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Judging? Quality in Design and Engineering J.J.(Sef) Heijnen TNW-Bioprocess Technology 19 February 2009 Image problem of what design is (1) Statements Design distinguishes a University of Technology from other Universities

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Judging quality in design and engineering l.jpg

Judging?Quality in Design and Engineering

J.J.(Sef) Heijnen

TNW-Bioprocess Technology

19 February 2009

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Image problem of what design is (1)Statements

  • Design distinguishes a University of Technology from other Universities

  • A scientist discovers that which exists, an engineer (designer?) creates that which never was (Theodor von Karman)

  • Design can be learned in practice following inventions in fundamental research

  • Science looks for surprises, design avoids surprises

  • Design is only application, no science

  • Ontwerpen is (g)een kunst (Sef Heijnen)

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Image problem of what design is (2)

  • Consumer design

  • Design = Designer = artist = unique

  • Fashion, Architecture, Objects

  • (furniture, gadgets), Graphics, Cars,

  • Sculptures, Paintings, Music, Art

  • Design is Art

  • Technical design

  • Invisibility of design products:

  • Hidden under the hood/ factory

  • behind fence/ underwater/

  • in your cell phone/ …

  • Design is a team effort, who is

  • the “star”?

  • Scientist in / Science of Design??

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Is there a Science of Design?

Systems Biology

Rational (re)design of Biological systems (cells, organs, plants, ….)

Synthetic Biology

Design genes, genomes and gene circuits using

quantitative properties of constituting molecules

These are highly successful, well funded, examples of science

driven design of highly complex molecular systems

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ButWeer Het image probleem

Een jaar geleden noemde Ronald Plasterk het vakgebied

Systems Biology in Bionieuws “niet nodig” want “alle

biologie is systeembiologie”. Volgens Plasterk zouden

nietsvermoedende subsidiegevers ten onrechte

warmlopen voor dit zogenaamd nieuwe vakgebied met

de sexy naam, terwijl het eigenlijk niks anders is dan

slechte biologie uitgevoerd door chemici. “Wie zich

systeembioloog noemt is vrijwel zeker een charlatan”,

aldus Plasterk.

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Scientific Aspectsof technical (TU) design

Inverse Approach and model driven Design cycle

Creative ideas

Inverse approach

Defined new function

Scientific design tool


Design of new complex system with defined functionality using multiple disciplines/ mathematical models/ molecular properties

Science/ Technol spiral

New Science



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Future TU-design

A designed item consists of a system of interacting (molecular) parts in a creative combination, whose new function has been predicted using molecular properties/ System Mathematical Modelling

What are the consequences for education/ research?

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Future TU-designEducation

- Creativity (no incremental approach)

- System thinking/ theory

- Mathematical tools

- Integration different scientific domains

(chem/ bio/ physics/ economy/ …)

- Time limit (management)

Design Education should be an integral part of regular TU-MSc/Bsc

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Future TU-designResearch in Technical Design

  • System approach

  • Mathematical modelling and design tools

  • Molecular level approach

  • High throughput experimentation/ miniaturization

Follow the science

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Research in technical design

Systems approach

  • System thinking: many interlinked parts

  • System boundaries

    Factory, reactor solar panel, smart window, organ,

    living cell, …: smaller and smaller

  • System functionalities become much more complex

  • Emergent properties

    System > sum of parts

    Robustness, evolution, stability

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Research in Technical Design

Mathematical modelling design tools

  • Networks which are large/ interconnected/ stochastic

  • Non linear/ discrete/ stochastic

  • Large (>10x) set equations

  • Parameter identification

  • Data flood from High Throughput (HT) experimentation

  • Informatics/ visualization/ databases

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Research in Technical DesignFollow the science (1)

  • Current trends in Science “molecularisation”: Single molecule/ nano/ self assembly/ Cells/ Chips/ …

  • Exp. Analysis of whole system/ in system sensing

  • Miniaturisation (dematerialisation)

  • High Throughput exp./ measurements

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Research in Technical DesignFollow the science (2)

Design of molecular devices has to follow science, but adds its own design scientific


  • Molecular system design

  • New functionalities (nature inspired)

  • HT experimentation and measurements

  • “in system” measurements

  • Information management at molecular level and high throughput

    • Databases

    • (Bio) informatics

    • Visualization

  • Modeling of ultra large molecular/ modular systems

  • Evolution/ adaptive devices (self healing…)

  • Examples: Gene sequencers/ Systems Biology/ Synthetic Biology/ (re)design of a living cell/ Molecular Assembly/ nano technol/ solar cells/ batteries/ OLED/ …

  • Judging quality of design l.jpg
    Judging Quality of design

    Why? Related to funding

    (Art)design Consumer decides

    Technical design Competition within

    traditional Science

    areas (NWO, …)

    If you can’t beat them, join them


    “Science of design” needs an own area/ position

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    Possible Actions

    • New multidisciplinary NWO area “Molecular Systems Science of Design” (actieplan chemie, 3TU ?? )

      New living cells/ functional materials (organic/ inorganic)

      New High throughput/ miniaturization methods

      In system sensoring

      New informatics

      New mathematics




    • Technical Design Academy for 3TU

      2 year Post MSc specialization

      Strict collaboration with industry

    • Both lines contribute to bridge Innovation Gap