4 Things You Didn’t Know About Working in Research & Development

Biomedical Engineering

What does an engineer actually do?

What does your day to day
look like as a Biomedical Engineer?

These are the questions I am asked frequently in my career, even from my co-workers!

I know that the world of engineering is foreign to most, so I have come up with a list of things I’ve learned during my time as a Biomedical Engineer to help you better understand what I do day-to-day.

1. You will learn more random facts than you ever thought possible…
Knowing random facts helps diversify your mind’s toolbox and can open curiosity that might lead to your next project, venture, or discovery. These random facts are even a great conversation starter at parties! Every time I learn about different bacteria in the mouth, for example, S. Mutans, it brings back the child-like wonder that made me excited about science in the first place.

2. You will fail at least 10 times more than you succeed…
As a fresh engineering school graduate, I thought I would whip up a perfect concoction on the first or second try. A few months into my job, I was thoroughly disappointed when it took almost 100 formulations to create something of quality. Through this experience, I learned that working in R&D requires quite a bit of mental strength. I must remind myself that each failure is a learning experience, and each failure is worth the success in the end.

3. More complicated does not mean better…
Sometimes engineers try to make things more intimidating than they need to be. You can always find ways to make things better, but I think the simplest solution is usually the best solution. Throughout my years as an engineer, I’ve found that the best method is finding the problem, formulating the most direct and safest solution, and completing the task. It doesn’t have to be complicated; it just has to be quality.

4. It’s all worth it when the project comes to life…
I think product development is a lot like parenting. It is so hard and grueling, yet so rewarding in the end! Orapeutic, one of my favorite Forward Science products, is three years in the making, and each time a formulation failed, we got back up and worked harder the next time. Orapeutic is now in large-scale manufacturing and I am able to see it actually helping patients. I am filled with humility and gratitude for playing a part in the Research and Development team that helped create it.

Hopefully, after reading this blog, you have a little insight into what the engineering world is like! My time as an engineer has taught me so much. I am so grateful for the knowledge I have gained; as well as, the life lessons I have learned through my career.

Thank You,
Katherine Adkins