Almir Badnjević from Bosanska Krupa is the first and only doctor of sciences who is actively involved in biomedical engineering in Bosnia and Herzegovina. His work has been recognized by the renowned American, Marquis, by including him in a list of the most prominent people in the world – the Who is Who in the World list.
Mr. Badnjevic, can you tell us something about yourself? Where were you born? Where did you get your education?
I was born in Bosanska Krupa in 1986. I started primary school in Cazin as a refugee during the war, and I finished it in Bosanska Krupa as valedictorian. I finished Electrical Engineering High School in Bihac, also as valedictorian. I enrolled in the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the University of Sarajevo in 2005, and I finished it in regular time, obtaining the title of Master of Electrical Engineering in 2010. My first job directed me towards the field of medical equipment which gave me the initiative to enroll in doctoral studies at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (FER) in Zagreb in 2012, which I finished in 2015, and obtained a PhD degree at the age of 29. My doctoral dissertation and research were directed to the field of medical devices and biomedical engineering from the beginning.
What is biomedical engineering and how does it take care of the health and lives of people?
All medical devices that currently exist at health care facilities are the result of biomedical engineering. Imagine diagnosis without ultrasound or ECG devices, or therapeutics without defibrillators or ventilators. All these are the result of cooperation between doctors and engineers. With increasing need for this cooperation, the area of biomedical engineering as a multidisciplinary field was developing more as well. If we take a look at findings from 2016 that are worthy of attention and related to the health care system, we see that the future of new software solutions will focus on faster and more efficient diagnosis, mainly artificial intelligence, which will be able to predict heart attack or stroke, robots that will be able to perform certain operations etc. All these findings suggest the future trends for those who are involved in research in the field of biomedical engineering. At the same time, all of these findings are the result of multi-disciplinary activities of various professions.
What is the future of biomedical engineering in BiH?
When we talk about the future of biomedical engineering, I am always very optimistic in regards to this topic. We are working to create new opportunities in different fields every day. Since serious work in this field in BiH started in 2014, in a few years, if we implement some projects that are already underway, we might be talking about it as the fastest growing specialty in BiH. BiH is slowly becoming a world leader in the development of various expert systems for prediction and classification of diseases. A number of young people are working on a few current projects, and developing systems that will be used worldwide. We at the International Burch University are currently working with one of the most successful BH software companies on the development of a laboratory in which we will develop systems for artificial intelligence. Moreover, we should not forget that BiH has the third best equipped laboratory in Europe for testing and verification of medical equipment, laboratory Verlab. Similarly, we are preparing the largest scientific and technical conference in Southeast Europe in the field of medical and biological engineering in BiH, CMBEBIH 2017, which brings together the experts in this field.
How were you included in the Who is Who in the World list and how much does that mean to you?
Sometime in June 2016, I received an e-mail with the information that I am one of the candidates whose biography can be found in the Marquis Who’s Who in the World for 2016, and to review my nominee CV one more time. Subsequently, I received confirmation that my CV had been selected in November 2016, and that it was recorded among 3% of people in the world. Seeing as the Marquis is the largest worldwide database, it is an honor to me as a 30-year-old to be among the 3% of the world’s most successful people in various fields (Nobel Prize winners, successful businessmen, famous scientists, etc.).
The first regional conference for medical and biological engineering in Bosnia and Herzegovina took place on March 2015 in Sarajevo. The conference was attended by more than 500 active and passive participants and was a unique opportunity to represent the latest achievements in the field of biomedical engineering. It was the most important conference of this kind in the last 10 years in BiH. Can you tell us more? How important is the conference for BiH?
The International Conference on Medical and Biological Engineering in Bosnia and Herzegovina (CMBEBIH 2017) is a scientific and technical conference aimed at presenting the most ground-breaking innovations in the field of medical and biological engineering, connecting with global experts for cooperation and participation in large projects and the formation of new organizations and foundations for financing startups and scholarships for the most promising students. At the same time, this conference is designed to enable all young researchers, students, professors and professionals to publish their research in the Springer databases at the best price in Europe, to see what is going on in the world, and to get to know the people whose books they read, and whose works are cited here in BiH. The conference organizer is the Association for Medical and Biological Engineering in BiH, which is a non-governmental organization that will organize the entire event thanks to many sponsors who want to support these projects and show their work in such projects as well.
The conference is supported by the IEEE, IFMBE, ESEM and Springer. The first conference was held in 2015 and it gathered a large number of people from 27 different countries in the world. We are expecting more than 500 participants from over 30 countries around the world in 2017. We received more than 200 scientific papers, and a number of workshops. So apparently CMBEBIH 2017 will be talked about, positively of course, for a long time to come all around the world.
Your colleagues are from Japan, Russia, Europe and the States! How do people react when you say you are Bosnian?
What is kind of my goal and what I particularly emphasize is that anything is possible in BiH. I think that there is absolutely no need to go abroad, in order to achieve some goals. Our aim should not be to be employed in some public institution in BiH, because we all know that it is not possible without political support. For this reason, those who are not planning to deal with politics should not be thinking about this, they do not need to consider this option at all. What we should do is dedicate ourselves to our work and proving ourselves on much higher levels, because after a while you realize that there is no sense to compete with someone whose biggest achievement is to be recognized in their street or their city. You understand that ambition of this type is too small, and that you should not be satisfied with this. Currently, I am a member of all world’s committees in the field of medical devices and biomedicine engineering that I have aimed to be in. It’s an honor, but I always tell people that it is also the obligation for me to properly represent myself and my country. All of these people who come as invited speakers at CMBEBIH 2017 are actually my colleagues from all over the world. All of them are very happy to respond to the invitation from BiH. Thus, this year we will bring the president of IFMBE, the president of ESEM, one of the main people from the WHO, one of the main people from the IEEE and many others.
Interview by Zejna SY