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Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.
We asked Caitriona Jackman from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:
|If you are considering full-time scientific research, try to get a work placement in a university department so you can see first hand what it’s like. It’s a relatively relaxed, flexible environment, but there is a certain degree of self-motivation needed.
So I would say you need to be able to push yourself and be proactive in terms of setting up collaborations with other scientists etc.
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Advances in science and technology and innovative links with ICT and Engineering are bringing new opportunities in this sector, such as remote diagnostics and eHealthcare services.
In addition to the skills in demand identified across the manufacturing sector, the EGFSN reports specific engineering skills in demand, that are vital to the MedTechsector include:
Other key skills areas include the skills to drive operational excellence (regulatory, quality, sales, marketing and healthcare economics), and Supervisory soft skills, especially people engagement skills.
Cross Enterprise Skills Needs
The EGFSN Report* additionally highlights a number of areas of skills in demand that are apparent across all sectors. These include:
|Employers indicate that there is a shortage of workers in the following occupations in this sector at the moment.
|Biological / Microbiological Scientist|
|Engineer - Automation|
|Engineer - Chemical|
|Engineer - Design & Development|
|Engineer - Manufacturing|
|Engineer - Mechanical|
|Engineer - Polymer|
|Engineer - Production & Process|
|Engineer - Quality|
|Engineer - Test / Validation|
|Engineering Technician - Electrical|
|Medical Sales Representative|
|Product Marketing Manager|
|QC (Quality Control / Assurance) Analyst|
|QC (Quality Control / Assurance) Manager|
|Statistician / Statistician EU|
More information on skills shortages can be found in the Labour Market Informationsection of this site.
|The following are occupations commonly found in this career sector. Click on the titles for detailed information. View All|
|15 courses found|
|22 courses found|
Billions of patients worldwide depend on medical devices and technologies, at home, at the doctor’s office, in hospital and in nursing homes. Career opportunities in the world of medical technologies range from the research, design and manufacture of simple consumables such as bandages to electrically active implantable products such as artificial hearts, cardiovascular stents, orthopaedic knees, wheelchairs and contact lenses, to medical software used to record patient data.The 'MedTech' sector as it is now known, is set to expand even further as average life expectancy has steadily increased in the three biggest markets - the United States, Europe and Japan.
Ireland has been extremely successful in developing an internationally renowned centre for medical technology, with over 250 companies currently developing and manufacturing medical devices here. One hundred of these companies are indigenous and 17 of the top 25 global medical technologies (devices and diagnostics) companies are located in Ireland. Nine of the top 10 global medtech companies have a base here, including Abbott, Hospira, Medtronic, J&J, Baxter, Boston Scientific and Stryker Ireland, Cook Medical, Merit Medical, Technopath Manufacturing, Arc Royal, Nypro Healthcare, Pro-Tek, Res Med, Bellurgan, Delcath Systems Inc., and Diaceutics Dundalk.
Over half of the medical technologies companies located in Ireland are Irish owned. Internationally recognised Irish multinationals in the sector include Creganna, Trulife and Steripack. Products manufactured in Ireland include interventional products, diagnostics, medical equipment, dental, vision and hearing products and orthopaedic implants.
Medtech companies export medical products amounting to approximately €6 billion per annum, which represents 9% of Ireland’s total exports. A recent Government survey has shown that 80% of the companies in the sector are “innovation active”. Despite the economic climate of recent years, the Irish Medtech sector has continued to do well.
The latest Census results show that the medtech sector registered the highest employment growth across the manufacturing sector, increasing by 10% to 24,305. IBEC's most recent sector sentiment and investment survey showed that confidence in the future is high and two thirds of medical technology companies expect turnover to increase going forward. Nearly 1,500 jobs and €200 million in investment has been publicly announced over the past two-years.
Many companies are now engaged in Research and Development (R&D) and business service operations. The Irish owned medical device segment is relatively small, but has demonstrated growth potential in recent years, as illustrated by companies such as Proxy Biomedical, Clearstream, Zerusa and Brivant. It is true to say that there is a broader range of companies within the medical technologies sector involved in R&D than is the case for the pharma or biotechnology sectors.
The MedTech sector utilises a variety of occupations:
The main markets for most medical technologies are with healthcare providers.
A number of roles concerned with the design, improvement and management of production processes are also important in the sector, including the following:
Bio-convergence Devices and Diagnostics - Where devices include significant biologically active components, companies employ scientists, science technicians and processing operatives with skills similar to those of the small molecule pharmaceutical or bio-pharmaceutical industries. They undertake roles parallel to those of engineers, technicians and machine operators in manufacturing biomechanical and bioelectronic devices. Qualifications of scientists are generally between primary degree and PhD level.
The term “technician” can cover a wide range of levels of skill and qualification, and can encompass process operative-type roles. Qualifications can range from a certificate at the equivalent of around NFQ Level 6 up to masters level (Level 9) for very highly skilled roles. The trend is for operative level workers to have specialist qualifications, whether obtained full-time in a training scheme or in college, or part-time after recruitment through certified training sourced by their employer.
In diagnostics, technicians are generally qualified to at least Level 6 in the NFQ in an appropriate discipline.
Where the biologically active material plays an significant active role in the product, it can be necessary for regulatory affairs staff to be expert in pharmaceutical regulation, as well as medical devices regulation.
Sales & Marketing
The main markets for most medical technologies are with healthcare providers. The key players in achieving these steps are:
Internationally, many clinical trials specialists come from nursing backgrounds, after taking further qualifications in the design, management and conduct of clinical trials.
In the coming years, medical technology innovations will fundamentally transform health care by providing new solutions incorporating medical devices that will revolutionise the way treatments are administered. Already medical technologies that would have been considered the stuff of science fiction just a couple of years ago are rapidly becoming the standard of care. Billions of patients worldwide depend on medical technology, at home, in nursing homes and in hospital.
The pace of medical invention is accelerating, inspiring hope for better clinical outcomes with less invasive procedures and shorter recovery times. New innovations and developments suggest an unfolding pattern of "smart" technologies that integrate engineering and biological approaches, and that will provide better clinical interventions.
As these technologies advance, the critical path from promising new science and lab discoveries to applications that treat patients may present greater challenges for both innovative device manufacturers and for the Regulators.
The key players in achieving these steps are:
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