PhD & postdoc course ‘Safe by Design'

Free & open to PhD candidates & postdocs

Many materials, products and processes still end up causing unintentional harm, even though safety is a prominent topic in the professional environments of researchers and innovators. Safe (& Sustainable) by Design (S(S)bD) is an approach that renews our focus on safety from the earliest stages of design onwards and expands it by considering it in relation to other important values such as sustainability, security, and circularity.

This course:

  • explains the importance of an integral approach to safety in design, engineering and processes;
  • introduces the concept of S(S)bD;
  • gives you an overview of the extensiveness of the S(S)bD;
  • showcases a variety of disciplinary perspectives on its conceptualization, operationalization and (industrial) application;
  • considers design for safety in the broader innovation system;
  • discusses how to balance safety with values like sustainability, security, privacy, circularity, and autonomy;
  • facilitates interdisciplinary exchange around concrete cases.

Throughout the three-day program you will work on group assignments, ideally based on actual cases. We highly encourage you to bring your own case, preferably related to your own research.

The team of lecturers represent the forefront of academic and practice-oriented research around S(S)bD at universities and research institutes across the Netherlands. Participants come from a wide variety of disciplines across science, engineering, and innovation studies.

The course thus offers a highly interdisciplinary environment that encourages critical reflection on and facilitates mutual learning about (1) novel ways to address safety early on in research and innovation and (2) the (moral) responsibilities of different actors/stakeholders.


  • Prof. dr. Pieter Bruijnincx, ‘Safe by Design, a chemist’s perspective’, Utrecht University
  • Pieter van Gelder, ‘Principles, methods and techniques of Safe by Design’, TU Delft
  • Vitor Martins dos Santos, ‘Safe-by-Design as a driver for innovation in Biotechnology ‘, Wageningen University and Research
  • Ruud van Ommen,‘Safe by Design of Nanomaterials’, TU Delft
  • Prof. dr. ir. Behnam Taebi ‘governance and ethical considerations of Safe by Design’, TU Delft
  • RIVM: a general outlook on SbD and application areas, RIVM
  • Dr. Lotte Asveld and dr. Britte Bouchaut, ‘Ethics in practice in Safe by Design’, TU Delft


Costs & Enrolment

Deadline Extended, you can still register. You can express your interest by sending an email to Then we will send you an enrolment form. You will have the option to describe your own research case for consideration during the PhD course. The course is free of charge and open to PhD candidates & postdocs.

Course highlights 2022

Program Details

When: 07-09 June 2023
Where: The Hague
Deadline: Deadline extended, you can still register, please contact us at

Course Preparation


It will be a highly interactive 3-day course. If you enrol, we expect you to participate for the full duration of the course. During the course we will work with concrete cases. We highly encourage you to bring your own case, preferably related to your research. When you do not bring your own case we will ask you to work in groups on someone else’s case. The workshop requires minimal preparation by watching this webinar, a number of short animations from RIVM and some relevant articles, which will be made available one month in advance.


Safe by design, safe & sustainable by design, circular by design, secure by design, fail safe design, fail secure design, inherent safe design, active safety, passive safety, fault tolerant design, graceful degradation design, fool proof design, redundant design, probabilistic design, risk-based design, safety chain, life cycle, quantitative risk analysis, risk management, safety management systems, probabilistic safety analysis