1 BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING EDUCATION IN EUROPE STATUS REPORTS BIOMEDEA July 2005
2 Copyright 2005 BIOMEDEA BIOMEDEA Project Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Joachim H. Nagel Institute of Biomedical Engineering University of Stuttgart Seidenstrasse Stuttgart Germany
3 PREFACE A forum convened during the 1st European MBE Conference, Vienna, 1999 to discuss the needs of the European MBES community. Shortly after that the International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE) appointed an ad-hoc committee to prepare recommendations on how to promote MBES in Europe. The committee completed its work by convening a meeting of 30 representatives of European MBE societies in Vienna, August 26-27, These societies later unanimously endorsed the decision of the meeting to create a European Alliance for Medical and Biological Engineering and Science (EAMBES). A ProTem Group was appointed to write the statutes of EAMBES and to prepare its launching. The inauguration meeting of EAMBES then took place in Frankfurt, Germany, on June 13-14, EAMBES was created on two principles: that EAMBES will not compete with existing societies, and that EAMBES adds value in the European scene, i.e. that working together will ultimately benefit us all, especially in an area as wide as Medical and Biological Engineering and Science. Right from the beginning, higher education was one of the focal areas for the work of the IFMBE ad-hoc committee for European Activities. In order to initiate widespread European cooperation on this issue, the committee decided to prepare a 'white paper' on BME education, training and accreditation in Europe as a discussion paper for the European Member Societies of the IFMBE and later on EAMBES to prepare for the European Higher Education Area. I agreed to coordinate this task and soon realized that there was very little knowledge about the actual status of Biomedical Engineering in general and especially BME education and the accreditation of BME programmes throughout Europe. So I started to gather reports on the status of BME education in Europe. Authors from 28 countries supplied information on the situation in their countries by the spring of I am very grateful to these authors, since their reports were an important help in developing the European activities in the area of BME education, including the BIOMEDEA Project. Though still a valuable source of information, much of the information in these reports is outdated by now due to the rapid developments which were caused by the Bologna Process. Thus, I am currently soliciting updates as well as new reports from those countries that were not yet participating in these European activities in 2001/2002. I hope that by the time we will write the final report of the BIOMEDEA Project we will have a comprehensive, up-to-date survey on BME education ready to be included in the Project documents. Having been asked by numerous colleagues to make the status reports available to all participants of the BIOMEDEA workshops, I am including this book into the BIOMDEA documents, though some of the contributions are only drafts and no final versions. Joachim Nagel July 2005
4 List of contents Biomedical Engineering Education in Europe - Comments on the IFMBE/EAMBES White Paper. Joe C. Barbenel... 1 Biomedical Engineering in Austria H. Gilly, H.-B. Schmiedmayer, B. Tilg... 5 Biomedical Engineering in Belgium anno 2002 Pascal Verdonck Biomedical Engineering in Bulgaria V. Todorov and I. Daskalov Biomedical Engineering in Croatia Ratko Magjarević, Vedran Bilas Biomedical Engineering Education in the Czech Republic Jiří Holčík, Lenka Lhotská, Jaromír Cmíral Status Report of BME Education in Denmark Johannes J. Struijk Biomedical Engineering in Estonia Hiie Hinrikus and Kalju Meigas Biomedical Engineering Education in Finland Jari Viik et al Biomedical Engineering in France: A Brief Historical Survey Ives Boire Biomedical Engineering in Germany Thomas Becks Remarks on Curricula in Biomedical Engineering and Clinical Engineering Olaf Dössel Biomedical Engineering in Greece Nicolas Pallikarakis Biomedical and Clinical Engineering in Hungary Ákos Jobbágy Biomedical Engineering in the Republic of Ireland Meabh Smith et al Biomedical Engineering in Israel Dan Adam Biomedical Engineering Education in Italy Marcello Bracale Status Reports on Biomedical Engineering: Latvia Yuri Dekhtyar Status Reports on Biomedical Engineering in Norway Biomedical Engineering in Poland at the Beginning of XXI Century Ewaryst Tkacz Biomedical Engineering Education in Romania Radu V. CIUPA Biomedical Engineering in the Slovak Republic Milan Tyšler, Peter Kneppo, Dušan Šimšík, Jozef Živčák, Klára Čápová Biomedical Engineering in Slovenia D. Miklavcic Biomedical Engineering Education in Spain Laura M. Roa and Enrique J. Gómez
5 Biomedical Engineering in Sweden Olof Lindahl Biomedical Engineering in Switzerland Dieter Meier and Ralph Müller Biomedical Engineering in the Netherlands Dick W Slaaf Biomedical Engineering in Ukraine Yu. Liakh Biomedical Engineering in the United Kingdom J C Barbenel Report from the Yugoslav Society for Biomedical Engineering and Medical Physics (YUBEMP) Svetlana Andrić and Dejan B. Popović
