Ir. Arkel, T. van

Thomas is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering. His main research interest is in the role that design practices can play in addressing complex societal issues, focusing on generating systemic change within public organisations through the act of design.

Academic Background

Thomas graduated from the Design for Interaction programme in 2020. During his Master programme he became interested in how designers can achieve positive impact on society through their design interventions. While working as a researcher at IDE after his graduation he noticed that developing good design interventions alone is not enough to create impact on complex issues, as the way public organisations are organised is often part of the problem. To create change designers must also engage with the bureaucracy in public organisations to truly make an impact.

In his PhD Thomas explores how design practices can contribute to changing and shaping institutional structures within public organisations. He does this by integrating various theoretical perspectives to support designers in affecting organisational change through designed artefacts, by closely collaborating with designers and public organisations in practice.


  • 2017 – 2020
    MSc Design for Interaction, Delft University of Technology
    Thesis: Data-informed design experiments—assessing the effectiveness and appropriateness of design for behaviour change
  • 2013 – 2017
    BSc Industrial Design, Delft University of Technology

Involved in the research project(s):