University of Dundee Strategy

Principal’s introduction

We are living through times of great change and uncertainty. As a community, we need to recognise our responsibility to face this moment, and bring all our different forms of knowledge, listening skills, creativity, and determination to help meet the challenges ahead. 

Climate change, biodiversity loss, and social exclusion present some of  the most severe risks to global stability and must be tackled urgently, consistently and clear-headedly. At the same time, the rise of populism has undermined the value of expertise and the purpose of learning, while debate has opened up about the ‘value’ of higher education. 

All this has come alongside COVID-19, and a pandemic that has caused an economic shock at least three times worse than the 2008 financial crisis as well as rising concerns around global security. Those already facing social and economic disadvantage have been disproportionately affected, including significant impacts on population health, wealth and, perhaps most worryingly, hope for the future.  

These issues impact us all, drawing into focus the systemic barriers that hold too many people back. I believe the greatest contribution we can make to tackling these global challenges and systemic inequalities is sustained action within our University, across our community, and through our world-wide networks of partners. In particular, our strong and vibrant partnership with our students, current, past and future, is essential for ensuring that the education and student experience we offer are amongst the best in the world.  

We are well placed to deliver, firmly rooted in Scotland’s City of Design, a beacon for innovation and regeneration, belonging to a strong creative culture, and ranked as a top University globally for climate action. 

We don’t blithely claim to attract the brightest minds, we grow them. None of us arrives fully realised. We are all students, we are always learning through challenges, through meaningful and respectful interactions with each other, and across boundaries and perspectives. What unites us is that every one of us belongs to Dundee, contributes to a shared set of values, and helps shape our driving sense of social purpose. 

We are here to help each other set meaningful goals, inspire each other, and empower one another to have positive impacts. That is why our consultation process was so important to me in developing this strategy. I would like personally to thank every student, member of staff, and friend of the University who took the time to input – whether in one of our open sessions, via email, through staff and student focus groups, or engagement with DUSA and other representatives. 

Together we must build on their contributions to form a strong partnership for change. Change will bring new opportunities, but it will also bring challenges. We must meet and overcome these challenges as a caring community and I do not take that for granted. I will make sure that through the planning and delivery of our strategy we continue to ensure time for reflection, opportunities to collectively reimagine our goals and norms, and to keep developing our intelligence.  

This strategy aims to develop the University of Dundee as a place where we can each grow our abilities, where people come to be stretched, to contribute, and to have positive impact on the world. 

To do that we need to be fiscally responsible as we look to secure the future of our triple intensity across Research, Education and Engagement. We need to be more permeable – open to new ideas, understanding changing needs, collaborating across boundaries, widening access to education, and fully realising the breadth of people who have a stake in what we do. 

We have a huge opportunity to build on the social contract we have in our University and with our city to advocate for our values, and to grow our capacity to transform lives. As we succeed  we will ensure we remain: of, and for, Dundee. 

Professor Iain Gillespie 
Principal and Vice Chancellor

DUSA President’s Introduction

When you become a student at the University of Dundee you automatically become a member of the Dundee University Student Association (DUSA), and you also become a stakeholder of something far wider and far greater: the future of the University of Dundee and the future of the broader community. 

We are experiencing a milestone moment for our university, as we collectively attempt to ambitiously redefine our strengths, our dreams, and our presence in the post-COVD-19 era. None of us should take for granted the ability to benefit from a first-class education, and to participate in the intellectual community of a world-leading, research-intensive institution, that is consistently recognised as one of the best institutions of the nation for student experience. We should cultivate it as a gift and share it with others.

Our university is distinguished amongst so many great others for its student experience because at its heart lies the importance of student engagement and its identity derives from its colourful, proud and diverse student community.

Student representation will be key to the University’s ongoing success, and I warmly endorse this document’s commitment and emphasis to include student representation as a key factor on all the decisions made within the institution. This is evidence of the importance of student engagement in the consultation. The feedback and insights of students have made this strategy stronger, and I look forward to seeing this partnership developing and impacting communities and individuals far beyond the borders of our campus.

This is perhaps the most exciting era to be part of the Dundee community. We now have a university strategy that aligns with DUSA’s vision of a kinder, greener, more diverse global student community. Only by working together can we create a real opportunity to leave behind a memorable legacy over the next five years, to help ensure these themes of DUSA’s vision are part of what makes Dundee different and a leader in the sector. Social purpose is at the heart of the University’s Strategy, and this represents a call to action for all students to show what marvellous things we can do by engaging meaningfully, dynamically, and with compassion to help shape and deliver impact in the world. 

The Strategy paves the way forward, but what matters is not only the Strategy itself but how we can ensure its fruitful materialisation. I know there is much to be done together in the years ahead, but I am certain that Dundee students will bring passion, energy and precious insight to the task that will guarantee the effectiveness of this document. 