6 BME Education in Europe - Status Reorts 1 Biomedical Engineering Education in Europe - Comments on the IFMBE/EAMBES White Paper. J.C.Barbenel University of Strathclyde Glasgow G1 1XW U.K. The White paper has been organised and edited by Prof. J Nagel and contains unique information on education, training and accreditation in the important and growing area of Biomedical Engineering. The information has been obtained about the situation and practice in 28 European countries. This section is an overview that attempts to compare and contrast the different national models. It does not attempt to provide a detailed analysis of all the information, and is limited to the professional level, omitting much of the information on technicians contained in a few national reports. In reading this section and the reports on individual countries, it is necessary to bear in mind two important constraints. The field of Biomedical Engineering (BME) is changing and growing rapidly, which means that some of the information was out of date almost as soon as it was written. The sections on different countries also show the very great national variability in both educational practice and nomenclature that makes comparison difficult. It is to be hoped that the implementation of the ideas and aims of the Bologna Declaration will lead to more consistency and simplicity in the future. The Bologna Declaration envisages two main educational cycles, undergraduate and graduate. The first cycle will last a minimum of three years and leads to the award of a degree that is, in the words of the Declaration, relevant to the European labour market as an appropriate level of qualification. The successful completion of the first cycle degree is required for access to the second cycle degree that should lead to the master and/or doctorate degree. The implementation of the Declaration has led to the situation where the minimum three-years of the first cycle is becoming the standard duration. EDUCATION. Availability of BME education. With two exceptions BME education is available in all the countries covered by the White Paper. In Iceland there is no university programme for Biomedical engineers or other medical-technology or physics study. The almost certainly reflects the small size of the professional community and higher educational sector in Iceland. In Switzerland there is currently no degree courses in Biomedical Engineering at the university level, but there is an intention to implement new Bachelors and Masters
7 BME Education in Europe - Status Reorts 2 level degrees. In the remaining countries there are Biomedical Engineering courses that are based on two models, one in which BME is a component of a mixed degree and the second in which the degrees are nominally in BME. Mixed degrees. There are many undergraduate degree courses in conventional engineering subjects particularly Electrical, Mechanical and Chemical which contain BME options or electives. The Biomedical content appears not to be a route to practice as a professional Biomedical Engineer, but has an educational aim i.e. to provide examples of the application of the conventional engineering that forms the majority of the degree content in an unusual, but interesting and demanding context. Biomedical applications appear to be particularly popular in Electrical Engineering, with an emphasis on Biomedical electronics, instrumentation, and signal and image analysis. The situation with post graduate degrees is less clear, but in Switzerland there are M.Sc. degrees in electrical and mechanical engineering that are awarded with a major in biomedical engineering. Biomedical Engineering degrees. First cycle courses that lead to a BME degree are either stand alone courses or the first stage of a two-cycle degree. Both types are generally of 3-years duration. The stand alone courses usually lead to technical/technician level qualification. As with the mixed undergraduate courses, there is a strong emphasis on electronics and instrumentation, but there is also an Industrial Bioengineering qualification in Italy. The situation in Ireland is rather different, where the course duration may be 4- years, leading to a professional level rather than a technician level degree, although some graduates are employed in technical level posts. The structure of second cycle BME degrees is particularly variable and even in one country there are often major differences. There are, however, three common models: The second cycles follows the first cycle as an integrated course leading to a single degree. The second cycle component last either one or two years, commonly producing a five-year degree, although four years is more usual in England, where the resulting qualification is generally an undergraduates Masters degree. A wholly BME postgraduate Masters degree, with completion of a first cycle degree as an essential entry requirement. The nature of the first cycle degree is, once again, very variable. I many cases the first cycle degree must be in engineering or a physical science, but there are also degree courses that will accept those with life science, medical or paramedical degrees. The degrees are of one- or two-year duration and generally contain both instructional and research components, although the balance of components appears to extend from virtually all instruction to virtually all research. There is a lack of common degree names, although Master of Science is widespread.
