The Hans Sloane and Sloane McClay Awards

The Hans Sloane Award

The Hans Sloane Award recognises Northern Ireland’s top achievers in ‘A’ Level Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The Award was established in 1960 to commemorate the life and work of the celebrated Killyleagh physician, scientist and collector, Sir Hans Sloane.


Sloane McClay Award

In 2017, a new award was established, the Sloane McClay Award, to commemorate the life and work of not only Hans Sloane, but also Sir Allen McClay, the visionary entrepreneur and businessman from Cookstown, Founder of the Almac Group. This Award recognises Northern Ireland’s top achievers in GCSE level Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics.

In January 2018, the Sloane McClay Awards ceremony was held in the Ulster Museum, Belfast, to honour the students who excelled in GCSE and ‘A’ Level STEM subjects.

The Hans Sloane and Sloane McClay Awards

Jamie Brannigan, a former student of St Colman’s College in Newry received the Hans Sloane award for top marks in ‘A’ level science while Matthew Vennard from Portadown College was awarded the inaugural Sloane McClay award for the highest marks in science and maths at GCSE level. Almac’s Professor Tim Harrison, Vice President, Drug Discovery presented both awards and delivered the Hans Sloane lecture during the awards ceremony.


Watch what the winners, and Professor Harrison, had to say about the event and their experiences below.

Interested in next year’s awards?

Winning students are invited to attend an annual prestigious awards ceremony in January where they receive certificates and cheques up to £500 in addition to the top student, and their school, receiving a Hans Sloane bronze medal and Sloane McClay award for their relevant education level.

If you are a teacher or student and would like to know more about the Hans Sloane or Sloane McClay awards, please do not hesitate to contact us here.

Download the Sloane McClay Brochure

Both Sir Hans Sloane and Sir Allen McClay were inspired by science in different ways.  Their work and values will inspire generations that follow through their passion and commitment to science and the benefits they left to society. They both used their time and wealth to help others and were recognised for their contributions to the world of healthcare.

We need more people willing to make a difference to knowledge, understanding and society. You can.

                  Tim Harrison
Tim Harrison at Sloane McClay Awards Jan 2018
              Jamie Brannigan
Jamie Brannigan at Sloane McClay Awards Jan 2018
             Matthew Vennard
Matthew Vennard at Sloane McClay Awards Jan 2018


Dr Kirstin Veighey - Hans Sloane Medal Recipient (Click to Read More)

Name: Dr Kristin Veighey MBChB BAO MRCP(Neph) PhD
Date of receipt: 1999

What are your qualifications?
I studied Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics at A-level at Sullivan Upper School in Holywood, before going on to Queen’s University Belfast to study Medicine. During my time as an undergraduate I was awarded prizes and medals in both pathology and general medicine, and achieved distinctions throughout the course. I took part in an Erasmus exchange programme in my 4th year, studying obstetrics, gynaecology and paediatrics at the University of Oslo. I then undertook an overseas elective project in paediatrics and neonatology at the Children’s’ Hospital in Westmead, Sydney, Australia.

What is your current job role?
I am currently a Consultant Nephrologist (Kidney Specialist) at the Wessex Kidney Centre based in Portsmouth, and the Clinical Research Physician at the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHS). In my medical capacity, I see patients who have the full range of kidney related illnesses, including those who are on dialysis or have had a kidney transplant. In my research role I work from a base in the Research and Development department to facilitate clinical research across UHS. I also support and mentor research fellows, representing them as the Lead for Medical Clinical Research Fellows on the Southampton Academy of Research. I am a Visiting Fellow of the University of Southampton.

What is your experience to date?
Following graduation I moved to Southampton as I wanted to experience working as a doctor outside of Northern Ireland. I completed my basic medical training in the Wessex region and then secured a training number in Nephrology in North Thames, London. Following two years of clinical training at Imperial and the Royal Free I went on to undertake a PhD in Clinical Pharmacology and Nephrology at UCL, which I was awarded in 2015. My research interests are in kidney transplantation and specifically in simple interventions which improve outcomes for patients.

Following three years of dedicated research time I completed my clinical training at the Wessex Kidney Centre prior to being appointed as a Consultant. I am currently in the process of applying for a NIHR postdoctoral research fellowship. I have been part of the trial steering committee of a multicentre multinational randomised controlled trial, the Renal Protection Against Ischaemia Reperfusion (REPAIR) in transplantation which looked at the effectiveness of a simple, safe and virtually free intervention, remote ischaemic preconditioning (RIPC) in improving kidney function following transplantation. I have presented research at international meetings, the highlight being presenting the long term results of REPAIR at the American Society of Nephrology High Impact Clinical Trials session, the most highly regarded forum in the field of clinical research in Nephrology.

What did winning the Hans Sloane award mean to you?
Winning the Hans Sloane Medal back in 1999 was a shock to me as I never really believed in myself or my abilities while at school. The recognition I achieved as a result of having the award has been a springboard into academic medicine, as it is a distinction on my CV which makes me stand apart from other applicants.

Have you any advice for aspiring scientists?
Believe in yourself and your capabilities. If you are passionate about science and understand the positive contribution you, as an individual, can make in the world then follow your dream.

The Hans Sloane and Sloane McClay Awards The Hans Sloane and Sloane McClay Awards