Research at TU Delft encompasses virtually the entire spectrum of engineering sciences and it is this breadth that forms the basis for TU Delft's strong scientific profile. The research questions we tackle are strongly inspired by important future challenges facing society.
How the research is positioned is determined by the source of the research question and the way in which that question is approached. Is it motivated by curiosity or with a view to potential utility? Researchers are often driven by curiosity, whereas society and the business community tend to me more concerned with utility. Research questions can be approached in a fundamental or pragmatic way.
Most research at TU Delft is positioned in the lower right-hand quadrant of the diagram above. In other words, it seeks to answer utility-driven questions in a fundamental way. Most of the research has a long time horizon, greater than eight years.
Science, Engineering, Design
Three key dimensions play an important role in our research: science, engineering and design. But the degree of emphasis placed upon each of these dimensions varies from discipline to discipline.
The technical and scientific knowledge acquired through our research activities feeds naturally into the education and knowledge valorisation at TU Delft. Equally, interaction with inquisitive and critical students, businesses and government agencies also results in new and unexpected research questions. In other words, research, education and knowledge valorisation inspire one another.
Who funds the research conducted at TU Delft?
Central government funding
The Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science funds much of the scientific research at TU Delft.
NWO - indirect funding
The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) funds high-level research at TU Delft.
In order to qualify for this funding, leading researchers at TU Delft must successfully compete against others across the Netherlands for the funds provided by the NWO.
Contract funding from business
TU Delft also conducts contract research funded by Dutch and international businesses as well as the European Union. This funding takes the form of monetary or in-kind payments in return for the research conducted.
Newly discovered ‘Siberian’ soda lake micro-organisms convert organic material directly into methane
Researchers from Delft and Moscow have discovered a new class of micro-organisms in Siberian soda lakes. These organisms grow in sodium carbonate brines with a pH 10 and convert methyl group of organic material into methane gas. On xxday May yyth they, together with colleagues from the US, UK, Germany and Spain, report on their findings in Nature Microbiology.
TU Delft spin-off Atmos UAV presents mapping drone
On 23 May 2017, the TU Delft spin-off Atmos UAV presented Marlyn, a hybrid drone that combines the flexibility of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft. This device can rapidly map large areas of ground for companies working in such fields as fields construction, mining, agriculture and forestry.
Global mean sea level rise is accelerating faster than previously thought
Globally sea levels are on the rise. Now researchers from TU Delft and other European universities report a reconstruction of global mean sea level since 1902 that yields a slower average rise before 1990 than previously thought, but shows similar high rates as independent satellite observations from 1993-2012. This suggests that global mean sea level has been accelerating much faster than previously assumed in the past two decades. The results appear this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Successful conference Social Innovation and the Energy Transition
At 3 and 4 April engineers, policy makers, administrators and scientists presented – and discussed – dilemmas and issues such as: Can social innovation boost a technological energy innovation, or conversely, act as an obstacle? What can students do to accelerate the energy transition? What will the Dutch energy situation look like in 2050? Who will be the energy transition winners and losers?