Healthy dose of competition
Challenged to conceive an innovative medical device, Sarah Fink and her team are on the cusp of making their dream a cashed-up reality.
Having a tube stuck up your nose probably doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, but for patients who are unable to feed orally it could be a lifesaver. And for University of Melbourne Master of Engineering (Biomedical) graduate Sarah Fink, it could provide a viable income after she and her teammates developed a sensor-enabled nasogastric tube as part of her BioDesign Innovation subject.
Already it has led to a job opportunity at a medical device startup, which Sarah believes would not have come about without the networking opportunities afforded to her team through showcasing her design.
As part of the subject, Sarah formed a team that included engineering and Master of Business Administration (MBA) students. The MBA and engineering students worked together, meeting with medical experts to identify clinical needs and develop a product to address this gap.
“To be honest, it’s not something I would have thought of doing before this course,” Sarah says.
She also appreciates the freedom this course gave her to choose a project that interested her, rather than being assigned a particular problem to solve, as many institutions do.
The project has since received $20,000 in federal funding and the team is currently conducting feasibility tests and looking at the possibility of working with a product development company to bring the nasogastric tube to market.
Sarah was also invited to attend the Asia-Pacific Entrepreneurship Society Summit at Stanford University, California, last year as one of 35 of the world’s best young entrepreneurs.
– Penny Pryor