DUSA and the University will continue to work as strong partners to develop an institution that will provide opportunities to all students to be active members of our community to contribute meaningfully. I am confident that together we can ensure that living the Strategy is a rewarding experience, creating opportunities for students to develop skills and influence, and help ensure that DUSA and the University will continue to set the bar distinctly high for student experience.

Dimitris Vidakis
President, DUSA (Dundee University Students Assocation) 

Our identity, purpose and values

We are a university that holds social purpose, building on our long-standing values, dear to our hearts. We are not afraid to act purposively to make a real difference in the world.  The primacy of social purpose was intrinsic in our founding principles and has evolved and grown with us as we continue to transform lives, locally and globally, working together as a community to deliver positive change.  We will be “One Dundee”.  

Our impact on the world around us is enabled by the intensity of our focus in research, education, and engagement. In the coming decades, this triple intensity will be further enhanced across our university as we ensure that we pursue excellence in all that we do to make a positive difference.  The changes we make will ensure that the legacy we pass on will be strong, vibrant, and relevant to current and future challenges we all will face. 

Identity

  • We are passionate about our social purpose
  • We focus our excellence to make a difference
  • We are a confident and high performing community
  • Though our reach is global, we are of Dundee, and for Dundee

Social purpose inspires us and drives everything we do. 

We deliver impact through our graduates and students, our research and scholarship, and our contribution to health, society, and the economy across the globe and here in Scotland.  Our students are co-architects of the future and our partnership with them means that the student voice and our commitment to the student experience are, and will remain, distinctive features of the Dundee experience, the “Dundee Difference”.  Together with our students, we actively nurture our relationship with wider society, both locally and globally.

We will move forward with confidence, clarity of direction, and focus to ensure that our high performing community continues to have a positive impact on the world around us.

Vision

Our vision is to be a University globally renowned for our social purpose, delivered through our intensity and excellence in research, education and engagement. We will be agile and globally connected, focused on what we do best and where we can most effectively transform lives. Our students will be recognised as talented contributors to the work that is urgently needed to address the most pressing problems facing the world.  

Mission

Building on our history and the world-changing heritage of our city, our mission continues to be to ‘transform lives though the creation, sharing and application of knowledge’

Values

Our core values were adopted in 2012 after a deep and reflective consultation across our extended community. They describe who we are and how we act. They are:

  • Valuing people
  • Working together
  • Integrity
  • Making a difference
  • Excellence

These values continue to reflect our identity and they inform how we behave, make decisions, communicate and work. We will ensure a culture at our University of empowerment with accountability, and act together as a high performing community. We will work together in the relentless pursuit and delivery of our goals, underpinned by our values. 

The Dundee Difference

Active partnership isa distinctive aspect of our University.  We are committed to working with our students, actively listening to them and responding to their voice. That commitment is genuine and needs constant work to ensure that it remains a mark of distinction. The partnership between staff and students, between the University and DUSA (Dundee University Students’ Association), is fundamental to who we are and to our success and needs to respond to challenges, local and global, as they arise. 

This approach extends to how we work with other partners here in Tayside and around the world.  We have a strong sense of place, as a beacon within our fast-changing city with world-leading areas of research-intensity characterised by excellence and real-world impact. We have a history of design-led and creative approaches and of educating high quality graduates providing them with the skills to become global change-makers. We benefit from our location with city centre appeal combined with the security of a vibrant campus, and the remarkable quality of the natural environment that surrounds us. 

What makes us distinctive and unique is the combination of all of these elements. We call this the Dundee Difference

Our Future Focus

We have significant areas of excellence in research, education, and social impact which enable us to fulfil our mission in transforming lives. However, we can and will do even more to focus our contributions. We have the human, financial, and physical resources to deliver an even stronger and more vibrant university.  We also have both the appetite and capacity to embrace positive change, to be fit for the future and to manage the associated risks.

Over the next five-year period, we will continue to grow and focus on our internationally recognised excellence in life sciences, medicine and health, and art and design. We will reinvigorate and enhance our competitive strengths in science and engineering, business, law, social sciences and humanities to meet contemporary challenges, both local and global, in addressing social problems and in meeting the needs of the employment market. 

We will confront head-on the challenges and uncertainties that society is facing and support the delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We will develop priority academic themes to provide focus and concentrate our impact on those areas where we can make the most difference. These are:

  • Population Health and Wealth
  • Climate Action and Net Zero
  • Equity and Inclusion

Investigating these themes in our curricula will ensure that our students will be active global citizens attuned to social needs from the local to the global as well as the ways in which these are interconnected. 

We will also strengthen and form new alliances and partnerships, at home and abroad, based on mutual respect and recognition of the need for co-design and co-delivery that meet all of our needs, particularly of those most disadvantaged.

We will be decisive in making choices and initiating changes that will deliver on these themes.

