The Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM) and the Bioengineering Society UK (BES) are pleased to announce their intention to incorporate the Society’s activities into IPEM to provide a new professional ‘home’ for biomedical engineering in the UK within the wider engineering community.
In recent years, there has been a very significant increase in academic biomedical engineering activity in the UK. This has been further expanded by funding from the Wellcome Trust and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for four Centres of Excellence in Medical Engineering in 2009. These Centres have recognised and strengthened an existing trend in which engineering principles are increasingly being applied to address questions in medical imaging, assistive technology, personalised medicine, and a host of other areas relevant to healthcare.
The Bioengineering Society UK was founded in 2010 to provide a forum for academic biomedical engineers and a platform for the organisation of the annual Bioengineering Conference. This has proved an extremely successful venture, but the next step is now needed to provide a professional ‘home’ for biomedical engineering in the UK within the wider engineering community. IPEM’s activities, including publication of the Medical
Engineering and Physics journal, have always embraced bioengineering; but IPEM wishes to develop this aspect of its work much further. IPEM is a Professional Engineering Institution and a member body of the Engineering Council. Its charitable objective ‘to promote for the public benefit the advancement of physics and engineering applied to medicine and biology and to advance public education in the field’ is an excellent fit for the aspirations of the Bioengineering Society.
Following discussions over a period of several years, the Committee of the Bioengineering Society and the Board of Trustees of the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM) have agreed that the activities of the Society will be incorporated into IPEM, and the Society will encourage its members to join IPEM.
Undergraduate students can join IPEM as Affiliate Members, PhD students as Associate Members, and more experienced researchers and academics as Members (MIPEM) and Fellows (FIPEM) of the Institute. There are also routes to Chartered Engineer (CEng), Chartered Scientist (CSci) and other widely-recognised professional qualifications. Full details can be found at http://www.ipem.ac.uk/AboutIPEM/JoinIPEM.aspx.
To provide a platform for the development of more academically-oriented activities such as focused research based conferences and workshops within IPEM, a new Bioengineering Special Interest Group (SIG) has been created, as well as an Academic SIG closely linked to the existing Academic Advisory Group. Academic biomedical engineers have also been appointed to several existing IPEM committees and groups. The IPEM/BES Integration Panel that has led on these developments will continue to exist until January 2017 to oversee the period of transition.
Membership of IPEM allows academic biomedical engineers access to a network of around 4,000 physicists, engineers and technologists working in healthcare, academia and industry. IPEM is represented within numerous committees and organisations in the UK and internationally, providing routes to influence government policy and the future development of the discipline. Academic biomedical engineers who join IPEM will enjoy the full range of member benefits, including free online access to IPEM’s international journals, eligibility for bursaries and innovation funding, discounts on publications and conference attendance, and free access to a wide range of online learning resources.
Currently, the BES research conference is linked to the Welcome/EPSRC Centre meetings held annually. The 2015 conference will be held in Leeds on 7th-8th September, prior to the IPEM annual meeting (MPEC) in Liverpool. Our plan is to begin to coordinate these meetings from 2017.
We believe that this is an exciting development for IPEM, cementing its role in the academic sector, as well as for the biomedical engineering community both in academia and the NHS through the provision of a unified professional ‘home’ for biomedical engineers.
Professor Stephen Keevil
Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine
Professor Alicia El Haj
Bioengineering Society UK
31st May 2015
The Academic Advisory Group asked the presidents of the BES and IPEM, Professors Stephen Keevil and Alicia El Haj, to comment on how integration impacts on the academic community in medical physics and biomedical engineering. Here are their comments:
“How might physicists and engineers working in the university sector benefit from the further integration of BES and IPEM?”
Stephen: “BES has done a fantastic job over the past few years in bringing the academic biomedical engineering community together. IPEM is a well-established and well-resourced organisation that will provide a secure platform for continuation and expansion of this activity in future. It offers a number of benefits that have not hitherto been available through BES, such as course accreditation, access to Chartered Engineer (CEng) and Chartered Scientist (CSci) registration and a team of professional conference organisers.”
“But I am already a member of another professional body – why should I join IPEM as well?”
Stephen: “There are a number of professional engineering institutions, but IPEM is the only one that focuses purely on medical and biological applications. It has a membership of around 4000 physicists, engineers and technologists working in healthcare, industry and academia, giving unique opportunities to network with colleagues across all sectors. We hope that IPEM will become the natural professional ‘home’ for those who see themselves primarily as biomedical engineers.”
“How are academics currently involved in IPEM activities?”
Alicia: “As BES members begin to join IPEM, a new Academic Special Interest Group (see below) is being established to deliver networking and engagement opportunities, and also a new Bioengineering Special Interest Group is starting up. Academic biomedical engineers have also been co-opted onto a number of other key IPEM committees such as the Engineering Advisory Group and the Membership Committee, joining other academics who are already active in IPEM.”
“Are there plans for IPEM to organise conferences that will appeal to academics?”
Stephen: “IPEM organises over 20 one day conferences each year, as well as the annual Medical Physics and Engineering Conference (MPEC) and multidisciplinary conferences, such as UKRO. In the past, most of these meetings have been aimed primarily at the healthcare sector, but academic involvement will broaden their appeal and allow for cross-fertilisation between academic and NHS colleagues.”
30 July 2015
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