Fortunate to be catalyst for change: Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw on University of Glasgow research centre

Fortunate to be catalyst for change: Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw on University of Glasgow research centre

The University of Glasgow announced that the ARC (Advanced Research Centre) will be named after Glasgow graduate John Shaw and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, the force behind Indian biopharmaceutical major Biocon.

The couple, who made one of the largest gifts of $7.5million to the university in July 2019, have been on a mission to bring affordable access to a speciality portfolio of medicines. Their gift to the University of Glasgow complements philanthropic investments made across the world, stimulating research and innovation and supporting education.

The university said this week that it wanted to recognise the civic commitment of the couple by naming the building after them. The Mazumdar-Shaw Advanced Research Centre, the ARC, will be home to over 500 researchers from a range of disciplines, facilitating world changing collaborative research.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw said: “John and I are honoured to have this fantastic facility bear our name. The decision to gift to Glasgow was easy, we both feel very strongly that there is a responsibility to share wealth to make a difference.

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“The ARC is about catalysing change in research and that resonates with us. Philanthropy can be a catalyst for change, growth, improvement and development. We are both grateful that we are in the fortunate position to contribute to John’s alma mater and help the university achieve its aspirational goals.”

The £116 million ARC building will officially open in June 2022.

The University’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, said: “We are really grateful to John and Kiran and we wanted to ensure that this extraordinarily generous gift was recognised appropriately. The Mazumdar-Shaw Advanced Research Centre is on its way to becoming operational.

“It is an incredibly exciting time on campus; every week more researchers are moving in, and this summer the ARC will fully open its doors to the wider community. The global challenges that we face require team approaches and collaboration across disciplines, and this unique environment will encourage and support interdisciplinary research breakthroughs.

“The relationship we have with John and Kiran is a fantastic example of how a university can work with its communities to make a real difference in the world. Through our partnership, we are building on the University’s work with Biocon to explore initiatives such as joint PhDs which provide industry experience and help solve real world problems.”

The $7.5million donation was used to help fund the building of the Mazumdar-Shaw Advanced Research Centre and create a Professorial Chair, the Mazumdar-Shaw Chair of Molecular Pathology.

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Dr Shaw’s career with the Paisley-based textile firm Coats included management and financial positions across the world and led to him meeting his future wife Kiran in Bangalore. When they married in 1998, her firm Biocon was already a pioneering biotech venture. When Dr Shaw took early retirement from Coats, they worked together to transform the company into a biotech giant.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw started Biocon in in 1978 in her garage. Today it is a billion-dollar company with around 15,000 employees.

She is named among ‘TIME’ magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world and is recognised as a thought leader who has made her country proud by building a globally recognised biopharmaceutical enterprise.

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