“Technology and Society in Equilibrium” – a new sector portrait for Design Engineering Sciences - has been presented to the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. The report paints a picture of this unique sector which includes the disciplines of Industrial Design Engineering, Architecture, Technology, Policy & Management. In particular it highlights the sector’s role in connecting technological developments with the needs of people and society, thereby helping solve some of the most urgent societal challenges.
On 23 June 2021 Ena Voûte, dean of Delft University of Technology | Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering and Professor Karin Schroen of Wageningen University and Research handed the report to the Ministry’s Research and Science Policy team. Policy Director Oscar Delnooz accepted the report enthusiastically, commenting that: “We are pleased that the design engineering sciences have joined forces and have taken the initiative to draw up a joint sector portrait.”
Louise O. Fresco, chair of 4TU Federation (representing the Netherlands’ four technical universities) called for recognition of the sector: “the Design Engineering Sciences are an indispensable addition to the STEM disciplines. […] The crucial contribution […] is to develop knowledge and methods for designing integrated solutions - in conjunction with the environment and together with stakeholders from society."
The portrait presents design as a transdisciplinary activity: knowledge from different scientific disciplines comes together in teams, processes and methods, which bridge the gap between new technology and the needs of people and society. The design engineering sciences are seen as essential for architects and designers working in practice, as well as by other sectors dealing with complex societal challenges. Take healthcare as an example:
Design interventions, the report explains, are used to test hypotheses and render future scenarios in such a form that people can imagine, understand, experience, touch and debate, bringing the possibility of societal changes closer to fruition. By educating a future generation of (academic) professionals in this approach, and arming them with the mind-set and design methodologies, design can be part of an increasingly effective response to the Netherland’s mission-driven innovation policy.
The sector portrait is the result of an extensive and intensive two-year process, involving more than 25 people from the four Dutch universities of technology (Delft, Eindhoven, Twente and Wageningen) and the University of Groningen. It is seen as a starting point for further development and possible future funding supporting:
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