Norbert Dommel

Senior Engineer, Implant Development, at Cochlear,

PhD BiomedE, 2008.

What are your fun / disastrous / sad / beautiful memories of studying here at the school?

I have fantastic memories of my work with the Vision Prosthesis (Bionic Eye) research group in its earlier days (2004), and very much enjoyed the opportunity to work closely with a small group of very gifted and highly driven students and academics. In the just under four years of doing my Ph.D. with the group, I learned an incredible amount and had a fantastic experience. I also have fond memories of attending conferences with the group’s academics and other research students.

What biomed-type contributions to the world are you most proud of?  Please include any medical devices you had a hand in designing.

I am most proud of my research contributions to the Vision Prosthesis project, and my contributions to the continued commercial development and success on the Cochlear implant.

In terms of your career, what would you tell your younger self, knowing what you now know?

Stick with a project and/or career plan, and don't change just for the sake of changing. If you hang in there and persevere, you will get to the outcome you are after.

What is your biggest hope/dream for the future of biomedical engineering?

My biggest hope for the future of Biomedical Engineering is for research institutions to work closely with industry, allowing higher risk ("blue sky") research projects to be undertaken with industry funding. Ideally I would like to see industry investing a portion of their R&D funding into higher risk research projects, and having these research projects done through academic collaborations. That way, researchers, post-doctoral fellows and graduate/undergraduate students get to work on exciting projects with minimal financial risk to industry. If the research amounts to something, papers can be written, and there's a potential for commercial success. If the research does not work out, the research students and academics still learn from it, contributing to the greater scientific community, while the financial loss for industry is not that great.