8 BME Education in Europe - Status Reorts 3 Third cycle BME degrees. The Bologna Declaration envisioned only two educational cycles, the second cycle being a Masers or Doctoral degree. In practice students can, and often do, progress from a Masters degree to a separate Doctoral degree, usually PhD, which represents a third rather than a second cycle degree. Entry conditions often, but not always, require the candidate to have a second cycle degree. The PhD in Europe has traditionally been rather like a research apprenticeship, being almost entirely research based. There is a growing tendency for the degree to contain instructional material, often with credit for prior material eg in a preceding Masters degree. The usually minimum duration of study is three years. Accreditation of degrees and programmes. Biomedical Engineering degrees are accredited or approved by a variety of mechanisms. By far the most common agency is a government ministry or department, usually of Health, Science or Technology. In Israel the approving agency is the Higher Education council, a government supported public body. There is no comment on degree accreditation in more than half of the national returns, but in many of these countries the universities are autonomous and degree courses do not need external authorisation, being a matter for the university itself. Accreditation of programme content is less common than degree accreditation. Government agencies are the most common source of accreditation, although in the Netherlands and the UK professional societies are a source of accreditation. The UK method is particularly complex because the Engineering Institutions accredit the conventional engineering content of some mixed degrees with Biomedical Engineering content. The UK national BME society accredits some postgraduate MSc degrees with an instructional content matching a notional syllabus defined by the society. TRAINING. There appears to be little provision for the training of those entering health-care in a hospital setting. There are, however, training schemes reported for Denmark and the UK. Provision and accreditation of training. There is a three-year integrated postgraduate educational and training programme in Denmark. The course is organised and delivered by Odense University Hospital, apparently under the auspices of the Danish Health Council, and leads to certification as a Clinical Engineer. There is a similar two-year programme for Clinical Technicians. In the UK the trainees are employed in the National Health Service at an appropriate training grade. The training scheme normally lasts for 6 years, being divided into 3 training periods. Basic training, that combines both training and education, is the normally the entry to the profession and is for 2 years, reduced to at least 15 months for trainees with an MSc accredited by the national society (see above). Successful
9 BME Education in Europe - Status Reorts 4 completion of the Basic Training Scheme leads to the award of a Diploma of the national society and an MSc. Basic training is followed by a 4 year Programme of Advanced Training and Responsibility. Training takes place in centres that have been accredited by the national society, which also has a syllabus of the competencies to be developed by the trainee. REGISTRATION. Registration is possible in very few European countries. There is a voluntary register organised and administered by the national BME society in Ireland, Norway and Sweden, although the criteria for membership are not specified in the reports in the White Paper. In the UK voluntary registration organised by the national BME society (IPEM) is being replaced with compulsory registration. The Department of Health will require that all those who interact with patients, either directly or indirectly, be registered with the Health Professions Council as Clinical Scientists. Applicants for registration must show that the applicant has achieved the competences required after 4 years participation in the IPEM training scheme, although these may be obtained by alternative, non-ipem routes. Continuing Professional Development will be a requirement for continuing registration. OVERVIEW. The White Paper shows that there is widespread recognition of the need for Biomedical Engineering education, training and accreditation/certification. There are many schemes being developed or awaiting implementation, but there is little uniformity. The continuing national differences are a serious problem that can hinder and limit trans-nation education, training, employment and co-operation.
