Tyree IHealthE will provide a focus for highly motivated undergraduate students seeking the opportunity to integrate real world experience into their undergraduate program, to provide them with enhanced preparation and experience in the areas of leadership and project management as it relates to biomedical engineering/clinical research and/or design. Through the Vertically Integrated Project (VIP) Course program, students from different Engineering disciplines will be brought together into project teams that will develop during the final three years of their undergraduate degree course.
Medical students doing their research thesis projects as part of their Integrated Learning Program (ILP) year as well as General Studies courses in other years, will also join the project teams. Each multidisciplinary team consists of 5-15+ students from second year through fourth year, and 1-4 postgraduate students.
Projects will be aligned with IHealth programs, with emphasis on those projects that have been endorsed and supported through SCIMIT. We anticipate that in the steady state, three or four VIP projects will be running.
The supervisory team will also include a multidisciplinary combination of mentors from the Engineering and Medicine Faculties, with guidance and input from Tyree IHealthE’s operational (Industry and Community Engagement Officer, SCIMIT Manager) and core capabilities (academics in Biosignals and Data Analytics, and Neurobionics as appropriate to the specific project topic) groups.
The VIP program will enhance students’ teamwork, design skills and independent study skills through clinical/patient outcome design projects and research. It aims to develop students’ critical thinking skills, and their ability to define and respond to a specific problem or project or research outcome. Professional skills such as team-work, written and oral skills, strategic thinking and organisational skills will be developed.
The interdisciplinary teams of Engineering and Medical students will be gaining experience in industry collaboration, entrepreneurial skills and the regulatory requirements necessary to bring medical technologies to clinical reality. Postgraduate research students will be embedded into the research programs, working alongside the VIP teams, and providing fertile areas for higher degree research.
An initial VIP project has already been launched in 2020 for the design of a flexible Neural Stimulator that brings together biology and electronics with wide application possibilities in Parkinson’s disease, depression, epilepsy and chronic pain.
Tyree IHealthE will develop a PhD program that integrates professional development and develops translational skills. The Institute will directly support seven PhD scholarships over the lifetime of Tyree IHealthE. Given the current intense interest in the biomedical technology area, we would also anticipate approximately another 15 funded through domestic and international students supported by research grants and government scholarships. The SCIMIT-enabled projects, which would also be supported by Tyree IHealthE’s Translational Project Seed Grants, would be a fertile ground of research discovery and engagement by these higher degree students.