Doctoral Training Programme

PhD candidates with greater awareness of biomedical technology and methods, the clinical environment and give an appreciation of processes and procedures outside their experience that could impact their career and research decisions. This can accelerate progress of their PhD projects, improving the quality and impact of research outputs. Doctoral candidates will develop strategies to improve their interdisciplinary communication skills, and ability to identify and leverage commercial and clinical opportunities to increase career readiness and prospects.

The Doctoral Training Programme is designed to prepare our PhD students at the start of their studies. The MedTech CoRE PhD student will for the first six months attend six modules whilst working on developing the outline of their final PhD proposal, before embarking on a full PhD programme.

The Programme consists of:

Doctoral Skills Programme

  • Students will follow their university requirements for Postgraduate induction. This may involve a variety of topics from thesis writing, advanced Excel and Word skills to CV writing and career development and integrity workshops.
Computational Physiology module.
  • Interactive seminars with practical tutorials using various organs as examples. Students learn to segment medical images to create patient specific models from cellular to structural and functional levels before creating simulations and visualisations of results.
Instrumentation and Design
  • Students create a prototype pump based around a clinical scenario to providing nutrition through a nasogastric tube, introducing key concepts of mechanical design and tools, manufacturing methods, sensors and electronics, and system automation. Practical tutorials where students build the related elements for their prototype.
Experimental Design and Methods
  • Students are exposed to seminars coupled with laboratory tours and demonstrations to increase their awareness of various imaging and laboratory methods. Medical imaging modalities MRI, CT, ultrasound and microscopy will be covered with interactive seminars and demonstrations. They will observe and engage with laboratory methods such as cell culturing and gene expression techniques, protein chemistry and chromatography.
Clinical Awareness
  • Students get to explore the human anatomy laboratory at FMHS so as to be familiarised with examples of normal and diseased anatomy. They observe a cardiac surgical procedure on a sheep in a typical surgical environment. A first aid course will be provided and they will be encouraged apply to the Engineers in Clinical Residence programme operated by the Faculty of Engineering in partnership with Auckland District Health Board. Successful applicants will spend a week in Auckland Hospital interacting with clinicians from various departments from general surgery to radiology.
Commercialisation & Entrepreneurship (under development)
  • In 2015 we worked on finding the most beneficial contents for our students within this area. We looked into various business and commercial programmes and also gained advice from the MedTech CoRE Management Team and External Advisory Board. This lead us to in the first instance design a session that would focus on intellectual property, market analysis (including searching existing technology, risk and market potential) and networking and communication. In collaboration with Peter Lee we will be running a one day seminar as a first step with the intention of further expansion in this area.

Nina Pettersson-Fox is the Doctoral Training Programme Coordinator and is happy to receive any questions or suggestions about the programme. Contact Nina here.


Figure 1: Instrumentation and Design module trialees, Nima, Paul (tutor), Aaron, Andre and Paula.