In this paper a numerical approach for the optimization of stirrer configurations is presented. The methodology is based on a flow solver, and a mathematical optimization tool, which are integrated into an automated procedure. The flow solver is based on the discretization of the incompressible Navier-Stokes equations by means of a fully conservative finite-volume method for block-structured, boundary-fitted grids, for allowing a flexible discretization of complex stirrer geometries. Two derivative free optimization algorithms, the DFO and CONDOR are considered, they are implementations of trust region based derivative-free methods using multivariate polynomial interpolation. Both are designed to minimize smooth functions whose evaluations are considered to be expensive and whose derivatives are not available or not desirable to approximate. An exemplary application for a standard stirrer configuration illustrates the functionality and the properties of the proposed methods. It also gives a comparison of the two optimization algorithms. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.