BIOENGINEERS NEEDED: Expansive Growth in Medical 3D Printing Industry Creates Demand for Experts

(DEARBORN, Mich., Nov. 15, 2017) – SME’s Medical Additive Manufacturing/3D Printing Workgroup discusses the opportunities and challenges in the crossover between engineering and biology in a new white paper released today. Industry will need to rely on a competency model to help guide hospitals and device manufacturers in recruiting and retaining the next generation of biomedical experts. With the rapid growth and potentially lifesaving benefits of additive technologies, there is urgency around recruiting and training bioengineers who can handle what is essentially a new occupation requiring unique skillsets. 

From prosthetics to advanced tissue applications, there is a remarkable opportunity for additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing, to benefit health and drive business results. Expected to be a $1.21 billion market by 2020, medical 3D printing has evolved from producing prototypes to a mainstream medical tool used in hospitals around the world. There is a challenge, however, to meeting this potential: A lack of skilled professionals who combine the diverse expertise in biology and engineering needed to imagine, design and produce complex anatomical models, procedures, technologies and other innovations using 3D printing in medical applications.

“As medicine and engineering come together, we can advance clinical use and impact more patients,” said Lauralyn McDaniel, SME’s medical industry manager. “To accelerate this progress, bioengineers are needed to address both existing applications as well as develop innovations that will enable new applications.”

As 3D printing in healthcare expands, industry, clinicians and educators need access to a universal competency model for biomedical experts that ensures consistent training from university level to on-the-job training. This will ensure a full, consistently trained pipeline of skilled workers who can fulfill the current opportunity and innovate into the future, benefiting business and, most importantly, public health. For more information, and to download the white paper, visit