CAMPAIGNS: Local Government PR - Dundee builds on biotechnology

Client: The City of Dundee

Client: The City of Dundee

PR Team: Dundee City Council in-house team

Campaign: BioDundee

Timescale: May 1998 and ongoing

Budget: pounds 25,000

With life scientists predicting that new product development in the

biotechnology industry is set to trigger a multi-billion pound market

over the coming the decades, the city of Dundee looks poised to grab

more than its fair share of the action. The Wellcome Trust Medical

Research Centre opened earlier this year, and as a number of leading

lights in the biotechnology research field work in Dundee’s universities

and hospitals, biotechnology is an important industry for the city.

Dundee City Council has joined forces with a number of institutions

including the universities of Abertay and Dundee, local businesses,

research organisations and hospitals in an unprecedented move to promote

the city as a centre of excellence in biotechnology. The campaign is

partly funded by the European Development Fund.


To build on Dundee’s growing reputation as a centre of the biotechnology

industry. To attract talent and investment in the industry in



BioDundee is specifically aimed at an international audience, including

research institutes, venture capitalists, charities and trust funds.

Devising a campaign with such broad appeal is no easy task.

The answer for BioDundee was to give the campaign a strong human element

by focusing on the personal and professional attributes of the city’s

leading scientists. This provided a lively and broad-based platform for

getting campaign messages across and for detailing the work being done

in the city - as diverse as cancer research and fruit genetics.

The campaign, designed and co-ordinated by the council, involves

seminars, events and publications, as well as an ongoing media relations

campaign over the next two years.

Nearly 10,000 of the leaflets published by the council were distributed

to targeted audiences in the UK, Europe and North America, to encourage

people to ask for more information.

The recently-launched web site is also being used to invite feedback on

the campaign.

While predominantly targeting an international audience, an offshoot

campaign has also been developed to let Dundonians know what’s going on

in their city, and inspire pride in the work being done.


The campaign has generated interest across the world, with journalists

from countries as diverse as Japan and Germany visiting the city to find

out what’s going on. Extensive pieces have appeared in the Scotsman on

Sunday and the Sunday Times Scotland, focusing on specific scientists

working in the cancer research field in Dundee, as well as in specialist

trade and scientific media across Europe.

The BioDundee stand has featured at several exhibitions across the

world, including Bio ’98 in New York-the biggest exhibition of its kind

in the world.

Several hundred inquiries for further information have been received so

far, but with much of the activity still to come, full evaluation is not

yet available.


This campaign is an ambitious undertaking for Dundee City Council, but

long-term planning seems to be paying off.

By highlighting the personalities and determination of the city’s

leading scientists, they managed to send out a very strong message to

all audiences, and position Dundee as a true centre of excellence.

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