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JustTech comparator study: final report


The study aimed to help build the business case for the University of Dundee’s proposal for significant investment in the JustTech forensic science industry cluster. The proposed project submitted by the University of Dundee has a total cost of £62.3 million, with an ask of £43 million from the Tay Cities Deal. It is proposed that a further £19.3 million will be provided by the University of Dundee. The report outlines a robust business model for the JustTech Forensic Catapult Centre and Innovation Cluster Development activity, based on examples of international best practice. It sets out the basis for more detailed assessment work to be undertaken on the potential impact of the JustTech Forensic Catapult Centre and Innovation Cluster Development. It also describes a number of alternative scenarios to illustrate what could be delivered, and achieved, dependent on the level of funding available from the Tay Cities Deal or other partners.


The study involved comprehensive desk research into international innovation centre/Forensic Science comparators, and ‘scene setting’ consultations. Consultations were also carried out with ten stakeholders including members of the steering group, strategic stakeholders and representatives of the shortlisted comparators.


The study found that forensic science offers sustainable and extensive growth opportunities that build on the existing strengths of the region. It notes that there is a growing market for forensic science, and that the University of Dundee is an international leader in forensic science, has one of the largest forensic science research groups in the UK, and is amongst the largest in Europe. The JustTech proposal would build on the University’s existing strengths and reputation in forensic science in order to create sustainable economic growth within the Tay Cities region. This would involve the creation of high value jobs that could help to increase graduate retention and contribute to economic development. Over 10 years it is estimated that the project could deliver 500 jobs. The project could also play a key role in developing the Tay City Region’s knowledge economy, helping to attract talent and new business development. The project is also expected to make a significant contribution to the realisation of Tay Cities Deal objectives, by: maximising research commercialisation; supporting SME start-up and growth; focusing on a sectoral strength that offers a considerable opportunity for growth; and capitalising on and enhancing the role that the region’s universities and colleges play in supporting economic growth. The JustTech Project is also responding to wider issues in the forensic science sector, such as the need to develop tools and techniques that can respond to the increasing presence of digital evidence.


The study set out a number of recommendations for the development of the business case and the project more generally. These include: that the proposal should focus on the innovation, collaboration, clustering and economic growth proposition, rather than the University of Dundee’s capability in Forensic Science; that the business case must identify the role of JustTech in achieving such objectives as retaining and attracting talent and enterprise, creating high-value jobs and activities, and the direct and indirect economic and social benefits that it could deliver for Dundee and the Tay Cities Region; the preparation of a more detailed financial model; providing more detail specific activities that will comprise JustTech and the market failures it intends to address; setting out more detailed costings; including an outline funding strategy; clearly articulating the roles of each partner and the distribution of responsibilities; developing a logic model for the project; and conducting a risk assessment.

Author Ekosgen
Published Year 2018
Report Type Research
  • Business infrastructure
    Supporting key sectors
  • Enterprise
    Support to existing/growth businesses