10 BME Education in Europe - Status Reorts 5 Biomedical Engineering in Austria H Gilly, Austrian Society of Biomedical Engineering and Dept of Anaesthesia, Univ. Vienna H.-B. Schmiedmayer, Institute of Mechanics, Vienna University of Technology B. Tilg, Austrian Society of Biomedical Engineering, University for Health Informatics and Technology Tyrol Biomedical Engineering (BME) in Austria Biomedical Engineering (BME) as a scientific and professional discipline is increasingly known and spreading steadily in Austria. Experience to date shows that the career options for graduates are broad; this may be attributed primarily to the fact that the pre-requisite for a career in the field is the completion of a solid university-level education (doctoral studies, see below). Further training may be gained voluntarily (postgraduate courses) or through on-thejob experience. The National Society, the Austrian Society for Biomedical Engineering (Österreichische Gesellschaft für Biomedizinische Technik; ÖGBMT), represents the BME community in Austria. It also officially represents the Austrian biomedical engineering community in the International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE). ÖGBMT is, besides others, also a member of the Austrian Computer Society (OCG) and, with its Working Group for Medical Informatics, a member of the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA) and of the European Federation for Medical Informatics. The Society was already founded in 1975, bringing together those working in the then developing area of Biomedical Engineering. Since the beginning ÖGBMT has been involved particularly in Organising scientific conferences, seminars and workshops in biomedical engineering and clinical engineering, and, via its sections, in biomechanics, sports medicine, medical informatics, etc. Postgraduate professional education and training of clinical engineers Co-operation with the respective Federal Ministries responsible for education, science, and technology ÖGBMT has been established as and has remained a scientific organisation without major activities in professional matters. However, in the late 70s and early 80s, it also successfully promoted professional activities by establishing career opportunities, particularly in hospitals. During the last decade the Society was actively involved in collecting and evaluating data relevant for the future development of this scientific discipline in Austria. On behalf of the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (the former Federal Ministry for Science and Research) two studies, Biomedical Technology Austria 2000 and "Forschungs- und Technologiekonzept Biomedizinische Technik" (Research and Technology Concept 1992 Biomedical Engineering), have been compiled and published by the Society. Both studies address and examine the potential for innovation and development in biomedical technology (BMT) in Austria. In the more recent booklet, BMT was examined as a branch of business and as an interdisciplinary science in a medico-social context (see appendix for further details). Membership The society currently has about 220 members - regular members, student members, sponsors and honorary members. Regular membership is open to academics or those with higher education and/or professionals involved in BME as well as to any person with a declared
11 BME Education in Europe - Status Reorts 6 interest in BME or closely related fields. At present the membership distribution is: 160 engineers/physicists/basic scientists, 45 physicians, 5 students, 4 sponsors. In accord with its statutes, the Society is not involved in running programmes for education, training or accreditation. Professional development is offered on a noncontinuous basis (seminars, lectures, etc). In addition to ÖGBMT there are other societies and organisations that associate people active in related fields, specific branches or subareas of BME: ÖGMP (Austrian Society for Medical Physics), ÖVKT (Österreichischer Verband der Krankenhaustechniker) with a homogeneous membership of professionals working in hospitals ( clinical engineers ), Austrian Scientific Society for Telemedicine, Health Technology Assessment Unit of the Institute of Technology Assessment (Austrian Academy of Sciences). Employment The large majority of the members is employed in public universities, other public and private research organisations, community health trusts, industry, teaching units, public administration, private hospitals and test houses. No statistics or details regarding the main specialities identified by engineers or physicists are presently available. Education in BME in Austria At present there are ongoing efforts to adapt the university degree courses to comply with the future three-level harmonised educational system in Europe (bachelor master doctor (PhD)). Undergraduate Level: The founding and establishment of Fachhochschulen (universities of applied sciences, in some respects similar to the previous polytechnic institutes in Britain) and the accompanying establishment of an accreditation model for the Fachhochschule sector was a significant change here in Austria with its long tradition of state regulation and control of higher education. The Fachhochschule policy broke with this long tradition, creating an independent expert body (Fachhochschulrat; closely resembling the British Council for National Academics Awards (CNAA)) with decision-making power (for details see: Hans Pechar, Thomas Pfeiffer: The Accreditation of Fachhochschul Programmes in Austria. Paper presented at the international conference Accreditation of Higher Education: Comparative Policies in Europe, Vienna, 27 th April 2001). Nowadays, Fachhochschulen are strenghthening their efforts to offer specialised education in BME-related fields. These undergraduate degrees are either the Bachelor s degree or the extended undergraduate Master s degree which requires one more year of study than the Bachelor s degree. The structure of these courses should be entirely consistent with the structure proposed in the Bologna Declaration at least since the new federal law (Bundesgesetz, mit dem das Bundesgesetz über Fachhochschul-Studiengänge (Fachhochschul-Studiengesetz FHStG) geändert wird) has come into effect (May 2002); for details visit: At present two specialised courses addressing Software Engineering for Health Care (FH Hagenberg) and Medical Information Technology with subspecialisation in telemedicine and hospital technology (FH Kärnten, Klagenfurt) have been approved. At least two other courses aiming at biomedical engineering will be established by September 2003.
