The Department of Education has established a third-level scholarship to honour Irish scientist and nobel prize winner Professor William C Campbell. 

Professor Campbell was awarded the Nobel prize in Medicine in 2015 for his development of a cure for River Blindness, which is a disease found in Africa, South America and Yemen. 

Students who complete their Leaving Certificate this year at a Deis or disadvantaged school will be eligible to apply for the scholarship, which will be named after the scientist. 

The student must have studied at least two science subjects at Leaving Certificate and have applied to study for a degree in Zoology, Medicine, Physiology or Biomedical Sciences in an approved Higher Education Institution.

She or he must also be exempt from the Leaving Certificate fee, which is an indicator of low income background. 

The bursary will be awarded to the applicant who receives the highest number of marks in their exam in any combination of two science subjects, one of which must be biology.

The student will receive €5,000 in funding for each year of their undergraduate studies. 

Professor Campbell is from Donegal. His cure, developed jointly with Japanese microbiologist Satoshi Omura, is credited with having saved the sight of hundreds of millions of people. 

Before the weekend, Minister for Education Joe McHugh spoke to Professor Campbell at his home in the US to confirm the bursary.

Mr McHugh said the aim of the award was to encourage the next generation of students to strive to replicate achievements like Prof Campbell which had transformed the lives of millions of people across the world.

Calling Professor Campbell "an inspiration", the minister said his life and his work had left a huge legacy that should be built on.