Delivering our Vision

Our academic excellence and impact will be underpinned by strong financial performance, allowing us to invest in areas of strength and champion our values.  

Our overarching priorities for delivery against our institutional activities will be: 

  • Ensuring our Academic Excellence 
  • Growing our Reach, particularly in widening access, social inclusion and internationalisation 
  • Transforming our University to be a truly Digital Community

Ensuring our Academic Excellence 

We will be clear in determining which disciplines we will focus on, drawing on the best available evidence of our performance in research, education, and engagement. These will be areas where our levels of excellence and intensity mean they are sustainable, deliver outstanding research and impact, are attractive to students and employers, ensure a strong student experience and have clear benefits for society.

We will ensure, through our planning processes, the continuous enhancement of our academic performance, in a focused way, underpinned by financial sustainability. In doing so we will provide a platform for future investment and growth.  

Growing our Reach

We have long been committed to bringing the world to Dundee and taking Dundee to the world.  In the coming five years the University will become a truly global institution. We already have a track record of international excellence, reach and impact in research.  We have expanded the international character of our campuses and this is a continuing focus as we continue to shape our relationship with the wider world post-Brexit.  Our global reach will grow with over 2000 students studying internationally for Dundee degrees across a range of disciplines within the coming five years. We are also committed to supporting our UK students to enjoy international mobility opportunities, and, in keeping with our social purpose, to ensuring that financially challenged students can access such opportunities. This is an important way in which we continue to offer our students the best possible preparation to live and work in a rapidly globalising world.  

We will:

  • continue to grow our international student community on campus and in-country
  • expand outward mobility and our international curriculum, so all students learn as part of a global community and emerge work- and world-ready
  • continue to be a welcoming institution focused on social purpose 
  • be unrelenting in offering a student experience second to none

Transforming our University to be a truly digital community

Our innovative use of digital technologies will be critical to our future approach to education, research and engagement. We will provide innovative digital learning platforms for our students, staff and alumni and will improve our connectivity with partners. Digital enhancement will deliver highly effective, efficient, digitally-enabled ways of working for our students and staff which will allow us to create more choice and flexibility.

Our use of digital technology for research with impact is already at the cutting edge in many areas, not least in health informatics, and we will invest further in the capabilities, infrastructure, environment and training to enable the full benefits of the data revolution to be realised at our University. 

Our approach to digital innovation will be ethical, accessible, inclusive, accountable, critical, and reflective.  

We will:

  • ensure that the student experience and student journey remain uppermost in our priorities
  • invest in the skills of our staff and students to enable them to make the most of digital enhancement 
  • use a “digital first” approach to delivering solutions for research, education and engagement rather than simply digitising existing practices
  • focus on achieving the right outcomes rather than implementing specific technologies
  • embrace digital technologies that will support our institutional commitment to the ‘just transition’ and delivering Net Zero ahead of 2045 
  • support this through a creating and delivering an enabling strategy for Digital

These actions will ensure that we are adapting and shaping the digitally-transformed world so as to better meet the expectations of our students, staff and wider society. 

Our Triple Intensity

Our triple intensive University brings excellence to all that we do, with our research, education and engagement all carrying equivalent weight. We are intensive in ensuring that our excellent research has positive impact and inspires our teaching. Our intensity in our innovative educational practices creates world-ready students, imbued with the values of the institution that helps shape them. Our engagement with a wide range of stakeholders, partners, alumni and friends is equally intensive as that network of partnerships confronts the most pressing and urgent challenges facing our society and the wider world.

Together, our triple intensity enables us to deliver on our raison d’etre – our social purpose. 

A Venn diagram with social purpose in the centre, learning and teaching top left, research with impact top right, and engagement and enterprise at the bottom.

Triple intensity means that: our research is pushing through the limits of current knowledge and thereby ensuring that our curricula are at the cutting-edge across all subjects; our students participate in research through their projects and by playing an active role in enriching our research culture; the knowledge we gain from our research has practical impact; our educational intensity equips our students with both theoretical knowledge and practical experience to bring to bear in the real world. All three components of our triple intensity inform, inspire and stimulate each other.

Intensity and excellence are complementary aspects of everything we deliver. Intensity implies concentration and volume. Excellence predominantly means quality. It is that excellence, together with intensity, that we constantly strive to achieve in research, education and engagement.

All colleagues have a different contribution to make, and each School’s intensity may have its own distinctive shape. Some areas of our University will, by the nature of their discipline or their focus on professional practice, be more or less intensive in the research that they carry out or the direct engagement they have with society. However, we are committed to ensuring that our learning and teaching is always intensive and that there is a relentless focus on excellence in all our areas of our academic activity. 

It is the unique formation of these strengths and principles – our triple intensity delivered with active attention to excellence and place – that makes the University of Dundee special and helps us to transform lives.

Research with Impact

The bedrock of Dundee’s global reputation for impact is the extraordinary strength of our research.

