International De Paepe-Willems Award


This yearly prize is being given in honour of Professor Gustave Willems, President of PIANC from 1956 until his death in 1982. As the PIANC President for seventeen years, Robert De Paepe fostered the international spirit and the professional development of PIANC. In 2002, it was decided to merge the ‘Foundation Robert De Paepe’ with the Gustave Willems Award. As from 2003, the former Gustave Willems Award has been known as the ‘PIANC De Paepe-Willems Award’.

Contestants for the prize must be under forty years of age, and are required to submit a paper on subjects in the fields of design, construction, improvement, maintenance of operation of inland and maritime waterways (rivers, estuaries, canals, port approaches), of inland and maritime ports and of coastal areas.

The Award consists of an amount of €4,000 cash, travel accommodation costs to attend and present the paper to the next AGA and free membership of PIANC for a three-year period. Second and third prizes are €2,000 and €1,000 respectively with one year’s free membership.

See full information at

Previous Winners

2020 New Zealand


Tsunami Resilience of Pile Supported Wharves: A First Principles Approach
2019 Germany


New Integral Modelling and Analysis Approach for Storm Surge-Induced Barrier Breaching, Coastal Inundation and Subsequent Vertical Saltwater Intrusion’
2018 Japan

Mr Kenichi MIZUNO

System of Inspection and Diagnosis for Port Structures Using Unmanned Boat
2017 Belgium

Mr Boudewijn DECROP

‘Towards a Better Prediction of Dredging Plumes: Numerical and Physical Modelling of the Near-Field Dispersion’
2016 USA

Mr Matthew McCARTY

Large Diameter FRP Monopile Systems for Ferry Berths
2015 Uruguay

Mr Sebastian SOLARI

Risk and Whole Life Cost-Based Verification and Optimisation of Harbour Approach Channel Depth
2014 UK


Optimising a Breakwater Layout Using an Iterative Algorithm
2013 Japan


Breakwater Reinforcement Method against Large Tsunamis
2012  The Netherlands


A Theoretical Approach for the Notional Permeability Factor P

No winner was appointed in 2011
2010 Belgium


Optimisation and analysis of lock gates in the framework of the ‘Seine-Escaut-Est’ waterway upgrading

2009 The Netherlands


A probabilistic analysis of the ecological effects of sand mining for Maasvlakte 2

2008 Australia Mr W.C. GLAMORE A Decision Support Tool for Assessing the Impact of Boat Wake Waves on Inland Waterways
2007 The Netherlands Mr A.A. ROUBOS Dealing with uncertainties in the design of bottom protection near quay walls


Mr M. BLECK Wave Attenuation by Artificial Reefs
2005 Spain Mr J.L. LARA A Numerical Wave Flume to Study the Functionality and Stability of Coastal Structures
2004 Italy Mr E. FAGANELLO Hydraulic Modelling to Revise the Sluice Gate Control Logic at Cardiff Bay Barrage
2003 Germany Mr H. SCHÜTTRUMPF Wave Overtopping Flow on Seadikes: Experimental and Theoretical Investigations
2002 UK Mr M. CLARKE The restoration of Anderton Boat Lift.
2001 Belgium Mr P. TROCH

Experimental study and numerical modelling of pore pressure attenuation inside a rubble mound breakwater.

1999 Spain Mr Francisco L. MARTIN Experimental study of waves forces on rubble mound breakwater crown walls.
1998 Spain Mr José R. IRIBARREN Determining the horizontal dimensions of ship manoeuvring areas – General recommendations and simulator studies.
1997 UK Ms Jennifer L. IRISH Sensitivity of Channel Sedimentation Prediction to Wave-field Characterization.
1996 The Netherlands Mr P. Ph. A. C. SAVENIJE Probabilistic Admittance Policy Deep Draught Vessels.
1995 Germany Mr D. REEVE Stochastic Methods for Maritime Resource Stewardship.
1994 UK Ms Eleni PAIPAI Environmental Enhancement using Dredged Material.
1993 No Prize
1992 France Mr Guy COLLILIEUX Voies navigables et environnement – Mise en valeur biologique des milieux navigués. 
1991 France Mr A. LAMRINI Le transport inter-urbain des marchandises par cabotage maritime. 
1990 USA Mr R.D. DAVINROY Bendway Weirs, a new structural solution to navigation problems experienced on the Mississippi River.
1989 Belgium Mr Ph. RIGO L.B.R.3, the computation and design software for the stiffened hydraulic structures (locks, navigation-dam, sluices…).
1988 USA Mr John L. JAEGER Rotary Valve – The New Way to Fill and Empty a Lock Chamber.
1987 France Mr KNOTT Ship Collision with Bridges.
1986 Morocco Mr Luc HAMM Analyse de l’évolution des fonds dans l’estuaire de la Seine. 
1986  Germany Mrs Jane V. SMALLMAN (Dr) The use of physical and computational models in the hydraulic design of coastal harbours.
1985 Germany Mr Jonathan D. SIMM Rapid harbour construction at Ras Lanuf, Libya.

