Sarah Wertz and Audrey Mertens, winners of the ISF Award

In Awards, Scholarships and Honours

Sarah Wertz (Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech) and Audrey Mertens (Applied Sciences), recent graduates of ULiège, are the winners of the Engineers Without Borders Award, which recognizes Master's dissertations that underlines the importance of engineering sciences in the service of solidarity and sustainable development.


pplications were open to all students from Belgian Universities and High Schools, regardless of language community. And no fewer than 13 applications were selected, ranging from bamboo construction to the identification of areas for refugees; or from in-flight refuelling of aircraft to the purification of distribution water or the monitoring of drone irrigation, etc. Among these 13 files, those of Sarah Wertz and Audrey Mertens, who won the votes.

Sarah Wertz, Bio-engineer at the Faculty of Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech

Sarah Wertz wins the Engineers Without Borders Prize - Philippe CARLIER Prize, which rewards graduation work in the field of development cooperation that significantly contributes to the development or adaptation of technologies that meet the needs expressed in developing countries.

Entitled "Development of a gis based methodology to support decision making for displacement settings' locations in developping countries: application di Niger. ", her Master's dissertation - carried out under the supervision of Prof. Philippe Lejeune and Mr. Baudouin - highlights the use of technological means to meet the needs expressed by human communities in developing countries. In this case, the implementation of a model to quickly determine the appropriate places to receive displaced persons, in a context of significant migration, with the displacement of populations in Niger as an example. Sarah Wertz has developed GIS (Geographic Information Systems) technology to assist in rapid decision-making when it comes to determining locations that meet the criteria required to best meet the needs of displaced people while protecting the resilience of host communities and natural resources.

Audrey Mertens, Architectural Engineer, Faculty of Applied Sciences

Audrey Mertens wins the Engineers Without Borders - Citizen Engineer Award, which recognizes graduation work whose technology or technique meets the objectives of Sustainable Development or aims to stimulate sustainable transitions or inclusive technologies, such as energy transition (low carbon,...), technology accessibility, digitalization, diversity, inclusion, etc.

Entitled "Bamboo construction, qualitative indicators for housing. Case studies in Bali, Indonesia", its TFE - carried out under the supervision of Prof. Catherine Eslen and JM Franssen - attempts to highlight the possibilities offered by bamboo as a construction material as well as its limitations. Audrey Mertens went to Bali, the nerve centre of Bamboo craftsmanship, where the material is abundant. Bali has several bamboo processing plants, skilled workers for bamboo construction and a few iconic buildings. Through her final year work, the young student wanted to understand and evaluate the Balinese people's perception of bamboo buildings.

Audrey's research had already been rewarded at the International Bamboo Construction Competition where she - along with Fantine Fontaine and Chen Qi - won first prize in the 2019 edition of the competition. (LINK NEWS)

About the Engineers Without Borders Award

More than 30 years ago, engineers gathered around the FABI, the Royal Federation of Belgian Civil and Agronomy Engineers Associations, to create a "Engineers and/or technicians without borders" Working Group. Since then, Engineers Without Borders (EWB) has been working hard to improve the living conditions of people in the South through technologies that can be appropriated by local populations.

In partnership with the populations of French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa, EWB works on innovative projects promoting their access to essential services in terms of sanitation, waste management and recovery, energy and access to water.

With this approach, EWB provides concrete, sustainable and successful solutions that take root and flourish as soon as conclusive results are demonstrated, while taking into account governance, social, environmental and economic considerations.

Thanks to the skills of its experts, volunteer and volunteer engineers, its work is unlike any other: collaboration, on the ground but especially from Belgium, with engineers and colleagues from the South, passionate and exciting!

Similarly, EWB is raising awareness among its students and engineers in Belgium to make them more responsible for their societal impacts.

EWB would like to thank Fabi, the Royal Federation of Belgian Civil Engineers, Agronomists and Bioengineers, for sponsoring its 2 EWB Awards again this year.

ISF has always been supported by its 7 associations of graduates of engineering schools of French-speaking universities in the country, founding members, namely AIGx, A.I.Lg, A.I.Ms, A.I.M., EPBA, AIALv and AILouvain.

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