Education news

Awards to honour north's top science pupils

Dr Jane Wilde from Hans Sloane Memorial Fund, Stephen Barr from Almac Sciences, and Laura McCorry from National Museums NI

THE top biology, chemistry, physics and maths pupils are to honoured with awards commemorating two of the north's most forward-thinking scientists.

The Hans Sloane Medal will be presented to the top pupil obtaining the highest combined marks across the three sciences at A-level.

The newly-created Sloane McClay Award will be given to the top performer at GCSE.

Both Sir Hans Sloane, a notable Killyleagh surgeon, and Cookstown-born Sir Allen McClay were inspired by science to improve people's quality of life.

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.

The Hans Sloane (Memorial Fund) Trust, in partnership with National Museums NI, was established in 1960.

Sloane promoted inoculation against smallpox, the use of quinine (a treatment for malaria) and the health-giving properties of drinking chocolate mixed with milk.

This year, the trustees and National Museums NI have welcomed a partnership with Almac Group, the Craigavon based contract development and manufacturing organisation.

This will increase the cash awards given to the top three A-level pupils and also establish an award for Northern Ireland's brightest at GCSE.

The Sloane McClay Award commemorates the lives of both Sloane and Almac founder, entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Allen McClay.

School principals will receive a letter inviting them to nominate their top performing pupils by November 17. Winning pupils and their families will be invited to attend an awards ceremony at the Ulster Museum in January.

Stephen Barr, President & MD of Almac Sciences said he was delighted to partner with the Hans Sloane Trust to recognise and reward top performing students in key subject areas.

"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," he said.

Dr Jane Wilde from the Hans Sloane Memorial Fund added: "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."

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