Methodological classification of innovative engineering projects

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientific

2 Citations (Scopus)


In this chapter we report on and discuss our empirical classification of innovative engineering projects. Basic innovative engineering projects are characterized by their overall goal and accompanying method. On the basis of this goal and method, we classify engineering projects as all falling in one of the following categories: (1) Descriptive knowledge as prevalent in the descriptive sciences; (2) Design of artefacts and processes; (3) Engineering Means-end knowledge; (4) Modeling (simulation serious gaming included); (5) Engineering optimization; and (6) Engineering mathematics. These categories are illustrated with examples drawn from our educational experiences. Formally our classification system is a partition: the categories are mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive. Regarding its empirical power, we claim intra-departmental completeness for the projects that we have studied at the Departments of Mechanics and Applied Physics of Delft University of Technology; we hypothesize intra-academic completeness within Universities of Technology; and we hope for and encourage investigating extra-academic completeness regarding engineering in industry. Besides having significant consequences for the methodology of the engineering sciences, our categorization provides a new way to study empirically the relation between science and technology.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhilosophy of Technology after the Empirical Turn
Place of PublicationDordrecht
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-33717-3
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-33716-6
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NamePhilosophy of Engineering and Technology
ISSN (Electronic)1879-7202


  • Types of engineering projects
  • Engineering methodology
  • Descriptive knowledge
  • Design
  • Engineering means-end knowledge
  • Modeling
  • Optimization

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