I took a first degree and PhD in materials science at Cambridge University before starting to work in Biomedical Engineering in September 1978. After a three year project for a UK government funding agency to identify research priorities across a range of biomedical engineering topics (including managing incontinence), I started work on incontinence technology in 1981, and that has been my research focus ever since. I retired from University College London (after 33 years there) in September 2017 but remain active in the field through: various projects; guest lectures; steering group, committee and editorial board memberships; international standards work; consultancies and the like. I am now Emeritus Professor of Incontinence Technology at UCL.
I have written around 300 journal papers, book chapters, refereed conference contributions and patent applications, and have delivered numerous invited lectures to academic, clinical, industrial and other audiences, internationally. I participated in all six International Consultations on Incontinence, providing the material on managing incontinence with products for the first two, and (co)leading the team that wrote the chapter on that subject that was included from the 3rd consultation onwards. After the 5th consultation, I co-directed - with Mandy Fader - a project to make the consultation material more widely available (via the internet) by creating evidence-based advice (for clinicians, caregivers and users) on the selection and effective use of continence products. It forms part of the ICS website, at www.continenceproductadvisor.org. The site has been live for 5 years and has logged over 600,000 visits to date.
In the early 1990s, I initiated a series of conferences in London - hosted by the Institution Mechanical Engineers, and entitled "Incontinence: The Engineering Challenge" - to draw together, inform, stimulate and inspire the various stakeholders in continence technology (users, clinicians, academics, funders, charities, industry colleagues, and others) and encourage them to develop more effective continence technology. The series has settled into a two-yearly pattern and the organising committee is currently planning the 12th in the series for November 2019. I also help the US Simon Foundation to organise a sister series of two-yearly conferences in Chicago (the first, in 2007).
I have sat on the British Standards Institute and International Standards Organisation committees on incontinence products since the 1980s and co-written numerous standards that are used to assist with purchasing decisions around the world.
Almost all my work on incontinence over some 35 years has been conducted in multi-disciplinary teams and I very much enjoy the stimulation, fruitfulness and challenge of working and communicating with colleagues whose professional backgrounds are different from my own.
Everyone with incontinence would like to be cured but that is not always possible and my conviction is that, when complete cure is not achievable, working out how best to manage any unresolved incontinence - using effective technology, if appropriate - is a goal just as worthy of our best efforts.