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Research profile

Sonja van Dam is Assistant Professor in circular product design & transitions and energy consumption at the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering. Key elements in her work are co-creating circular product-service systems and designing for sustainable behaviour change.

Academic background

Dr. Sonja van Dam is Assistant Professor in the Design for Sustainability and Circular Product Design research groups. Her research focuses on scaling up the circular economy as part of the climate action program. A key element in her work is incorporating the human perspective in the transition towards a more sustainable and circular society. This includes researching participatory design methods, designing for sustainable behaviour change, and usability in the development of circular product-service systems, transitioning toward alternative energy sources, and achieving energy reductions. She coordinates the Sustainable Impact course and is/has been involved in several NWO and EU-funded educational and research projects including:

Sonja specialized in design for behaviour change and sustainable product design through her PhD research which she completed in 2013 in joint cooperation between Architecture and Industrial Design Engineering. Her dissertation, “Smart energy management for households”, was on the topic of Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS) that give feedback on household’s energy consumption. Sonja’s research was in direct cooperation with several business such as Eneco, Alliander, and Quby together with whom she studied the usability and effectiveness of the Toon, Plugwise, Wattcher. Three case studies executed in households, a life cycle assessment (LCA) on those three HEMS, as well as a reflection on the challenges of both researching and implementing HEMS in existing housing gave a comprehensive picture of factors influence the use and effectiveness of HEMS.


  • 2008 – 2013 PhD dissertation, Delft University of Technology: 'Smart Energy Management for Households'
  • 2003 – 2006 MSc Design for Interaction, Delft University of Technology
  • 2000 – 2003 BSc Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology


  • 2022 - now Assistant Professor
  • 2021 - 2022 Senior researcher
  • 2017 - 2021 Postdoctoral researcher Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology
  • 2008 – 2013 PhD candidate, Faculty of Architecture & Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology
  • 2008 – 2009 Researcher, Cartesius Institute

Research interests

  • Co-creation
  • Circular product design
  • Design for Behavior Change
  • product service systems
  • circular propositions
  • transitions
  • Domestic Energy Consumption
  • Home Energy Management Systems

Education/Academic qualification

Doctorate, Smart Energy Maangemnt for Households

1 Apr 200811 Jul 2013

Award Date: 11 Jul 2013


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