Dundee and the wider region reaches for stars to deliver out-of-this-world knowledge exchange


Fifty years on from Apollo 11 moon landing, Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau is on a mission to enable conferences and events to tap into the star quality of its world-renowned academics and industry leaders.

Dundee may once have been best known for the three Js – jute, jam and journalism – but nowadays you’re more likely to find pioneering work that’s supporting the global space industry.

The University of Dundee’s Space Technology Centre helped launch STAR-Dundee Ltd. Using world-leading expertise, it has developed specialist technology for space, including a spacecraft on-board data handling network called SpaceWire, lauded for its high-speed, low power simplicity and architectural flexibility.

From space to the sea, and the UK’s main science capability in the field of marine mammal biology is based in Fife.

The Sea Mammal Research Unit, part of the University of St Andrews, has been involved in an international research project working to understand the impact of pollution on seals to better predict how environmental contaminants can affect human health by contributing to obesity.

In addition to the space and marine sectors, Dundee and the wider reach can boast cutting-edge research, development and know how in technology, education, creative, energy, life sciences, engineering, marine, surgery and medicine, digital, health, food and drink industries.

Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau is harnessing that ‘brain power’ in a collaborative approach to bring more conferences and events to the region.

Leading experts are collaborating with Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau (DACB) to enable conference organisers to tap into knowledge exchange, collaborative opportunities and expertise when holding their gathering in the region, this area now extending from Dundee and Angus to also take in Perthshire and Fife bringing an even greater resource of meeting, incentive and event opportunities.

Branded Pathfinders, it has evolved from DACB’s successful Conference Ambassador Programme which has benefited the local economy by more than £39 million. It’s a collaboration involving University of St Andrews, University of Dundee, Abertay University and the James Hutton Institute, supported by DACB and VisitScotland Business Events.

Karen Tocher, business development manager for DACB, said: “With its unique character, history and ambience Dundee City and Region offers an unrivalled choice for meeting venues that are unique in character, whether it be castle or preserved jute mill, arts hub or design centre. 

“Central in Scotland, our region offers easy access to delegates from both the UK and overseas.  But more than that, our region offers huge opportunities to network with peers and build lasting legacies. 

“The value of knowledge gained and transferred at professional conferences is hard to put a price on, but it shows how our region brings a wealth of benefits to professionals and academics drawing their experts together through the platform of business events.

“By launching Pathfinders we recognise that the value of business events has changed and is a driver of developing global trade and knowledge exchange, and that Dundee and the wider region can build its reputation as a destination where the world can gather to meet outstanding global experts and international thinkers and influencers.”

Karen Tocher, business development manager for DACB

Knowledge may be key but this is complemented by Dundee and the wider region having fabulous settings, as well as unforgettable incentive opportunities, for conferences and events.

Take stock of Dundee’s reinvention through its ambitious £1 billion redevelopment of its waterfront, from the four-star contemporary Apex Hotel. Located on the quayside, it has 151 rooms and suites, and meeting and events spaces to hold up to 450. Breath-taking views of the River Tay, and its iconic bridges, are guaranteed.

Weave some conference magic by meeting at world-class visitor attraction the Verdant Works. This beautifully refurbished mill that tells the story of Dundee’s industrial textile heritage is a striking setting. It has a range of charismatic spaces that can be transformed and used creatively for all kinds of events, including presentations, dinners or conferences – like the 600m2 High Mill which was recently renovated to expose the cathedral height roof.

In Angus, the Carnoustie Golf Hotel and Spa boasts 95 luxury bedrooms and 10 suites overlooking the championship course. With 12 event rooms, this venue can accommodate 700 delegates, and there’s also the opportunity to swing into action, and follow history’s greatest golfers, by playing a challenging round on the famed links course.

It’s a conference and event venue fit for a King – or Queen – and Glamis Castle, with its soaring turrets, atmospheric rooms and remarkable gardens delivers the ultimate in wow factor. The childhood home of HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother has been the ancestral seat to the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne since 1372 and with roaring log fires and hundreds of years of history, its state rooms provide an entrancing and charming setting for gatherings.

It has atmospheric chambers that are great for small, intimate gatherings, while its 17th Century drawing room can hold up to 120.

Refresh, revive and exhilarate conference attendees on a thrilling outing – through mud, up hills and into deep water on 4 x 4 adventures in deepest Perthshire. Perthshire Off Road provide a range of activities in the wilds, spanning 400 acres of spectacular terrain using Land Rovers, Quads and All Terrain Vehicles, that make for unforgettable incentive experiences.

Fife is known for its natural larder and boasts incredible eateries, like The View Restaurant at Newport-on-Tay. It serves modern Scottish dishes, fresh local produce from a seasonally changing menu – and has one of the most impressive views over the River Tay.

The Michelin-starred Peat Inn near St Andrews is renowned for its warm welcome, thoughtful service and casual elegance, in which guests can enjoy exquisite cooking in a setting full of character. The focus is on delivering modern cooking based on the finest local and seasonal ingredients. The Peat Inn has been recipient of many prestigious awards, including Restaurant of the Year and Chef of the Year at The Scottish Restaurant awards and The AA Restaurant of the year.

DACB is working with Pathfinders, and the collective assets of Dundee, Angus, Perthshire and Fife, to build the region’s reputation as a collaborative and pioneering destination where the world can gather to meet outstanding global experts and international thinkers and influencers. Its key sectors are art and design, education, marine, health, surgery and medicine, life sciences, space, energy, digital, communities, engineering, food and drink and communities, engineering, food and drink, among others.

The team and its delivery partners have the experience, support and vision to make the region a go-to destination for business events and unveiled its plans, and launched Pathfinders, at a gathering held within an Evolution Dome on the Dundee Waterfront in May.

The final word goes to DACB’s Karen Tocher: “It is recognised that business events is a platform to advancing social and economic progress.

“By bringing together our Pathfinders, we will collaborate to stimulate both economic growth and intellectual capital.

“We aspire to attract progressive events which showcase our pioneering, creative and innovative thinking and our dynamic environment.”

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