We will be recognised as a world-leading university, and collaborative partner of choice, founded on the excellence and transformative impact of our research.  Our global reach will be recognised, and our social purpose will also champion the delivery of prosperity, jobs and well-being to our local and regional communities.  

We value basic, curiosity-driven research as a driver of discovery. We will build on these knowledge foundations to develop new ideas and theories, continuing to develop design-led innovations addressing global challenges in the fields of health, education, sustainability, and social justice.  

Our enabling strategy on Research with Impact sets out the tangible steps we will take to foster a culture of excellence delivering world-class impact transforming lives locally and globally. 

Education and Student Experience

We will offer a world-leading education and student experience through a blend of traditional programmes, stackable qualifications and micro-credentials, with flexibility and support to learn on campus, through blended learning or online. Our programmes will develop skills and will support work-based learning to maximise the opportunity for students to move into the world of work.

Our learning and teaching will be student-focused, delivering the best possible student experience and work-ready students equipped for the world that they are destined to shape. To support their development as change-makers, our students will be encouraged to help develop and define the values of the university. Through this ongoing endeavour students will be empowered to help us create and deliver a smooth and seamless student experience from the point of initial enquiry to graduation and beyond, as alumni and continuing members of our community. 

Our approach throughout development and delivery of learning and teaching in Dundee, Kirkcaldy and internationally will be through meaningful and sustained partnerships. This is the commitment that underpins our enabling strategy on Education and Student Experience. 

Engagement and Enterprise

Dundee is an innovative university, internationally recognised for our enterprise culture and delivering collaborative outcomes that transform lives and deliver economic impact. Our strategy will develop new approaches for creating economic, civic and cultural benefits and sustain Dundee as an engine of start-up and spin-out businesses and increasingly anchor these here in our region. 

Our immediate priorities are innovation in the Life Sciences, to be joined by eco-innovation, and the creative industries, including AI and creative computing. Our first focus will be to deliver a globally recognised Life Sciences Innovation District, cementing the reputation of Dundee as a powerhouse of biomedical innovation and broader biosciences.

Dundee is also an exemplar “engaging” university. We actively learn from and work with communities and partner organisations to ensure we deliver our shared priorities in a sustainable, inclusive and socially responsible manner. Our collaborative approach will mobilise staff and students in advancing the practice of engagement. We will build on the achievement of our Gold Watermark for Public Engagement. This will include critically evaluating our impact, widely sharing our expertise, and providing structured programmes of support for regional entrepreneurs and business leaders.

Our enabling strategy on Engagement and Enterprise sets out how we will achieve this. 

Investing in People

Our people are the heartbeat of our University. The drive and passion of our staff, students and supporters is the essential means by which we realise our full potential – both as a high performing community and as a shining beacon for our city. 

Our continued success will depend on the enhancement of our global reputation for academic excellence and on achieving growth. We need, therefore, to nurture our people and their talents by embedding throughout the organisation an inclusive culture of empowerment and accountability. This will allow us to celebrate together our differing contributions to the excellence of the institution and to support one another to thrive.

Our priority will be to invest in our people, inspiring them to be innovative and to maximise the impact of their talents for the benefit of wider society. We will create and nurture a vibrant organisational culture, marked by a deep commitment to equality and a celebration of our diversity. We will invest in the capacity of our leaders to ensure they have the skills and abilities they need to inspire others in the delivery of positive transformation.  This will be an inclusive, confident, high-performing community in which we manage, develop and celebrate our people and their varied contributions to our social purpose. We will all be accountable to one another for delivery of our key priorities and together we will make the University of Dundee a fantastic place to work.

Our enabling strategy on People and Talent addresses tangible steps we will take over the next five years in the areas of 

  • Culture
  • Talent
  • Transformative leadership

Creating the organisation to deliver our mission

To deliver on our mission, we must ensure we have the culture, capacity, and agility as well as the strong financial platform necessary to flourish. 

We will deliver a dynamic shift in remodelling our planning processes. This will be focused on the achievement of excellence while innovating to improve our financial performance and create new opportunities to showcase our research strengths.

We will ensure a culture of empowerment with accountability, and act together as a high performing community to deliver on our social purpose, transforming lives. We will work together as “One Dundee” in the relentless pursuit and delivery of our goals, underpinned by our values. 

We will grow income from student recruitment, funded research and our commercial activities. 

Most importantly, we will invest in our future, intellectually and financially, and in this strategy and its commitments.  

Our measures of success

We will know we have been successful in delivering our strategy when, after five years, we are even more confident in demonstrating our excellence in research, education and engagement, when our digital maturity is more fully realised, and our global reach has continued to expand.  

We will have made progress in investing in our people, continued to expand access to our University, and our students and graduates will continue to be our most effective ambassadors by having a positive impact on their communities and workplaces, showcasing the benefits of participation in one of the best learning environments in the UK. 