12 BME Education in Europe - Status Reorts 7 Higher Education Biomedical Engineering Programmes in Austria (June 2002) Education at the doctoral level is offered as follows: 1. Biomedical Engineering at Graz University of Technology (TUG) Biomedical Engineering (BME) at TUG can be attended as an eligible course (branch of study) within the diploma programme in electrical engineering (Dipl.-Ing.) General structure of the diploma programme in electrical engineering: 3 segments ( semesters), 186 semester hours (SStd) = 279 ECTS + diploma thesis = 300 ECTS 1 st segment: Fundamentals (40 SStd = 60 ECTS) Basics in mathematics, physics, electrical engineering, etc. 2 nd segment: Biomedical Engineering (26 SStd = 39 ECTS) Basics in biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, biophysics, biosensors, Biomedical engineering, clinical engineering, etc. (46 SStd (69 ECTS) and 8 SStd (12 ECTS) are still fundamentals and electrical engineering) 3 rd segment: Biomedical Engineering (34 SStd = 51 ECTS; specialisation in one of three disciplines) Courses eligible from prescribed catalogues: Medical Technology (20 SStd = 30 ECTS) Clinical Engineering (20 SStd = 30 ECTS) Medical Informatics (20 SStd = 30 ECTS) Eligible lectures, practical training, lab courses, projects from biomedical engineering course catalogues (14 SStd = 21 ECTS) Eligible lectures, practical training, lab courses, projects from all course catalogues (32 SStd = 48 ECTS) 21 ECTS are assigned to the diploma thesis (60 SStd + diploma thesis) = (90 ECTS + 21 ECTS) = 111 ECTS in Biomedical Engineering (37 %) Classification (Discussion paper, Addendum 2, Table 1.1, Page 23, ): Programme Type 3, Interdisciplinary Biomedical Engineering Programme
13 BME Education in Europe - Status Reorts 8 2. Biomedical Engineering at Vienna University of Technology (TUW) The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering offers specialisation in Biomedical Engineering. The general study is structured into 3 segments ( semesters = 300 ECTS). In the 3 rd segment the students can specialise in Biomedical Engineering. 1 st segment: Fundamentals (60 ECTS) Basics in mathematics, physics, mechanical engineering, etc. 2 nd segment: Mechanical Engineering + Advanced Fundamentals (120 ECTS) 3 rd segment: The students can choose among 8 specialisations (Energy Engineering; Transportation Engineering and Logistics; Vehicle Engineering; Production Engineering; Design and Materials; Mechatronics; Biomedical Engineering; Modelling and Simulation). When they choose Biomedical Engineering: Basics in Biomedical Engineering (15 ECTS) Specialisation in Biomedical Engineering (min. 30 ECTS) Diploma thesis (30 ECTS) From the remaining 45 ECTS, 19 ECTS can be chosen freely from all University courses, the others (26 ECTS) have to be chosen from the 8 specialisations including Biomedical Engineering. Classification (Discussion paper, Addendum 2, Table 1.1, Page 23, ): Programme Type 3, Interdisciplinary Biomedical Engineering Programme The Faculty of Science and Informatics offers a Bachelor s/master s Programme in Medical Informatics. ECTS Bachelor: Basics: Mathematics, Statistics, Informatics 39,0 Medical Basics: Anatomy, Biochemistry, 31,5 Medical Informatics 25,5 Programming and Software Engineering 25,5 Social Sciences 12,0 Specialisation 22,5 Bachelor Lab & Seminar 17,5 Electives 6,5 Total 180,0 Master: Clinical Medicine and Information min. 8,0 Engineering Biosignals and Imaging min. 8,0 Computer Simulation and Biometry min. 8,0 Information Management in Health Care min. 8,0 Systems Seminar 3,5 Master s Thesis 30,0 Electives 3,0 Total 120,0 Classification (Discussion paper, Addendum 2, Table 1.1, Page 23, ): Programme Type 3, Interdisciplinary Biomedical Engineering Programme
14 BME Education in Europe - Status Reorts 9 Additionally the Vienna University of Technology (TUW) has a list of lectures, labs, seminars and exercises on Biomedical Engineering (http://info.tuwien.ac.at/ud/stpl/biomed.html). These courses are open to all students of all faculties at the TUW.
