Got an interest in working with medical devices, but have skills in marketing and business? Ann Damien found her happy medium in working as a technology scout for the New Ventures team at Cook Medical. We got to find out more about Ann’s job as a human brainstorm in medtech, and it’s nothing like we thought it would be!
Tell us about yourself?
I am a New Technology Associate for the New Ventures Team at Cook Medical Australia. Cook Medical Australia is a medical device company based in Brisbane Technology Park, Queensland.
Within this team, I scout for new ideas from the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, take these ideas through a standard review process, and match them to the right parts of the company globally. Day-to-day I use my technical skills to understand the high-level summary of these concepts, and use market research and business skills to evaluate the opportunity and clinical need of every idea/technology, before providing recommendations and insights to various parts of the business for further evaluation and review.
So, what’s a technology scout?
As a Technology Scout, you work on scouting for new technologies across various regions around the world in a given sector. In my case, its medical devices or other health related technologies. The scouting activities across the APAC region involves meeting with scientists from universities, inventors from startups, or physicians from hospitals. My team also hosts teams of research groups or scientists for ideation events, also known as ‘Sandpit days’, where they come to brainstorm solutions and products.
What I enjoy most about this role is that I can contribute to improving the outcomes for various medical issues for patient populations in APAC and beyond, and seeing our efforts come to fruition when the ideas are taken from bench to bedside as a successfully commercialised product!
How did you start on the path to becoming a technology scout?
What got me here is a combination of my degree and my networks and connections.
For the first three years [of my degree] I went through the standard subjects of a molecular sciences major along with a variety of business subjects for innovation management. Prior to commencing my honours project, I was working as a research assistant at QUT while studying at UQ. This got me to appreciate the amount of work going in each lab to make new discoveries. But I also realised that this was only one side of the story – the other side involved commercialising these discoveries by bringing them to market.
It so happened that my professor had industry connections and helped me to connect with Cook Medical for an honours project. The completion of the project was a success story to both Cook Medical and UQ. This opportunity eventually turned into an internship with the New Technologies Team, now known as New Ventures.
My love of science was really kindled in year 11 and 12 when I first moved to Australia. The change in the educational system which catered more for a practical and problem-solving basis got me to appreciate the value of science. The awareness of broader science careers came through the great opportunity presented when I attended the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF)!
What advice do you give to someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
Challenge yourself to push past your comfort zones – you never know the opportunities that you might discover along the way! Stay inspired and learn to dream big. Finally, do not settle for anything less than what you’ve dreamt of!
Ann’s path to becoming a technology scout
> > Participant in the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF)
> > Bachelor of Biotechnology, Molecular Sciences and Innovation Management, University of Queensland (UQ)
> > Honours, UQ
“Challenge yourself to push past your comfort zones – you never know the opportunities that you might discover along the way!”
Author: Eliza Brockwell
Eliza is the Digital Producer for Careers with STEM. Eliza is passionate about creating content that encourages diversity of representation in STEM.