Prof. dr.ir. Pieter van Gelder is full-time professor of safety science at the faculty of technology, policy and management of Delft University of Technology and head of the Safety and Security Science section. He has been involved in research and education on safety and reliability since 1991. His research interests are in risk-analysis and optimisation of systems, processes and structures. He teaches 4th and 5th year courses at TU Delft and conducts research on new methods and techniques in risk analysis. Van Gelder has authored and co-authored 290 conference -, journal papers, and several books in the field of risk and safety (2903 citations, H-Index 23 according to Google-Scholar, Oct. 2015) and has supervised over 50 MSc-students and 15 PhD-students.
Van Gelder has a MSc degree in Technical Mathematics and Informatics from TU Eindhoven and a PhD degree in Civil Engineering and Geosciences from TU Delft. He is currently project leader in several ongoing national - and EU research projects (amongst others iNteg-Risk, a large scale EU integrating project on integrated risk management in industrial systems, SMARTEST (Smart Resilience Technology, Systems and Tools) and MATRIX (New Multi-HAzard and MulTi-RIsK Assessment MethodS for Europe)). Van Gelder is furthermore member in a number of Technical Programme Boards and Scientific Committees of annual international conferences (such as the ESREL and IPW series (International Probabilistic Workshop)). He is co-editor and reviewer of several journals (RESS (Reliability Engineering and System Safety) and AJSE (Arabian Journal of Science and Engineering)). Van Gelder is furthermore programme director of several post-academic courses at Delft Toptech, school of executive education.
The principal object of Van Gelder's research is the development of reliability methods for the optimal design of different types of systems, structures and processes. Design is considered in a wide sense, which includes design of the structure's dimensions as well as the design of the systems and processes. Not only attention is paid to ultimate limit states, but also to its various serviceability limit states before collapse of the structure of failure of the system through its lifetime. Reliability formulations also include a consistent treatment of cost and safety requirements. The research is concerned with aspects of load definition, its impact on the reliability-based decisions and the derivation of load factors for design. Mathematical formulation of the design optimization problem by considering the minimization of lifecycle costs of different structures or systems under different types of uncertainties and failure mechanisms and the influence of non-technical aspects on the optimization process amongst others are objects of research. The research is aimed at the engineering profession. The research is analytical and relies heavily on theoretical work. Identified key processes are modelled in a statistical technical-based framework, first analytically and then numerically or by simulation. Stochastic optimization models are implemented into decision support systems. Keywords of Van Gelder's research include: risk analysis, uncertainty analysis, extreme events, engineering probability, decision making, and Bayesian inference.