About Prof Sudesh Sivarasu
Professor Sudesh Sivarasu leads the UCT MedTech laboratory. Prof Sivarasu is one of the best known in the field of medical device innovation both nationally and internationally. He has been named a prolific inventor by UCT Research Contracts and Innovation and holds the 2nd highest IP portfolio of all current UCT staff – over 64 patent applications across 20 patent families, of which 22 patents have been granted. He has also received 18 prestigious national and international awards across four continents - 8 in the last four years, including the UCT Deputy Vice Chancellor’s Award for Achievement in Innovation. His national standing in medical device design is supported by regular invitations to participate in forums organized by national agencies such as the Departments of Science and Innovation (DSI) and Trade Industry and Competition (DTIC), the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), SA Medical Research Council (MRC), the Global Health Innovation Accelerator (GHIA), Strategic Health Innovation Partnerships (SHIP), and the Medical Device and Diagnostic Innovation Cluster (MeDDIC).
Prof Sivarasu is globally known for the development of the innovative and globally popular medical design programme, currently taught at universities in Europe, Asia and Africa. This course, which is offered annually to 1st-year students in the biomedical engineering (BME) MSc programme and involves working with medical practitioners to conceptualise and design Africa-based solutions to clinical problems, has been featured in reports by both the UCT Department of Research Contracts & Innovation (RC&I) (2017) and the United Nations in South Africa (2019) and was showcased at the UCT’s Annual Heads of Mission Breakfast in 2020. These reports highlight the potential of novel integration of frugal biodesign concepts into postgraduate teaching to produce both innovators and relevant innovations toward improving healthcare delivery in Africa. Prof Sivarasu also contributed a chapter on this concept to the “Biomedical Engineering for Africa” textbook. Notably, this course's assessment involves evaluating designed products by industry experts and internal and external examiners to ensure alignment with industry practice and, if indicated, rapid translation to market. Here and on traditional assessments, external examiner reports testify to fairness and an appreciation for assessments that go beyond memorising content to application, synthesis, and, if applicable, new knowledge generation.