Nicola named one of UK’s most promising inventors

Dr Nicola Irwin, who has been awarded an Enterprise Fellowship from the Royal Academy of Engineering, for developing Uroglide.
Dr Nicola Irwin, who has been awarded an Enterprise Fellowship from the Royal Academy of Engineering, for developing Uroglide.

A Waringstown woman has been identified as one of the most promising inventors based in a UK university, after developing new technology which could benefit patients worldwide.

Dr Nicola Irwin is the key scientist in a Queen’s University team who have developed a new coating for catheters, potentially making them easier to insert and remove.

Together with her team and Professor Colin McCoy, Dr Irwin has received international recognition for the coating and the life-changing impact it could have on both the health and dignity of patients.

“I have been awarded an Enterprise Fellowship from the Royal Academy of Engineering,” she explained. “This Fellowship will provide me with funding, mentoring and training to spin out a company from our catheter coating technology.”

A former pupil at Waringstown Primary School and Banbridge Academy, Dr Irwin graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Pharmacy in 2009, before completing a PhD in the School of Pharmacy at Queen’s.

This new coating, named Uroglide, has been created for intermittent catheters, which patients insert and remove up to eight times a day to drain urine from their bladders. An increasing amount of people opt for intermittent catheters, due to the greater personal independence they offer, and the reduced risk of infection.