i-Path running Northern Ireland’s first Schools Pathology Challenge

i-Path running Northern Ireland’s first Schools Pathology Challenge

i-Path, the Belfast-based virtual microscopy company, has reached out to the pathologists of tomorrow by running a competition for students taking A- or AS-level biology. The Schools Pathology Challenge 2009, in conjunction with National Pathology Week and in support of the Prince’s Trust, aims to raise awareness of pathology among 17–18 year olds who are considering careers in life sciences.  Twenty-seven schools from across the province entered a total of 67 teams, each comprising four students.

In the week commencing 20 November, the teams logged into PathXL OLT, i-Path’s online testing platform, to take the test set by Dr Stephen McCullough, from the Centre of Biomedical Sciences Education at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB).  The top six teams competed in the grand final, held at QUB on 16 December 2009. The schools were: Thornhill College, Londonderry, Lurgan College, Royal School Armagh, Dominican College Fortwilliam, Dalriada School, Ballymoney and Our Lady and St Patrick’s College, Knock.  Royal School Armagh defeated stiff competition from the other schools to win the challenge.  

After the competition, the pupils had an opportunity to view the Medical School and meet staff and students.  Stuart Harvey, CEO of i-Path, explains: “This competition is a fun and interactive way for us, as a digital pathology company, to reach and educate young students through e-learning. Should these students progress in the biomedical field, they will more than likely use this technology as part of their undergraduate or postgraduate course, so taking part in this competition will give them a great start as they will be familiar with the technology before they even begin their university career.” i-Path planned the competition as part of a fundraising challenge for The Prince’s Trust, attempting to turn £1,500 into £10,000 profit as part of the ‘Million Makers’ business competition.  

The money raised will be channelled into helping around 3000 young people aged 14–30 in Northern Ireland to develop the key skills to enable them to move into work, education or training.  i-Path successfully raised money through sponsorship from local businesses and were regional winners in the ‘Million Makers’ challenge.

 Jill Higgins

Business Development Manager

i-Path Diagnostics Ltd