Here we look at the types of roles available in medical technology research and development, career paths into this diverse and exciting field of the health and medical sector and where to find jobs.
Medical technology (known as ‘MedTech’) research is vital to the development of life-saving treatments and medical knowledge. From ultrasound scanning to robot-assisted surgery, medical technology is present in every health procedure.
Working as a Medical Technology Researcher
MedTech is a broad academic field which brings together researchers, scientists, engineers and designers.
Universities, governments and healthcare organisations work in tandem with industry to research, design and manufacture medical devices, diagnostic technology and digital solutions to global healthcare problems.
MedTech research covers a wide variety of interests from, device design to advances in healthcare robotics.
There are various routes to an academic research career in medical technology, depending on your specialist interests and academic background.
You will generally need to have a good first degree and a PhD in an area related to medical technology to land a research post in a university. Equivalent professional experience working as a biomedical technology researcher, engineer or designer in the commercial sector may also be acceptable, depending on the role and area of research.
Academics working in MedTech research may have a background in the following disciplines:
- Biomedical Engineering
- Medical Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Medicine and Dentistry
- Life, Health and Physical Sciences
- Sports and Exercise Therapy/Rehabilitation
- Diagnostic and Therapeutic Radiography
On completion of a PhD in a field related to medical technology, your next step would be to secure a postdoctoral research role within an academic team in your area of expertise.
You would need to apply for promotion and new funding every 3-5 years, and this is based on research quality and outcomes. After gaining experience you could choose to combine your research with teaching duties in a lecturing role or continue a research-oriented path as a research fellow or associate.
Medical Technology Research Jobs
If you’re just finishing your PhD in a MedTech-related field, you will probably be looking for your first research post.
Availability of research roles is project and funding-dependent. However, research and development of healthcare technology is viewed as a global priority and is widely funded through a collaboration of healthcare providers, universities, research institutes, governments and industry. To find out more about how MedTech research and development is funded in the UK visit GOV.UK.
If you choose to work as a researcher at a university, here are some of the roles you may come across during your search:
- Research technician
- Postdoctoral researcher
- Research associate/fellow
- Clinical trials researcher
- Senior research associate
- Lecturer/senior lecturer in medical, mechanical and biomedical engineering.
Day-to-day duties depend on the sector of medical technology you are researching. However, most MedTech research posts are structured as follows:
- Creating and conducting experiments in a technical laboratory environment
- Data analysis and publication of results
- Collaborating with other scientists, engineers and designers in industry
- Working within multi-disciplinary teams to design, test and develop medical devices and technology
- Drawing up research proposals and applying for funding
- Carrying out practical demonstrations for undergraduate and postgraduate students
Salaries for research assistants in MedTech research start in the range of £24,871 to £27,924.
Higher up the pay scale are postdoc researchers or research fellows, where salaries start in the range of £33,309 to £40,927 and can be higher for experienced and senior researchers or lecturers.
Salaries for MedTech researchers working within the private sector and industry can be considerably higher.
If you’re at the beginning of your academic career and thinking about working as a MedTech researcher, you may be considering doctoral studies in a related field. Alternatively, you may already be working as a clinical scientist, radiographer or in another healthcare role which involves the use of technology.
Most Med-Tech research jobs require candidates to either be undertaking doctoral studies or to have already been awarded a PhD or equivalent professional doctorate in a related field. A PhD takes around 3-5 years to complete, and most are fully funded and come with a maintenance grant in the range of £15,000 and £17,000 p.a.
You will find PhD studentship opportunities related to healthcare technologies here at jobs.ac.uk and through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
- Academic jobs in Medical Technology
- Lecturing jobs in Medical Technology
- Senior level jobs in Medical Technology
- PhD Funding – a checklist of sources