Life sciences engineering concerns the application of engineering principles and practices to living organisms and is used in everything from stem cell engineering, biochips, biosensors, molecular biocomputing to medical imaging, infusion pumps to microkeratomes. Their task, to quote the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering , is to “devise new methods, technologies and products to improve our health and fight against disease.”
Without medical devices, routine medical procedures like fitting a hearing aid or the more difficult task of implanting an artificial hip would be impossible. Medical device engineers develop a wide range of healthcare devices that improve the healthcare industry. They must combine their knowledge of biology, medicine and engineering to research and develop products to enhance patient care. The medical device industry is continuously growing – according to figures from the US Patent Office, the last decade has seen an increase of 35% in the number of patents granted, with more than 34,000 new patents approved every year.
While medical device engineers can be involved in all kinds of product design, in-vitro diagnostics (IVD) are leading the pack and increasing demand for skilled professionals. The IVD market is projected to remain in the number one spot until 2024 with annual global sales of $79.6bn and a 13.4% share of the medical device industry. The fastest-growing device specialty, however, is neurology, expanding at a rate of 9.1% per year with sales expected to reach $15.8bn in 2024.
As the demand for more technologically advanced, sophisticated medical equipment rises, manufacturers will rely on the expertise of medical device engineers to meet it. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical device engineers will see a continual rate of growth with a 3.54 percent increase in jobs expected from 2016-2026.
A pharmaceutical engineer can be involved in every process of the production of a drug, right down to designing the packaging it comes in to ensure quality management, tamper indication and safety. This is a growing sector of the industry and its continued growth is sure to provide an abundance of jobs for the more creatively inclined pharmaceutical engineers. The pharmaceutical packaging market is projected to grow from $83.6bn in 2019 to $111.9bn by 2024, at a CAGR of 6.0%. The increasing demand for pharmaceuticals owing to increase in healthcare coverage, growing aging population, and an increase in non-communicable disease in emerging economies are the major drivers for the pharmaceutical packaging market.