Witteveen+Bos launches new Sustainable Design Principles thesis prize

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Witteveen+Bos is launching a new thesis prize this year with the overarching theme of sustainable design principles. In each edition, one of Witteveen+Bos’s seven sustainable design principles will be central. In 2021, the theme of the prize – which is open to all students from both universities and colleges – is ‘Building with nature’. 

With this thesis prize, Witteveen+Bos hopes to stimulate the next generation of engineers and consultants to apply sustainable design principles. The prize will be awarded for the first time this year, on the occasion of our 75th anniversary.

Building with nature

The principle of ‘Building with nature’ entails the use of natural processes to strengthen designs and make them sustainable and future-proof. Working with nature and not against it. This can prevent unintended negative side-effects and lead to additional benefits – for example, for the environment.

The prize is awarded to the university or college thesis that contributes most to – and/or has the greatest impact on – the (further) development of Witteveen+Bos’s ‘Building with nature’ design principle; and which explicitly aligns with at least one of the United Nations’ seventeen Sustainable Development Goals

The prize consists of a sum of money to be used by the winner in connection with the ‘Building with nature’ design principle. This could take the form of a course of study or related trip, a training course, a conference, project development or further talent development. The winner also receives the Witteveen+Bos Sustainable Design Trophy.


Submissions for the ‘Building with nature’ thesis prize can be made until 15 September 2021. The prize will be awarded in autumn 2021 and is open to all students from both universities and colleges.

The conditions for submitting a thesis are as follows. The thesis must:

  • contribute to and/or have an impact on the (further) development of Witteveen+Bos’s ‘Building with nature’ design principle and explicitly align with the United Nations’ seventeen Sustainable Development Goals.
  • be innovative.
  • have a societal application.
  • have been published in the academic year 2020-2021.
  • have been submitted before 1 September 2021.

This year’s independent jury consists of Ralph Lindeboom of TU Delft and Charon Zondervan of Wageningen University & Research; and from Witteveen+Bos, Arjen van Nieuwenhuijzen, Sebastiaan Schep, Tom Wilms and CSR coordinator Rosanne Hamers.

The Witteveen+Bos thesis prize succeeds the Jaap van der Graaf Prize, which was awarded annually to the student or researcher who published the best English-language article on waste water treatment that year.

More information about the prize can be obtained via communications@witteveenbos.com. This is also the address where students can email their thesis.