Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is located in a highly industrialized region in the Netherlands, known as the ‘Brainport’. This region is internationally recognized as a top technology area with a special focus on the integration of design and technology. When TU/e started discussions with the creative industries in 2000, they expressed the wish for a new type of academic engineer.
These engineers should combine insights into different fields of knowledge, as integrators of visions and ‘problemfinders’. In essence they should be the designers of Intelligent systems, products and related services in a societal context, addressing aspects such as adaptive behavior, context awareness and highly dynamic interaction. These systems meet the needs of today’s users or, even better, offer new, breakthrough possibilities leading to societal transformations. For these reasons the new Department of Industrial Design (ID), the ninth at TU/e, chose a specific new field within industrial design matching the evelopment, expertise and interests of the surrounding and international industries.
An innovative educational approach was developed for students in this new field, based on competency-centered learning, with integration of education and research as one of the fundamental starting points of a university program. Research was gradually built up from 2002 onwards, resulting in two well established research groups integrating their expertise.
The Department has set up a valuable international network, with staff and students originating from more than 25 different nationalities worldwide.