Next generation of scientists present ideas at Dundee showcase

25/11/2022
Participants at UKRI’s engagement event at V&A Dundee

YOUNG people from across Scotland representing the next generation of scientists showcased their work yesterday (Thursday 24th November) at a major gathering of research and innovation leaders in Dundee.

The young people have recently taken part in the Nuffield Research Placements programme which offers post-16 students the opportunity to work alongside researchers in research and innovation settings so they can gain an insight into the world of research and its many career pathways.

All students are from disadvantaged backgrounds or are the first in their family to potentially attend university. The programme provides engaging, hands-on research projects, where students have the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to the work of their host organisation.

A group of this summer’s participants from across Scotland presented their work today at UK Research and Innovation’s two-day engagement event at V&A Dundee. UKRI, the largest public funder of research and innovation, supports the Nuffield Foundation programme which is delivered by STEM Learning.

Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, Chief Executive of UKRI, said:  “A huge range of skills and talents is needed to drive the UK’s world-class research and innovation system, providing an extraordinary diversity of rewarding careers, with something for everyone. People and their ideas are the bedrock of our system, and investing in talented young people and teams will help to unleash the UK’s full potential.

“This is why UKRI proudly supports the Nuffield Research Placements programme, which aims to build confidence in students’ scientific, quantitative and data analytical skills, while providing the opportunity to work alongside researchers and scientists, and the many professionals who work alongside them to drive progress.

“I hope the experiences provided by the placements will encourage and inspire young people to pursue future studies and careers in research and innovation.”

UKRI’s two-day event in Dundee is bringing together academics, policymakers, and business leaders across Scotland. The theme of the event is world-class ideas. The event is focused on how Scotland can continue to harness the power of some of its most impressive assets: the creativity and ingenuity of its talented researchers and innovators, and the many people, in many roles, with whom they work.

UKRI invests in a broad portfolio of research and innovation in Dundee and across Scotland. Examples include:

  • InGAME, a Dundee-based research and development centre, is showing how videogame design techniques, tools and technologies can be used to solve real-world problems. It is part of the Creative Industries Clusters Programme and funded by UKRI through the Arts and Humanities Research Council. One project, SmARtview is a feasibility study, which aims to create a new augmented reality tool to make improvements in dairy farming.The project uses artificial intelligence to identify individual cows through their distinctive markings. The tool will allow vets to see at a glance how productive and healthy particular animals are, allowing them to make quicker and more accurate interventions to improve animal welfare. 
  • The MRC Protein Phosphorylation & Ubiquitylation Unit (MRC PPU) in Dundee is a world leader in finding the causes of neurodegeneration, cancer, hypertension & immune disorders. The MRC PPU is arguably the largest and most prolific centre studying protein phosphorylation worldwide. The Unit’s leading expertise, housed in Dundee, has been instrumental in the establishment of world’s longest running collaboration between academic research laboratories and the pharmaceutical industry.This collaboration has yielded important results including an approved drug for treatment of a specific type of skin cancer.

Professor Leyser added:

“UKRI recently published our five-year strategy, signalling the start of an exciting new chapter for research and innovation in the UK.  Through our strategy, we will foster a diverse and connected research and innovation ecosystem across the UK and beyond, with support for the people, places and ideas needed to drive innovation and impact.

“Our vision is for an outstanding research and innovation system for the UK that gives everyone the opportunity to contribute and to benefit. Research and innovation in Scotland are at the heart of this vision, with Scotland’s inspirational track record of excellent practice providing the foundation for the future.”

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