Dr. ir. Dekker, M.C.

Marijke Dekker is lecturer at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering.

Academic Background

I studied Industrial Design at the Delft University of Technology and graduated in 1990 with the design of personal protection equipment (breathing apparatus) within TNO Industry and in cooperation with the Rotterdam fire brigade. After this I worked for the design office NPK in Leiden and the company GE Plastics in Bergen op Zoom, the Netherlands. Subsequently, I worked as an independent design consultant and later as a partner in the design consultancy SOLÉ design services, working on designs varying from consumer products such as computer housing or baby buggies, until professional products such as the interior of a research flight simulator, roller coaster coaches, and rescue equipment.

Currently I'm appointed as lecturer Industrial Design Engineering within the section Applied Ergonomics and Design (AED) of Delft University of Technology, concerned with design education and research.

Together with my colleague Johan Molenbroek I coordinated the European GENIE project on Gerontechnology (running from 1998-2001), established to improve the awareness that the developments in technology offer an opportunity to increase the participation, integration and independence of all citizens, including the ageing and the aged. 42 European institutions of higher learning (social sciences, design, ergonomics, engineering, medicine, nursing and physiotherapy) participated in the GENIE network and worked together to improve the education in gerontechnology.

Specialisation / Field of research

Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI), also known as Work-Related Upper Limb Disorders (WRULD), surged in the early years of this millennium due to computer work. In my doctoral thesis, the magnitude, causes and consequences of this phenomenon for the student population of the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering (IDE) at the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) are investigated and described. Longitudinal surveys on RSI amongst IDE students over a 15-year period (2000-2014) show the trend in prevalence and severity of the complaints. From the year 2000 to the present, a multidisciplinary RSI prevention group is active to create awareness, provide information and practical sessions. The organised prevention activities and their scientific basis are introduced and discussed. Furthermore, ideas for products and product-service systems, aimed at preventing or reducing RSI and based on medical insights and understanding of RSI risk factors, are presented. These ideas, developed in IDE master graduation projects and one from industry, are evaluated in user tests and physiological experiments with potential users.

The knowledge and insights gained in this thesis are not only valuable for design students to realise healthy computer working, but also for other educational and professional computer workers.

You can find my thesis (July 2022) on Healthy computer working here:

Lectures and/or coaches students on

  • Coordinating the bridging course Elementary Ergonomics, an OpenCourseWare based online introduction to ergonomics theory and practice for students of other – than Industrial Design Engineering of TU Delft – institutes for higher learning, such as Dutch universities, universities of EU and non-EU countries, and universities of applied sciences.
  • Coordinating the 21 EC IPD master course Advanced Concept Design (ACD), which focuses on the conceptualization of product or product-service systems. The initial real-life design challenge is co-created with a partner organization which is a company mostly a multinational, an IDE research group, or a semi-governmental body like a hospital or an airport. The final concept is elaborated in a sense of cultural & societal impact, usability, aesthetics and (emerging) technologies.
  • Mentoring students Industrial Design Engineering in graduation projects.
  • Coordinating the IDE RSI prevention programme. 

Media coverage

Beeldschermklachten alomtegenwoordig bij universitaire studenten (Computer screen complaints are ubiquitous among university students in Dutch).
An announcement by the Dutch RSI-union on the occasion of the International RSI-Day (28 February 2023) about Marijke's dissertation work:

Interview on Marijke's thesis 'Healthy computer working' by NOS Radio 1 on 28 February 2023 (International RSI-Day).
Astrid Kersseboom discusses Marijke's dissertation 'Healthy computer working’, including the RSI prevention program at the IDE Faculty of TU Delft as well as some RSI preventive products/systems as presented in Marijke's thesis.

Involved in the research project(s):

Worked on making anthropometric data accessible via the DINED website (www.dined.nl). DINED is an application enabling users to browse through anthropometric datasets to obtain insight in variation of human body dimensions and shapes.In 2014 received together with Johan Molenbroek The Dutch Data Prize issued by Research Data Netherlands (RDNL) because of the website’s accessibility for a wide audience and the care taken in collecting, describing and unlocking the set.