Hi students,

BioDesign is an experiential learning opportunity. Teams of MBA and Master of Engineering students work together to explore, invent and commercialise medtech innovations. Join us and bring together all the knowledge and skills you have learned to solve a real-world problem, one that has meaningful impact.

Join BioDesign to develop a broad range of skills that can help you create and commercialise innovation, not just for healthcare startups.

… Nam Tran, Academic Director, MBA Program.

BioDesign is a learning opportunity that differentiates our students among recruiters, demonstrating the ability to work in a cross-functional team, solving difficult real-world problems. Such skills are becoming increasingly sought after by organisations seeking to hire talented and well-trained MBAs and Master of Engineering students.

Why should I join?

Hands-on learning. Go beyond readings and cases. Work on a live project with patients, hospital staff and healthcare workers, alongside a top-notch engineering team that can build and test prototypes.

Broaden your horizons. Through your project, work with people from across multiple disciplines. Develop and test your ideas with engineers, business developers, intellectual property professionals, investors, healthcare workers and corporate partners. This contributes to your interdisciplinary team skills and help you learn to think from multiple and diverse perspectives.

Build your network. We have partnerships with hospitals, accelerators, the investor community, the Wade Institute and other innovation teams in Melbourne. This will help you connect with a close-knit network supportive of innovators and entrepreneurs in Australia.

Make a difference! Whether you choose to continue working with your team after graduation or decide to engage in other career opportunities, your participation in BioDesign is a significant contribution to healthcare innovation. Invest your time and energy into a project that could end up going to market and making a huge difference to healthcare and patient care.

Learn more about our 2020 teams and guests.

What’s new for 2021

In 2020, we updated the BioDesign program. For MBA students, our revised schedule offers greater flexibility to sign up for other electives and to complete the course by September. You can thus graduate with your classmates in October.

Over the past year, we have expanded the emphasis on innovation concepts that can be applied more broadly, i.e., whether you decide to develop a corporate career or join a startup after BioDesign.

In 2021, the teaching team will consist of David Grayden Kwanghui Lim and Simon Wilkins along with an exciting lineup of guest speakers, panelists and alumni.

Journey map for 2021

BioDesign counts as three consecutive courses for our MBA students. But, instead of studying three disconnected courses, elevate your MBA learning experience by embarking on a single coherent journey. Tackle a real-world medical problem and master a range of topics, including: needs finding, concept development, design thinking, market analysis, prototyping, intellectual property, regulations, market entry strategy, and partnering for innovation.

Our revised journey map involves sustained activity by MBA students during the traditional University vacation period. This enables our MBA students to graduate along with their friends and classmates in October. Shown below are the anticipated effort levels for MBA students (in blue) and those of your Engineering student teammates (in orange).

2019-10 biodesign effort

Life after BioDesign: multiple career options

BioDesign opens the doors to varied career options. A number of BioDesign alumni have developed their project ideas into startups, joining various accelerators and raising funding to enter the market. These include companies such as Stelect, Lenexa, Curatek, Ventora and several others. Other BioDesign alumni have gone on to successful corporate careers (both in healthcare as well as in other fields), or done innovative work at established firms.

Navi Technologies grew out of a 2016 BioDesign project and is led by CEO Alex Newton (MBA, 2017). Navi won a number of awards, completed the Texas Medical Accelerator and Melbourne Accelerator programs, and joined the Actuator Accelerator in Melbourne. In 2019 and 2020, they raised over $2 million in funding and are currently piloting with hospitals. According to Alex:

“I studied an MBA to explore what career opportunities were out there. The BioDesign course provided a structured way to understand the intersection between the healthcare industry, technology development and business. This led to us starting our own company, and provided an opportunity to build my own career in an area that I’m truly passionate about.”

Alex newton

Megan Astle completed her MBA in 2018. She recently worked as Director, External Relations at Monash University where she led the development and implementation of complex, large-scale strategic projects and partnerships, engaging with senior management and external executive stakeholders across organisations. At MBS, she was part of 2017 BioDesign team RespiRate, which later launched as Curatek.

“BioDesign was easily the highlight of my MBA program. It was extremely satisfying to work from clinical challenge and market, to product concept and business model, applying MBA learnings to a real-world business along the way. I now have a strong understanding of medtech commercialisation and the challenges for startups. This has been extremely useful in my ongoing career.”

megan astle-photo

Sam Ellis has always had a passion for innovation, especially in the automotive sector. He worked at Ford Motor Company since 2002, and became Manager (Vehicle Dynamics) in 2011 and Manager (Vehicle Architecture) in 2015. He completed BioDesign in 2016 and his MBA in 2017. In 2018 moved to Joost Australia where he is now Head Engineer. According to Sam:

“The BioDesign course has had a major impact on my perception of business and my professional path.

The key benefit of the course was the opportunity to try out all the business theory in real life and get a cold, hard assessment of what you’re really made of when you have to run the show. To quote Mike Tyson: everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.

The course didn’t compel everyone to take that opportunity; the chance was there for those who wanted to have a go – and I would recommend it to everyone.”

sam ellis

Sam found that the course has made a long-term impact on his managerial abilities.

“The contents of the course were broad and general and it would be possible to take other classes and study the same material. The advantage of BioDesign course was putting everything into practice. Innovation centred on healthtech was not something that immediately attracted me but it did provide me a clean slate to work from. The experience of having to apply and assess the processes of innovation, business modelling, marketing and founding a company from the ground up has taught me to move beyond my own assumptions and focus on the needs of the target customer.

The course helped me identify my inner entrepreneur and has given me greater confidence in leading innovation teams in other fields. Hardly a working day goes by where I have not used some principle learnt or some experience gained in the BioDesign course.

There’s nothing like starting a business to teach you a few lessons about business.”

Contact us

Classes start in February. Only a limited number of places are available, so sign up soon. MBA students who have questions should contact Kwang (k.lim@mbs.edu) and Engineering students should contact David Grayden (grayden@unimelb.edu.au).

Naomi Ratcliff from Program Services will be helping coordinate the program.  We require a 1-page application form and 1-2 page CV. The process is quick and easy. Applicants should have completed the core (or close to it).

We are conducting an information session on Zoom for interested students at 5-6pm, Thursday 10th December.