Launched in 2010, the Singapore-Stanford Biodesign (SSB) Programme is a joint partnership between the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), the Economic Development Board (EDB) and Stanford University. Modelled after the established Biodesign Programme at Stanford University, this capability development initiative aims to train and nurture the next generation of medical technology innovators for Singapore and Asia.
To-date SSB has trained 407 students and professionals through its various training programmes, like Fellowship, Innovation Class and Workshops.
1. Fellowship Programme
Fellowship is an intensive 1-year hands-on team-based training scholarship on medical technology innovation. A multidisciplinary team of four fellows, comprising of engineers, clinicians and business/industry professionals, is selected each year. They are trained on aspects such as identification and verification of clinical needs, brainstorming, invention, prototyping and business development.
2. Innovation Class
Innovation Class is the only joint post-graduate class in Singapore offered by NUS, NTU, DUKE-NUS, SMU, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine to its engineering, medical and MBA students. It is a compact didactic training programme which is conducted once every year for a period of 14-weeks (1 semester) to train a wider talent pool consisting of students as well as professionals.
3. Industry Events and Biodesign Workshops
SSB organizes events like the Thought Leaders Series and Special Lectures to educate the local players of Singapore's medtech innovation ecosystem on the latest industry insights and market trends in medical technology development. In response to a strong industry demand SSB also started an introductory 2-day workshop covering the basics of the Biodesign process of innovation. A further customised version of this workshop was designed for the medtech sales and marketing professionals which is a signature offering from SSB.
Over time SSB expanded its foot print beyond its core training programmes by launching strategic initiaives like Corporate Membership, Regional Clinical Immersion and Fellowship Extension.
Using Corporate Membership scheme, SSB is value adding to the partner companies in Singapore by meeting their needs in innovation talent development. Clinical Immersion in Indonesia and S. Korea has helped SSB and Singapore better understand the clinical environments of the Asian markets and their unmet needs. As a growing number of talent trained by SSB are pursuing medtech innovation and entrepreneurship, initiatives like Fellowship Extension provides an entrepreneurial runway for Fellows to seek funding and further their projects. Today, the innovation output of SSB has reached a tipping-point. Beyond 25 patents and 9 projects (initiated from the training programme) which attracted over $5.4 M in funding, SSB alumni have spun-off atleast 9 companies, 7 of which are in healthcare.
By bringing together various stakeholders from Singapore and the region, SSB has truly become an enabler in the local and regional medtech innovation ecosystem.
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Biodesign: The process of innovating medical technologies
Stanford University launched Stanford Biodesign in 2000 as a multidisciplinary educational programme dedicated to the training of aspiring medical technology innovators. Its curriculum (“the biodesign innovation process”) provides a systematic approach to the identification of important unmet healthcare needs, the development of novel technologies to address them, and the subsequent development of business and commercialization plans to bring them into patient care. Now known as the Stanford Center for Biodesign, the organization has trained nearly 200 fellows, more than 1,000 students, 25 faculty members from universities around the world, and over 200 executives from multinational corporations in its proven process for creating innovative healthcare technologies.