University of Dundee

Societal Impact

The University's core purpose is to transform lives, locally and globally through the creation, sharing and application of knowledge. In Life Sciences we pursue this aim by ensuring our research and institutional expertise has societal impact through contributions to activities such as government policy and international development initiatives. 

A number of initiatives in the School are making societal impacts globally. Here are some exemplars:

Global Food Security

Our division of Plant Sciences was established in 2007, creating an internationally recognised centre based at the James Hutton Institute (JHI) for molecular plant science. Researchers are addressing the global challenges of food security, renewable energy, conservation and climate change.

A key initiative is the International Barley Hub. The Hub seeks to create a unique, integrated, open platform for the translation of barley research into economic, social, environmental and commercial impacts for the breeding, farming, malting, brewing, feed, food, health and related industries. Research organisations from low to middle income countries such as Ethiopia, where barley is a key crop, are also working with our researchers to address the challenges they encounter with this crop.

Developing drugs against Neglected Tropical Diseases

Our Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research (WCAIR) and Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) are developing new methods, technologies and processes that will make drug discovery for neglected tropical diseases faster and smarter.

Recent exciting programmes include the development of a single exposure treatment for malaria and the development of new therapeutics for the treatment of patients with visceral leishmaniasis. A recent award from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is allowing our scientists to continue to tackle tuberculosis.

Training those working within countries most affected by Neglected Tropical Diseases

Our Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research is developing the capacity for research in drug discovery by working with partners to train scientists from countries most affected by neglected tropical diseases through placements in Dundee, short courses, expert visits and online resources.


Outside the lab, our scientists serve on a number of funding committees, strategy boards and advisory groups that help guide policy makers to shape the current and future direction of science.