Theo Salet new dean of Built Environment

The Executive Board has appointed Theo Salet as Dean of the Department of the Built Environment as of 1 June. The part-time professor of Structural Design/Concrete Structures succeeds Elphi Nelissen. Salet is currently senior partner at the engineering firm Witteveen+Bos.

photo Bart van Overbeeke

The new dean comes from Eindhoven’s own ranks. Theo Salet obtained his MSc from the Department of the Built Environment of TU/e in 1986. His doctoral research focused on the structural behavior of sandwich constructions with foamed concrete cores.

After his PhD in 1990, Salet began his career at SGS Intron in Sittard, where he became the principal investigator in Structural and Material Engineering. In 1998, he joined Witteveen+Bos and, as a project leader, senior constructor and contract manager, he was responsible for the design and management of large infrastructure projects and buildings. He is currently senior partner at Witteveen+Bos; in view of his appointment as dean, he is winding down his activities there.

In 2012, Theo Salet was appointed part-time professor at TU/e’s Department of the Built Environment. Particularly his research into the first concrete-printed bridge and the current project on printed housing, part of the Milestone project, has led to a great deal of international attention from academia, industry and the media. He is visiting professor at the Nanyang Technical University in Singapore (NTU) and a driving force behind several industrial spin-off activities.

As dean, he takes up the baton of Elphi Nelissen. After her second term as dean, she will take over the chair of Building Performance from Professor Jan Hensen, who will retire later this year. Furthermore, she will fulfill his role as Scientific Director of the PDEng program Smart Buildings & Cities.

Salet is delighted and honored by his appointment as dean. “Our department is valued for the quality of its teaching and research. The multitude of disciplines - architecture, building physics, structural design and urban planning - under one roof is unique.” Salet has ambition in his role as dean. He wants to take the department further and give it a prominent role in development and innovation within the sector.


“Our built environment faces major challenges in the coming decades,” says Salet. “Urbanization calls for more affordable and sustainable housing and current infrastructure is reaching the end of its design lifespan. Add to that the adjustments to new forms of mobility and the Internet of Things-related questions of our built environment. The task is both large and complex.”

Salet sees it as his mission within the department to train engineers who will be working on complex systems, such as a city, a building or a civil structure. “I see three priorities in the near future: more academic research, exploration of new research areas and educational innovation. This university and this department must strive to be at the top of academia, with a multidisciplinary view and approach in collaboration with industry.”

According to Rector Magnificus Frank Baaijens, "TU/e can be proud of this appointment. Salet is someone who has been trained here, with a wealth of experience in the industry and an excellent track record in academic research.” 

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