Biomedical engineering is an interdisciplinary field that has applications of material sciences, mechanical engineering, fluid mechanics, production engineering, biochemistry, and life sciences. While Biomedical Engineering is an emerging field in India and several other Asian countries, Europe and the United States have a very mature MedTech ecosystem for fostering research, innovation, and industrialization. This article explores the 8 best European countries to pursue Biomedical Engineering.
Note: I have taken into account factors like universities with English-taught Biomedical Engineering programs, post-study work opportunities in the industry, diversity, the startup ecosystem and quality of academic research.
Ireland went through a massive economic development after its corporate tax rate was reduced from a whopping 40% to 12.5%. There was a significant foreign direct investment from the United States in Ireland. During the Celtic Tiger era (1993-2001), Ireland’s economy grew at 8-10% annually.
Between 1993-2001, several high-tech American companies like Fidelity, Yahoo, Amazon, Google, eBay, Cisco, and Mastercard started their operation in Ireland.
Ireland is also a major operational hub of several pharmaceutical and MedTech companies. Pfizer was the first American biotech MNC to move to Ireland in 1969. Stryker, a leading MedTech company started in 1998 in Cork, Ireland. DePuy Synthes, a Johnson & Johnson company and a world leader in orthopedic implants, started its operation in 1997 at Ringaskiddy, Cork.
As per the latest data, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Ireland exceeds $1 Trillion as of 2021. Approximately 70% of the FDI comes from the US.
Over the last 3 decades, Ireland has seen a growing presence of American MedTech and Pharma companies. Today, there are over 300 Medical device development companies (including IDA registered startups) in Ireland.
If you are keen to study MS in Biomedical Engineering in Europe, Ireland is definitely one of the best destinations. Ireland offers 2 years post-study work visa to students who pursue a Master’s degree in Ireland. The Irish education system is considered the 6th best education system in the world. Ireland is home to some of the best universities in the world like Trinity College Dublin, National University of Ireland Galway, University College Dublin, and University College Cork.
Ireland offers 2 years post-study work visa to students who pursue a Master’s degree in Ireland.
A lot of Master’s programs in Ireland are industry-focussed. You can find specialized courses like MS in Regulatory Affairs and MS in Bioprocess Engineering in Irish universities. Unlike the other EU countries, the Master’s program in Ireland is just one-year duration.
Germany has a very strong Medical Device manufacturing sector. A lot of German implant manufacturers operate in the B2B space. So, it is possible that you wouldn’t have heard of a lot of names.
During my time as a student at RWTH Aachen University in Germany, I visited GB Implants in Essen, Germany. GB Implants specializes in the production of Cobal-Chromium (CoCr) alloys based implants. Some of my friends did internships and part-time jobs as ‘Wissenschaftler’ and ‘Production Support Engineers’ at Abiomed in Aachen, Germany. Abiomed is a market leader in the manufacturer of percutaneous heart pumps (Impella heart pumps).
Many German universities offer English-taught Biomedical Engineering courses at the post-graduate level. Unlike in Ireland, the UK, US, and India, Biomedical Engineering in Germany is viewed as a specialization and hardly many universities offer a BS in Biomedical Engineering degree.
Many students in Germany prefer to pursue a postgraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, or Computer Science and opt for a specialization in Biomedical Engineering. They take elective courses like Biofluidics or Bioinformatics or Basic Biology as per their intended area of the thesis. Many of them even work as part-time researchers (HiWi) in labs to gain the right exposure.
I knew a few students from the MS in Mechanical Engineering stream who took an elective of ‘Basic Medical Biology’ along with me and worked at the Institute for Medical Textiles as HiWi.
One of the best things about German universities is their flexibility in degree completion. Since most of the German universities don’t charge a tuition fee, students usually take 3-4 years to complete their master’s degree. Some students even go for a gap year backpacking in South America or Vietnam after completing 1 year of master’s. Some students go for 1 year of research to another country and then come back to complete their degree.
If you are an international student looking to pursue a Biomedical Engineering or a related postgraduate degree in Germany, I would recommend aiming for the German Universities of Excellence like TU Munich, RWTH Aachen, TU Dresden, and Heidelberg University. These universities are well funded and they have a huge international student community.
3. United Kingdom
5. The Netherlands
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