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Tony McKervey

Almac Group Launches award for excellence in Organic Chemistry

24/03/2018


Commemorating the life and work of Professor Tony McKervey

Almac Group, the global contract pharmaceutical development and manufacturing organisation, has launched a special award to commemorate the life and work of one of Ireland's most distinguished scientists.

The Almac McKervey Award for Excellence in Organic Chemistry will be awarded to a Queen’s Chemistry student in memory of Professor Tony McKervey.

Born in Ederney, County Fermanagh in 1938, Professor McKervey earned a degree in Chemistry from Queen's University Belfast in 1961. A former Professor of Organic Chemistry at both University College Cork and Queen’s University Belfast, he founded Almac’s Sciences Business Unit in 1992 and continued to support Almac as a member of the Sciences’ senior management team until his death in June 2017 at the age of 78.

Professor McKervey was an esteemed academic and an industry expert, having received the ASTRA Award of the Royal Dublin Society in 1986 and the Boyle-Higgins Gold Medal of the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland in 1993. He also authored over 270 published research papers in world-renowned journals. 

Open to students studying Chemistry or Medicinal Chemistry at the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Queen’s University Belfast, the award will be presented to a student selected on the basis of academic achievement and performance at an interview with Almac’s chemistry experts.

The winning student will receive a £1,500 bursary towards tuition fees, as well as a paid 12 month placement with Almac to gain industry experience and mentorship. The inaugural Almac McKerveyawardceremony will be held at Queen’s University Belfast in October.

Stephen Barr, Managing Director, Almac Sciences commented: “We chose to name an award after our esteemed colleague and friend, Tony, as a fitting tribute to someone whose leadership, exemplary work ethic and kind demeanour inspired many of us during his many years of service with Almac.  His academic and industrial career has made a considerable impact on many who studied and worked for, and with him, across the world.  Tony was committed to supporting students with a shared passion for science and this award is designed to support outstanding achievement in organic chemistry and to further cement Tony’s research legacy within the field.”

Professor Peter Robertson, Head of School, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering commented: “Queen’s University Belfast is delighted that Almac has launched the Almac McKervey Award for Excellence in Organic Chemistry. Professor McKervey was a valued colleague and made a huge contribution to organic chemistry, both as an academic at Queen’s University Belfast and University College Cork and through his key involvement with industry, particularly with Almac. This award is a fitting legacy for Professor McKervey’s significant contribution as a world leading organic chemist.”

Last October, Almac partnered with the Hans Sloane Trust to launch the inaugural ‘Sloane McClay Award’. This award recognises and rewards the top student who obtains the highest combined marks in biology, chemistry, physics and maths at GCSE level. Many leaders in Northern Ireland, including both Sir Hans Sloane and Almac Group Founder Sir Allen McClay, envisioned a world dedicated to advancing human health. Almac continues to deliver on their achievements and dedication through helping to further develop youth engagement and support of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM) education.

For further information on the Almac McKervey Award, please contact Frances Weldon (STEM Outreach Manager) Almac Group.

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