Zeilen in Hobart, Sophie links. Foto | Privé-archief Sophie Cramer

And how are things in Hobart?

In September 2017, I started the PDEng program Qualified Medical Engineer at the TU/e and the LUMC. Last year I met a neonatologist in Leiden who was visiting from Tasmania, Australia. At that time I was looking for an assignment for my external project (which is a fixed part of the PDEng training). It turned out that this doctor performed a lot of research in collaboration with engineers from the University of Tasmania (UTAS) and that they had several interesting projects were I could work for. Half a year later I boarded my plane to down-under.

photo Privé-archief Sophie Cramer

Tasmania is the smallest state in Australia. The island is about 1.5 times the size of the Netherlands, but there are only 500,000 people living here. Hobart is the capital with the most inhabitants and is located in the hills and near the water. From the house where I live, I have a beautiful view over the city and in the evening wallabies jump through the street.



Every morning I walk to the UTAS campus in approximately half an hour. At this moment I am, together with my colleagues, sorting all the data the research team has collected on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. We make distinction between care time periods and periods in which the babies lie quietly in their incubator. In addition, we annotate which measurements were made and where the sensors were located. This allows us to compare the various measurements with each other after sorting. In addition to this project, I help set up a new clinical trial, I give lectures to engineering students and I supervise a number of students who participate in a design competition for medical devices.


The great thing about the research group in which I work is the close collaboration between the doctors and the engineers. Almost all projects are carried out by a physician and an engineer because the projects always contain both a clinical and a technical component. Every two weeks we discuss the progress together under the supervision of both a neonatologist and an associate professor of the engineering faculty.


Last but not least; Tasmania is a beautiful island. Although it is winter, the sun shines almost every day. The people where I live show me around the island almost every weekend.  We camped in the woods, sailed in the bay, did a road trip along the east coast and slept a weekend in a 'shack' in the mountains. Next two weeks I have vacation; off to the 'main land'!


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