Our contacts with the medical sector go way back, dating to the university's early days, when it was still called the "Technische Hogeschool." This contact intensified in the seventies when a university with a department of medicine opened in Maastricht (Medische Faculteit Maastricht). It was also in the seventies that students were first given the option of doing their graduation thesis on biomedical engineering (BME) subjects and doctoral research started being done in the BME field. The heart valve project and related research into cardiac muscle mechanics and fluid flow through the carotid artery bifurcation were particularly fruitful and the subject of many dissertations and scientific articles from 1975 onwards. This partnership ultimately led, in the eighties, to the creation of a Chair in Physiology in Eindhoven and a Chair in Biomechanics in Maastricht.
In 1984 we decided to institute an indepedent doctoral program in Biomedical Mechanical Engineering (BMME). Students who had successfully completed their first year of the Mechanical Engineering program (propaedeutic year) could choose this specialization. A total of 150-200 students graduated from the program in the 10 years of its existence.
To meet the growing need for engineers with a biomedical background, Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and Maastricht University (UM) joined forces in September 1997 to launch the five-year Biomedical Engineering program, with input from many of the two universities' departments: Health, Medicine and Life Sciences (UM), School of Health Professions Education (UM), Applied Physics (TU/e), Chemical Engineering and Chemistry (TU/e), Electrical Engineering (TU/e), Mechanical Engineering (TU/e), and Mathematics and Computer Science (TU/e). The Department of Biomedical Engineering was officially established in April 1999. Its first five biomedical engineers graduated in July 2002.
Since then, the Netherlands has introduced the bachelor and master system for academic degrees. The five-year Biomedical Engineering program was split into a three-year bachelor's degree program and a two-year master's degree program. The department offers various bachelor's and master's tracks and programs.
If you are interested in a more in-depth discussion of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, you can order the book "Heilzaam Vlechtwerk" (in Dutch) for €12.00. For more information, pleace contact: BME Secretary Secretariaat BMT, Tel. +31 (0)40 247 5132.