Dundee University principal says it’s the ‘natural time’ to step down

Sir Pete Downes

Dundee University is to begin the search for a new principal after Professor Sir Pete Downes, the current principal and vice-chancellor, announced his retirement.

Professor Downes revealed he will retire at the end of the year, having been principal at the university since 2009 and a member of the faculty for nearly 30 years.

He said: “It has been a tremendous honour and a privilege to lead this great institution for what will have been almost ten years at the time I step down. Being Principal has been the latest and final chapter of my career in the University, which began in 1989.

“I have been here long enough to have received a Long Service Award last year. I wear my silver badge, denoting 25 plus years of service, with pride, along with the many staff who have shared the journey.  Later this year I will turn 65 and this seems a natural time to consider the next stage of my life.

“There are crucial issues to be addressed by the University throughout the coming year and I will be devoting my energies to those in the coming months.

“September will also see the opening of V&A Dundee, a project I have been closely involved with since the time I became Principal. It is just one sign of the significant changes taking place in the city, many of them being driven or supported by the University.”

Under Professor Downes’ guiding hand, Dundee University has been consistently rated among the UK’s best institutions for student experience.

A leading biochemist, he spent 11 years in pharmaceuticals before joining the university.

He co-founded the Division of Signal Transduction Therapy partnership in 1998, which has attracted nearly £60m of investment to Dundee.

Knighted by the Queen in 2015, Professor Downes said he would spend his final months as principal addressing “crucial issues” at the university.