In this paper we would like to stress the growing importance now and in the near future of the subject that the IAPS 15 organising committee has chosen to be this years' conference theme: shifting balances between the forces, the actors and the factors in all the fields that influence and contribute to the whole process of initiating, designing and making people's physical environment. Moreover, this subject forms the very centre of concern, attention and development of research and education according to the mission ofthe faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning of Eindhoven University of Technology since 1967 and more specifically in our Department 'Physical Aspects of the Built Environment', Also in this technological environment of researchers and educators a clear and steady shift in the university culture can be observed from emphasis on traditional fundamental and applied research and education of physical aspects of the built environment into the direction of a growing focus on building design and design related subjects. Research efforts aimed at knowing more about and understanding better the required human conditions in the built environment and even about the ways different building shapes and configurations, building parts, materials and installations can create desired conditions are no longer considered a sufficient basis for educating consulting engineers in the field of building physics. There is an observable and growing tendency that their future employers expect them more and more to actually and successfully participate in the design process, preferably also in the early stages, where the most fundamental, farreaching and irreversible design decisions have to be made, based on incomplete, insecure and only partially correct information. This represents a major shift in the traditional consultancy culture of the trade, and of the research oriented university culture.