Queen's scientist named Innovator of the Year

24th March 2013

A Queen’s University scientist has won two national awards for his research on microneedles which deliver drugs without causing pain or bleeding.

Dr Ryan Donnelly, Reader in Pharmaceutics at Queen's School of Pharmacy, has been named BBSRC Innovator of the Year 2013. He also won the Most Promising Innovator of the Year title. From Castleblayney in Co Monaghan, he will receive £15,000 to support his research and Queen’s School of Pharmacy will also receive £15,000.

Dr Donnelly won the awards for his work on microneedles which take the sting out of medicine delivery and monitoring. The tiny needles pierce the skin without pain or bleeding and are applied using a skin patch. They then swell, allowing controlled administration of even large medicines like insulin, as well as vaccines. They can also be used in minimally-invasive patient monitoring applications
Earlier this year, Dr Donnelly was also named GlaxoSmithKline Emerging Scientist for 2012. Speaking about his latest award Dr Donnelly said: “I am absolutely delighted to win both of these prestigious awards, especially considering the extremely high level of competition. My group’s microneedles research has attracted interest and substantial funding from some of the world’s biggest companies over a very wide range of applications. That we have come so far in only five years in this field is testament to the hard work and innovation of the members of my group.

“Our next step in moving towards commercialisation of this exciting research is to scale up production to industrial levels. We will do this over the next two years thanks to a £710,000 award from BBSRC that came through last month. The first patients will benefit from our microneedle technology in three to five years from now.
“The School of Pharmacy at Queen’s has a long and successful track record of innovation, taking our research from the laboratory to the patient. This history and experience has helped me to develop the impact of my research programme, making it relevant to the market and, ultimately, to patients.”

Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said: "The UK is at the forefront of bioscience, thanks to the pioneering work of BBSRC and continued investment in our world-class research base. These awards recognise how we are fostering innovation and working closely with industry. This will ensure our cutting edge research brings benefits to the economy and society.”
The two competitions form part of BBSRC’s Fostering Innovation initiative. They encourage research in biosciences to cross the gap from academia to tangible economic and social benefits.

Further information on Dr Donnelly’s work is available online at





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