Q: What sectors are you trying to promote as opportunities for foreign investment?

A: On the back of the opening of the new Victoria and Albert (V&A) design museum, Dundee has positioned itself as a key tourism destination. There’s a wealth of opportunities within retail, leisure and wellbeing. There’s construction under way within our £1bn regeneration of Dundee’s waterfront, which is the third largest active regeneration project in the UK, and includes a five-star Marriott hotel, offices, and residential and commercial space. 


One of our core strengths is our academic institutions, which provide opportunities for the private sector. We’re embarking on an ambitious multi-million pound investment in a cybersecurity centre of excellence, using digital knowledge, data-driven knowledge, and open source information to develop new ways of working. It will be world leading; our university’s already a leader in this regard. 

In terms of industry and manufacturing, we’ve got a number of key strengths and opportunities. The port of Dundee is very well placed and there are significant investment and jobs in renewables and decommissioning. We’re also working on other opportunities with the likes of Michelin, which has closed its tyre manufacturing plant, but is developing a new innovation centre in Dundee. We also have interesting opportunities in hydrogen technology.

The city is very much driven by knowledge-based employment and investment, and the academic sector. Consider Dundee’s scale. One in seven of our population is in one of our academic institutions, so we’ve got the UK’s highest student population. It means we’re a young town with a very educated workforce. 

Q: What factors make Dundee attracting to work and invest in? 

A: I’m constantly talking about the quality of life in Dundee. There’s no other city that I’m aware of where you have dolphins, a beautiful river, miles of beach, four world-class golf courses, the V&A and other cultural hubs – all for a population of 150,000. 

We’re far more affordable that many of our larger neighbours. If you compare square footage, we’re roughly 40% cheaper than our larger neighbours, both in Scotland and the wider UK.

Investors looking to get involved in our waterfront regeneration can quickly get something in place, which is not always the case where you’ve got private sector land to deal with. We’ve done the legwork. 

Q: What is the biggest challenge for Dundee’s investment climate?

A: We’re a relatively small city in a very large pond. What we’re doing is showing we’ve got a track record and that we collaborate well with companies to get them returns and to benefit Dundee’s citizens. 

Very few people know that there are companies based in Dundee that are working with the likes of NASA and the European Space Agency, making equipment that goes into every single space mission. People don’t automatically think of Dundee and then NASA. The University of Dundee is the global leader for life science medical research output. It’s also a global leader in computer games technology and digital design for cybersecurity. 

Q: How important is the Scottish Cities Alliance in building Dundee’s international profile?

A: Scotland is already very good at attracting foreign investment, second only to London and the UK, but how can we take that to the next level and ensure that there is a continuity of synergy in our messaging? It’s very easy to become parochial. 

It’s sometimes more difficult to pull resources together to promote everyone collectively in one go, rather than do things individually. Geographically, it makes sense. I can go from Dundee to Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh or any of the other cities within an hour and a half. It takes the same time to get from one side of London to the other. Being smaller also makes us more nimble in responding to investors’ needs.