We are masters of innovation – find out why!

by | Jun 13, 2017

The University of Dundee is Scotland’s ‘Most Innovative University’ for the second year running, putting us among the top universities in Europe that are “doing the most to advance science, invent new technologies, and help drive the global economy” – Reuters Most Innovative Universities 2017.

This accolade is a reflection of the excellent research ongoing at our university, in diverse fields from drug discovery to concrete technology to human-computer interaction. There is no one-size-fits-all blueprint for success in innovation that can be applied to all of these areas. However, we do have a strong culture of entrepreneurship, collaboration and interdisciplinarity that inspires our students and staff to make an impact beyond the regular learning and teaching environment.

Often, research at the University can provide novel solutions to the world’s problems. Research and Innovation Services (RIS) supports our staff to get their ideas and inventions out the door, to make that impact on industry, society and the economy, through licensing, consultancy, knowledge transfer, collaborative R&D, and spin-outs.

Supporting innovative collaborations

We’re one of the top universities in the UK at securing income from industry for research according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2017. RIS support our researchers to develop long-term, strategic collaborations with local and global businesses. For example, look at our growing relationship with CERN, or our partnerships with the world’s leading pharma and biotech companies including GlaxoSmithKline and Boehringer Ingelheim.

These types of relationship are mutually beneficial, where the industry partner can access the state-of-the-art facilities and expertise at the University, while our research has a defined pipeline for impact.

As an example of ongoing impact, we joined forces with local company Rautomead in a ‘Knowledge Transfer Partnership’ back in 2012, and the success of the project has led to improved capacity and performance of the continuous casting equipment at the company. Our research work has helped to secure the company’s position for future business success through the strengthening of the technical capability and product offering, allowing the development and sale of several improved machines with a revenue of several million pounds. Rautomead currently has more than 300 machines operating in 45 different countries worldwide.

We are also preparing for future innovations by targeting new streams of funding. Earlier this month, we awarded ten projects pump-priming funds to help build partnerships that can tackle global challenges, enabling access to the Government’s £1.5 bn Global Challenges Research Fund. The projects include improving oral healthcare programmes in areas of conflict, transforming mining law in resource-rich developing countries, and building networks to better support the mental health of refugee children and families.

Forming new businesses

We have over 20 active spinout companies which have taken research from the University and translated it into thriving technologies, products and services. All of the companies are still based in Scotland, contributing to the local economy, and many of the companies’ founders have continued to excel in their academic careers at the University. For example:

STAR-Dundee develops technologies for space satellites. Founder and Director of STAR-Dundee, Professor Steve Parkes, is a Chair of Electronic Systems in the School of Science and Engineering.

Glencoe Software makes data and image analysis software. Founder and CEO, Professor Jason Swedlow, is a Professor of Quantitative Cell Biology in the School of Life Sciences.

My Diabetes My Way provide an interactive website to support people who have diabetes, and their family and friends. Founders Dr Deborah Wake, Clinical Senior Lecturer, and Dr Scott Cunningham, Technical Consultant, are both based in the School of Medicine.

ADUS DeepOcean specialises in high-resolution sub-sea surveys of shipwrecks, archaeological sites, wind turbines and oil rigs. One of the founders, Professor Chris Rowland, is a Professor of 3D Visualisation in DJCAD.

In addition, the newly formed Centre for Entrepreneurship at the University is establishing a unique business accelerator, in partnership with Elevator UK. The Centre’s vision is to help further develop and support an entrepreneurial and enterprising culture in Dundee, positively contributing to the area’s economic health and to job creation.

Making an impact

RIS help identify, protect, manage and exploit the University’s intellectual property, and we have an extensive portfolio of patents. You can browse our live licensing and collaboration opportunities on the University website. We support commercialisation of our research, and we have over 200 live licences for IP spanning antibodies, software and medical devices. Some of our successes were highlighted in a recent special report on Innovation & IP in The Herald.

Over 30% of the University’s funding comes from research, and for every £1 of Scottish Government funding, the University generates £7 for the local economy.  We’re consistently one of the Top 20 universities in the UK when it comes to citations, an indication of the importance of our research and our ability to share our knowledge with the global research community.

Is your innovative collaboration award-winning?

RIS are sponsoring the new ‘Enterprise in Education’ Award at this year’s Courier Business Awards. The category is open to all spin-out companies formed out of research/ideas generated from within the education sector, and also to spin-in companies who use the services of an education institution to turn a concept into a commercial reality and develop an existing business.

Find out more and apply online, before 29th June, at Courier Business Awards.

Can you help us be the most innovative University in Scotland in 2018?

If you think you have a new idea or a novel invention that may be interesting to industry or other organisations, get in touch with RIS to see how we can support you:

Any queries, get in touch with Orla Kelly, Knowledge Exchange and Marketing Managers in RIS.

Research and Innovation Services