • Some of our exciting new research initiatives involve collaborations that cross boundaries both within the College and beyond.

  • The College has particular strengths in civil engineering and art & design - both rated top in Scotland and among the best in the UK in the 2008 RAE.

Research themes2
Research Themes

  • Civil Engineering

    • Fluid Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering

    • Concrete Technology

    • Construction and Project Management

    • Structural Engineering

  • Applied Mathematics

    • Mathematical Biology

    • Numerical Analysis

    • Applied Analysis

    • Magnetohydrodynamics

  • Art and Design

    • Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design

  • Architecture and the Built Environment

    • Fieldwork

    • Environmentla Design of Buildings

    • The Geddes Institute

    • The Lightweight Structures Unit

  • Computing

    • Assistive and healthcare technologies

    • Computational systems

    • Interactive systems design

    • Space Technology Centre

  • Electronic Engineering and photonics

    • Materials Engineering

    • Photonics

    • Biomedical Engineering

    • Institute of Medical Science and Technology (IMSaT)

    • Mobile Computing and Smart Sensors

    • DUCRE - Dundee University Center for Renewable Energy

  • Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics

    • Biomedical Engineering (RPK, KD, GAT, APS, MSP, QZ)

    • Biomaterials (RPK, KD, MSP, QZ, EWA)

    • Biomechanics (EWA, ZH, HL)

    • Innovative Industrial Engineering (GAT, AKE, HL)

Space technology centre
Space Technology Centre

The Centre develops systems for autonomous spacecraft piloting and the management of spacecraft data both onboard and on the ground.

Research Themes:

  • Planetary Lander Piloting Technology

  • Satellite Data Reception

  • Spacecraft Onboard Data Handling


  • The Institute for Medical Science & Technology (IMSaT) brings engineers, physicists, mathematicians and life scientists together with clinicians, health service providers, and the private sector to research and exploit the developments at the interface between the biomedical and physical sciences.

  • Research themes include:

    • Diagnostic & therapeutic imaging (Andreus Melzer)

    • Drug delivery

    • Regenerative medicine

    • Minimally invasive surgical techniques

  • IMSaT's main centre is at Ninewells Hospital and Medical School and includes fully-equipped workshop with CAD/CAM facilities, laser cutting for instruments and implant production, tissue laboratory, imaging and photonics laboratory, and an interventional MRI, one of only two in the UK.

The university of dundee

Research is pursued by individuals, informal and formal groupings and long-term creative partnerships. This extends to contact and collaboration with researchers based in other areas of the College, the University, and with colleagues across the UK and abroad.

Collaborative externally-funded research projects comprise:

  • ‘Window to the West /Uinneag dhan Aird an Iar:

  • ‘The Demarco Archives: Accessing a 40-Year Dialogue between Richard Demarco and the European Avant-Garde’

  • 'REWIND-Artists’ video in the 70s & 80s'

  • 'Narratives in Expanded Cinema'

  • 'Project Atlantis: Environmental Resource and Protection’ (2003 - )

  • 'Learning is Understanding in Practice' (AHRC £243,008),


Research clusters:

  • Knowledge through making

  • Narratives, discourses and representation

  • Strategic design

  • Design, healthcare and wellbeing

  • Interaction design

  • Visualisation

  • Natural design

College of arts and social sciences
College of Arts and Social Sciences

The College of Arts & Social Sciences brings together an enormous range of scholarly research, embracing eleven disciplines. The portfolio ranges from single subject (Law, Psychology, Accounting & Finance) to the strongly interdisciplinary (the Postgraduate School), to those which are both multi-and interdisciplinary (Social and Environmental Sciences, Humanities, and Education, Social Work and Continuing Education).

Research themes3
Research Themes

  • Education and Social Work

    • Peer learning

    • Learning and Teaching

    • Medical Education

    • Disability

    • Child Care and Protection

  • Politics and International Relations

    • Regions – Europe, Portuguese Africa

    • Crime and terrorism

    • Institute for Transatlantic European and American Studies (ITEAS)

  • Psychology

    • Language, Cognition and Perception

    • Neuroscience and Development

    • Self and Identity

  • English Language and Literature

    • 19th and 20th Century,

  • Philosophy

    • European

    • 20th Century and contemporary

  • History

    • Early modern and 20th Century

    • Scottish

    • Architectural, cultural and urban histories

  • Geography and Environmental Studies

    • Environmental Systems Research Group (ESRG)

    • Human Geography Research Group (HGRG)

  • Economics and Econometrics

    • Globalisation, Regions and Government Policy

    • Discrimination, Distribution and Inequality

    • Incentives, Contracts and Policy, and

    • Firms, Markets and Economic Performance

    • Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE)

  • Accounting and Finance

    • Critical Accounting and Social Analysis

    • Financial Management and Markets

    • Management Accounting and Control

    • Financial Reporting and Corporate Governance

    • Islamic Finance

  • Law

    • Public and Private Law

    • Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy (CEPMLP)

    • UNESCO Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science


  • The Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy (CEPMLP) is an internationally renowned graduate school in the field of international business transactions and natural resources and energy law and policy.

  • An interdisciplinary approach to teaching, research and consultancy provides a unique perspective on how governments, business and communities operate, providing the professionals of today with the ability to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

  • CEPMLP won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade in 2004 - recognition of the high quality professional training and education delivered worldwide for the past three decades.

Unesco water centre
UNESCO Water Centre

  • The Centre operates under the auspices of UNESCO and is part of the IHP HELP programme.

  • Established in 1999, HELP addresses the core themes of UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme by establishing a global network of basins to improve the links between hydrology and the needs of society.

  • HELP uses hydrological science to support improved integrated catchment management and ameliorates the complex relationships between hydrological processes, water resources management, ecology, socio-economics and policy-making.

  • The Centre acts as the Regional Coordinating Unit for the 20+ European HELP basins.


The University has adopted a balanced approach to commercialisation which includes:

  • Research consortia

  • Licensing

  • Company creation


The University has patents and patent applications covering 120 technologies and earns over £1.4 in licensing income from its licensed technologies.

In the last 5 years the University has earned almost £10m from its intellectual property

Spin outs

The University has over 20 spinout companies and 3 associated start ups:

  • 10 of these are life science and medical device companies.

  • 15 spinouts have emerged since 2000.

  • Spin-outs, start-ups and inward investment companies have created over 600 jobs in the local economy

Research rewards
Research Rewards

  • Research income generated in 2007/8 - £87m

  • Dundee ranked No.17 in UK annual research income by Research Fortnight

  • Pro-rata equates to No. 3 in the UK

The university of dundee

an inspirational university with its head in the clouds and its feet firmly on the ground…”

Seamus Heaney