Hello there, my name is Douglas Van Bossuyt. I am an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines, a former small modular reactor nuclear power probabilistic risk assessment engineer, a former aerospace systems designer, and a Japanese motorcycle mechanic. Currently I am located in Golden, Colorado.  Prior to that, I was based out of Corvallis, Oregon where I completed my Ph.D at Oregon State University in the Complex Engineered Systems Design Lab and worked at NuScale Power, a civilian nuclear power start-up company where I assessed the safety of the reactor design. My primary research interest is conceptual complex system design which includes interests in conceptual complex system design, risk and reliability engineering, the psychology of risk assessment, functional failure modeling, prognostics and health management, additive manufacturing. sustainable design, risk-informed decision-making, design theory and methodology, trade studies in the early phases of system design, model-based design, accessible transportation, energy efficiency, culturally appropriate engineering, and North African culture. Industrially, I am interested in aerospace systems design and reliability engineering, next-generation civilian nuclear power, energy systems and management, motorsports research, and extreme environment operations. I also conduct several personal projects including small engine fuel injection retrofitting, all-male group living situation inter-personal dynamics, and classic Japanese motorcycle design.


It is my belief that the success of complex systems is determined in the early phases of complex design. I care about empowering practitioners to rapidly create high quality conceptual designs that are accurate representations of final system designs; are an improvement over designs created using traditional industry-standard methods; present an accurate portrait of system risk; analyze risk throughout the design process; and take into consideration the preferences and attitudes of customers, key stakeholders, and engineers. Developing complex systems requires massive investment of time and resources. Failure or degradation of complex systems such as nuclear power plants, offshore oil platforms, the electric grid, commercial and military aircraft, crewed and autonomous spacecraft, and other systems can have catastrophic consequences. It is therefore imperative that complex systems be designed to meet customer needs, be functional, resilient, robust, economical, and have minimal environmental footprint. My research and professional work aims to address these issues in complex system design methodology and in practice with real-world complex systems.

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My Ph.D dissertation advances a risk-informed decision making framework that accounts for risk and risk appetite during the early phases of conceptual complex system design. Specifically, the framework allows for the risk appetite of critical stakeholders or engineers to quantitatively influence decisions made using risk information in trade studies. The framework further allows for risk metrics as generated through common engineering risk methods such as FTA, FMEA, RBD, etc. to be traded as system-level variables on par with other critical variables such as, in the case of a spacecraft, power, mass, cost, etc.


My master’s thesis developed a method to take culture into account during the mechanical design process. Using the Hofstede or GLOBE cultural factors, I developed a method of accounting for culture via the House of Quality. While completing my MS in mechanical engineering, I also served as the president of the Oregon State University chapter of Engineers Without Borders where we developed and implemented culturally and economically appropriate water catchment, retention and treatment systems in partnership with a community in rural El Salvador.

In my spare time, I enjoy several hobbies. I have extensive experience with motorcycle and small engine repair, especially in the Honda Pacific Coast community. During the dark, rainy months I can be found SCUBA diving in the Pacific Northwest and have volunteered for many years with the OSU research and recreational dive programs. Since I was quite young, I have thoroughly enjoyed traveling the world. You also might spot me hiking in the mountains of Oregon, Washington, and California; mountain biking around Corvallis; rock climbing in the rock gyms at Dixon and McAlexander Fieldhouse; taking photos and making videos of interesting things; and a whole host of other activities.

Throughout my life, the biggest driving force has been and continues to be my insatiable quest for new knowledge, ideas, and experiences. I strive to push the boundaries of knowledge, exploration, and innovation in everything I do regardless of discipline or topic. Everyday I learn new things and strive to share my excitement for the world with others.

If you are interested in engaging my services, my résumé and CV are available for your review and my portfolio is on hand for your perusal. You can also find me on LinkedIn. Email correspondence can be directed to douglas@douglasvanbossuyt.com.

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