Jan De Nul invests in research and education

Together with the Port of Zeebrugge and four other companies Jan De Nul Group invests in research and education with respect to coastal hydraulic engineering at the KU Leuven Campus Bruges.

The inauguration of the academic chair Coastal Hydraulic Engineering took place at the KU Leuven campus Bruges on 22 February. With an academic chair, companies and organisations give financial support to a certain innovative educational and/or research area within a university, in order to expand on it.

The port of Zeebrugge (MBZ), dredging companies Jan De Nul Group and Deme Group, engineering company Tractebel and construction companies Artes and Besix NV joined forces to finance the academic chair for Coastal Hydraulic Engineering and Soil Mechanics of Prof. Dr. (PhD) Pieter Rauwoens from KU Leuven Campus Bruges and his colleague Prof. Dr. (PhD) Jaak Monbaliu of the Civil Engineering Department KU Leuven.

The granting of this academic chair implies a financial support for the next three years for the research programme Coastal Hydraulic Engineering and Soil Mechanics. With this financial support, the partners aim at making the engineering training at the KU Leuven Campus Bruges more appealing in general, and at enthusiasming engineers for the coastal and hydraulic engineering industry in particular. Eventually, this will lead to more graduates entering the professional market of maritime engineering (port, construction and dredging companies, engineering companies,...).

KU Leuven currently has more than 100 active academic chairs, but this chair is unique because of the large number of partners investing in it. In most cases, academic chairs are often granted by one or two partners. This initiative illustrates the widely shared ambition to increase the attractiveness of the sector as a workplace, but also as a study and research object.

Joachim Coens, lead partner and CEO of the port of Zeebrugge: "By participating as a cluster in an academic chair at KU Leuven Campus Bruges, we can establish a reputation among the students on the one hand, but, more importantly, awaken their interest for specific themes in Coastal Hydraulic Engineering on the other hand. We look forward to attracting more students via this cooperation with KU Leuven and the private partners.” 

Prof. Dr. (PhD) Pieter Rauwoens of KU Leuven Campus Bruges: “The set-up of an academic chair with leading companies from the hydraulic engineering sector will encourage our present and future Industrial Construction Engineer students. They will be introduced to the state-of-the-art techniques that make our Flemish companies global leaders. Also in the field of research I expect a boost in socially and industrially relevant projects to meet the challenges of tomorrow: climate change, coastal protection, offshore energy, port development,…”

More info on the research programme (in Dutch): https://iiw.kuleuven.be/onderzoek/kustwaterbouw-grondmechanica