Professor Pete Downes

Professor Pete Downes

Professor Downes, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Dundee and Chair of Interface Strategic Board. He was Convener of Universities Scotland from August 2012 to July 2016, having previously served as Convener of its Research and Knowledge Exchange Committee.

Professor Pete Downes, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, joined the University of Dundee in 1989 and was a Vice-Principal of the University and Head of the College of Life Sciences for three years.

Professor Downes is a distinguished biochemist who has played a key role in developing life sciences at the University of Dundee to its current status as a global player with a top 5* research rating, making a significant impact on the Scottish economy and, importantly, on the understanding and treatment of major diseases including diabetes and cancer. His work leading the Division of Signal Transduction Therapy with Sir Philip Cohen has led to the signing of a two phase £23m contract between the University with the world's six leading pharmaceutical companies in a unique collaboration which anchors work on vital drug discovery to Dundee and Scotland.

He is one of the 15 most cited bio-scientists in the UK and his work has undoubtedly contributed to Dundee University having been named by the Institute for Scientific Information in Philadelphia as the most quoted university in Europe over the last 10 years, in life and medical sciences. As Vice Principal and Head of the School of Life Sciences he can also take significant credit from a poll of international scientists who named Dundee for the fourth year running as the best place in Europe in which to work - The Scientist.

As a biochemist Professor Downes has made an important contribution over many years. He was awarded the Colworth Medal of the British Biochemical Society in 1987 and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1991. The esteem in which he is held nationally may be gauged by his election as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Biochemical Society 2001-04. He is a member of the Council of the Biosciences Federation. He was honoured by the Queen with an OBE in 2004.