The SPARK Co-lab Design Course was established in 2016 by SPARK Co-lab based on the Biodesign model, and in 2017 it was funded by Accelerating Australia Stage 1.


Inspired by what the SPARK Co-Lab Design Course had started, the Perth Biodesign course was formed by further adapting the Biodesign model, leveraging input from many domain experts across the sector and learnings brought back by the current Directors of Perth Biodesign from their 6 months of training at Stanford Biodesign. The 2018 and 2019 course was funded by Accelerating Australia Stage 2 who received funding from MTPConnect Project Fund Program. Over the 4 years, the courses have trained 106 aspiring biomedical entrepreneurs and created 22 biomedical technology opportunities.


The Directors of Perth Biodesign, Dr Matthew Oldakowski and Intan Oldakowska, are experienced biomedical engineers and entrepreneurs themselves, having co-founded one device on the consumer market and two more currently gaining investor funding.

In 2020, the Perth Biodesign programs are funded by the New Industries Fund, managed by the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation and our program partners: University of Western Australia, Edith Cowan University, Curtin University, Murdoch University, Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, Telethon Kids Institute, and Perron Institute for Neurological and Translational Science.

Our Programs

Perth Biodesign for Medtech

Our flagship, 6 month course in which teams of engineers, clinicians, researchers and business professionals find unmet clinical needs and create medical technology solutions.

Perth Biodesign for Digital Health

A new, 3 month course in which teams of clinicians, researchers, software and IP specialists and business professionals find unmet needs and create digital health solutions. Run in partnership with Curve Tomorrow.

iprep biodesign

A 7 week industry and PhD engagement program run in partnership with iPREP WA. PhD candidates spend 7 weeks working on an industry problem in healthcare.

Biodesign Bootcamps

Two full-day intensives taking participants through the entire Biodesign process . Perfect for anyone considering the extended courses or time-poor professionals unable to commit to the full course.

Who should apply?

The typical structure of a Biodesign Australia team includes passionate individuals with a clinical, engineering, business and/or research background. Perth Biodesign for Digital Health also accepts and encourages applications from people with design/coding/IT skills. Further we are seeking optimal diversity in teams and cohorts and welcome different age groups, experience levels, gender, and ethnicity. Our participants range from senior students to experienced professionals, however we encourage anyone with a strong passion for medtech and healthcare innovation to make an enquiry.

What is the expected time committment?

The 2020 course will run from mid-October 2020 until May 2021 with class sessions running each Wednesday evening (5.30pm-8.00pm). Outside of class, participants will need to commit extra time to work on deliverables and attend team meetings. On average, participants spend 8 hours per week on course commitments (including the weekly session).

The Team

Dr Matthew Oldakowski

Course Director

Dr Matt Oldakowski is a biomedical engineering researcher, inventor and entrepreneur. Matt is the co-founder and CTO of two medtech companies, REX Ortho and Cervical ChinUp. Matt is the Co-Director of Perth Biodesign where he educates and incubates multidisciplinary medtech innovation teams and also the Co-Director of Biodesign Australia that brings together Biodesign programs from around Australia to share resources and best practice. Matt was previously a Global Fellow at Stanford Biodesign and an Endeavour Executive Fellow.

Intan Oldakowska

Course Director

Intan is a biomedical engineer and entrepreneur focused on developing medical devices. A graduate of the University of Western Australia in Mechanical Engineering and Commerce, she is a Research Associate at Curtin University where her PhD studies have focused on developing a novel expandable orthopaedic screw, which has spun-out into REX Ortho.  She is also the co-founder and CEO of Cervical ChinUp. A SPARK Co-Lab Design Course 2016 alumnus, Intan recently returned from Stanford University, where she helped at the Otoinnovation Lab and observed the Stanford Biodesign Innovation classes, before returning to be Perth Biodesign's co-Course Director.

Dr Helga Mikkelsen


Business Faculty

Helga is an Investment Analyst at Brandon Capital, which manages the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF). Following degrees in Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Helga completed her PhD in microbiology at the University of Cambridge and postdoctoral research in bacterial genetics at Imperial College London. She subsequently managed the development of anti-infective medical devices in urology at CamStent Ltd (Cambridge, UK). Since her move to Australia in 2016, Helga has worked with the Telethon Kids Institute to commercialise inhaled drug treatments for respiratory disease and is a co-founder of Respirion Pharmaceuticals, which develops a new treatment for chronic lung infections in patients with cystic fibrosis.

Dr James Chen


Clinical Faculty

James is a Junior doctor at Fiona Stanley Hospital, following completion of Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery at UWA in 2015. He has been working to improve the efficiency of junior doctor’s work with hospital executives. He has also had the opportunity to experience firsthand the devastating consequence of lower socioeconomic areas including in Soweto in Johannesburg, South Africa and remote communities in the Kimberly, which has nurtured a passion for equality and ensuring sustainable holistic solutions; not ‘band-aids for a broken leg’. James took part in the 2017 Perth Biodesign course and returned in 2018 as an alumni mentor.

Kristen Houston


Program Manager

Kristen Houston is the Operations Manager for Accelerating Australia, a national consortium supporting biomedical entrepreneurs and innovators on their path to viable commercial outcomes. Kristen received her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacology from the University of Western Australia and most recently worked for John Beech and The Executive Connection where she created the website for consulting company Guided Innovation. Kristen is involved in the general coordination and support of the Perth Biodesign course as well as the marketing, communications and general support of Accelerating Australia

Applications for Perth Biodesign 2019 are now closed.

Use the form below to express interest in the 2020 course or lodge an enquiry.

If you don’t hear from a member of the Perth Biodesign team promptly, please double check your junk mail or let us know!