Prof. dr. ir. Caspar Chorus
“Academic institutions are all too often content with focusing on contemplating and on gaining an understanding of how things work. IDE goes beyond this by intervening with clever and research-based design. Of course, TU Delft, as a whole, aspires to deliver such interventions, but IDE stands out in its explicit positioning as a faculty that combines thinking and doing, and which generates what I call, “knowledge for action”. TU Delft’s mission – impact for a better society – fits IDE like a glove. There can be no impact, no better, and no society, without design or design research.”
Caspar Chorus became the dean of the TU Delft | Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering (IDE) on 1st September 2022.
TU Delft - through and through
Professor Chorus has a long and proud history at TU Delft (25 years and counting). It all began when he saw the, then, dean of the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management (TPM) pitch the story of socio-technical systems and how to analyse and design them. It inspired Caspar to not only pursue a master’s at TPM, but to continue on as a PhD candidate, earning a doctorate with distinction. He continued his research career as a member of TPM’s academic staff, rising to the position of Professor of Choice Behaviour Modelling at the age of 36.
Between 2019 to 2022, Professor Chorus was the head of the Engineering Systems & Services (ESS) department at TPM. The department, which is home to more than 150 researchers, taught him many valuable lessons, including that of striking the right balance between empathy and decisiveness as a leader, a colleague, and a researcher.
From mathematical models to design
Professor Chorus’ research expertise lies in mathematical modelling of choice behaviour. At the start of his career, he developed models that explored how travellers interact with travel information and how their response shapes mobility patterns at large, such as congestion in road networks.
As the years progressed, he began to broaden his perspective towards modelling human decision making in general, with a special interest in finding mathematical representations of non-rational choice behaviour and morally sensitive decision making.
And while, at first, he used these models for empirical analysis of choice behaviour, he began to gradually incorporate elements of design into his research. After all, a good and empirically validated mathematical model of human decision-making is invaluable for designing better and more human-centred policies, products, and services. At the same time, but framed differently, these models help people make better decisions themselves. They then become so-called decision support models. In a research-through-design process, Chorus’ team has explored the use of such decision support models by professionals, and the effect these models may have on human agency and autonomy.
This latter line of research inspired the creation of TU Delft spin-off company, Councyl. This company, co-founded by Professor Chorus, designs self-learning decision support software for professional organisations, based on choice models.
A teacher, researcher, and dean
In addition to his research at TPM, Caspar also taught courses and has extensive experience in supervising MSc and PhD-candidates. He was a passionate and dedicated teacher, whose hard work in education did not go unnoticed. Over the years, Professor Chorus proudly accepted several teaching and PhD supervision awards. And while he may be stepping away from his role as a teacher, his passion for teaching remains. Chorus: “There are many noteworthy academic activities being performed in the faculty; capitalising on these to further strengthen the position of IDE as an powerhouse in design education and research is an opportunity that I look forward to pursuing, together with my colleagues in the faculty.”
A life outside of academia
Professor Chorus thoroughly enjoys his time off, especially when he gets to spend it with his wife and two daughters.
Prof. dr. ir. Caspar Chorus, Dean of the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, will act as chairman of the Faculty's management team.
The other members of the management team are:
- Prof. dr. ir. Alessandro Bozzon: department chair SDE
- Prof. dr. ir. Pieter Desmet: department chair HCD
- Prof. dr. ir. Maaike Kleinsmann: DOS department chair
- Prof. dr. Ruud Balkenende: Director of Education
- Research Council - the RC is represented by a member in the MT. This representative changes every 6 months.
- Julia Candy, manager Communication
- Willem Eleveld, HR
- Mark van Pappelendam, business control IO
The faculty secretary is Hans Suijkerbuijk.