Common European Master’s Course in Biomedical Engineering (CEMACUBE) is an EIT-label Master’s program that allows you to study in two different European universities taking leverage of the best in both universities. The University of Groningen happens to be a CEMACUBE partner university that offers excellent opportunities in medical device innovation and biomaterials research. Here is 5 insider’s perspective about the University of Groningen Biomedical Engineering program.
Groningen has a vibrant sustainable startup ecosystem. Biorion, AGILE Biotics, PulmoTech, EV Biotech, Philae Pharmaceuticals, CC Diagnostics and Brainscan BV are some of the medical device, biomaterial, and life science spin-offs from the University of Groningen.
PulmoTech develops special catheters for mechanical ventilation in the intensive care unit (ICU). Linda Dijkshoorn, the CEO of EV Biotech is still a Ph.D. student at the University of Groningen (as of 2020). EV Biotech focuses on developing biological-based chemical products, which are currently made by petrochemical industries. It aims to enter the Fragrance and Flavor, Agriculture, Biofuel and Bioplastics market in the near future.
Groningen houses some of the leading venture capital firms like Pharma Connect Capital and Carduso Capital which invest in biotech startups. Carduso Capital invested significantly in PulmoTech, EV Biotech, and Brainscan BV. Philae Pharmaceuticals was funded by Pharma Connect Capital.
2. Job Opportunities
Groningen houses some of the leading biotech companies like QPS, Biomarker Bay, InnoCore and Thermo Fisher Scientific. As I have said, there are several biotech spinoffs from UMC Groningen. These spinoffs are continuously on the lookout of enthusiastic people.
Groningen is within 3 hours of reach to Dutch cities like Eindhoven, Utrecht, and Leiden which also house some of the MedTech companies like Philips, Mimetas, and MILabs.
3. Summer Schools
The University of Groningen organizes several summer schools. Most of these summer schools are research-driven and multidisciplinary. For Biomedical engineers, some of summer schools of interest are:
- Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine
- Diabetic Microvascular Complications
- Industry Perspective in Innovative Medicine
- Healthy Aging
- Understanding Biology Using Python
I attended the Industrial Perspectives in Innovative Medicine summer school in August 2019. It was a great experience where I learned about global health economics, different technology readiness levels (TRLs), intellectual property rights, biomedical patent filing, CANVA Business Model and how to pitch your business plan. I also got an opportunity to visit some industries like Thermo Fisher Scientific where I got an insight into pharma manufacturing, especially biologics.
4. Electives and Research Opportunities
The University of Groningen Biomedical Engineering is one of the few universities in Europe and the only university among the CEMACUBE partner universities that has a dedicated lab for ‘Surgical Robotics‘. Therefore, you can choose some of the electives from ‘robotics’ during your coursework.
The university also specializes in biomaterials research and bioimaging analysis. It invests significantly in cutting edge imaging technologies. Recently, UMC Groningen has invested in the Azurion platform from Philips for image-guided complex surgical interventions.
5. Academia-Industry Collaborations
UMC Groningen and the University of Groningen have numerous collaborations with industries. Many of these industrial partners offer Ph.D. positions and opportunities to pursue a Master’s thesis on industry defined problems.
For instance, Philips and UMC Groningen have a collaborative e-Health program that aims to facilitate telecare to the elderly population in the Northern Netherlands.
The University of Groningen is a partner university of the Innovative Medical Devices Initiative of the Netherlands (IMDI-NL). Under this initiative, the University of Groningen takes part in rehabilitation engineering through its initiative SPRINT (Smart Prevention, Rehabilitation and INtervention Technologies). Several of the projects completed under SPRINT are in the clinical trial phase and have been supported by industries.
Groningen is a great student city with a vibrant city center. I had been to the city twice, once during the CEMACUBE social and the other time during the summer school. There are ample things to do around. Be it the cityscape view from the Martini tower, the colorful houses at Rietdiephaven or the sight of long bicycle stands (Groningen is known as the ‘Bicycle city of the world’), this city is worth the stay.