The Search is on for ‘Northern Ireland’s Top Science Students

October 18, 2017

Craigavon, N.I., 18 October 2017 – The search is on for Northern Ireland’s top science students who will be recognised by awards set up in the memory of two of Northern Ireland’s most famous and forward-thinking scientists.

The Hans Sloane (Memorial Fund) Trust, in partnership with National Museums NI, was established in 1960 to commemorate the life and work of the notable Killyleagh surgeon and collector, Sir Hans Sloane (1660–1753). Sloane promoted inoculation against smallpox, the use of quinine (a treatment for malaria) and the health-giving properties of drinking chocolate mixed with milk. Sloane’s collection became the foundation of the British Museum.

The Trustees award the Hans Sloane Medal to the top student obtaining the highest combined marks in biology, chemistry and physics at ‘A’ level.

The Trustees, and National Museums NI are delighted to welcome a major partnership with Almac Group, the Craigavon based contract development and manufacturing organisation. This partnership will not only increase the cash awards given to the top three ‘A’ level students but establish a new award for Northern Ireland’s brightest at GCSE.

The ‘Sloane McClay Award’ commemorates the lives of both Sir Hans Sloane and Almac founder, inspirational entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Allen McClay (1932-2010), whose vision was for Almac to be the leader in the generation of superior solutions for the advancement of human health. It will be awarded to the top student at GCSE obtaining the highest combined marks in biology, chemistry, physics and maths.

Both Sir Hans Sloane and Cookstown-born Sir Allen McClay were inspired by science to improve people’s quality of life and their values are inspirational to many. They both used their talents, time and wealth to help others and were recognised for their contributions to the world of healthcare with knighthoods.

Schools’ principals will receive a letter from National Museums NI and Almac, on behalf of the Hans Sloane Trustees, inviting them to nominate their top performing students by 17 November. Winning students and their families will be invited to attend a prestigious awards ceremony at the Ulster Museum in January, to recognise their achievements. The top ‘A’ Level student will receive the Hans Sloane bronze medal.  The inaugural Sloane McClay Award will be presented to the top GCSE student.  Cash awards and certificates are made to the top three students at both ‘A’ Level and GCSE.

Stephen Barr, President & MD Almac Sciences commented “We are delighted to partner with the prestigious Hans Sloane Trust to recognise and reward top performing students in key subject areas including science and maths. As a global organisation we rely on the talent and expertise of our employees and we must continue to encourage and engage the next generation of scientists to drive growth.  It is our hope that recipients of both the Hans Sloane Medal and the Sloane McClay Award will continue to make a difference to knowledge, understanding and society in the same way Sir Allen McClay and Sir Hans Sloane did.”

Dr Jane Wilde, Chairman Hans Sloane Memorial Fund stated: “We are delighted to work in partnership with Almac, to support the Hans Sloane Medal and create the new Sloane McClay Award. Adding a new Award at GCSE is a very exciting opportunity to recognize the achievements of younger students.  We are also grateful to CCEA who assist us with information from local examinations and school Principals, who can nominate students taking alternative examination boards.”

Kathryn Thomson, Chief Executive of National Museums NI, said: “Hans Sloane contributed significantly to scientific knowledge and was renowned for his love for learning and his quest for deeper knowledge and understanding, something that we are particularly passionate about here at National Museums NI.

 “In partnership with Almac, we are thrilled to celebrate the achievements of young people who strive for scientific excellence and look forward to welcoming the winners of the awards to a ceremony at the Ulster Museum in January.”


Notes to Editor

A level student with the highest combined score in biology, chemistry and physics

  • 1st Prize winner receives the Hans Sloane Bronze Medal, a certificate and a cheque for £500
  • 2nd Prize winner receives a certificate and a cheque for £300
  • 3rd Prize winner receives a certificate and a cheque for £150

GCSE Student with the highest combined score in biology, chemistry, physics and maths

  • 1st Prize winner receives the Sloane McClay Award, a certificate and a cheque for £250
  • 2nd Prize winner receives a certificate and a cheque for £150
  • 3rd Prize winner receives a certificate and a cheque for £50

About Almac Group

‘Partnering to Advance Human Health’

The Almac Group is an established contract development and manufacturing organisation that provides an extensive range of integrated services to the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors globally. The services range from R&D, biomarker discovery development and commercialisation, API manufacture, formulation development, clinical trial supply, IXRS® technology (IVRS/IWRS) through to commercial-scale manufacture.

The international company is a privately owned organisation that has organically grown over almost 50 years and now employs in excess of 5600 highly skilled personnel. Almac is headquartered in Craigavon, Northern Ireland with operations in the UK, Ireland, across the US (Pennsylvania, North Carolina and California) and in Asia (Singapore and Tokyo).

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