Tyrone science stars are sought

Hans Sloane trustee Sally Montgomery, Frances Weldon, STEM Outreach Manager at Almac and Paddy Gilmore, Head of Programmes at National Museums NI, launch this year's search for Northern Ireland's top science students.
Hans Sloane trustee Sally Montgomery, Frances Weldon, STEM Outreach Manager at Almac and Paddy Gilmore, Head of Programmes at National Museums NI, launch this year's search for Northern Ireland's top science students.

This year’s search for Northern Ireland’s top science students has been launched.

‘A’ level and GCSE students will be recognised by awards set up in the memory of two of the province’s most famous and forward-thinking scientists.

Schools in Tyrone are being urged to nominate their top science pupils for this year’s Hans Sloane and Sloane McClay awards before November 2.

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 Hans Sloane Memorial Fund Trust, and National Museums NI, are now in the second year of a partnership with Almac Group, the Craigavon based contract development and manufacturing organisation. Through that partnership last year, for the first time, a new award was established for Northern Ireland’s brightest student at GCSE level.

The Sloane McClay Award commemorates the lives of both Sir Hans Sloane and Almac founder, inspirational entrepreneur and philanthropist Cookstown-born 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 is awarded to the top student at GCSE obtaining the highest combined marks in biology, chemistry, physics and maths. The recipient of the Sloane McClay Award will also be offered a work placement at Almac during their ‘A’ S level year.

Frances Weldon, STEM outreach manager at Almac, said: “Last year’s partnership with the prestigious Hans Sloane Trust to recognise and reward top performing students in science and maths was a great success and we were thrilled to recognise the academic achievements of our local students. We 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.”

School 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 November 2. 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 Sloane McClay Award will be presented to the top GCSE student. Cash awards and certificates will be made to the top three students at both ‘A’ Level and GCSE.