Ireland plays a key role in the global medical device industry and is now establishing itself as a global hub and centre of excellence in research and development. In a 2023 survey of the medtech industry conducted by Ibec, the skills predicted to be in greatest demand over the next four years will be in product design and user experience with 47.5% of medtech industry leaders reporting an extremely high demand for workers with these skills.

Meeting priority skills needs

In response to this skills gap, the iEd Hub, a consortium of academic institutions University College Cork and Munster Technological University (UCC and MTU) and key regional industry partners, funded by the Higher Education Authority's HCI Pillar 3 programme aimed at meeting priority skills needs, have come together to develop an MSc in Medical Device Development aimed at those interested in the research and development of human-centric biomedical devices, products, services, and experiences.

The 90-credit MSc will be jointly delivered between UCC and MTU. It includes four modules (30 credits) of industry-relevant human anatomy provided by the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience in the College of Medicine and Health at UCC, covering several technical areas including anatomy of the human cardiovascular and neurovascular systems, and the anatomy and biomechanics of human body movement.

A further four modules (30 credits) will be delivered by the Department of Mechanical, Manufacturing, and Biomedical Engineering at MTU and will cover topics such as design innovation, biomaterials, product and process development, and mechanics. Finally, the learners will complete a design and development project, reflective of industry practices, as an alternative to a final thesis, to earn their MSc degree.

Full time over one year or part time over two years

Designed to be as flexible as possible to suit both professionals aiming to upskill, as well as graduates seeking to begin their careers in the medtech industry, the MSc can be taken full time over one year or part time over two years.

Furthermore, the four anatomy modules can be taken separately towards a postgraduate certificate in Anatomy for Medical Device Development while the four engineering modules lead to a postgraduate certificate in Medical Device Development.

Both postgraduate certificate courses have been awarded subsidy funding from the Higher Education Authority that will be used to cover 50% of student fees, directly reducing the cost for learners. Each module will be delivered via a mixture of in person training days supplemented with online classes to provide maximum flexibility.

The course is designed to provide a new and unique skills profile, combining engineering and medicine with embedded transversal skills. This will strengthen an engineer’s ability to understand the clinical applications of medical devices and facilitate the healthcare professional to directly input into the design/development phase of medtech products.

In addition, this postgraduate course will embed evidence-based and practical aspects related to both device development and related diseases as well as a flexible and modern pedagogical approach to teaching.

Examples of potential career trajectories after this MSc include R&D, process or product development, or project management roles in medtech and healthtech industries.

For more information please see: and 

Author: Dr Rosanne Raftery, Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, University College Cork.