In October 2014, the MSSI based Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre (SSPC) launched a National Crystal Growing Competition. The competition is open to primary and post-primary school pupils from across Ireland and coincides with the 2014 International year of Crystallography. Professor Kieran Hodnett, SSPC Scientific Director said; “Crystals are all around us, and in every aspect of our lives, from chocolate to medicine to paints and plastics. Most of the medicines we take are made up of compacted powders and the individual particles of the powders are in fact tiny crystals. There is even a significant crystalline part to chocolate and the exact type of crystals determines the taste of the chocolate. The SSPC National Crystal Growing Competition will not only enable students to grow their own crystals, but it will increase students’ awareness and understanding of the importance of crystals in our lives today.”
The SSPC is a world-leading research centre focused upon next generation medicines by developing more environmentally sustainable methods for drug manufacture; increasing the range of medicines available to the public; and reducing drug manufacturing costs. The pharmaceutical industry employs over 25,000 individuals directly and 24,500 indirectly in Ireland, and produces over 50% of all exports, making Ireland the second-largest pharmaceutical exporter in the world. The primary objective of the SSPC is to retain existing jobs and to create new jobs within the pharmaceutical industry in Ireland.
In conjunction with the SSPC National Crystal Growing Competition, as part of the ‘Celebrate Science Festival’, funded by Science Foundation Ireland, for Science Week 2014, the SSPC is hosting a free fun filled SSPC Crystal Growing Workshop on Saturday, 15 November 2014 in the Hunt Museum Limerick.