During his recent tour of the USA, Taoiseach Enda Kenny presented Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) prestigious ‘St. Patrick’s Day Science Medal’ to Dr T. Pearse Lyons, founder and president of Alltech, and Prof Adrian E. Raftery, Professor of Statistics and Sociology at the University of Washington. Congratulating the recipients at an award event held in Washington D.C., Mr Kenny said: “Dr Lyons and Prof Raftery have both had a huge impact in their own areas of expertise and played pivotal roles in the development of researchers in Ireland. They have demonstrated how academic and industry based scientific research can create jobs, tackle global problems and impact positively on people and society.”
Dublin born but Dundalk-raised biochemist and entrepreneur, Dr T. Pearse Lyons, is the first Irish scientist to have created a global business based on scientific research. With the aim of creating the next ‘green revolution’ to improve the health and performance of people, animals and plants, Dr Lyons founded Alltech, in 1980 with just $10,000 in capital. He has led the company to now having annual sales of $3 billion, trading in 128 countries worldwide, employing more than 6,000 people. Dr Lyons and his team at Alltech remain committed to innovation and development, with three Alltech biosciences centres dedicated to research and education – two in the U.S. and one in Dunboyne, Co. Meath.
Dublin-born Prof Adrian E. Raftery is regarded as one of the most eminent statisticians in the world. His work has resulted in the development of new statistical methods, focusing particularly on the social, environmental and health sciences. He has also worked on studies which have fundamentally changed our understanding of the prevalence of HIV/Aids, whaling populations and weather forecasting. Dr Lyons on accepting his award said: “While my business is global, my passion for biochemistry and entrepreneurship started at home in Ireland. As a company, we still have very close links to Ireland with one of our three biosciences research centres based in Co. Meath. Science and technology play a very important part in my company’s success and all of the Alltech team work to innovate every day.”