Sugru inventor Jane Ní Dhulchaointigh has made the shortlist for the European Inventor Award 2018.
The Kilkenny native and her team at FormFormForm will compete in the small and medium-sized enterprises category, the winner of which will be announced on June 7th.
The European Inventor Award is an annual prize awarded by the European Patent Office (EPO). Other categories include Research, Industry, Non-EPO member states and Lifetime achievement.
Sugru is a mouldable glue that that can be used to repair everyday household items and adheres to most materials, including metal, glass, and fabric. Once set, it remains strong, flexible and waterproof.
“Jane ní Dhulchaointigh’s invention invites us to rethink our behaviour when it comes to discarding damaged or broken items in favour of a more considerate treatment of our environment,” said EPO president Benoît Battistelli. “Her invention is proof that innovative European SMEs can benefit from patents to effectively establish their leadership in the development of sustainable consumer products.”
Ms Ní Dhulchaointigh said a patent was critical to making the whole project work, because it was important to obtain the same level of protection as that available to industry, and was the only way to raise the finance that would be needed to develop the invention.
Sugru has an estimated 2.5 million users worldwide.
Ms Ní Dhulchaointigh said the company was “a business on a mission”, part of a movement to repair objects in an effort to reduce waste. A new family-safe, skin-friendly version of Sugru was recently unveiled, suitable for children as young as eight to use by themselves.
Previous finalists and winners of the European Inventor Award include 3D printing inventor Charles Hull; Ingeborg & Prof Erwin Hochmair, the inventors of the Cochlear implant; and Martin Schadt, the inventor of LCD technology.