Course theme

Type of course


Safe by design

  • 22 - 24 June 2022
  • Building Wijnhaven The Hague

Free & open for PhD candidates from all universities and universities of applied science in the Netherlands.

Safety is becoming increasingly relevant in various fields, particularly in designing products and processes. The renewed focus on Safe by Design (SbD) tries to identify and include safety (along with other important values such as sustainability, security, and circularity) at an early stage of design. This course offers a general outlook on SbD, then dives into different disciplinary perspectives on SbD and its industrial applications and ends with (ethical) reflections on SbD. Group assignments and networking are an important part of the set-up of this course. We offer an excellent overview of the extensiveness and importance of the integral approach of Safe by Design. The team of lecturers together represent both the broad academic as the more practice-oriented approach and represent TU Delft, WUR, VU and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) in Safe by Design. Other knowledge institutes are to be confirmed soon. The provisional programme of this 3-day PhD course is as follows.

Preliminary program (might be subjected to change)

Day 1 
09:30-12:00 A general outlook on SbD (hosted by RIVM)
13:00-16:30 Disciplinary perspectives on SbD
17:00-20:00 SbD in industry with several short presentations on the implementation of SbD in industry and a network event

Day 2
09:30-12:00 Disciplinary perspectives on SbD
13:00-16:30 Group assignment

Day 3
09:30-12:00 Group assignment & exchange
13:00-16:30 Reflecting on SbD: ethics & governance

In recent years, we have been witnessing an increased attention in research and innovation for society’s grand challenges. Think of the Sustainable Development Goals, and the large national and European mission-oriented research and innovation programs. Under labels such as Responsible Research and Innovation, Corporate Social Responsibility, or Science With & For Society, efforts are undertaken to engage in research and innovation in reflective, anticipative, forward-looking, and simultaneously responsive ways and incorporate this way work working into grand societal needs. SbD continues these academic traditions by proactively addressing potential risks and addressing ethical, legal, and societal issues early on in research and innovation.

SbD acknowledges the importance of safety in all phases of research and innovation trajectories and potentially looks at safety as integral to the entire chain of any research or innovation trajectory. What this precisely entails in terms of risk assessment, risk management, chain coordination and so on, will vary from one field to the next.

SbD aims to mitigate risks as much as possible during the design process rather than during manufacturing or customer use. The approach frontloads thinking about safety at an early stage of development. And of course, this preventive rationale gains even more force in the transition towards circularity. Think of the circular economy in which products and materials are intended to escape the linear pathway of ‘produce – consume – dispose ‘and are foreseen to remain to stay.


Safe by design, secure by design, fail safe design, fail secure design, inherent safe design, active safety, passive safety, fault tolerant design, graceful degradation design, fool proof design, redundant design, probabilistic design, risk-based design, safety chain, life cycle, quantitative risk analysis, risk management, safety management systems, probabilistic safety analysis.

Course Objectives

  1. Introduce the SbD approach and discuss SbD in different disciplines and industrial applications;
  2. Consider design for safety in the broader societal context and values like security, privacy, circularity, autonomy, while discussing cases from different fields of science and engineering;
  3. Work together on concrete SbD challenges in your domain.

Course preparation

It will be a highly interactive course consisting of three days. When you enrol, we expect you to participate for the full duration of the course. The workshop requires minimal preparation by watching this webinar, a number of animations online classes from RIVM and some relevant articles. The course material will be made available by the organizers.

Costs & Enrolment

The course is free of charge. You can express your interest by sending an email to Then we will send you an enrolment form.

  • TU Delft