Business

Almac in £1m partnership with W5 to inspire next generation of scientists

Budding scientist Beth Danagher (10) from Bangor is joined by (left) Alan Armstrong (Almac Group chairman) and Eric Porter (Odyssey Trust chairman) for the announcement of the £1m learning partnership

MORE than £1 million is being invested in a partnership agreement between Almac Group and W5 to promote interactive learning and encourage the next generation of budding scientists.

W5 has secured the Craigavon-headquartered global organisation as its health and life sciences partner for the next 10 years, enabling it to expand its current footprint to create a dynamic new family learning opportunity.

The partnership includes a new 4,000 sq ft exhibition area that explores the physical, chemical, genetic and medical aspects of the body.

It will also showcase Almac's history and its work carried out in the drug development cycle for pharmaceutical and biotech sectors globally.

The new exhibition area is expected to open next autumn and follows the recent announcement by W5's owners the Odyssey Trust that £4.5m is to be spent on a major capital refurbishment and public engagement programme over the next three years.

Alan Armstrong, chairman and chief executive of the Almac Group, said: “This is an exciting and forward-thinking partnership between Almac and W5, an award-winning science and discovery centre, which will provide key benefits for the people of Northern Ireland as well as both organisations.

“The exhibition space adds to our existing presence in Belfast and provides us with a platform to tell our fascinating company history, from very humble beginnings to becoming a key player in the global biotech sector, employing almost 5,000 people worldwide, 3,000 of whom are based in Craigavon.

“We plan to tell that story in an accessible and interactive way and hope we can inspire a new generation who have the potential to be employed in cutting-edge science in the future right here in Northern Ireland.”

Eric Porter, chairman of the Odyssey Trust, added: “W5 and Almac share the aim of inspiring young people to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and maths.

"This agreement will also provide young people with the opportunity to explore an expanding array of careers within Almac and the biotech sector, as well as showcasing leading research and developments in biomedical science.”

Since opening in 2001, W5 has attracted more than 3.5 million visitors, including 260,000 last year along, which included 30,000 pupils on formal educational visits.

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