Springboard’s Tom Oakley summarises Connected Drug Delivery Devices in the introduction to the latest OnDrugDelivery magazine issue.
For more information, please contact Tom Oakley.
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What is a typical project like?
During my two years at Springboard there has been no such thing as a typical project – having worked across a range of products from surgical tools and drug delivery devices to innovative consumer care products. The scope of the projects has varied from generating concepts and developing functional prototypes, to working with suppliers to diagnosing and verifying causes of products failure.
At Springboard we are big believers that any theoretical model needs to be validated experimentally so project work is almost always split between the office and the lab. This could desk-based work such as technology scouting, first pass calculations and the design of mathematical models, CAD or spending time in the lab designing and performing rigorous experiments and testing procedures and building prototypes.
A project usually lasts a few months, often because it is useful for both ourselves and the client to quantise the work along the product development life cycle to ensure clear deliverables are met at each stage and that the project remains guided by the client’s needs. The development of a device from start to finish can therefore be many phases rolled together lasting much longer than a few months.
This varied nature of work from project to project, alongside the fast pace in which we take a product from a User Requirements Specification to concept to prototype and finally to a manufacturable, verified, and validated product is extremely satisfying.
All our projects must meet our rigorous ethical policy, so you can always be proud of what you are doing.
Who are your clients?
Our clients are typically large multinational pharmaceutical or device manufacturing companies, although I have also worked with safety critical consumer device companies and smaller medical device companies who specialise in certain treatments.
Almost all our clients have a global presence and so face to face meetings can involve trips to the United States or continental Europe.
What do you think about your role?
It is enormously satisfying to be working in the medical technology space, partly because the developments can be fast-paced, partly because the cooperative environment is highly stimulating and partly because the products we are working on are really helping to transform people’s lives.
The atmosphere at Springboard, the integrity with which the company operates, and the amazing people I get to work with all make my job even more enjoyable and fulfilling.
At Springboard we are encouraged to be involved in all aspects of the business including sales, marketing and project leadership, as well as being closely consulted on decisions that affect the company and the working environment. This collaborative and inclusive attitude to company-wide engagement is extremely gratifying.
Thom is a Project Engineer working mainly on innovative medical devices at Springboard since 2015. Thom explains more…
“A project can last many months, but as we develop a product or understand a client’s problem it tends to be convenient to break work into 2-3 month phases.
The varied nature of the work makes the job interesting. Springboard focuses on technically challenging work and has a rigorous ethical policy, so you can always be proud of the work you are doing.
I have worked on many different aspects of devices such as drug delivery devices, and I have worked across the spectrum of product development, such as early-stage concept development, creating proof-of-principle demonstrators, complex root cause investigations, continuous improvement and independent technical reviews.
We work in both the office and the lab. We might be doing CAD or mathematical models at our computer, but also running labs tests or building prototypes.
There are naturally peaks and troughs in the amount of client work and, because Springboard chooses to have no internal projects, any break in client work is used to learn something new, help on other projects or contribute to other aspects of running the business.
Our clients tend to be large, multinational medical device or pharmaceutical companies, so face-to-face meetings might be in the UK but could equally be in the United States, continental Europe, or elsewhere. For drug delivery projects, we sometimes work for the device manufacturer or sometimes for the pharma company.
I love the interesting and varied nature of the work. The team are all friendly and welcoming.
One of the best things about Springboard is its flexibility – we manage to combine doing excellent work while actively removing unnecessary hindrances that prevent the job getting done. We are encouraged to be involved in all aspects of the business including sales, marketing and project leadership, as well as being closely consulted on decisions that affect the company and the working environment.”
Thom has a MEng in Mechanical Engineering and BSc in Psychology, and worked in energy consultancy for 2 years before joining Springboard.
If you would like to get in touch we would be happy to hear from you.
Springboard believes in inspiring the next generation of scientists and so engages in outreach activities at all ages. For the youngest children, we work with Fen Drayton primary school to run an after-school science club in autumn term. The aim of the club is to encourage the most enthusiastic scientists in Year 6 to go beyond what they learn in school and do “real science”, and was run last year by our Year in Industry student, Lucy Bennet. We also contributed to their science day by purchasing safety glasses and running one of the experiments.
Fen Drayton has been working hard on a number of science initiatives, and this was recently recognised when they were awarded the Primary Science Quality Mark, a UK-wide scheme to enable primary schools to evaluate, strengthen and celebrate their science provision. Engagement with outside organisations such as our company gained a specific commendation in their report:
“You have really embraced the value and importance of enriching your provision for science and have organised an impressive programme of visits, visitors and activities for your pupils. You are now working on using these experiences to develop the pupils’ science capital and their awareness of where science learning can take them in the future.”
We are proud to be part of the invigorating and outward-looking scientific community of Cambridge, and would like to congratulate Fen Drayton on the award which will help to inspire the next generation of scientists for Cambridge and beyond.