New scholarship recognises ‘a giant in the world of science’

Prof William C Campbell bursary open to Leaving Cert students in disadvantaged areas

Nobel laureate Prof William C Campbell, the 88-year-old Co Donegal scientist who developed a successful treatment for onchocerciasis, also known as river blindness. Photograph: Laura Hutton/The Irish Times

Nobel laureate Prof William C Campbell, the 88-year-old Co Donegal scientist who developed a successful treatment for onchocerciasis, also known as river blindness. Photograph: Laura Hutton/The Irish Times

 

Plans for a new scholarship programme for children from disadvantaged areas have been announced seeking to honour Ireland’s 11 Nobel laureates.

The first scholarship, worth €5,000 every year, will be named after Prof William C Campbell, the 88-year-old Co Donegal scientist who developed a successful treatment for onchocerciasis, also known as river blindness.

It will be open to students who have completed their Leaving Certificate at a Deis school – a school in a disadvantaged area which gets extra State support – and are starting as an undergraduate later this year.

Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh, who confirmed the Prof William C Campbell Bursary, said the scholarship will recognise “a giant in the world of science and preventative medicine and a proud Donegal man”.

“The aim of the award is to encourage the next generation of students to strive to replicate achievements like Prof Campbell’s, which have transformed the lives of millions of people across the world,” he said.

Discussions

Mr McHugh also confirmed discussions are ongoing between officials in his department and the Royal Irish Academy – the all-island academic body that promotes the study of science, humanities and social sciences – about similar scholarships to honour Ireland’s 10 other Nobel laureates.

Prof Campbell’s work has helped save the sight of millions of people in Africa, Latin America and Yemen

They include WB Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney, for literature; Seán McBride, Betty Williams, Mairead Corrigan, John Hume and David Trimble, for peace; and Ernest Walton for physics.

“I would like to see further scholarships created to honour the work, talent and legacy of all 11 Nobel laureates from our island,” said the Minister.

Ramelton-born and raised Prof Campbell’s work on developing a treatment for river blindness, which is caused by a parasitic worm, has helped save the sight of millions of people in Africa, Latin America and Yemen.

He was awarded the Nobel prize in medicine in 2015.

Exempt

Applicants for the inaugural bursary must have taken their Leaving Certificate this year and be exempt from the Leaving Certificate fee.

The student must also have studied at least two science subjects at Leaving Certificate and have applied to study an approved course leading to a primary degree in zoology, medicine, physiology or biomedical sciences at undergraduate level in an approved higher education institution.

The bursary will be awarded to the applicant who has the highest number of marks on their exam papers in any combination of two science subjects counted for CAO purposes, one of which must be biology.

The winner will get €5,000 for each year of their studies at undergraduate level.