Technology, Policy and Management

Research Themes for Delft Technology Fellowship 2022-2023

Energy systems, the energy transition and climate change

We conceive the energy system as a set of interacting layers, representing the physical layer, the ICT (or control) layer, the market (economic) layer and the social (policy) layer. When working towards the much-needed energy transition to mitigate climate change, our research adopts a holistic perspective focused on energy system integration, to ensure that interventions at each layer are jointly compatible. We furthermore adopt a multi-modelling approach to describe the layers mentioned and connect them. As a key example, we develop agent-based models to represent the interaction of human and organisational actors with infrastructures and technology in different layers, as in our Energy Modelling laboratory:

System solutions for industrial and material cycles

The process of decarbonising material cycles and industry – e.g. petrochemical industrial clusters – is a very difficult task. ‘Solutions’ at the level of a particular component may well have severe adverse impacts at the system level. We design evaluation methodologies that allow for a system-level assessment of policies. See for example the NWO- funded Vici project, which focuses on using alternative raw materials in industrial clusters:

Digital government, platform economies and information architectures

ICT is permeating the world of government and business alike, in unprecedented ways and intensity. Our researchers design and test system architectures and business models to capitalise on the potential of these developments, while ensuring critical values such as fairness and safety. Our leading role in the DigiCampus, which develops citizen-centric digital services and is funded by a consortium headed by the Ministry of the Interior, attests to our impact in this area:

Open data, distributed algorithms, trustworthy AI

In an ongoing and accelerating process of decentralisation, data is becoming more open, and algorithms and computational power more distributed. Our scholars study the determinants of these processes and their consequences, e.g. in terms transparency, security and resilience. They use these insights to develop trustworthy AI and other systems and services. See for example the Horizon-funded SPATIAL programme, which aims to achieve trustworthy, transparent and explainable AI for cybersecurity solutions:

Sustainable personal mobility and freight transport

Powered by economic growth and technological revolutions, the nature of mobility (of people) and transport (of freight) is changing rapidly, especially in highly urbanised systems. We study these developments with a long-term perspective, e.g. by developing new measures of accessibility for self-driving cars and the information age, and supply chain models that capture the effect of new consumption patterns and geopolitical developments on container flows and city logistics. An example of this is the City AI Lab, which uses new data and modelling techniques to understand behaviours in urbanised environments and how they relate to prosperity and health:

Choice models and decision analysis for travel behaviour and beyond
The performance of transport systems is directly related to choices made by travellers, shippers, and other actors. We develop theories and methods, rooted in solid behavioural science and rigorous mathematics, to understand and optimise their decisions; our work has attracted worldwide attention, also well beyond the transportation domain. Together with more recently developed data-driven (machine learning) models, we offer a powerful modelling suite to represent, analyse and improve decision-making in complex systems in all the domains covered by the department.
Entrepreneurship & Innovation Education
Educating engineers requires more and more social elements to ensure the future engineer is better at aligning societal needs with technology. This drives the development of curricula and pedagogies designed to better prepare employable and innovative students to drive social and economic sustainability. Through a range of studies, the European Commission recognises the importance of embedding entrepreneurial values across sectors and educational levels (The New European Skills Agenda, 2021). Higher education institutions (HEIs) are considered a major catalyst to drive change in society. Hence, academics play a crucial role within faculties and disciplines in leading ‘bottom-up’ change and increase students’ capacity to think and act entrepreneurially, and to integrate this into daily teaching, irrespective of the discipline. This research has a focus to embed entrepreneurial skills in students, create more innovative pedagogies and curricula, as well as engaging with external stakeholders, to ensure graduates are more employable, self-sustainable and impactful.

  • Data-driven and model-based diagnostics and monitoring solutions for intelligent decision-making and control systems are becoming increasingly critical in meeting sustainable food production and health as well as ecological and societal goals in the 21st century.

International economic aspects of technology development
The research objective of the section Economics of Technology and Innovation (ETI) is at improving the understanding of the “drivers” of technological progress in economies, markets and (business) organisations as well as of the societal consequences of technological change.
The section is situated in the department VTI (Values of Technology and Innovation) at the Faculty of TPM at TU Delft.
The ETI Section is looking for ambitious academic economists willing to contribute to the broad research field of ETI. We would be specifically interested in candidates who would like to investigate the international aspects of technology development, such as for example 1) the impact of international technological developments on geopolitical and geo economic structures and policies, and 2) innovation processes in resource-constrained environments of non-Western countries. For the latter topic it is noteworthy that the ETI Section also participates in the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus International Centre for Frugal Innovations aimed at technology and innovation development in low- and middle-income economies.


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