What We Do
The Center for Engineering in Medicine provides over $1 million per year in seed funding to support the formation of new collaborations and launch promising new projects at the engineering-medicine interface.
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One of the biggest challenges in building new Engineering-in-Medicine collaborations is finding the right partners. A major role of the Center for Engineering in Medicine is helping faculty find those partners. If you have an idea and would like help finding a partner, please contact us at ENGINEERING-IN-MEDICINE@VIRGINIA.EDU and we will help you connect!
Hallway conversations, popping into a neighbor’s office with a crazy idea, brainstorming over lunch – these are the moments ideas are born. Thus, the fact that SEAS and SOM sit on the same campus, just minutes apart, should give UVA a major advantage in promoting engineering-medicine collaborations. But data suggest that even a few minutes is too much: Robert Kraut’s classic studies at Bell Labs showed that researchers with offices on the same hallway were 30 times more likely to collaborate than researchers with offices on different floors, or in different buildings.
The Center for Engineering in Medicine is therefore pioneering a fundamentally new way to take advantage of the physical proximity of SEAS and SOM:
- We recruit, train, and physically embed engineering students and postdoctoral researchers into the clinical environment to work side-by-side with physicians, and medical/nursing students and fellows into engineering laboratories to work-side-by-side with engineers.
- To prepare and support embedded personnel, we are building on unique UVA resources such as the SCRIBE PROGRAM, which trains undergraduate students with no prior medical experience to work side-by-side with physicians.
Many successful EIM innovators tell remarkably similar stories about their early experiences: learning to communicate with colleagues from another field, meeting with multiple potential partners before finding the right one, struggling to find funding to support their initial work; their success was often won through years of persistence and effort. One of the under-appreciated challenges of fostering innovation at the Engineering-Medicine interface is that each new EIM collaboration faces these same potential barriers, because faculty new to EIM cannot draw on their own prior experience. The Center for Engineering in Medicine aims to transform the valuable individual expertise of EIM pioneers at UVA into collective, institutional knowledge that informs every new project launched through the Center for Engineering in Medicine. To do this, we have recruited experienced EIM MENTORS to teach courses and workshops for EIM participants, individually mentor EIM Faculty, and help the Center identify and connect individuals with exciting new project ideas to appropriate partners across Grounds.