About the Faculty


The Faculty of 3mE educates committed engineers and PhD graduates and conducts breakthrough scientific research in the fields of mechanical engineering, maritime engineering and materials science. The Faculty wishes to be an excellent example of a dynamic and innovative faculty which pursues a leading position in Europe and makes a direct contribution to the economy and society.


Our society is developing in such a way that within one generation the resources of our planet will be insufficient to sustain human populations. Scientific studies show that the expected population of nine billion in 2050 will need the resources of six planets Earth if people are to have the same standard of living as they currently have in Western societies. This means that society faces a huge ecological (and societal) challenge, with enormous economic implications. The squandering of our resources needs to be reduced by one or two orders of magnitude on a world scale.

The trend towards a more dynamic, open global economy continues. Companies are facing increasing competition for new products and services delivered to a global market quicker and more efficiently then ever before. In ten years time a third of the current top 500 companies will no longer exist and another third will have undergone a fundamental change. With investments unhampered by frontiers and more mobile businesses, countries and regions are facing ongoing competition to retain their position on the economic (and political) ladder. The development of industry clusters concentrated in ‘parks and valleys’ will continue. Competitive wages, governmental policies and good infrastructure will remain important factors in determining the location of these clusters. However, the availability of talent and capabilities for specific industries will become more and more a decisive factor. The competencies demanded of those personnel will include both scientific excellence and entrepreneurship.


The cost of achieving technological breakthroughs will continue to increase, due to the rapidly rising price of the experimentation and analysis equipment required by the multidisciplinary approach. Such increases cannot be fully offset by the falling cost and greater power of computers. Under pressure from the short-term financial interests of shareholders, many companies will discontinue their in-house research into long-term developments. This type of research will be conducted by open innovation consortia, being the only organisations capable of bringing together the major investments, government subsidies and qualified personnel required to shift back the boundaries of scientific knowledge within a multidisciplinary setting. For its part, the government will be forced to focus on industrial policy, which will have a significant influence on national science and education policy.

Increasingly, universities will be judged in terms of the contribution to society and the economy that they can be seen to make, and both institutions and individual researchers will be publicly ‘ranked’ based on their international scientific excellence. All funding, whether public or external, will become more dependent on performance and reputation. An approach in which organisations ‘fish in the global pond of talent’ for their personnel, from BSc students to professors, will be required in order to maintain strategic partnerships. There is an apparent paradox here, in that global strength can only be achieved and maintained given a strong local position.

Distinct role

The universities have a distinct role to play in meeting the challenges which now arise. That role is to highlight the fundamental importance of relevant long-term research and the development of talent. It remains essential to produce the combination of scientific excellence and entrepreneurship. By virtue of their independent position and long-term vision, universities and their individual researchers play a unique key role in the development of a vision of technological breakthroughs and how they are to be achieved. That independent vision is at the heart of open innovation consortia, which in turn form a particularly fertile breeding ground for new industrial and commercial activity.

The Faculty of 3mE is a dynamic and innovative part of TU Delft and of the 4TU alliance. As such, we wish to make a major contribution to the sustainable development of our society and our economy. We shall do so by using our strengths to conduct excellent scientific research in a small number of selected fields, and by applying the passion, quality and commitment of our staff to educate the professionals of tomorrow. 

Name author: webredactie 3mE
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