The Rules


The aim of the PIANC – DE PAEPE WILLEMS Awards is to encourage Young Professionals (YP) to submit technical papers in the field of interest of PIANC.


Technical submissions must deal with a subject in the field of navigation relevant to the Association. The papers must be original and a practical application of technology (state-of-practice).


A jury will be appointed by the Executive Committee (ExCom) by June 30 and will be composed of:

  • one member of ExCom who will chair the jury,
  • at least one expert representing InCom, MarCom, EnviCom and RecCom

If none of the papers meets the required standards, the jury can decide not to grant the Awards. The decisions of the jury will be final.

The jury will convey its decisions to the ExCom at the occasion of the Spring-meeting.


The jury will judge each paper’s content by the following four criteria with equal weight, scoring the paper in each criterion from 1(low) to 5(high):

Criterion 1. Value and interest of the paper to professional peers

  • To what degree is the subject matter current, in terms of developments now underway?
  • To what degree can the findings and conclusions of the paper be readily applied by others to related practical problems?
  • To what degree can the experience documented in the paper be related by others to similar situations elsewhere; i.e. are the “lessons learned” clearly stated?

Criterion 2. Significance of the paper’s contribution to the state-of-practice

  • To what degree do the findings and conclusions of the paper advance the state-of-the-art?
  • To what degree does the analytical experimental or field application results discussed in the paper appear to be reproducible?

Criterion 3. The originality of the material

  • To what degree is the perspective of the author on the subject matter unique in terms of existing literature on similar topics?
  • To what degree does the presentation discuss novel analytical procedures, experimental methods, or field applications?

Criterion 4. Whether the writing style is clear, logical, concise and easy to follow

  • To what degree is the entire paper written in correct grammar and accepted technical style?
  • To what degree is the entire paper free of redundancy and superfluous comment?
  • To what degree is the entire paper continuous and orderly, with each topic completed before leading into the next topic in a logical manner?


There are 3 winning papers, which receive the following:

Number 1:     €4.000

  • Free membership of PIANC for a three-year period
  • The winner will be invited to present his/her paper at the GA.
  • Free hotel accommodation for three nights will be provided, together with a payment of travel expenses in economy class to the GA.

Number 2:     €2.000

  • Free membership of PIANC for a one-year period.

Number 3:      €1.000

  • Free membership of PIANC for a one-year period.


A candidate must:

  1. not have reached the age of forty on December 31 of the year of submission of the paper;
  2. submit a 3 page abstract of his/her paper, together to the application form, to the General Secretariat of PIANC before the August 31 of the year preceding the granting of the Award. The full paper should be submitted by September 30 of the same year. No exception to these deadlines will be allowed;
  3. be the author or the lead author of a team

Submissions must:

  1. not exceed 5,000 words excluding charts, graphs and illustrations;
  2. not exceed a total of 20 pages;
  3. be written in English including a summary and comply with the Guidelines to the Authors, to be consulted on the website;
  4. include the name(s) and affiliation(s) of the author(s)
  5. include an ID picture of the author and some relevant key words.


The paper winning the first price will be published entirely in the printed Yearbook.

Of the second and third winning paper, the summary will be published in the printed Yearbook and the full papers will be available in the electronic version of the Yearbook.

The remaining papers may also be made available on the website, according to the opinion of the jury.

After designation of the winners, the Association also immediately identifies the contributions which are selected for publication and retains copyright for those limited contributions only.