Wahweenga Study Tour

Thursday, February 2, 2023

University of Twente students group photo

In the Fall term of 2022, students from the Master’s programs, Biomedical Engineering and Technical Medicine, at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, visited the University of Waterloo. The Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology (CBB) was honoured to host this amazing group of students who also visited leading universities in Canada and the U.S.A., on a study tour that they called ‘Wahweenga’. Wahweenga translates to ‘perfection' in the native Ojibwe language, an Algonk language spoken by indigenous people of Canada and the central north of the U.S.A. This tour was focused on answering one question: ‘How do the technical (bio)medical sectors of Canada and the U.S.A. strive towards perfection?

Biomedical researchers elevate standard research protocols and processes by approaching their research holistically and collaboratively, to develop and implement innovative medical technology. Being exposed to different cultures, people, research methodologies, healthcare systems and business models, gives a glimpse into the future of healthcare that should be interdisciplinary, cross-continental and rooted in tackling the issues of real people all over the world. The Wahweenga Study Tour was dedicated to experiencing healthcare with its technological developments, work ethic and culture abroad.

During their tour, the students had an opportunity to answer this question through many lenses using the PEST analysis with four additional factors, History, Geography, Education and Health Care. A key finding from the research was,

When defining perfection in the biomedical sector as performing efficient and clinically relevant biomedical research, a key factor lies in proper collaboration between a (biomedical) engineer and physician. Using overlapping jargon and having common knowledge, in combination with having the right connections, forms the basis for fertile collaboration.


The students were immersed in a myriad of health technologies through visits hosted by companies, universities, hospitals, and institutes. Waterloo showcased its strengths in Robotics, Medical Devices, AI, and Imaging applied in the fields of Biomechanics, Neurodegenerative Diseases, and Wearable Devices through CBB members, Professors Arash Arami and Stewart McLachlin. After lectures and lab tours from both professors, their visit ended in true Waterloo spirit with a networking event featuring biomedical startup companies with roots at the University of Waterloo.

We are glad to have been chosen to be a part of these students' training in biomedical research and look forward to future collaborations between our universities.