Innovations

St. Patrick’s Day science medals go to Alltech founder and World Leading Statistician

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.”

Pictured left to right: Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland, Dr. T. Pearse Lyons and Professor Adrian E. Raftery discuss Irish science with An Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Washington D.C. for the presentation of the Science Foundation Ireland St. Patrick’s Day Science Medal on Wednesday March 15, 2017. This year SFI St. Patrick’s Day Science Medal recognised the outstanding contributions of Prof Adrian E. Raftery and Dr. T. Pearse Lyons and in their respective fields, as well as their role in developing the research ecosystem in Ireland. With the aim of creating the next ‘green revolution’ to improve the health and performance of people, animals and plants, Dr. Lyons (born in Dundalk) founded Alltech, in 1980 with just $10,000 in capital. Dublin-born Prof Raftery has been described by his peers as one of the most eminent statisticians in the world. The Medal is awarded annually to a distinguished Irish scientist, engineer or technology leader living and working in the USA. Photographed by Nick Crettier.

 

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.”

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