We will also monitor key enablers of our success such as our environmental and financial sustainability. 

To help assess our progress towards our five-year outcomes, we have established the following Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and targets: 

Strategic FocusKPI nameTarget (by Year 5)
Education & Student ExperienceOverall Student Satisfaction (NSS)Top 20 in the UK
Research with ImpactResearch Grant IncomeTarget £83m per annum
EngagementTimes Higher Education Impact RankingsTop 50 in the World
EnterpriseEstimated current turnover of all active spinouts and start-ups Top 5 in the UK
People & TalentStaff Survey Recommendation QuestionProgress against a baseline to be established in Year 2
Digital EnablementDigital Business Maturity Assessment (Gartner)Score 3.50 out of 5.00
Climate Action & Net ZeroGreenhouse Gas net Emissions On track to achieve 75% reduction compared to baseline by 2030
Financial SustainabilityCash generation (EBITDA)EBITDA as a percentage of income of at least 7%

Research with Impact

Recognising strength 

The bedrock of Dundee’s global reputation for impact is the extraordinary strength of our research. We have the third highest proportion of research-related income of any UK university.  

We value basic, curiosity-driven research as a driver of discovery. These knowledge foundations allow us to develop new ideas and theories, and have supported us towards design-led innovations addressing global challenges in the fields of health, education, sustainability, and social justice.  

Today we are recognised as one of Europe’s most innovative universities, for our commitment to translational research and industry partnerships, especially in our highly intensive research areas of life sciences and medicine. 

Strategic vision 

We will be recognised as a world-leading university, and collaborative partner of choice, based on the excellence and transformative impact of our research. 

We will build on our areas of strength, with a focus on health and wellbeing, sustainability and the just transition, human-centred technologies, and design and creativity. This work will be developed in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. 

We will strengthen Dundee’s position as a knowledge-rich environment, organising interdisciplinary research to support cluster-based talent-development, innovation and dynamic entrepreneurship. Priority cluster opportunities include the Life Sciences Innovation District, Eden partnership, and the city’s cultural and creative industries. 

Our aim is to champion national, regional and local benefits in terms of prosperity, jobs and wellbeing. 

Supporting excellence 

Investing to enhance performance and reputation:

  • We will grow our research capability, and scale with focused investment and retention of top talent.
  • We will establish new leadership teams, aligned to our thematic priorities, and establish new interdisciplinary research institutes.
  • We will create an annual Strategic Research Fund to invest in the research base.
  • We will increase our number of research-active staff by 2027.
  • We will significantly grow our research income by 2027 by ensuring that all academic staff pursue external funding, against benchmarked targets, supported by a consolidated Research and Innovation Service. 
  • We will diversify research funding sources, with emphasis on pursuing UK Research and Investment funding across all Schools and growing industry income. 

A vibrant research culture:

  • We will double the size of our postgraduate researcher (PGR) community by 2027.
  • We will promote a culture of open research, inclusive of open access publishing and fair open data, prioritising best practice in relation to researcher integrity and inclusivity.
  • We will enhance our digital research capabilities – including high performance computing, artificial intelligence, informatics, immersive realities, apps and games, simulations and programming.
  • We will promote a culture of shared endeavour across of academic and professional service teams. 
  • We will ensure research excellence is harnessed to maximum benefit for student experience.

A broad spectrum of approaches:

  • Along with our commitment to ‘research with impact’ we will continue to grow a vibrant curiosity-driven research-base in pursuit of new knowledge.
  • We will partner with Scottish Enterprise, to bring expertise to support the Life Sciences Innovation District as a pathfinder to regional economic development.
  • We will support staff to build reputation for translational research through policy engagement.
  • We will embed enterprise and innovation in all teaching and PGR programmes.
  • We will nurture commercial partnerships through research services, licensing deals, and new spinouts.

Widening engagement: 

  • We will extend our strategic partnerships in the region, across Scotland, the UK and internationally to attract major investment to ensure the sustainability of our research.
  • We will grow our international Joint Programmes and Institute in China delivering educationally excellent global programmes, maximising collaborative research opportunities, launching new national and international doctoral training programmes and growing our global footprint in new geographies consistent with our social purpose.
  • We will promote the University globally to celebrate, inspire and leverage academic reputation and will proactively improve standings in international reputational league tables.
  • We will build on our reputation as the first university in Scotland to achieve a Gold Watermark from the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement. 

Education and Student Experience 

Recognising strength

We are renowned for our world-class education, highly rated student experience, and sector-leading widening access programmes. We have forged strong international ties and are actively developing strategic academic partnerships overseas globally. At every level we are engaged with people and institutions around the world, creating opportunities to bring the world to Dundee, and take Dundee to the world. 

