Harm van Essen is Assistant Professor. He is chairman of the Industrial Design (ID) Program Committee, representative of ID in the Joint Program Committee, director of the LightLab, and squad leader of Social Interactions with Shared systems.

The research interests of Van Essen are in experience design, interaction design, design methodology, and the integration of technology and insights from social sciences (in particular social psychology) in systems design. Right now, Interactive Lighting and Shared Systems are important topics of research. They relates to his goal of using interaction design to improve the user experience of smart connected systems that are shared by multiple users. For instance, connected lighting. Van Essen has a background in mechanical engineering and control systems. Before joining the Department of Industrial Design in 2001, he was assistant professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering. A highlight of his career is the collaboration with other departments through shared research project in the Intelligent Lighting Institute, in particular with Computer Science and Innovation Sciences.