The Mechanical Engineering department has been a core part of the university since the TU/e was founded, in 1956. The department is a breeding ground for leading international research and collaborates closely with industry. It offers a Bachelor’s program and four Master’s programs. The department currently has about 1,100 students (BSc and MSc) and 300 employees, including more than 100 PhD students and post-docs.
The mission of the department is to carry out long-term, generic, world-class research on carefully selected topics that fall within the research profile areas of the university. It matches with the technological interests of high-tech, internationally oriented industry, especially in the region. At the same time the department wants to realize an education and research program with a balanced combination of fundamental and application aspects, thereby aiming at providing industry with scientifically educated and application-driven engineers
A department in transition
Until the mid 1990s the Department of Mechanical Engineering was structured along classical lines: fundamentals, design and manufacturing. In view of the industrial developments, the need for a new, more integrated approach was felt in the mid 1980s. This necessitated a structured interaction between the different foundations of mechanical engineering led to a functional interaction between fundamentals and applications.
Since 2001 three knowledge pillars were established: one with a focus on Materials and Mechanics, a second with a focus on Energy and Flow, and a third with a focus on Systems, Dynamics and Control. In each pillar the aim is to integrate fundamentals, design and manufacturing. The three pillars comprise fifteen research groups.
Later on a further step was made by abolishing the knowledge pillars in a divisional structure. The consequence of having thirteen research groups which communicate directly is that this structure facilitates interdisciplinary research across the entire department. An important consequence of this paradigm shift is that all research groups are conceptually and methodologically oriented, rather than focused on either applications or fundamentals. In this respect, we believe that the department distinguishes itself from the other two mechanical engineering departments in the Netherlands.