PIANC De Paepe-Willems Award



G. Willems
Ir. Gustave Willems
1901 - 1982


Ir. Robert De Paepe


PIANC is pleased to announce the PIANC ‘De Paepe - Willems Award’ competition.

This yearly prize is being given in honour of Professor Gustave Willems, President of PIANC from 1956 until his death in 1982. During his long, distinguished association with PIANC, Professor Willems dedicated much of his energy to promoting PIANC among young engineers, research workers and other young professional people involved in ports, waterways and coastal areas.


As the PIANC President for seventeen years, Robert De Paepe fostered the international spirit and the professional development of PIANC. His professional background was in both road- and hydraulic engineering. Serving as Secretary-General in his home country, Belgium, he held the highest office in both the federal and the Flemish ministry of Public Works. As one of the founding fathers of ‘Belgian Construction Techniques’ (Belcotec) and, as from 1988, the moving spirit behind ‘Flanders International Technical Agency’ (FITA), an institution that offers public experience to other countries, Robert De Paepe always looked beyond the borders of his own country. Besides being PIANC President for seventeen years, he was also a Vice-President of the World Road Association (PIARC). When he retired in the early nineties of last century, he preferred not to receive any kind of present – which led his friends to suggest the establishment of a Foundation in his memory. 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 will be known as the De Paepe-Willems Award’.

Applicants for the prize 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.