•Course coordinated with support from CINDE and taught by Professor Dr. Eric Richardson, from the Department of Bioengineering at Rice University in Texas, developed skills of Costa Rican students from the UCR, TEC and Universidad Latina.
•Students designed five potential devices for the medical device industry which were evaluated by executives of multinational companies.
San Jose, Costa Rica July 15 2015. A group of 23 students (18 Costa Ricans and five foreign students from RICE University) in careers like industrial engineering, industrial production, materials, mechanics, among others, concluded a two weeks course taught in Costa Rica by Dr. Eric Richardson, a prominent professor at Rice University, an internationally recognized university for having a dedicated Bio Engineering program and its close work with medical centers like the Texas medical Center.
The course entitled "Medical Device Innovation" taught and implemented skills in product development strategies, clinical regulations and marketing of new products for the medical industry, all new and innovative content in the country and in Latin America.
This course was sponsored by the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE) as part of its project to promote and support international strategic alliances between national academy and recognized foreign institutions, in order to train more young Costa Ricans with the latest academic knowledge in the area of medical devices, one of the major "clusters" of Costa Rica today.
The course methodology taught students about industry specifications, manufacturing processes, intellectual property, regulations and quality, in order to learn how a new medical device is developed at present and how it sells in the industry.
The five developed projects underwent evaluation before a panel of judges representing Life Sciences companies operating in the country such as: Establishment Labs, Boston Scientific, Hologic, as well as professors from the UCR, TEC and ULACIT.
Creativity on the scene
To generate their device and medical equipment proposals, students took into consideration real statistics of the health sector in different countries where their creation could be commercialized, as well as production costs and real problems that that occur nowadays in patient care.
For Vanessa Gibson, Director of Corporate Development and Investment Climate from CINDE, the implementation of such initiatives can enhance the knowledge of Costa Rican talent in order to be consistent with what the medical industry needs internationally. "In CINDE we have tried over the years to generate various academic initiatives involving renowned international teachers to teach our young people the latest trends related to research and development industries, so they have more tools and knowledge to successfully insert themselves in these labor markets. "
Jorge Oguilve, Manager R&D Design Services of Boston Scientific, said "these activities are a step in the right direction towards what the country needs in terms of development and support of early talents: young people with energy, who learn by doing and interacting in the practical, theoretical and cultural dimensions. In the short term, we will have a critical mass with the necessary skills in the field of research, development and innovation, a natural and crucial step to attract foreign investment with high value added.
Orlando Arrieta, professor of the School of Electrical Engineering at the Universidad de Costa Rica, said "This type of experience of completely open and comprehensive designs, covering the different phases that involve not only technical aspects but marketing, regulation, etc. give young people a more comprehensive view of what awaits for them in the exercise of the profession. "
Dr. Jorge M. Cubero, professor at the School of Science and Engineering of Materials at TEC said "From an educational point of view it was very gratifying to see the Costa Rican students sharing and competing with students from Rice University, communicating clearly in English all the work done to develop innovative projects in medical device engineering ".