NUI Galway has been both a national and international leader in the development of Biomedical Engineering education at both undergraduate and graduate level, both directly fuelled by our world-class research in the area. NUI Galway was the first in Ireland to introduce the BE Biomedical Engineering in 2002, the first to have it accredited in 2004, and from a standing start the programme has grown rapidly to now have ~80 students per year, making it currently the single largest BE degree programme at NUI Galway. At graduate level, from a standing start in the late 1990’s, PhD research has grown exponentially, to the extent that there are now 60 PhD students registered in Biomedical Engineering. Additionally, two masters degrees in Biomedical Engineering have been launched in the last three years. Graduate employability has been excellent, and today over 200 of our Biomedical Engineering alumni are employed in the medical device sector, in Ireland and overseas, with many now occupying senior managerial and technical positions.

Biomedical engineering is a discipline that advances knowledge in engineering, biology and medicine, and improves human health through cross-disciplinary activities that integrate the engineering sciences with the biomedical sciences and clinical practice.

The Whitaker Foundation

Every year the famous Cleveland Clinic announces its choice of Top 10 Medical Innovations. In 2008, 7 of them involve engineered devices and technologies, ranging from a robot to a cartilage tissue replacement. Biomedical engineers are making an enormous contribution to 21st century healthcare, working with physicians and scientists to create devices and systems that improve the prevention and treatment of disease.

What is Biomedical Engineering?

It's one of the youngest fields of engineering, in which traditional engineering expertise is blended with medical knowledge to analyse and solve problems in biology and medicine, providing an overall enhancement of healthcare. As such, biomedical engineers need to obtain a fundamental education in areas of both medicine and engineering. On this website you can read our newsletters for some examples of what biomedical engineers (including recent NUI Galway graduates) are doing. You'll also find full details of the Biomedical Engineering Masters degree course here.

‌What type of work does a Biomedical Engineer do?

The work of Biomedical Engineers includes a wide range of areas. The following are just a few:

  • Artificial organ design and development: artificial organs include the design of artificial hearts, lungs, kidneys, and livers; the design of organ components such as artificial heart valves and synthetic blood vessels.
  • Orthopaedic biomechanics: includes the design of artificial joints (hips, knees, elbows, shoulders), and the analysis of human motion.
  • Cardiovascular device design and development: Biomedical Engineers are involved in the design of blood pumps, oxygenators, surgical tools, catheters, etc. to facilitate the treatment of cardiovascular disease.
  • Design of Materials (metals, ceramics, polymers) for use in the body: the human body rejects all foreign materials which enter it, and as such, a large portion of Biomedical Engineering entails developing and testing new materials for use in the body as artificial organs, orthopaedic implants, or surgical tools.
  • Rehabilitation medicine: includes the development of tools and procedures to improve the standard of living for people with physical impairments.

What types of jobs are available to Biomedical Engineers?

The West of Ireland has become the European capital for the healthcare and medical device industries, with several more companies located throughout Ireland. The majority of the companies in the healthcare and medical device industry are international, and as such, opportunities to work abroad are available. Biomedical Engineers will find that they work in interdisciplinary environments, and often have direct contact with physicians. Typical careers, and where they can be found, are shown below.

Product Development: companies/industry
Manufacturing: companies/industry
Management/ Research: companies/industry, universities, hospitals
Teaching:  universities, hospitals
Other: physicians, lawyers  (requires additional education)

See the Employment page for some more information.

More information about Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical Engineering Society Includes a useful introduction to the subject.
Biomedical Engineering Network General site with many links.
Biomedical Engineering Society of Ireland Overview of activities in this country.
The Whitaker Foundation A wealth of information and links on biomedical engineering.
ASME Bionengineering Biomedical division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Publications on state-of-the-art work and useful links.
International Society of Biomechanics The International Society of Biomechanics (ISB) was founded August 30, 1973.