Bioengineering, a new and challenging undergraduate course at the University of Kent

The School of Engineering and Digital Arts at the University of Kent will launch a new undergraduate course in Bioengineering in September 2014. Bioengineering is a cross-disciplinary science that promotes the understanding of living systems and its application to human health through the use of engineering experimental and analytical techniques. The new cross-disciplinary course, designed for students with a strong interest in engineering and bio-medicine, goes beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries and will educate engineers that can develop systems used in medical practice and research in biology.

Nowadays, health care is facing new challenges that require complex solutions. Business and research environments, such as Biotechnology, increasingly require engineers who can design complete solutions involving complex integrated systems. There is strong evidence of the need for bioengineers and of the sector’s growth: the European Alliance of Medical and Biological Engineering and Science (EAMBES) state that the sector is vital not only for the health and well-being of European citizens but also for the ‘wealth’ of the European economy; they assert the sector growth rate is about 5-7% per year. The United States Department of Labor predicts that the field of bioengineering is projected to grow by over 70% in the ten year period ending in 2018. The new course at EDA seeks to expand the portfolio of undergraduate degree programmes at Kent, exploiting research synergies such as the Centre for Molecular Processing, Computational Biology Centre and Kent Health, working collaboratively across Schools and ensuring focus on employability in high-demand areas is maintained.

The programme draws from EDA’s established research in medical-electronic systems, cell mechanics and systems biology and from the research synergies with the School of Biosciences. Course modules will provide solid knowledge in mathematics, electronics, biology, physiology, mechanics and programming. Students will undertake laboratory practicals in both electronics and biology. Throughout the programme the students will carry out projects where they will develop bioscience related electronic devices and computer algorithms under the supervision of academics from engineering and biosciences. Students will also attend seminars delivered by bioengineering experts working in private companies, research centres or NHS institutions.