£1million grant boosts academia-business links

30th April, 2011

Links between Tayside’s internationally renowned Life Sciences research institutes and businesses across Scotland are being strengthened through a funding package of more than £1million.

The University of Dundee, the University of Abertay Dundee, Dundee City Council (through the BioDundee project) and the James Hutton Institute (formerly the Scottish Crop Research and Macaulay Land Research Institutes), have been awarded £1,015,000 grant funding through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Scottish Government’s SEEKIT programme.

This award will fund the ongoing work of the Innovation Portal, based at the University of Dundee, and BioDundee and is also backing a new project, the BioPortal.

The BioPortal is an innovative new project designed to further enable Tayside research institutes to form stronger links with the Scottish life sciences industry by providing a match-making service of intellectual property and skilled postdoctoral researchers with needs of small-to-medium sized businesses, or SMEs.

The BioPortal project has been designed and developed by Research and Innovation Services at the University of Dundee to address specific barriers that prevent effective transfer of innovation from research institutes to SMEs. Barriers include the element of risk associated with technology development, the financial, human and skills shortages often experienced by SMEs, and the ability to identify and access novel technologies, which is a particular resource constraint for many small companies within the sector.

\'We are delighted with these awards of funding from ERDF and SEEKIT. It allows us to continue the good work of the Innovation Portal and BioDundee whilst also provide further focus on our excellence in Life Sciences at Dundee,\' said Diane Taylor, Director of Research and Innovation Services at the University of Dundee, and Chair of the Portal Steering Group.

\'Developing our Portal Business Model in this way demonstrates our commitment and ability to positively engage with the Scottish SME sector.\'

A key facet of the project will be to increase the ease of access by Scottish SMEs to the intellectual property of the Universities and JHI by introducing risk sharing and no- or low-entry costs to reduce the barriers to innovation for the companies. This new project has also created a new opportunity that will allow postdoctoral researchers to more readily move from academia to industry, generating a skilled workforce, and most importantly retaining that workforce in Scotland.

The project is being delivered by the Innovation Portal, based at Dundee University Incubator, and BioDundee through a new partnership agreement. The funding covers three years.

Over the course of the project Dundee and Tayside will benefit from an increase in sector-specific training programmes, workshops and networking events, as well as the revival of Scotland\'s leading life science newsletter, the BioDundee Update, which is circulated to over 14,000 international contacts.

The ERDF funding is made through the Lowland and Upland Scotland Objective 2 scheme.

Dr Fabian Seymour has joined the Innovation Portal as BioPortal Manager.


For media enquiries contact:
Roddy Isles
Head, Press Office
University of Dundee
Nethergate, Dundee, DD1 4HN
TEL: 01382 384910
E-MAIL: r.isles@dundee.ac.uk 
MOBILE: 07800 581902

<< Back to Announcements