15 BME Education in Europe - Status Reorts Biomedical Engineering at University of Vienna /General Hospital of Vienna At present there is no regular course of study / curriculum comparable to the programme offered at the TU in Graz, Institute of Electrical and Biomedical Engineering. However, like at other universities, a studium irregulare would allow coverage of the entire biomedical engineering curriculum as offered by other Austrian Universities such as the TUG (Technical University of Graz) or TUW (Technical University of Vienna) with respect to lectures, seminars etc. In fact, university lecturers based within the Institutes of the General Hospital teach at TUW (and other institutions) and, in joint projects with TUW and UV (University of Vienna), also provide the infrastructure for diploma papers, theses, etc. of students who pursue their regular engineering or science studies at the universities mentioned. In addition, the future curriculum in medicine will allow students to complete their studies with the academic degree Dr. scient. med.. It is to be expected (and it is hoped) that medical students will also choose Biomedical Engineering for their thesis and thereby gather additional skills. The Danube University in Krems, Department for Ecological and Medical Sciences (Abteilung für Umwelt- und Medizinische Wissenschaften), offers a comprehensive selection of postgraduate courses. The scientific degree to be awarded is a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in the postgraduate educational course Entrepreneurship MBA, Applied Biomedicine. 4. Biomedical Engineering at the University of Graz The University of Graz (Faculty of Medicine) offers lectures, labs, seminars and exercises in Biomedical Engineering. In addition, the future curriculum in medicine (starting in the fall of 2002) will allow graduates (from medicine or science/engineering) to complete their studies with the academic degree Dr. scient. med. It is to be expected (and it is hoped) that medical graduates will also choose Biomedical Engineering for their thesis and thereby gather additional skills. 5. Biomedical Engineering at the University of Innsbruck The University offers lectures, labs, seminars and exercises in Biomedical Engineering. 6. Biomedical Engineering at the University for Health Informatics and Technology Tyrol In 2000 TILAK (Tiroler Landeskrankenanstalten) initiated the founding of a new institution of higher education for health informatics, the Private Universität für Medizinische Informatik
16 BME Education in Europe - Status Reorts 11 und Technik Tirol / Private University for Health Informatics and Technology Tyrol (UMIT). The Austrian Government accredited UMIT as a private university in October The University is aiming for a top international position in Medical Informatics in both research and education. Its headquarters are in Innsbruck. The University started in the academic year 2001/2002 with two educational programmes. They lead to a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.; 3 years) and a Master of Science (M.Sc.; years longer) degree in Medical Informatics. In the doctoral (PhD) programme for Medical Informatics students work in research projects. From the very beginning international integration of the programmes is planned (e.g., within the International Partnership for Health Informatics Education Network). The Bachelor s and Master s programmes follow the recommendations of the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA). Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Medical Informatics (ECTS Points): Medicine and Health Care 24 Medical Informatics 48 Informatics 84 Quantitative Methods 24 TOTAL 180 Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Medical Informatics (ECTS Points): Previous study of Med. Informatics Previous study of Informatics Previous study of Medicine Medicine and Health Care Medical Informatics Informatics Quantitative Methods * TOTAL *) Master s thesis not included In addition, a Ph.D. programme in Medical Informatics is offered. For further information please visit Accreditation (of BME) in Austria In line with Austrian legislation, the accreditation of educational programmes at the university level is performed by state authorities (Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Culture), but not by professional or scientific organisations (like ÖGBMT). However, these organisations may make recommendations and proposals.
