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Dr Ciaran McArdle: R&D
consultant and product innovator

With 35 years in industry, I’m keen to continue to share my experience in applied science to drive product innovation. Read on to find out what I could bring to your company.
Over my 35-year career, I’ve held numerous positions in a variety of companies, with Aeardis being my latest venture.

My background

I’ve spent my whole career immersed in using scientific principles to drive product innovation, largely in the arena of polymer chemistry and adhesives. But I’ve also touched on numerous other areas, by virtue of interacting closely with business units serving diverse sectors, including general industry, consumer products, packaging, electronics, automotive, metal pre-treatment and medical devices.

In summary:

1976 - 1983

B.Sc. and Ph.D. in polymer chemistry at The Queen’s University (Belfast, UK)

1984 - 1985

Postdoctoral fellowship in 2D organic conductors at the Centre d’Études Nucléaire (Saclay, France)

1985 - 1988

Group Leader of Device Physics at the General Electric Company (London, UK)

1988 - 2004

Senior Research Chemist & Scientific Fellow at Loctite/Henkel
(Dublin, Ireland)

2020 - Present

Consultant and venturing partner, various organisations

2013 - 2020

Co-founder and CTO at Afinitica Technologies / Bostik-Afinitica (Barcelona, Spain)

2004 - 2013

Technology Platform Head at
Henkel (Dublin, Ireland)

1991 - 1993

MBA from Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, University College Dublin, (Dublin, Ireland)

Why ‘Aeardis’?

Who invented cyanoacrylates? Dr Harry Coover is rightly credited with inventing cyanoacrylate-based instant adhesives or ‘superglues’ during a prolific period of innovation at Eastman Kodak in the 1950s.

However, the first person to actually isolate reactive monomeric cyanoacrylate was in fact another American industrial research chemist, Dr Alan E. Ardis, who in the late 1940s was working for the B.F. Goodrich Company, and who conducted some of the crucial work underpinning the later application of this monomer.

I’ve therefore named my consultancy Aeardis (pronounced ‘ey-ardis’) in recognition of this less well-known but talented inventor.

Working with me

What are the skills I can bring to your company? Here are some insights into what’s made me successful over the course of my career:
I enjoy tackling practical as well as intellectual challenges. Here, working with Flowid BV, we were preparing a SpinPro reactor for high-throughput synthesis.

I’m driven

New isn’t always better, and neither is change for change’s sake. But continuous improvement demands that we think carefully about evolving trends, act pragmatically, and look beyond what is expected of us. These are three concepts that have always driven my actions, and have led to a productive and interesting career.

I’m also a strong believer in accepting and managing risk – and seeing through the decisions I make. For example, in 2013 I resigned from a Global Technical Management position at Henkel to co-found Afinitica.

There, I worked with a young and enthusiastic team to develop a new range of cyanoacrylate adhesives from scratch, transfer process intensification projects, file 14 patents and establish important trade secrets. The fact that Afinitica was later acquired by Bostik (part of the Arkema group) is a measure of that success.

I know my way around IP

I’m adept with both the strategic and technical aspects of most types of intellectual property – including knowing what to disclose (or keep confidential), planning and timing portfolios, and (of course) how to prepare detailed drafts for patent attorneys.

As testament to my experience, all of the 60+ patent applications on which I’m named lead inventor or co-inventor have successfully passed examination. As CTO in a small-company setting, I prepared dossiers for successful out-licensing, as well as documentation to support the technical due-diligence required in acquisition audits. In the latter setting, several patents have (and continue) to protect sales of innovative products.
A system for preparing ordered anisotropic conductors on an epoxy tape, which I co-invented during my time at Loctite (see the patent here).
The blue-light-curable cyanoacrylate adhesive developed at Afinitica is a great example of how product formulation and packaging design can go hand-in-hand.

I know what’s involved in developing new products

My knowledge of product innovation is not just theoretical, but practical as well: I spent two-thirds of my career doing ‘hands-on’ work in the lab, and the rest managing talented staff in multiple locations. I understand the mindset of researchers, what motivates them, and how to get results.

This broad perspective and teamworking brings dividends – for example, the team in Afinitica enjoyed great success with a blue-light-curable superglue for consumers. consumers. This product was re-branded as ‘Fix & Flash’ after the company was acquired by Bostik in 2018, and was subsequently voted ‘Adhesive Product of the Year’ in 2019.

I’m an avid reader of the literature

My habit of reading the scientific literature has endured ever since I was a student, when a wise postdoc told me to “read one article every day, even on bad days”. I’ve since kept up the habit with business literature as well, after completing an MBA in the 1990s.

Doing this has allowed me to construct a bespoke library of technical papers and patents that I’ve filed, annotated, cross-referenced and linked to bookmarked sites. I’ve also kept track of innovative smaller companies and suppliers, as well as strategic acquisitions by large organisations.

My respect for the literature and the wisdom handed down by others is profound, and has been a great source of inspiration in the areas I now offer as services.
Through my career, I’ve always taken the time to fully understand the literature background to a field, and then take advantage of it.
I’m delighted to have known Dr Zhao as a former colleague, who introduced me to lasting and valued connections in Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry.

I’m a natural collaborator with industry and academia

In my final position at Henkel, I was responsible for over 60 staff, distributed globally (75% of them Ph.D.-educated), while at Afinitica and Loctite, I mentored new staff and directly supervised industrial Ph.D. projects – the first in 1993 and last in 2017. So I’m comfortable dealing with specialists in the field, and bringing together management and technical expertise to ensure success.

I’ve initiated and supervised many external collaborations, built relationships with universities, suppliers, spin-outs and centres of excellence in the UK, Ireland, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy and China, and managed open innovation teams in Spain and an ‘implant lab’ in Japan.

Let’s collaborate

Do you have a project that needs innovative insights and the benefit of an experienced external perspective? If so, I’d be interested to hear from you.
+44 (0)7484214799
LinkedIn profile here.
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