DelftX: NGI101x - Next Generation Infrastructures - Part 1
DelftX: NGI101x - Next Generation Infrastructures - Part 1

Next Generation Infrastructures - Part 1

Explore the complexity and challenges of infrastructure systems (Transport, Energy, IT/Telecom and Water) in the 21st century.


Imagine how your life would be without electricity to power the devices you use at home and in the office, without reliable drinking water from the tap, without cars, trains and air traffic, without your mobile phone and without internet access. In many parts of the world we take the availability of these services for granted. Without conscious reflection on the technological systems that bring these services to where we use them, we are becoming increasingly dependent on a secure, uninterrupted and affordable supply of energy, water, transport, telecommunication and information services. They create the conditions for liveability and economic development. However, today's infrastructure systems are in a process of drastic change, as they are becoming more and more web-based, transnational and privatized, while new technologies are on their way. The outcome of these changes is difficult to predict.
In this course we will explore the challenges of infrastructure design, management and governance for the future. Some of the questions that will be addressed:
  • What are the major changes and drivers when it comes to infrastructure development?
  • What makes infrastructure networks vulnerable and how do we manage these risks in the future?
  • How can their reliability and quality-of-service be improved?
  • Will they become accessible for all global citizens, always and everywhere?
  • Will they remain affordable for future generations?
  • Will they exhaust the natural environment?
  • Will established infrastructure systems be disrupted by technological innovations?
  • How about security and privacy?
In this course you will learn to look at these challenges from a new combined engineering and social science perspective. We will explain, for example, how public values are expressed in infrastructure design, and how regulation dictates technology choices. It is all about dealing with complexity in the design, management and governance of infrastructure.
If you are interested or involved in the functioning of today's and tomorrow's (next generation) infrastructures, this course is an exceptional learning opportunity, whether you are a student or a professional. You will be interacting with peers all over the world and we will highlight a large number of case studies.
In the follow-up course, starting in September 2014, you will have the opportunity to study a specific infrastructure in more detail and explore ways to improve its resilience, security, affordability and flexibility. What is the potential of so-called smart grids? How to design infrastructure for the smart cities of the future?
The course is based on the results of an extensive and renowned international research programme titled 'Next Generation Infrastructures' (NGInfra). To celebrate this MOOC, we will invite the two best performing students in this course to the International Symposium for Next Generation Infrastructure, 29 Sept. – 2 Oct. 2014 in Vienna, Austria – and cover their travel and accommodation costs.


Simply Audit this Course

Can't commit to all of the lectures, assignments, and tests? Audit this course and have complete access to all of the course material, tests, and the online discussion forum. You decide what and how much you want to do.

Try for a Certificate

Looking to test your mettle? Participate in all of the course's activities and abide by the edX Honor Code. If your work is satisfactory, you'll receive a personalized certificate to showcase your achievement.


Margot Weijnen
Margot Weijnen
Prof. Margot Weijnen holds the chair of Process and Energy Systems Engineering at the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, TU Delft. She is the founding and scientific director of Next Generation Infrastructures. She directed the TU Delft Inter-faculty Research Center on Design and Management of Infrastructures from 1998 until 2009. She served as a member of the Advisory Group on Energy for the European Commission, the Dutch Innovation Platform and the Netherlands General Energy Council. Among other current affiliations, she is a member of the Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy.
Ernst ten Heuvelhof
Ernst ten Heuvelhof
Prof. Ernst ten Heuvelhof is professor of Public Administration at the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, TU Delft, and at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Erasmus University Rotterdam. He is the scientific co-director and co-founder of the foundation Next Generation Infrastructures.
The philosophy behind all his research is that it should be both recognizable and useful to practitioners. He empathizes with practitioners, taking their problems and dilemmas as the point of departure for his publications.


Roughly how many hours will I have to spend on the course?

About 8 hours a week.

How much does it cost to take the course?

Nothing! The course is free.

Will the text of the lectures be available?

Yes. All of our lectures will have transcripts synced to the videos.

Do I need to watch the lectures live?

No. You can watch the lectures at your leisure.

Will certificates be awarded?

Yes. Online learners who achieve a passing grade in a course are awarded a certificate of mastery. The certificate also indicates whether the learner submitted a paper or produced a video. The certificate indicates that the learner has successfully completed the course, but does not include a specific grade. Certificates are issued by edX under the name of DelftX, designating the institution from which the course originated.

Can I contact the instructor or teaching assistants?

Yes, but not directly. The discussion forums are the appropriate venue for questions about the course. The instructors monitor the discussion forums and try to respond to the most important questions; in many cases response from other students and peers will be both adequate and faster.

Is this course related to a TU Delft campus course?

Yes. This course will be a part of a new minor on complex infrastructures of the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management. 


Analytical skills, curiosity about new developments, and an interest in the design and governance of infrastructures.
This course is licensed under a Creative Commons License CC-BY-NC-SA