iPREP Biodesign

A 7 week industry and PhD engagement program run in collaboration between iPREP WA (Industry and PhD Research Engagement Program) and Perth Biodesign to support the training of PhD students in healthcare innovation based on Stanford Biodesign methodology. iPREP WA is the only established program in Australia with the unique attributes of using multidisciplinary teams of PhD students to work on industry-defined real-world problems with clear benefits to universities, students and industry. 


The iPrep Biodesign teams spend 7 weeks working on an industry problem in the healthcare sector and receive weekly mentorship on learning and applying the Biodesign process.

Participation in the program provides PhD candidates with excellent networks and contacts in industry plus skills in project management, team work, design thinking and leadership as well as the opportunity to solve real problems in healthcare.


Health-related organisations benefit from value-for-money consultancy, innovative solutions to business problems, increased engagement with all five universities to optimise knowledge translation, and the potential to recruit outstanding PhD graduates.

Student applications now open for Round 1 2021

“What a difference 6 weeks of iPREP placement have made. The program enabled me to firstly recognise the skills acquired through my PhD and understand their transferability and applicability in fields outside my PhD specific area of interest. The iPREP program also equipped me with the skills to pursue career opportunities outside academia. Most importantly, by participating in this placement, in a field that required different skill sets to complete the project, I recognised my true passion.”

- Wissam Chiha, iPREP Biodesign graduate

Our Team


Narelle Jones

iPrep WA Coordinator

Narelle Jones has been the iPREP WA Coordinator (Industry and PhD Research Engagement Program) since 2018, successfully placing more than 90 PhD candidates into industry for short-term placements. She is based at ECU in the Graduate Research School, where the iPREP WA program was established in 2014. The program expanded in 2015 to include all five WA universities, and remains the only industry and university collaborative model of its kind in Australia.


Narelle has extensive professional experience in the tertiary sector in transition support, student advisory, project and management roles in Perth and Melbourne universities.  She has also worked as a Recruitment Consultant for employment agencies, undertaking business development and the selection of candidates for temporary and permanent work in industry. 


She holds postgraduate qualifications in both Human Resources (ECU) and University Management (The University of Melbourne).


Narelle’s experience allows her to champion iPREP’s potential by expanding the program through the creation of both new employment opportunities for PhD students as well as the new insights and knowledge those students bring to participating businesses.

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Intan Oldakowska

Perth Biodesign 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.


Michelle Luca

iPrep Biodesign Program Coordinator

Michelle is a experienced hospital pharmacist affording extensive knowledge of clinical pharmacology and medication management. She has worked across many WA public hospitals following the completion of a Bachelor of Pharmacy from Curtin University of Technology in 2010. Michelle has many years of managerial experience and focused to improve patient care through implementing best practice guidelines. 


In her new role as iPREP Biodesign Program Coordinator, she is responsible for the general organization of the iPREP Biodesign Program. Michelle coordinates the recruitment of healthcare industry partners, processes student applications, matches students to healthcare industry partners, mentors students throughout their placements, coordinates participation from the five universities across WA and promotes iPREP Biodesign activities.

Our Supporters

The New Industries Fund is managed by the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation



info@perthbiodesign.com.au© 2020