Prof. dr. ir. Goossens, R.H.M.

Professor of Physical Ergonomics, Head of Industrial Design Department
Department Industrial Designsection Applied Ergonomics and Design


I am a full professor of Physical Ergonomics at the department of Industrial Design Engineering within the section of Applied Ergonomics and Design at the Delft University of Technology. In 1994 my PhD thesis was on Biomechanics of body support. Since then I am supervising research for the development of the ‘Surgeons Cockpit’ and coordinating education of Medisign students, supervising them in serious design projects for medical specialists and companies.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, February 1994, Biomedical Engineering, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands
    - Dissertation: Biomechanics of body support.
    - Research Director: Professor Chris J. Snijders
  • Master of Science, May 1989, Mechanical Engineering, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
    - Area of Emphasis: Robotics


  • 2009 – Present
    Full Professor of Physical Ergonomics, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology

    • 2015 – present
      Head of the department Industrial Design (105 staff, 50 PhD’s) 
    • 2015 – present
      Member of the management team Faculty Industrial Design Engineering
    • 2011 – present
      Head of the section Applied Ergonomics and Design (30 staff, 15 PhD’s)
    • Founder and Coordinator Medisign program - 600 alumni, 2nd/3rd money stream: 4.6 Meuro

  • 2012 – Present
    Medical Delta Professor
  • 2010 – 2014
    Part-time Professor Physical Ergonomics, Erasmus Medical Center, Department of Neuroscience
  • 2009 – Present
    Member of the Delft Health Initiative, Chair since April 2017
  • 2004 – 2012
    Honorary Lecturer in The School of Health Care Professions, University of Salford, Manchester, United Kingdom
  • 2001 – 2009
    Associate professor, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology
  • 1996 – 2001
    Assistant professor, Faculty of Design, Engineering and Production, Subfaculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology
  • 1989 – 1996
    Scientific researcher, Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • 1988 – 1989
    Robotic Engineer Specialist, Holec Instruments, Hengelo 

Specialisation / field of research

The focus of the research is on the physical human factors during professional product use. The emphasis is on research of ergonomics in relation to product development in order to establish safe, comfortable and error-free task fulfilment in complex multi-user situations in a medical setting. The goal is to generate design requirements, methods and products. The requirements should anticipate the implementation of these products on a large scale and daily use.
This is done by obtaining insight in physical user aspects, such as anatomy, biomechanics, anthropometry and physiology in order to understand the underlying medical aspects of user complaints. These insights form the basis for biomechanical modelling and verification experiments on various user groups. Once scientifically validated, the acquired knowledge is transformed in engineering recommendations and products, which themselves can be evaluated as well.
An ongoing project on safety is the design of a set of products that provide an optimal human-product interaction necessary to guarantee high quality in surgical performance; this is realized in the project: Surgeon’s Cockpit (SC).
To develop the Surgeon’s Cockpit seven PhD-projects are defined. Six of these projects already started in 2002 (Albayrak), 2005 (Buzink, Jalote and Wauben), 2006 (Westebring-van de Putten) 2007 (Vonck).
An example of a project on physical ergonomics can be found in the cooperation with the REPAIR group (REsearch Projects for Abdominal surgery Innovation Rotterdam) with the department of Surgery of Erasmus MC. In this project the focus is on understanding the biomechanical behaviour of sutured of the abdomen.

Lectures and/or coaches students on:

  • Ergonomics 1st year, teaching
  • Biomechanics, coordinator
  • Capita Selecta Medisign, coordinator
  • Anatomy for Engineers, coordinator
  • Design of Products in Healthcare, coordinator
  • Graduation projects of MSc-students Industrial Design Engineering, 20 students a year

Secondary employment:

  • Consultancy and product development for body supportive design fields
  • Owner of 'Comfortics'
  • Maintain network of companies and research institutes on behalf of Delft University of Technology
  • Council of Commissioners, BMA Ergonomics, Zwolle, The Netherland

Involved in the research project(s):