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Healthcare engineering students prepare their pitches

At this time of year, students up and down the country are preparing for their exams and end of year shows. I remember my own degree show with vivid clarity. It was character forming (why do we always say that about things that are stressful and unpleasant but don’t actually kill us?) and worked surprisingly well as preparation for certain moments in my career. Last week, I was back at my old university reviewing student design work, and the atmosphere was pretty much as I remember it.

This term, once again, two colleagues and I have been guiding the work of students on the Healthcare Engineering module at Loughborough University. Brennan Miles, Charlie Dean and I visited the students at the start of the term in order to explain the medical device development process and, perhaps more importantly, why it includes the steps it does. We then worked with the course leader, Yang Lui, to describe six briefs and set the students running on their design projects.

Over the rest of the term Brennan, Charlie and I acted as clients over three teleconferences with the students. We made sure that they were making the required progress, exploring the brief and coming up with ideas that could lead to effective medical devices. Some of the groups got the right idea straight away and some of them needed more support and guidance. At the end of term, the different projects teams had to ‘pitch’ their proposed designs to Katherine Blades (the university’s business manager and a former research scientist and project manager from the pharma industry) and me.

…it’s always encouraging to see students doing a great job presenting their ideas clearly

In my role at Team, I can end up seeing a lot of conference presentations, sometimes presented with dreadful slides and a confusing narrative by someone who really doesn’t want to be there. So it’s always encouraging to see students doing a great job presenting their ideas clearly, using models where it helps and engaging with their audience. The winner of this year’s “most investible product” was a system for helping patients manage chronic kidney disease and for their excellent work, each of the students on the winning team was awarded an Amazon voucher.

DSC01111-1 The winners

The university has many links into the world of industry and sport and has an impressive record of helping students to find work in their chosen field. We have a number of Loughborough graduates working for Team now, across the engineering and human factors departments, and this summer will see two new Loughborough students begin internships with Team. In the years since I graduated from Loughborough it’s been hugely encouraging to see how the university has grown in capability and stature, and the successful careers that Loughborough graduates are enjoying at Team shows that they must be doing something right.

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