Prof. dr. Balkenende, A.R.


Ruud Balkenende studied chemistry at the University of Utrecht. He received his PhD on a doctoral thesis about the use of copper as an automotive exhaust catalyst material. In 1990 he joined Philips Research, where he has been active at the interface of technological innovation and business applications. In the course of 25 years he dealt with a wide diversity of products, usually from a materials and technology perspective. Examples are magnetic tapes, television displays, steam irons, ICs, automotive lighting, laser diodes and LED lamps. In addition to this application focused work, he has carried out research on advanced materials like electrochromic materials, superhydrophobic materials, photonic crystals and graphene. In these areas he maintained connections to the academic world through direct cooperation and via participation in various steering boards (Nanoned, various STW projects, FOM-Philips IPP, Graphene Flagship). 

Since 2009 he has been mainly involved in research and development related to materials scarcity and product recyclability. Linking product architecture and materials science to resource efficiency was the main driver. He has set up and coordinated international collaboration on improved recyclability of electronic products. This has resulted in design guidelines as well as new products with improved recyclability. Since 2013 his activities extended from recyclability to circular economy, i.e. reusing products or parts at a functional level instead of recovering materials. Here he was involved in establishing the Philips strategy, focusing on the technological framework for implementation in product design.


  • 1986-1990
    PhD, University of Utrecht
    Title thesis: Copper Catalysed Reduction of Nitric Oxide
  • 1981-1986
    MSc in Chemistry,
    University of Utrecht, the Netherlands


  • 2015-present
    Professor of Circular product Design,
    faculty of Industrial Design, department of Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology
  • 1998-2015
    Principal scientist, Photonic materials and devices,
    Philips Research, Eindhoven, the Netherlands
  • 1990-1998
    Senior scientist, Physical Chemistry / Inorganic materials,
    Philips Research, Eindhoven, the Netherlands

Specialisation / field of research

  • Circular product design
  • Design for Sustainability
  • Lifecycle management