Strategic Vision

We will offer world-leading education and student experience through a blend of traditional programmes, flexible and stackable qualifications, with flexibility and support for learning on campus, online, or in blended ways. 

All programmes will offer students opportunities to benefit from work-based learning, and support successful transitions into the world of work. 

Our students will be change-makers: able to actively engage with knowledge, reflective thinkers helping to challenge and broaden the curriculum, lifelong learners helping to extend our networks of interpersonal relationships outwards, while shaping our values as ethically conscious members of our community. 

Supporting excellence 

Excellent student experience: 

  • We will support learning, freedom of speech and mental wellbeing amongst our students.
  • All students will have opportunities to participate in university, employer and third sector placements to promote skills development and employability. This will include city-based, national and international opportunities that meet their aspirations and career ambitions.
  • We will ensure that our student experience is first-rate, supporting meaningful interactions and transitions between students, staff and alumni communities. 
  • We will reinvigorate our Student Partnership Agreement as a co-operative framework for delivering measurable and tangible improvements in the student experience and students support.

Our academic portfolio: 

  • We will build on existing strengths to develop a world-leading and globally attractive portfolio of research-informed degree programmes. 
  • Our programmes will encourage interdisciplinarity, breaking down artificial barriers between disciplines and enabling students to be curious and follow their interests.
  • We will deliver a curriculum focused on excellence, need, demand, and opportunity.
  • We will ensure that students are co-creators and partners in portfolio/programme development, working with them to ensure our education activities are sustainable and support the University’s Net Zero target by 2045. 
  • Our approach to learning design will encourage the integration of campus and digital capabilities to produce excellent programmes offering flexible delivery.
  • Assessment and feedback will be efficiently delivered and authentic in nature, helping students to develop skills relevant to the world of work and further study.

An Academy:

  • We will develop and create a new University Academy for learning and teaching, which will provide Curriculum Design Principles to support curriculum development, teaching excellence, and academic scholarship. 
  • This Academy will support digital skills training for staff and students, to allow them to contribute to development of our digitally enabled campus and grow their digital competencies.
  • It will support academic scholarship, helping staff and students to develop projects that are aligned to institutional education priorities, are evidence-based, and undergo appropriate evaluation.
  • Through the development of high-quality scholarship activities, the Academy will support staff to measure their personal development, helping them to lead ownership of objective setting and reviews, articulate ambitions, and prepare for promotion opportunities.

Inclusion and Attainment:

  • We will celebrate diversity as a defining strength of our international community. 
  • We will expand and widen access, enable greater participation in learning, and reduce inequalities that exist for our students.
  • We will design our recruitment efforts to reach a global and more diverse pool of applicants.
  • All students will be encouraged to advocate for their interests, and help shape an equitable and inclusive University of Dundee community. 
  • We will ensure, via our Student Services, that digital poverty is addressed and that students have access to devices/connectivity so that their learning is not impaired.
  • We will support staff and students to grow their leadership skills to nurture inclusive and diverse teams. 

Excellent Student Services Provision:

  • Our Student Services will ensure all students have equal access to University support, experience consistent standards, and have their requirements recognised. 
  • Our services will ensure that students are signposted to, and can access, appropriate wellbeing or mental health services on campus or in the community.
  • We will ensure that we maintain the safety and security of our students.
  • We will communicate with our students effectively, ensuring that they have timely and accurate information concerning their studies, extracurricular opportunities, and the student support available to them

Engagement and Enterprise 

Recognising strength 

The city locates us in a network of dynamic relationships: its economy, its natural resources, its culture and imagination, social institutions, and knowledge networks. These networks have shaped our ethos, through its history of radical thought, passionate creativity, and commitment to social equity. We realise our possibilities in the world together. In return, we feel our responsibility to play our part in their wellbeing. Our power to advance those ecosystems through joint working has been proven. 

Through collaboration with the regional National Health Service Board we have transformed lives by making Dundee the first city in the world to eliminate hepatitis C. Our partnership with Dundee City Council helped attract the V&A Dundee (Scotland’s Design Museum) , and supported the city’s achievement of UNESCO City of Design status. The University’s reputation was key to attracting the Eden Project to Dundee, with plans to open a world-leading centre of education, ecology and inclusive community practices driving urban regeneration. 

The strength of these relationships has not gone unnoticed. Our commitment to translational research through industry partnerships has earned us recognition as one of Europe’s most innovative universities. Our enterprise culture, drawing from innovative research and education, is strongly geared to creating prosperity and wellbeing, and leads to consistent recognition as one of the top universities for our success in the creation of spin-out companies. We are also the first university in Scotland to win an institutional Gold Watermark from the UK National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement. Meanwhile our enterprise culture, geared at creating prosperity and wellbeing, has seen us ranked 5th in the UK and first in Scotland for the successful creation of spin out companies. 

