Painkilling patch scoops top prize at NWRC awards

Overall winners at the North West Regional College Project Based Learning Awards were Jawaria Waseem and Carole Dowds for their project 'Synthesis and Analysis,' with Aisling McCallion, Marketing Officer, Derry City and Strabane District Council, Award Sponsor, and Annette Smith, Project Based Learning Mentor and Co-Ordinator, North West Regional College.
Overall winners at the North West Regional College Project Based Learning Awards were Jawaria Waseem and Carole Dowds for their project 'Synthesis and Analysis,' with Aisling McCallion, Marketing Officer, Derry City and Strabane District Council, Award Sponsor, and Annette Smith, Project Based Learning Mentor and Co-Ordinator, North West Regional College.

A Science student at the North West Regional College who was inspired by her personal experiences as a mother to design a prototype painkiller that ensures toddlers are receiving specific amounts of medication, has won the overall prize at the Project Based Learning Awards.

Carole Dowds and her research partner Jawaria Waseem picked up the top prize for their project ‘Synthesis and Analysis,’ at NWRC’s inaugural PBL awards.

Project Based Learning at the college enables students to undertake real life skills projects working directly with local industry.

The pair, who are both studying for the Foundation Degree in Applied and Medical Science at NWRC, decided to design the transdermal patch based on Carole’s experience as a mother.

Carole explained: “My son suffers from Febrile fits, which is often caused by underlying infections but results in the body temperature spiking. At that stage it is really important to get the temperature down as quickly as possible using oral paracetamols. 

“However, there were many times when I would get to the hospital with my son and the doctor would ask me how much paracetamol I had given him. I couldn’t give them an accurate amount because he had spat some out or thrown it up.

“Jawaria and I teamed up for the project and we started looking at the possibility of using a transdermal patch to administer the medication and at the same time accurately record how much medication has been taken.

“The patch has the potential to be further developed and the next step is to further research this alternative pathway and how the body would react.”

The PBL Awards which took place at the college’s Strand Road campus were sponsored by Connected Talent, Seagate Technologies, Derry City and Strabane District Council, Enterprise North West and Foyleside Shopping Centre.

The judges saw a diverse number of entries ranging from a revolutionary new shampoo for dogs, to a new device which alerts homeowners when their gas levels are running low.

The Innovation Award, sponsored by Seagate went to Lorcan Toner for ‘Beat the Keeper,’ whose project consisted of a target board for players to practice their shooting skills encouraging young people to take part in more sports based activities.

The Visual award, sponsored by Seagate was awarded to Construction student Ryan McCracken for his Artists’ Retreat at Boom Hall.

The Communications Award was given to Josh Kuzma, Niall Doherty, Megan Browne and Shea Kealey for ‘Searching for Columba’ charting the city’s connection with St Columba.

The Entrepreneurial award went to Adam McCallion and George O’Hagan of Foxglove for their promotional material recorded through the video and drone photography.

And the Academic Achievement award went to the EU Go Travels group which facilitates the exchange mobility of six students with learning difficulties, special needs or disabilities.

Annette Smith, Project Based Learning Mentor and Co-Ordinator, North West Regional College thanked all of the participants and sponsors for supporting the event.

She said: “Preparing for the awards has been a thoroughly enriching experience for our students and it’s fantastic to see their work now completed.

“The judges were overwhelmed by the level of innovation and creativity in the projects, and indeed said that many of them have the potential to go on and be further developed.

“This event was designed to be more than a competition. It gave the students the opportunity to further develop their skills in planning, problem-solving, communication and presentation which are key outcomes of the experience.

“I’d like to thank everyone who took part in the awards and I look forward to repeating this success at next year’s event.”