17 BME Education in Europe - Status Reorts 12 Appendix Summary of the recently published study Biomedical Technology Austria 2000 Authors: G. Windischbauer, H. Gilly, P. Lugner, H. Pessenhofer Eigentümer, Herausgeber, Verleger: BMVIT, Abteilung V B-9, Rosengasse 4, 1010 Wien; (Mai 2000). While research success in BMT in Austria has been quite notable, and while the country has a good reputation internationally in this regard, Austrians have been less successful in taking their ideas to the finished product stage. Thus, the economic exploitation of Austrian research results has been unsatisfactory. At the same time, inherent possibilities exist for improving the quality and efficiency of medical care and creating knowledge-based added value. With about 150 firms 1 specialising in BMT, the Austrian production of medical-technical equipment does not add up to a significant market when compared to other countries. However, the development potential of BMT as an industry is great, both domestically and internationally. Comparing Austria s economy with others of similar size (Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Sweden) leads to the conclusion that the economic base of the industry could be increased 2½-fold in the long term. Transforming a research idea into a marketable product is far more complex in the field of BMT, which is highly innovative, than in most other technical industries, since different areas of knowledge (medicine, technology, biology, etc.) need to collaborate within a national system of innovation. Success may thus be expected only in the medium or long term. Austrian scientific BMT competency requires fertile ground for its development. A peculiarity of this country is that business enterprise contributes a relatively small share to total research and development (R&D); that government provides a relatively large share of R&D expenditures; and that the links between research, development and production in the country s system of innovation are weak. The international markets for medical products are highly consolidated. Global firms offer a broad and consistent range of products for just about every medical discipline. This development may be understood as a reaction to the tightening of cost restrictions by health care providers. At the same time (as in biotechnology) small firms, often from within the orbit of the universities, function as the R&D pacemakers in BMT. Market consolidation forces these small and medium-sized companies to adopt niche strategies and to form strategic alliances, resulting in further pressure on the BMT markets to innovate. Nevertheless European BMT producers, in contrast to all other manufacturing industries, have been able to increase employment and also achieve very high growth in added value. For BMT the most important social development is doubtless the anticipated increase in the numbers of the older population and of those needing care. In this context, some scenarios predict that by the year 2010 there will be 250,000 individuals in Austria requiring care. BMT in this country has a major contribution to make to maintaining and improving the quality of life for this sector of the population. The most important international trends in BMT are the growing role of biology in medical technologies, the advancements being made in research and development of artificial senses and organs, and the visualisation and miniaturisation of medical procedures and instruments. Information and telecommunications technologies (ITC) support the development of these 1 BMT producers narrowly defined: Manufacture BMT products or pursue R&D in BMT not included are purely marketing firms and service providers without Austrian R&D activities
18 BME Education in Europe - Status Reorts 13 trends. In a parallel development, the significance of computing and robotics in medicine is also increasing. Fields of Innovation and Development in BMT in Austria In accordance with international research trends, expert opinion and surveys in connection with this study, the following fields of innovation and development (ID fields) for BMT in Austria can be identified: Biomaterials, Cell & Tissue Engineering, Organ Culture Systems: These are, world-wide, the fields of the future and those that most involve biology. In Austria there is a variety of BMT activities in these areas. These activities and their cross-connections should be purposefully bundled and more strongly linked up in international research collaborations. Medical Implants, Biosensors and Devices: This ID subject matter is considered to be a future-oriented field of activity in which Austria has basic competency. In future developments, combinations of molecular biology, electronics, materials science, and ITC will be of great importance. This area should be included in future research advancement strategies. Basics in Biomedical Engineering and Biophysics: This ID field stands out by virtue of the enormous scientific activity going on in it. Ongoing evaluation is needed to determine to what extent supported projects can be tranformed into usable products and technologies. Since basic research is fundamental to product ideas, this subject must be given special consideration in future support strategies. Instrumentation and Devices for Signal Acquisition, Diagnostics and Therapeutics: This field already has a good base of knowledge for transforming ideas into products. Successful niche products may be expected particularly in connection with medical implants, biosensors and devices. Imaging Techniques: Experts see the functional imaging of organs down to the molecular level as an area of the future. Together with telemedicine and robotics, imaging has great development potential. Monitoring, Surveillance, Assisted Living and Biomechanics, Mobility & Rehabilitation Engineering: Concluding from expert evaluation as well as from the important trends and demographic developments, these topics will be especially important for a balanced socioeconomic scenario in the future. Therefore, the further development of these fields should be pushed, particularly with the help of ITC and miniaturisation. The market prospects for most of these products are considered to be particularly good. Informatics, Mathematical & Computational Methods, Robotics & Communication and (especially) Telemedicine: These subjects are epecially important for the time- and costefficient care of patients and persons with special needs. Because of their savings potential, special efforts should be made to foster these areas. This is true also for the development of methods and software, especially for imaging, telemedicine and robotics in combination with miniaturisation and minimally invasive techniques. Austrian Options in BMT Austria needs a broad-based national innovation system in order to exploit the ID potential of the Austrian economy. Most small and medium-sized Austrian businesses that are active in BMT have neither the organisational nor the financial means at their disposal to carry out R&D. As a result, cluster building in BMT seems a difficult task in the short run. Rather, we would recommend expanding the base of firms in BMT by initiating projects that foster
