Purvika Bajaj receiving a cheque for her AI scholarship from Stryker which will be based in MTU. There are three other people in the image standing beside her.
Purvika Bajaj receiving her bursary award. Image: MTU

US medtech Stryker to fund AI research bursary based at MTU

8 Jul 2022

Stryker is funding MTU AI students’ research in the hope that medtech careers will keep embracing AI and machine learning tech in the future.

Munster Technology University (MTU) AI master’s student Purvika Bajaj has been named the first recipient of a bursary awarded by the Stryker global R&D innovation centre in Cork.

Stryker is a medical equipment manufacturing company headquartered in the US and has several bases in Ireland, including Cork. The medtech company is partnering with MTU to provide an AI bursary that will cover a student’s full tuition. The recipient also gets the opportunity to work with Stryker researchers on their thesis topic.

The complexity of data and the rapid need for innovation in the medtech sector means that AI graduates and their skills are becoming increasingly important.

According to Danielle Dunlea, clinical affairs analyst at Stryker, “AI technology is changing the way we see the world. It’s also an important technology for us to advance our product offerings and improve outcomes, whether they be clinical, operational or financial”.

At the end of last month, a Government report on AI skills claimed that all workers, no matter their sector, would need some AI skills and knowledge for their jobs.

“At Stryker, our mission is to make healthcare better, and that is only possible through people,” Dunlea added, explaining the company’s decision to partner with MTU. Dunlea is a member of Stryker’s Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) employee resource group. She said that promoting and aiding technical women like Bajaj would prove beneficial for the future of healthcare.

“The world of programming machines such that they can ultimately work on their own is what amazes me the most,” Bajaj said, adding that the bursary would enable her to follow her “passion and zeal to dive further into the world of AI”.

“The Stryker scholarship has given me an opportunity to enhance my skills and help me receive expert advice and hands on experience with my thesis.”

As well as its operations in Ireland, Stryker has markets in more than 75 countries globally. It employs more than 46,000 people worldwide and prides itself on allowing its employees to choose flexible work practices.

“Stryker is an invaluable partner to MTU and in particular the Faculty of Engineering and Science,” said Seán McSweeney, head of the Department of Computer Science at MTU. “Stryker’s commitment to enhancing R&D innovation in Cork has a ripple effect that now engages our students at MTU. We look forward to a continuous and meaningful partnership that will lead us to ever greater achievement in the AI and healthcare domains.”

Stryker is not the only company that has committed to providing education and research scholarships here in Ireland in recent months.

Last September, Huawei Ireland announced it was seeking applicants for its 2021 Seeds for the Future scholarship programme. The scholarship awards 50 third-level STEM students €5,000 each.

In February 2021, University of Limerick said it was working with several tech companies including Stripe, Zalando and Intercom to improve computer science education in Ireland. It launched its Immersive Software Engineering programme with industry consultation.

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea worked as a Careers reporter until 2024, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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