CEMACUBE Master In Biomedical Engineering: Insider’s Perspective

Research in universities across the world are limited by funds and for an interdisciplinary area like Biomedical Engineering collaborations between universities is highly crucial to capitalize on the diverse set of expertise. CEMACUBE is the Common European Master’s in Biomedical Engineering that seeks to achieve this goal.

I am currently pursuing my first year of study at RWTH Aachen and I am supposed to graduate with a specialization in Tissue Engineering. So, my second year of study is at Trinity College Dublin which offers excellent research opportunities in tissue engineering.

Recently, I have been getting a lot of queries from prospective applicants regarding the selection process, especially the questions asked in the interview. Here is my take.

What’s CEMACUBE?

In September 2010 the Erasmus Mundus Master’s course CEMACUBE (Common European MAster’s CoUrse in Biomedical Engineering) was initiated under the Erasmus Mundus Programme 2009-2013 of the European Commission. It is currently running as a CEMACUBE EIT Innovation & Entrepreneurship Masters under the EIT Health labelEIT Health is a knowledge and Innovation Community established by the European Institute for Innovation & Technology (EIT), and an independent EU body set up to promote innovation and entrepreneurship across Europe. 

Perks Of Being A CEMACUBE-ite

Being a CEMACUBEite has several perks. You get to study in 2 universities and receive 2 Master’s degree simultaneously. You get to interact with a diverse group of people and experience the culture of 2 different countries.

There is a CEMACUBE Social held in late October at the beginning of the session where you get to interact with your fellow CEMACUBites from other universities. After the EIT label and sponsorship, you get to undergo a 7-day summer school in August at the end of the first year of study without having to pay any participation fee.

Further, you also become an alumni of the EIT Network. Let me tell you, EIT organizes several workshops and webinars throughout the year and you can attend those events. If you have an entrepreneurial fervor, EIT has an extensive network of entrepreneurs and researchers to help you out there.

CEMACUBE Interview Round

CEMACUBE Interview Round

Congratulations if you have made it through to the interview round. The interview round takes place over Skype in the last week of March or first week of April. For the interview, the applicant needs to prepare a PowerPoint presentation of not more than 7 slides on a topic of his interest.

2 interviewers are likely to evaluate you based on your technical acumen, presentation skills and motivation. After a formal introduction, you need to explain your slides in 5 minutes. The explanation is followed by a question, answer session on your presentation. The interviewers typically seek technical answers to questions. Your technical acumen is reflected in your answer.

The interview lasts around 20-30 minutes. In the last 10-15 minutes, the interviewers try to gauge your motivation and evaluate the merit and basis of your choice of universities.

Here are a few questions that I faced in the interview.

  • Why are you keen to make a transition from Mechanical Engineering to Biomedical Engineering?
  • Did you take any electives in your undergraduate curriculum to make yourself better prepared for Biomedical Engineering?
  • What are your two choices of universities and why did you opt for them? I mentioned the University of Groningen as my first choice and RWTH Aachen as my second choice. This is because I had previously worked on exoskeletons during my internship in France and these two universities are ideal for implants. However, the interviewers told me that the course at RWTH is more focused on ‘Tissue Engineering’ than general prosthetics and implants.
  • How do you plan to fund your studies?
  • Do you have anything to ask?
  • What’s your favorite subject and what are the future prospects of its application in biomedical engineering?

Interview Tips

1.Presentation Topic

Cover Slide During The CEMACUBE Presentation

Although you can present on any topic of your interest, I would suggest you present on a topic in which you have first-hand experience. I presented on the exoskeleton project that I worked on during the internship.

2. Presentation Slides: PAR Strategy


The background detail entails the information of the patient for which I was designing the exoskeleton.

Don’t add unnecessary details. I prefer following PAR strategy for the presentations and each time I have got effective results.

PAR stands for Problem, Action, and Result.

Since you have to prepare just 7 slides, you can easily dedicate 2 slides to each of the P-A-R. You can including one slide giving some background details (read as theory related to the presentation topic). Since I was working on a patient-specific exoskeleton design, I decided to give the patient background as the background details.

3. Neat and Clean Presentation

The color contrast through just 3 colors gives the slide a professional look. I have used Gotham font for the headers.

I prefer not to use any background colors for scientific presentations. However, if you are using colors, maintain the contrast. Try keeping the presentation as minimal as possible.

Use Sans Serif fonts for headings. Professionals prefer to use Helvetica, Calibri, Futura, Gotham, Verdana for the headings. Sans Serif fonts are bold and improves the legibility of the slide.

4. Use Graphs, Flow Charts Wherever Possible

Design Process Slide During The CEMACUBE Presentation
I explained the entire design sequence in one slide through this flowchart kind of figure. You can innovate your way through the presentation.

I summarized my exoskeleton design process on a single slide shown above. Presenting statistical results using graphs and charts create a lasting impression in the minds of the viewers.

5. Choice Of Universities

University of Groningen and Ghent University are two CEMACUBE partner universities

Try to know as much as possible about your choices of universities. For example, RWTH Aachen allows students to take paid Research Assistant jobs (HiWi), something unique to the German universities. Trinity College is located in Dublin which houses around 200 biomedical and pharmaceutical sector companies, thus, easing your quest for jobs. You can say that Prague is quite cheap for a student and you can get access to top-notch research facilities without getting into financial stress.

You can also talk about the specialization and how the courses in a particular university are tailor-made for that specialization. For example, RWTH Aachen offers sufficient breadths of courses in ‘Tissue Engineering’ and ‘Medical Imaging’. You can even talk about the World Rankings of Universities being your basis of choice.

6. Always Have Something To Ask At The End

This is a common interview question that people face at the end. However, many people end up asking really stupid and irrelevant questions. I was that stupid guy once upon a time.

Nevertheless, I asked about the possibility of Research Assistantship in various partner universities. I think this question led the interviewers to shuffle my choices, making RWTH as my first year of study. I would later pat myself for asking that question.

Conclusion

If you are making a transition from a core engineering field like Mechanical Engineering or Electrical Engineering, I can certainly tell you that the course is well designed to bridge your gap in the knowledge of biology and medicine. Good luck with the application and selection process!

SurajPanigrahi

Suraj is the founder of this EdTech website which publishes content regarding career, higher education, and student finance. After graduating in Mechanical Engineering from IIT (BHU) Varanasi, he is currently pursuing MS in Biomedical Engineering at RWTH Aachen.
SurajPanigrahi

8 thoughts on “CEMACUBE Master In Biomedical Engineering: Insider’s Perspective

  1. Thank you for writing this article. It is really helpful for prospective students, as it helped me much to perform better in the interview this year.
    Based on my interview experience, your previous internship, summer schools, elective courses and these kinds of activities are so important, as mentioned in this article. Also, they asked me about my preferred research project for the 2nd year. Think about what you want to do exactly not just your preferred area.
    Most of the questions were the same as Suraj wrote in this article. I just want to add these two.
    Other questions: What do you want to do after graduation?
    What is Biomedical Engineering from your opinion?

    1. Thank Ram for adding to the CEMACUBE insight. I hope this would be really helpful for other readers as well.

      I am glad that my post was helpful to you.

  2. I am really amazed by how you are getting ideas for your blog posts.
    Thank you for magnificent information. I was in search of this info.

  3. This was quite a useful post! I had a lot of questions regarding the interview, it answered most of my questions.Thank you, Suraj for writing this article, its definitely quite helpful to the prospective CEMACUBE students.

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