Strategic vision 

Our immediate priorities are innovation in the Life Sciences, to be joined by eco-innovation (including Net Zero), and the creative industries, including AI and creative computing. Our first focus will be to deliver a globally recognised Life Sciences Innovation District, cementing the reputation of Dundee as a powerhouse of biomedical innovation and boarder biosciences.

We will listen and learn so we co-create economic, civic and cultural benefits in a sustainable, inclusive and socially responsible manner. 

We will sustain Dundee as a globally recognised engine of start-up and spin-out businesses, developing our ability to grow and retain companies and wealth-creation in the region. 

Our One Dundee approach will mobilise staff and students in engagement, widely sharing our expertise where sought. 

Supporting excellence 

Working with partners:

  • Our strategy will allow for different approaches when working together to help deliver the best outcomes for diverse communities and partners. 
  • We will deliver a Life Sciences Innovation District – in partnership with Dundee City Council, the private and charitable sectors – cementing the reputation of Dundee as a powerhouse of innovation.
  • We will work with strategic partners, including the Eden Trust, to deliver the net zero just transition for the region and sustainable futures worldwide. 
  • We will lead decommissioning of oil and gas infrastructure in the North Sea whilst promoting wider decarbonisation ambitions through the Dundee Climate Change Leaders Group.
  • We will continue to lead the cultural and creative sector within the city and region, especially in the post-COVID recovery period. Our international ambitions will be developed through collaborations via the Creative Cities network involving the global family of UNESCO Cities of Design. 
  • We will create opportunities for students and staff to collaborate with stakeholder organisations (local government, third sector and community groups) to promote more liveable, inclusive and sustainable living.
  • We will develop at least one global priority area for successful community engagement and impact.

An engagement framework:

  • We will refresh analysis of the impact of the University on jobs and the economy, allowing us to critically reflect on the impact of university spending, student spending, commercialisation and spin-out activity, tourism, capital projects and community projects in the city. 
  • We will listen to all the communities we engage with, and work together with them to deliver positive social impacts. 
  • We will explore lifelong learning, professional education, and continued professional development markets to diversify knowledge transmission. 

Structure and support: 

  • We will extend the reach of the business creation activities supported by the University’s Centre for Entrepreneurship, and Research & Innovation Services. 
  • We will establish a clear framework for recording our engagement activities and their impact. 
  • We will ensure engagement with relevant politicians, civil servants and public bodies at Scottish and UK level to help advance purposeful collaborations. 
  • We will provide training and opportunities for staff and students to develop their public engagement activities, enabling all to take pride in sharing and developing their knowledge with others. 
  • We will provide structured programmes of support for regional entrepreneurs and business leaders.
  • We will ensure that contribution to enterprise, engagement, and social purpose is recognised in staff workloads, performance, and promotion.

People and Talent 

Recognising strength

The University of Dundee, with a population of over 16000 students and 3300 staff, is a complex, imaginative, and collaborative community. 

The opportunities to participate in it are endless. That is one reason Dundee is consistently rated as one of the best places in the United Kingdom to be a student, while over 90 percent of staff agree that the University of Dundee is a great place to work.  

We are an engaged university. Our whole community has been engaged in the process of transforming our teaching, research, engagement, governance, recruitment, and student experience: all leveraged to sustain a diverse and inclusive culture, and create a positive influence in the world. 

Through our Athena SWAN Charter Action Plan, Race Equality Charter and many other internal initiatives, we have taken actions to help ensure equity and inclusion. 

We are each other’s friends, colleagues and supporters – working together to help one another achieve our ambitions. 

Strategic vision 

Our vibrant organisational culture will be nurtured by a deep commitment to equality and a celebration of our diversity. 

We wish to inspire and support all colleagues to shape their own contributions to the organisation, whether through delivery of their formal roles, or being empowered to innovate and to achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness in their own work.

Our aim is to be an employer of choice for highly talented academic and professional service colleagues, demonstrating clearly how we provide an environment where staff perform at the very highest level. 

Ours will be a dispersed model of leadership, allowing us to be dynamic and forward-looking in identifying the capabilities that are needed for us to achieve excellence in all aspects of our mission.

Supporting excellence 

Culture:

  • We will engage proactively in the struggle to overcome all forms of discrimination and the ongoing impacts of historical injustice, within and beyond our community, supporting the dignity, health and wellbeing of all. 
  • We will energise and empower all staff and students to be fully engaged, to work effectively together and to be accountable for their own personal contributions to shared goals. 
  • We will support the career ambitions of staff in relation to both their personal and professional development and career progression, but in doing so also encourage them to take ownership and responsibility for their own careers and for the quality of their contribution.
  • We will seek to embed practices, processes, and performance expectations that provide clear guidance as to how individual ambitions can best be aligned to our shared strategic aims.
  • We will foster a culture of empowerment with accountability by grounding it in relations of mutual trust that will characterise our mode of engagement across the entire organisation.
  • We will introduce appropriate opportunities for all to engage in open and transparent exchanges of perspectives as our strategy is implemented.
  • We will review the structure and practice of our equality diversity and inclusion work so that it becomes fully embedded in all we do.
  • We will take a holistic approach to supporting the health and wellbeing of all staff.
  • We will promote the global outlook and impact of our staff.

