Our proposal aims at redefining the essence of team-based Senior Design projects in Biomedical Engineering and is based on the realization that in addition to the basic technical, communication and interpersonal skills acquired in a typical 4-year engineering curriculum, successful careers in the health industry require an understanding of how a business functions (marketing and sales, accounting and finance, and operations) and familiarity with the legal, regulatory, and economic constraints affecting patient care device design and development. While Biomedical Engineers need not become experts in all the above, it is critical for them to understand and appreciate these issues. The goal of this proposal is to implement a new Senior Design experience for BME students focused on the integration of biomedical engineering and clinical disciplines with translation of innovation to industry. There are three specific aims:
Aim 1 : To incorporate basic aspects of translational medicine and innovation commercialization into the lecture component of the Senior Design course. The lecture component, which is primarily given in the fall semester of the senior year, will be overhauled to include lectures given by instructors from the medical and business schools.
Aim 2 : To increase the clinical significance of Senior Design projects offered to BME seniors. Students will be able to apply for a clinical immersion program in the summer prior to their senior year and will be encouraged to identify needs that can be addressed through biomedical engineering solutions. Medical and Business School faculty, as well as industrial advisors will be invited to develop and mentor senior design projects.
Aim 3 : To provide a path for translation and commercialization for the most successful senior design projects. A selection process will be implemented whereby about 20% of the projects will be selected at the end of the fall semester for matching with an entrepreneurship course where they become case studies for marketing and financial analysis. At the end of the spring, one or two projects will be further evaluated and pushed towards actual commercialization. The program participants will be the entire senior class of BME students at Rutgers, and the program will be run through the collaborative efforts of the Rutgers Center for Innovative Ventures of Emerging Technology, the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Rutgers, the Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine, and the Rutgers Business School. Students will tremendously benefit from the proposed upgrade to the Senior Design course because they will be working on projects that are better tailored towards the needs of patients and physicians. They will also get a better understanding of the down-to-earth practical - yet critical - non-technical issues that must be considered when designing new products, such as the competition, market acceptance, cost, and other related considerations.
This proposal aims to revamp the team-based Senior Design experience at Rutgers University and better prepare students for the healthcare industry. Besides applying the technical skills that they have learned in their biomedical engineering curriculum, we propose to teach them about business functions and the legal, regulatory, and economic constraints affecting patient care device design and development.
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