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.
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 label. EIT 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
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
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?
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
Don’t add unnecessary details. I prefer following PAR strategy for the presentations and each time I have got effective results.
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
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
4. Use Graphs, Flow Charts Wherever Possible
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
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)
You can talk about the specializations 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.
Trinity College Dublin has a great strategic location. There are over 100 biomedical and pharmaceutical sector companies within a periphery of 100 kilometers radius of Dublin, 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.
The University of Groningen has a great MedTech startup ecosystem. They have great specializations in ‘biomaterials’ and ‘surgical robotics’. It ranks among the top 100 world universities and it’s one of the best Dutch universities. I have written a detailed article on 5 reasons to choose the University of Groningen Biomedical Engineering Master’s program.
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.
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!
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