Talent:

  • We will position the University as an employer of choice that will attract applicants with the greatest potential.
  • We will introduce practices that deepen the shared understanding of excellence of academic and professional service staff.
  • We will ensure that our reward and recognition practices represent best practice in the sector for all staff groups.
  • We will provide exemplary staff development programmes that will facilitate all staff to be proactive in advancing their careers.

Transformative Leadership:

  • We will embed strategic workforce planning into our integrated planning process.
  • We will launch a set of initiatives to enhance the leadership qualities of staff at all levels.
  • We will review our workload allocation models and practices to ensure that they are fair, transparent and maximally effective.
  • We will complete a review of our staff appraisal processes.

Digital 

Recognising strength

The digital revolution has transformed the ways staff, students, prospective students and stakeholders interact and engage with the world, and we will work to ensure they are well positioned to play a role in charging digital interactions with social purpose. 

Our community has the potential to lead in a complex world, using technology to advance knowledge, connection and creativity. 

Already our researchers and clinicians are developing artificial intelligence (AI) to help diagnose skin cancer, spin-out company Exscientia is at the forefront of AI-driven drug discovery and design, and we are also leading work to tackle key biosciences ‘big data’ challenges. 

The pandemic has demonstrated that working digitally is more important than ever before. We are now ready to enter a new era, building on our proven adaptability and commitment to designing for change.  

This will require a step-change, and we recognise we have more to do to meet our digital ambitions. 

Strategic vision 

Our goal is to promote enlightened engagement with new and emerging technologies, along with critical reflection on the impacts they have on people and planet. 

We will experiment and encourage learning to unleash the potential of digital information and technologies to transform our research, education and engagement and provide the best possible user experiences. 

We want everyone across our community to be confident applying an agile mindset and taking a ‘digital first’ approach to delivering solutions. 

We will deliver digital and campus experiences, blended seamlessly through the development of a Digitally Enabled Campus. 

Our digital infrastructure will support and enable world-class research, research-led teaching, and engagement activity, delivering and enhancing services people want to use rather than have to use.

Digital information and technology will support targeted recruitment activity, as well as deepening our partnerships. 

Waste will be reduced, costs lowered, and staff liberated to focus on high value activities, such as delivering on our climate commitments. 

Supporting excellence 

Strategy and skills: 

  • We will develop staff and students who are confident in the rapidly changing digital environment, leveraging communities and networks to support each other.
  • We will publish a Digital Strategic Plan annually, and iteratively improve our digital services and technologies through stakeholder feedback.
  • We will introduce smart practices to all aspects of the University. 
  • We will improve the integration, resilience, and reliability of our digital infrastructure using a blend of cloud and on-premises standards.
  • We will take advantage of flexibility in staff recruitment, employment practices and new ways of working.
  • We will embrace digital technologies which support our institutional commitment to the ‘just transition’ and delivering net zero ahead of 2045.
  • Our approach to digital will be ethical, accessible, inclusive, accountable, critical, and reflective.
  • We will invest to improve our cyber security.

Supporting research and innovation: 

  • We will create a dedicated team to support the research journey from grant through to delivery.
  • We will promote a culture of innovation, eliminating duplication and waste, and empower our staff by providing secure, user-orientated services.
  • We will support research areas utilising high performance computing (HPC), big data, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, and ensure our infrastructure remains world leading.
  • We will enable our researchers and partners to make the most of large data sets (for example through appropriate governance) and encourage increased use of digital working practices in research.

Enhancing our education portfolio:

  • We will create a dedicated Learning and Teaching team to support education activity encompassing both online and on-campus environments.
  • We will ensure students and staff gain confidence in digital learning environments and develop our practice in new and existing digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).
  • We will grow our portfolio of attractive blended and online qualifications, (including degrees, sub-degree qualifications, micro-credentials, and continuous professional development); maximising learner choice, flexibility and supporting lifelong learning. 
  • We will enhance our education programmes and digital learning resources in partnership with existing and new global partners and suppliers.
  • We will measure and improve engagement and retention of our student population.
  • We will facilitate enhanced growth in student recruitment and target our conversion efforts by unifying interactions and communications with enquirers, applicants, and students.

A porous University: 

  • We will reduce digital inequality and improve the accessibility of our digital services, to enhance our global reach and impact in education, research, and innovation.
  • We will work ever more closely with key local partners including the National Health Service, Dundee City Council, and local enterprises on mutually beneficial service developments.
  • We will create digitally enabled hybrid spaces to enhance collaboration across social networks.