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Julia Brown, director of life and chemical sciences for Scottish Enterprise, explains how the Discovery Centre provides a significant boost for Scotland's life sciences sector.

The Discovery Centre at the University of Dundee will be home to researchers supported by more than £31 million of research grants and will create 180 new jobs. The university's college of life sciences already hosts 900 scientists, research students and support staff from 61 countries.

The centre will further develop Dundee’s drug discovery programmes - an area in which Dundee is the leading university in the UK and one of the top academia-based centres in the world.

The Discovery Centre was opened by Sir Paul Nurse, a Nobel Prize winning cell biologist with strong connections to Scotland and Dundee.

Sir Paul paid tribute to Sir Philip Cohen and his early leadership of drug discovery at Dundee, with his highly successful Division of Signal Transduction Therapy programme, and to Professor Mike Ferguson, who has been leading the university's strong charge to be the leading centre in Europe for drug candidate discovery.

The new centre, with its beautiful design, will bring together computer scientists, data analysers and biologists at sufficient scale to identify targets and translate potential ‘hits’ into really useful drug candidates. They will tackle drug development for cancer, inflammation and eczema, as well as neglected tropical diseases.

We contributed £1.2 million to the initiative to help the centre engage more with business. This is the key area for us. Our academic strengths in drug discovery are internationally recognised. Encouraging the translation of this expertise into drug development and building connections with our local company base, as well as facilitating international relationships, is a key priority.

The plan for this centre is to create the right environment for interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research, with clear access routes for industry. These research activities will contribute to the engine room of the life sciences sector in Scotland, building the opportunities of the future.

How we support drug discovery in Scotland