The Chair of Medical Engineering of the Faculty for Mechanical Engineering of the RWTH Aachen University has been founded in 2005 as part of the Helmholtz-Institute for Biomedical Engineering of the RWTH Aachen University (HIA). Prof. Klaus Radermacher, PhD is the director of the Chair of Medical Engineering (mediTEC) and member of the board of directors of the HIA.
At mediTEC actually a team of approx. 15-20 scientists, permanently at least 30-40 student research assistants are constantly involved in different areas of research, development and teaching. They are supported by 3 non-academic employees and permanently 2-4 trainees.
The mission of the Chair of Medical Engineering (mediTEC) of the RWTH Aachen University is to provide an active link between interdisciplinary basic sciences and application oriented engineering research and development of innovative solutions for a better health care. Apart from international publications and a practical transfer and implementation of scientific findings, the education of our students from different disciplines and specialties is a major objective.
Creativity, professionalism in engineering sciences and interdisciplinary cooperation are crucial pillars of academic medical engineering research. In this context, it is not only about ideas potentially transferable to profitable industrial products. In the first place, the specific medical issues and needs as well as the proof of the clinical benefit and technical feasibility of a specific approach are of paramount importance. Moreover, to achieve better healthcare by means of innovative medical devices a consideration of socio-economic as well as economic requirements and boundary conditions of clinical and industrial stakeholders is mandatory.
However, in the context of an interdisciplinary research and development cooperation, engineering methodology e.g. based on theoretical or experimental investigations may also help for analyzing and modelling clinical, physiological or pathological processes or functional (e.g. biomechanical) circumstances and interrelationships, leading to a gain of knowledge in clinical medicine as such (i.e. without the necessity to result in a new commercial product). Apart from technology and application-oriented research and development projects, interdisciplinary basic research therefore is a major objective of our work. Consequently, the communication and scientific publication of our research and development results is of major importance.
As a complementary partner of clinicians and industry, our aim is to analyze the issues in health care systematically, using engineering methodology and to identify, develop, implement and evaluate most appropriate solutions based on and beyond the state of the art of science and technology. Therefore interdisciplinary cooperation is crucial:
- With clinical experts – for the identification and analysis of the clinical challenges and boundary conditions, the need-oriented development and the evaluation of the cost-to-benefit ratio of technical developmental products and methods.
- With industrial partners – for the development of innovative lab-types and its efficient transfer into clinically as well as commercially attractive products. This can be implemented in cooperation with established industrial partners and/or industrial spin-offs of our chair.
The goal of our educational offers for our students in mechanical engineering as well as other disciplines is – on the basis of a solid general education in engineering sciences - on one hand, to provide an application-oriented insight into basic requirements and specific characteristics of medical engineering, enabling a start off on the right foot,especially in the domain of medical technology research and development as well as quality-, risk- and usability-engineering. Fundamentals on general requirements, biomaterials, devices and systems and related applications complement the comprehensive education of the bachelor and master curriculi. The possibility of insights in latest research projects and objectives provides the opportunity for the students to consolidate their technical and scientific knowledge according to their specific interests, gather practical experience in interdisciplinary cooperation and to get efficient guidance towards their career start in medical engineering. Again, also in this context, the close cooperation of the Chair of Medical Engineering with clinical and industrial partners is of paramount importance.
The doctorate at the Chair of Medical Engineering represents a professional career start in engineering sciences. Candidates should be enabled to demonstrate their ability for independent scientific work. This includes the ability to identify and define - in the context of the state of the art - scientific issues systematically, to develop, justify and implement the material and method for the analysis and investigation of related aspects and evaluate and validate solutions according to the scientific standards. The qualification profile also includes the ability to successfully set-up and apply for interdisciplinary R&D-project proposals and to manage the resulting projects covering aspects such as work-, time, and financial management, coordination of internal as well as multi-institutional project teams as well as reporting towards the third-party donors and the scientific community in the framework of international conferences and publications. The capability to work in as well as to lead a team is supported by project independent research focus teams as a structural element of the Chair of Medical Engineering as well as by regular team workshops and seminars.
Moreover, the teaching assistance in the undergraduate and graduate educational programs (lectures, practical courses, seminars as well as student project works, bachelor or master theses) of the Chair of Medical Engineering also provides the opportunity to gain experience in this important aspect of a potential future academic career.
In the context of the RWTH Aachen University, based on a long-standing scientific experience, manifold contacts and national as well as international cooperating partners from clinics, research and industry, the Chair of Medical Engineering provides the necessary basis and boundary conditions for a successful doctorate in engineering sciences.