DUBLIN, Ireland - A new scholarship has been announced for students with the Professor William C Campbell Bursary.
The scholarship recognises the work of Nobel Prize winner Prof Campbell, from Ramelton, Co Donegal.
The competition for the award will be open to students who completed their Leaving Certificate at a Deis school and are beginning their undergraduate studies in the 2019/20 academic year.
Professor Campbell (pictured) was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2015 for his development of a cure for River Blindness while working with pharmaceutical company MSD. The disease is caused by a parasitic worm. Prof Campbell’s treatment has saved the sight of hundreds of millions of people in Africa, Latin America and Yemen.
The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh spoke to Professor Campbell at his home in the U.S. to confirm the plans.
"I am delighted to announce the establishment of a bursary to recognise a giant in the world of science and preventative medicine and a proud Donegal man, Professor William C Campbell," McHugh said Monday.
"The aim of the award is to encourage the next generation of students to strive to replicate achievements like Prof Campbell which have transformed the lives of millions of people across the world."
"Professor Campbell is an inspiration. His life and his work has left a huge legacy and that is something I believe we need to build on. We should have bigger ambitions than just one scholarship fund like this. 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.
"I have had discussions with both the Royal Irish Academy and officials in the Department about ways to progress this ambition."
Welcoming the announcement the Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor said Monday: "A priority for me as Minister of State for Higher Education is to provide target groups with more opportunities to reach their potential. Today’s announcement gives an important opportunity to students from Deis schools in furthering their scientific studies at third level."
"This bursary recognises the work of a very important figure in the scientific field and I would encourage all eligible students to take advantage of this opportunity and apply for such an historic scholarship."
Under the Professor William C Campbell Bursary, students are eligible for consideration for a €5,000 annual bursary if they sat their Leaving Certificate in a Deis school.
The first round of applicants must have participated in the 2019 Leaving Certificate programme and be exempt from their Leaving Certificate fee.
Applications are necessary for the Professor William Campbell bursary and application forms are available here or at participating schools.
The student must 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 €5,000 in funding will be awarded to the successful applicant in each year of their studies at undergraduate level in either Zoology, Medicine, Physiology or Biomedical Sciences.
"Professor Campbell’s life’s work was ignited by an interest in worms as a child and the effect of fluke on cattle. I’m told he also had an inspiring teacher. I think we should be doing more, both in his home county and through schools, to honour Prof Campbell’s life and legacy and show budding scientists where their interests can take them," Minister McHugh said.
"Discussions are ongoing across Government and with education providers in Donegal and elsewhere to ensure we do that."