Work and Life in Dundee

The decorative panels on the outside of the Discovery centre, School of Life Sciences

WCAIR and the Drug Discovery Unit are embedded in the School of Life Sciences which has been consistently rated ‘5-star’ by the UK national Research Assessment Exercise. REF 2021 placed Dundee as the top-ranking University for Biological Sciences research, a position it  has maintained since the last REF exercise in 2014. Read the impact case studies from the DDU.

Dundee has twice been named ‘the best place to work in Europe’ in a poll of scientists conducted by The Scientist magazine. The School of Life Sciences is proud to employ staff from over 40 different nations. Read more about the professional support provided by SLS. The School has an Athena SWAN Silver award and is a signatory of DORA.

The diversity of our staff and students helps to make the University of Dundee one of the top universities in the UK. Family friendly policies, staff support networks for BME and LGBT staff, membership of Athena SWAN and Stonewall, as well a full range of disability services, create an enjoyable and inclusive place to work, .

The University of Dundee has received the Athena SWAN Bronze Award which recognises the promotion of gender equality and has made further commitment to advancing inclusive culture, which supports and encourages all under-represented groups.

You can read more information about the benefits of joining the University of Dundee and the support provide to staff here.

Inside one of the Chemistry Labs at WCAIR

WCAIR offers a stimulating environment with world-leading scientists in basic parasitology and mode-of-action studies as well as drug discovery, evidenced by over 158 papers published in the last five years, many in top ranking journals. There is a very interactive and open culture within WCAIR, with many collaborations between the different groups. There are also many opportunities for sharing and exchanging ideas such as weekly seminars, pizza lunches, 6-monthly symposia and an annual retreat.

The DDU is a globally acknowledged centre of excellence for drug discovery. The DDU collaborates with partners to translate world-class biology research into novel drug targets and candidate drugs to address unmet medical need across our two areas of activity, Diseases of the Developing World and Innovative Targets Portfolio.

The DDU works to Biotech style philosophy and standards, incorporating dynamic, goal driven project management based on Target Product Profiles and Compound Selection Criteria. Project goals are therapeutic area dependent but range from quality leads demonstrating disease model proof of concept, through to pre-clinical candidates. . The DDU has a proven track record of partnering/licencing new drug targets with industry and delivering pre-clinical candidates for neglected diseases, 3 pre-clinical candidates since 2013.

We have outstanding facilities including advanced high-content screening systems, large compound libraries, advanced liquid handling robotics, state-of-the-art BSL3 laboratories (for in vitro and in vivo studies), single-cell RNAseq equipment, a world-class proteomics facility, and highly experienced teams providing compound management, structural biology, computational chemistry, analytical chemistry and DMPK expertise to enable the drug discovery projects.

You can go on a virtual visit of our labs and further details for School of Life Sciences facilities can be found here


V&A and RSS Discovery

Dundee, set on the east coast of Scotland, lies in an area of outstanding natural beauty, including large sandy beaches and the Scottish Highlands less than an hour away ( ). The School of Life Sciences is on the University City Campus and has stunning views of the River Tay, Dundee city and Fife.

The city itself has plenty to offer with fantastic visitor attractions such as the striking V&A museum and the RRS Discovery ship, as well as the Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre; Dundee Contemporary Arts; MacManus Gallery and many individual artists. There are many diverse and individual restaurants and pubs creating a bustling nightlife. Discover more


The picturesque county of the Fife is very close to Dundee, indeed the Tay Road and Rail bridges connect the county with the city. Many members of BCDD live in the towns of Newport-on-Tay, Wormit and Tayport which border the south side of the river Tay just across from Dundee. These towns are so close to Dundee they can be reached very easily via car, bus or bicycle. On the edge of Tayport is the vast Tentsmuir Forest and Beach area, incorporating Tentsmuir National Nature Reserve, which provides wonderful space for walking, cycling and nature spotting.

Slightly further away, but less than 30 minutes by car for a relatively easy commute to Dundee, are the towns of Cupar and St. Andrews.  The latter is one of the UK’s most famous and historic towns, and is host to Scotland’s oldest university as well as the world’s most famous golf course, The Old Course.  There are many historical links between the Universities of St. Andrews and Dundee, and indeed many links and collaborations continue today on many different fronts.

Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh is within reach by an easy 1 hour 15 minute rail, bus or car journey from Dundee. Indeed, rail travel is convenient for cultural or shopping trips, as well as to the International Arts and Fringe Festivals which form the world’s largest arts festival and last for the whole of August each year.