Society needs more engineers: TU Delft initiates exploration of growth and multi-campus strategy
Engineers have a vital role to play in solving the major societal issues of this century. This means that the education of engineers is crucial for the welfare and prosperity of the Netherlands. The domestic demand for engineers is as high as ever. Here lies a great responsibility, which TU Delft is committed to taking. It requires a new strategic direction, a different way of thinking. Rather than looking at what we can handle, the focus should be on what is needed and how we can achieve that. This poses a huge undertaking that we certainly cannot meet by ourselves.
The Executive Board has appointed a committee to develop a series of scenarios as to how TU Delft can meet the demand for more engineers. Such a direction would involve a number of radical changes. The committee, chaired by Jo van Ham (former Vice President of the TU/e Executive Board, former deputy Director-General of Higher Education at OCW), has outlined and weighed a number of scenarios and has now presented its findings. The committee makes a number of recommendations on how to keep things manageable in the short term. For the longer term, the committee advises an ambitious, but in their view feasible, option: an approach in which we aim to grow to 40,000 engineering students and adopt a multi-campus strategy. By increasing our student numbers to 40,000, we can aim for 5,500-6,000 engineering graduates a year.
We do not want to shy away from this challenging scenario – which would take us far off the beaten track – precisely because we have, and feel we have, this great social responsibility. That is why we want to use the coming period to explore together, in order to create a picture of how we can best meet this challenge. All this under a number of strict preconditions.
The concept of the multi-campus strategy is prompted by the anticipated growth, which forces us to extend our thinking beyond our hometown of Delft. Pressure on the city is already high. That is why the Van Ham committee recommends looking at multiple campuses. As it stands, the region is very important for TU Delft. Obvious first steps are therefore to look at The Hague – where we are already realising a campus – and at Rotterdam, where this aligns well with our increasingly close cooperation within the convergence.
Such a growth strategy would mean a radical change of direction for the university and its stakeholders, involving major and complex changes. Nevertheless, we are keen to explore this challenging scenario.
Today, TU Delft has started an exploration to collectively identify thoughts, opportunities and risks, using the scenario mentioned above as a starting point. This process will also include key external stakeholders, such as the region, LDE and convergence partners, businesses and government. The output and conclusions of the consultation round will form the core of TU Delft's new strategy for 2024-2030, in early 2023.