So, you wanna be a biomedical engineer?

Engineering and health might not be an obvious pairing, but they're a match made in STEM heaven. Image: Shutterstock

There’s a world of opportunity in combining engineering with medicine and health

At first, it might seem like engineering and health are on different planets. Like, what can machines teach anyone about health? But think about it: if you’ve ever needed an X-Ray or diagnostic test, or seen someone with a prosthetic limb, then you’ve seen engineering and health working together.

STEM star

Often referred to as the field of Biomedical Engineering or Medical Science, this is one of the coolest, fastest- growing, cutting-edge pathways in the world of STEM. Research by Seek Australia in 2019 predicted a 30.3% job growth in the field over the next five years.

Dr Jiao Jiao Li (JJ), is a biomedical engineer and lecturer at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). She’s also a 2021-22 Superstar of STEM and a chief investigator at the ARC Training Centre for Innovative BioEngineering.

Jiao Jiao Li Biomedical Engineer
Dr Jiao Jiao Li (JJ), is a biomedical engineer and lecturer at UTS.

JJ’s research is at the forefront of regenerative medicine which she describes as a combo of engineering, science and medicine. Specifically, JJ is interested in stem cells (cells that can go on to form any other kind of cells) and manipulating them to benefit the 500 million people worldwide who live with osteoarthritis.

Let’s hear it for the girls

JJ is ambitious, driven and incredibly passionate about the work she does in research, plus her role as a lecturer and her involvement with school outreach programs across the state.

She really enjoys talking to students about finding their spark, to take on new challenges, and in particular uplifting Culturally And Linguistically Diverse (CALD) girls who are passionate about STEM.

JJ wants CALD girls to know it’s OK to push back against barriers and that they can be powerhouses in their fields. She’s a shining example that you can!

Engineering and Health Study

  • Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) / Bachelor of Science (Medical Science), University of Sydney
  • Bachelor of Medical Engineering (Honours), University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) / Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation, UTS
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) / Master of Biomedical Engineering, UNSW 

Engineering and Health Jobs

  • Biomedical engineer: $52K–$91K
  • Prosthetist: $49K–$107K
  • Product development scientist: $58K–$90K
  • Research and development manager: $67K–$149K*

*Source: salaries according to

This article originally appears in Careers with STEM: Engineering 2021.


Hannah Diviney

Author: Hannah Diviney

Hannah Diviney is a passionate twenty-something writer from Sydney. You can find her on Instagram @hannahthewildflower or on Twitter @hannah_diviney


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