19 BME Education in Europe - Status Reorts 14 clustering in the ID fields, to promote their links to BMT research institutions and to open high-tech niche markets. This would allow for the conditions necessary for competitive BMT clusters to be created in the intermediate to long run. The problems surrounding the creation of added value or of the economic use of research results in Austria are especially clear in the field of BMT. At present, the entrepreneurial base of BMT firms is too narrow for the field to provide, in the medium term, effective partners for research establishments to develop BMT products and to market them globally. Efforts should be made towards international licensing agreements, third-party co-operation, and bringing research units into the country with international partners, as well as the establishment of domestic BMT companies. In this context, public research institutions should be assured an appropriate share of the profit from a project, and attractive models of research partnership should be made available to private firms. A unitary, transparent model for return on investment should be developed. A primary goal continues to be the creation and improvement of conditions for establishing companies coming out of academia and the world of research. On the other hand, it must be the task of the universities to provide the necessary structures in research and teaching. In view of the complexity of the larger system that encompasses education, science, research and technology, specific roads will need to be taken in BMT. Greater significance will have to be ascribed to the organisation of projects that are value-added (market?) oriented, given the intense international competition in knowledge. Most important is the best possible transformation of new ideas in BMT into market- and care-relevant products and health care services based on Austrian BMT competencies. Given the background of certain BMT competencies and socio-economic demands, the following should be implemented: a strategy of support for short-term BMT projects, project sketches and programmes to stimulate ideas ( impulse programmes ), together with a comprehensive package of programme support in the ID fields. Programme support must aim at improving the transition of the innovative idea to its realisation, at fostering activities in socio-politically relevant ID fields, and must be oriented to the demands of the market. Such programme support should serve to encourage common BMT solutions from international project teams and to set up networks of patients and users, of researchers and developers, in order to initiate and steadily move forward the transfer of knowledge and technology between research institutions and BMT companies. A balance between basic and applied research must be aimed for, in order to make full use of the entire innovation potential. Beyond that, the setting of a thematic focus will require a stable framework within the politics of research support.
20 BME Education in Europe - Status Reorts 15 Biomedical Engineering in Belgium anno 2002 Relationship between the Belgian Society for Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing (BSMBEC) and the National Committee on Bio-Medical Engineering (NCBME) The Belgian Society for Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing (BSMBEC) has been founded in The aim of the society is to organise scientific meetings for people active in the field of biomedical and clinical engineering. It is a non-profit organisation whose seat is located at the "University Foundation" in Brussels. The BSMBEC is acknowledged as the national affiliation of the International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE), the world federation of biomedical engineers. Until recently the BSMBEC was a single organisation without formal interaction with other local societies. However, many new initiatives have been started. We would like to mention specifically the foundation of the National Committee on Bio-Medical Engineering (NCBME) in 2000 by the joint meeting of the "Klasse van de Natuurwetenschappen" of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium and the "Classe des Sciences" of the Royal Academy of Belgium. This has become possible through the recognition of the field of biomedical engineering by the ICSU, the International Council for Science, who has accepted the IFMBE as one of its members. As a consequence, it was desired that the rich potential of biomedical and clinical engineers in Belgium should be grouped. To this extent, the BSMBEC has taken a position between the existing organisations and became the glue between local initiatives and the national and transnational levels. Membership of BSMBEC entitles to: Automatic membership of IFBME, International Federation of Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing, Automatic membership of ESEM, European Society for Engineering and Medicine, Centralised receipt of all information regarding the activities of affiliated organisations (IFMBE, ESEM, NCBME, Genootschap Biomedische Technieken en Gezondheidszorg - Technologisch Instituut KVIV, Biomed Flanders), including their newsletters, Admittance to all activities at reduced fees. There are 61 active members. The first task to be undertaken by the joint venture of the BSMBEC and the National Committee on Biomedical Engineering (NCBME) is to contact all colleagues active in the multidisciplinary field of biomedical engineering, that lies at the crosspoint of medical, applied and fundamental sciences. It wants to introduce and promote its existence and members through existing scientific organisations, networks and institutions in Belgium. The main yearly event is a National Day on Biomedical Engineering organised at the Royal Academies of Sciences and Arts of Belgium in Brussels.