ABOUT THE ROLE
Reporting to the Mechanical Engineering Manager, this is an exciting opportunity to play an important role in a growing R&D team, supporting the Eakin Healthcare group of companies. The role will be central in increasing Eakin’s reputation as a leading producer of innovative medical devices while enhancing our environmental credentials. Our emphasis on biocompatible materials ensures safe use without compromising functionality and user comfort. Expansion and diversification of our research effort necessitates a dedicated materials scientist to help develop our new medical devices. Working closely with our Innovation, Formulation and Engineering teams, you will inform and challenge material selection, particularly polymers, such as PE, EVA, LDPE, PET, EVOH. This role will be based at our Cardiff site, but will also involve regular travel to our Comber facilities in N. Ireland.
Your understanding of material’s selection and testing is central to this role, with particular emphasis on polymers. Supporting our mechanical engineering team, you will bring greater understanding of material composition, integration, adhesion, elasticity, hyperelasticity, viscoelasticity and thermal effects, generating data for mathematical and FE modelling. You will be expected to develop test protocols to challenge materials and assign acceptance criteria. In addition, your expertise in biocompatibility will inform material selection for compliance with ISO 10993 to ensure safe use of all medical devices in our existing and future product ranges.
As part of a multidisciplinary, skilled team you will contribute to the development of new devices, from early stage material selection, through to manufacture-ready products, following Eakin R&D’s NPI strategy. Through this you will:
- Inform and provide evidence to support adoption of new materials suitable for medical devices
- Use your expertise to create a suite of in-house tests and protocols to provide quantifiable data to support mathematical and FE modelling
- Maintain up to date knowledge on new and emerging materials and test protocols to ensure Eakin remains at the forefront of medical device manufacture.
- Keep abreast of medical device regulations, particularly those in relation to biocompatibility and safety of materials.
- Be familiar with human physiology and anatomy, with particular emphasis on ostomy and urology and how this can influence material selection
- Advise and support our supply chain in material compliance and source alternative suppliers who can advance our knowledge and capability.
- Liaise with materials science key opinion leaders, academics and industrial partners to encourage knowledge transfer and maintain relevant skill sets across the Eakin group.
- Inform the R&D team and wider Group stakeholders of any changes in regulations that affect in-use materials and create strategies to ensure ongoing compliance.
- Provide input to technical reports and design documentation for internal and external users to review, ensuring that the content is accurate and informed.
Your role as materials scientist will cover a diverse range of activities but will have focus on attaining and maintaining the highest standards of compliance, safety and user comfort for a broad range of medical devices. Specifically, you will be expected to:
- Review and maintain a comprehensive database of materials used by the Eakin Group and perform a gap analysis on material characteristics and safety data
- Increase your existing expertise in core materials, including polymers, adhesives, silicones and foams
- Review existing test protocols and validate new tests appropriate to material characterisation
- Work to assigned objectives within time and budget, as agreed with line managers
- Perform laboratory tests to characterise materials and to generate datasets for modelling
- Support investigations into new technologies or materials that may be used in the field of medical devices.
- Provide expert analysis of materials currently in use for similar products in the marketplace
- Support other departments within the Eakin Group, including Technical Support, Quality, Sales and Marketing with advice and guidance on best practice for materials.
- Advise and support Manufacturing in their CI activities
- Consider environmental impact on all material selection and manufacturing processes
- To adhere to the company’s Equal Opportunities policy and Dignity at work policy in all activities and to actively promote equality of opportunity wherever possible
- To be responsible for your own health and safety and that of your colleagues, in accordance with the company’s’ Health and Safety policy
- To adhere to the company’s Quality policy and Environmental policy
- To undertake other duties as may be reasonably required
- Have gained a 2:1 Degree or higher in Materials Science / Engineering or a closely related discipline.
- Have at least two years’ experience as a materials scientist, with demonstrable expertise in polymers.
- Be familiar with Medical Device safety compliance, particularly in relation to ISO-13485
- Have experience working within a NPI framework
- Excellent written and oral communication skills
- Be able to work in a multi-functional team and build relationships with peers
- Be comfortable working in a laboratory environment and industrial setting, with an ability to actively participate in experimental design and completion
- Have excellent time management skills and effectively plan, resource and execute multiple projects simultaneously
- Be willing to travel across Eakin R&D facilities in Cardiff (primary location), Comber and Cambridge, with opportunities for travel to suppliers and for conference attendance, as required by your role.
- At least two years’ experience in the medical device industry in a materials scientist role
- Be familiar with Biocompatibility compliance, in relation to ISO-10993
- Have experience and evidence showing commercialisation of products involving materials selected and validated by you
KEY WORKING RELATIONSHIPS
- Work within the R&D team to provide materials’ expertise, devise appropriate test methods and analyse results
- Work alongside Manufacturing to understand manufacturing implications of technical decisions
- Work alongside Commercial teams to understand the commercial implications of technical decisions
- Liaise with Quality to assist with regulatory compliance and to ensure all materials’ documentation is of the highest standard
- Work with Eakin supply chain and approved providers to ensure all raw materials meet Eakin acceptance criteria. Also to engage with existing and new suppliers to explore and validate new materials.
- Work with test houses and related contractors to outsource specialist testing. Also to gain advice and guidance for novel compounds.
- Work with Universities with academic and technical expertise to transfer knowledge to Eakin
- Nurses and physicians are critical contacts and provide valuable information about user needs, care pathways and challenges.
- Feedback from Product Users provides valuable insights so building relationships with our customers is key.
Resilience – Can work under pressure, remains calm, thinks clearly and manages emotion under pressure. Addresses issues without being aggressive or controlling and can easily bounce back from setbacks. Is open to feedback and doesn’t dwell on past events.
Team Working – Enjoys participating in group activities and likes to work in close proximity with other people. Is ready to collaborate with and support others and is willing to co-operate and compromise for the overall good.
Following Directions – Is motivated to accept and comply with standards and instructions and has a strong conscience about delivering what is promised or expected. Doesn’t like letting people down and works productively in cooperation with, and support of others.
Analytical – Enjoys analysing qualitative data but also considers quantitative and seeks to identify and explore they key elements in information before making commitments. Tends to like to use facts and figures when planning and reporting and is concerned about accuracy and detail
Information Gathering – Enjoys dealing with and refers to factual data. Likes to be well informed and drills down into details. Prefers to access wide range of information and opinion before making decisions and when solving problems.
Planning and Organising – Thinks things through well in advance and maps out future activities, taking the key stages and requirements into account. Likes to monitor to ensure that things are implemented and delivered effectively
Quality Orientation – Is precise, pays attention to details, checks things and ties up ‘loose ends’. Has a strong conscience about getting things right and seeks to ensure that decisions and solutions do not involve undue risk, adheres to policy and standards.
Interpersonal / Influencing – Deals with other in a convincing way that leads to gaining agreement without relying on hierarchy and shows sensitivity to working relationships. Doesn’t give up easily in the face of opinions that differ from their own. Influences others to reach conclusions and gain agreements.
Technical expert –full breadth of technical knowledge and can operate as a technical advisor, influencing others to achieve goals without relying on hierarchy. Keeps up to date on changes within their field and implements plans to ensure organisation is in a state of readiness. Participates in industry and professional associations