Bioengineering applies cutting-edge technology and engineering techniques to the human body, and bioengineers are involved with developing innovative medical technologies and procedures, from CT and MRI scanners to prosthetic limbs and tissue engineering techniques.
As a bioengineer you could work in many important areas of the health sector, including developing products for international healthcare companies, or working as a researcher or in a clinical role for the NHS.
Simon studied biomedical engineering and is currently on an NHS training programme to become a clinical engineer.
I studied a four-year MEng in Biomedical Engineering. Also known as medical engineering, this is the application of engineering to medicine and healthcare. Bioengineering is, similarly, the application of engineering to biology. There's obviously a lot of overlap and sometimes people use them interchangeably.
After originally planning on not studying at uni, biomedical engineering persuaded me to study for two reasons – the first was out of interest, because in such an interdisciplinary course you learn about all sorts of things, from cell biology to engineering mechanics, and from device development to electronics. The second reason was simply a desire to help people.
I'm now a trainee clinical engineer in the NHS. There aren't many clinical engineers in the UK but between them they run medical engineering in the NHS. After training I might work on making clinical measurements with very specialised techniques, or rehabilitating patients using custom-made devices, or developing new medical technology, or managing existing technology in the NHS.
Within bioengineering, I have friends who have gone on to work on medical imaging software, haemodialysis, computer simulation and electronics. Many people go into research, as bioengineering is a field where huge advances are being made, and also because in such a vast and varied field nobody can know everything, so specialising can help. Others have changed tack and work in finance or management, because the logical, scientific and business skills from an engineering degree are good for almost any job.
Bioengineering is an amazing area that is advancing really quickly, and bioengineers and medical engineers have a fantastic opportunity to contribute to people's lives and make the world better, one technology at a time. I want to be part of that!