Collaboration and the impact of the Tay Cities Deal were the talking points of the 19th annual BioDundee international conference yesterday.
Speakers said the attractiveness of Dundee as a place to live is a key component in bringing and retaining life sciences talent to the city.
Professor Andrew Atherton, principal and vice-chancellor of Dundee University, welcomed delegates to the conference and underlined the importance of the university to the life sciences sector.
This included the translation of research into drug treatments for illnesses including malaria and Alzheimer’s disease.
The keynote address was delivered by Julia Brown, sector portfolio director for Scottish Enterprise.
She told the near capacity audience at the West Park conference venue that Dundee is “truly a city that had seen a renaissance”.
She added that helping communities understand how medicines and science can bring real benefits to them and their children is “the most important communication challenge we face.”
“The environmental and demographic challenges for our people, our planet and our resources are significant, but these are also opportunities for creative innovation,” she said.
“From new medicines and devices to manufacturing processes the life sciences have had major impacts on agricultural, aquaculture animal and human health.
“Our sector is growing in breadth and depth, employing 39,000 people in addition to those working in the NHS.”
However, Ms Brown argued for greater collaboration and the need to think outside the box – to break down silos and work more closely together.
“Rather than the Zuckerberg, Silicon Valley mantra of ‘move fast and break things’ I urge you all to move together and build things.”
A number of speakers pointed to the Tay Cities Deal, which highlights that the biomedical sector sustains more than 4,000 high-value jobs in research, development and manufacturing, delivering work that has “global standing”.
The deal will see the Scottish Government provide up to £25 million as part of a package of measures.
Robin Presswood, executive director of city development for Dundee City Council, said the city is “absolutely scorching at the moment” and had secured “absolutely incredible accolades” and highlighted the top quality facilities the city offered life sciences sector.