Message from the Scientific Committee


          Bert H.H. Snijder                                Bart De Pauw


The Scientific Committee  invites the structural engineering community to attend the virtual online IABSE Congress Ghent 2021 to discuss and contribute to the theme ‘Structural Engineering for Future Societal Needs’. Future societal needs comprise building and maintaining safe and reliable buildings and infrastructures while coping with the effects of climate change in a world with scarcer resources and satisfying the ambition to reduce mankind’s CO2 footprint. Anticipated sub-themes are therefore amongst others 'structural safety and reliability with respect to climate change', 'circularity, re-use and sustainability of structures', and  'emission free building of structures'.  Our call for sub-themes resulted in four interesting special sub-themes connected to the main congress theme: 'enhancing resilience of civil infrastructure to hurricane and thunderstorm hazards under changing climate'; structural bearings and anti-seismic devices: innovation, standards and testing requirements'; 'towards extending the service life of existing concrete infrastructure through advanced assessment methods', and  'concepts and methods for the performance assessment of existing structures'.


 All written papers submitted are peer-reviewed by the Scientific Committee. All papers are presented orally online live or pre-recorded. Apart from normal parallel sessions, we will have a Pecha Kucha session and special sessions. To accommodate all sessions and speakers, parallel sessions run simultaneously online in 5 to 6 breakout rooms on the three main congress days. Keynote Speakers introduce relevant topics to the congress theme and/or give a state-of-the-art overview on these topics.


We are pleased to announce that four esteemed Keynote Speakers have confirmed to contribute to our congress: Jaqueline Cramer, Utrecht University, The Netherlands; Mike Cook, Bureau Happold, Bath and Imperial College London, UK; Junho Song, Seoul National University, South Korea, and Luc Hellemans, Lantis, Antwerp, Belgium.

The technical programme has attracted all those involved and interested in the state of the art and the future of bridge and structural engineering. We received just over 400 abstracts. We invite you to contribute to this IABSE Congress and join us online!

Bert H.H. Snijder, Scientific Committee Chair, The Netherlands
Bart De Pauw, Scientific Committee Vice-Chair, Belgium



About the Scientific Committee

The Scientific Committee (SC) is chaired by Prof. H.H. Snijder, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands. The SC consists of more than 90 expert members from all over the world and is elected by the Technidal Committee of IABSE, chaired by Prof. Daia Zwicky, Fribourg University of Applied Sciences.


To contact the Scientific Committee (SC) , please send an email to:

Important Dates

Deadline for abstract submission  (closed)

4 November 2020 


Notification Abstract Acceptance

15 December 2020 (only 2 abstracts per registered author will be accepted)


EXTENDED: Deadline full paper submission

until 26 February 2021


Final Invitation, Registration opens

1 March 2021


Notification of Acceptance of Full Papers abd Announcement of Presentation types:

30 April 2021


Deadline for Early-bird registration

1 July 2021


Deadline pre-recorded presentations

10 September 2021


IABSE Congress Ghent 2021

22-24 September 2021



Abstract Submission is now closed.


For Authors: Download the Template for Full Paper here..


Themes and Topics

Anticipated sub-themes are amongst others:

  • Structural safety and reliability with respect to climate change
  • Circularity, re-use and sustainability of structures
  • Emission free building of structures


Special sub-themes are:

  • Enhancing resilience of civil infrastructure to hurricane and thunderstorm hazards under changing climate
  • Structural bearings and anti-seismic devices: innovation, standards and testing requirements
  • Towards extending the service life of existing concrete infrastructure through advanced assessment methods
  • Concepts and methods for the performance assessment of existing structures.

Also more traditional sub-themes may be addressed, if the abstract and paper refer to the main congress theme, e.g.:

  • All types of bridges
  • Large span structures
  • Light-weight structures
  • High-rise buildings
  • All structural materials
  • Structural health monitoring
  • Design for earthquakes
  • Case studies
  • Failures and forensic engineering
  • Strengthening and retrofitting
  • Dynamics of structures
  • Innovative structures
  • Fatigue and fracture
  • Structural analysis and optimisation
  • Parametric design
  • Structural behaviour under fire conditions
  • Soil-structure Interaction
  • Exceptional loads on structures
  • Safety, reliability and risk
  • Architecture of structures
  • Additive manufacturing


Technical Programme


Download the Technical Programme (2021.09.21) here..


Overall Schedule


The Congress consists of the opening session including a Pecha Kucha part, a keynote session including the IABSE Awards Ceremony, six prallel sessions and a closing session. All sessions last 2 hours and are divided over the day with breaks in between: 


* Central European Time


Online Event

The Platform

The Congress is broadcasted using the OnAIR platform, providing a powerful environment for integrating online presentations, breakout sessions, networking, 1:1 meetings and interactivity. Congress participants are provided with a personal dedicated login link to enter the Congress, allowing for a personal and secure user experience throughout the online live event. Congress participants can access all sessions from one place, connect with each other, with presenters and with exhibitors.More information about the platform here..



Keynotes, panel discussions, breakouts and any other sessions are delivered as live or pre-recorded presentations. Sessions are interactive and allow all Congress participants to participate and engage. All authors, also those who have delivered a pre-recorded presentation due to technical reasons, are asked to attend the live Q&A. All presentations remain available on the platform so Congress participants can re-watch or check other parallel sessions they did not attend live.


Time Conversion Table
In the table below, the start and end times of the sessions in Ghent are mentioned in orange based on Central European Summer Time (CEST) which is Coordinated Universal Time +2 (UTC+2). Equivalent local times in cities around the world are listed. In green are ‘acceptable’ local times for Congress participants.




Keynote Speakers




Jacqueline Cramer, Utrecht University (NL)
Title: The transition to sustainable concrete in the Netherlands through network governance


Jacqueline Cramer is professor of sustainable innovation at Utrecht University and member of the Amsterdam Economic Board, particularly in charge of the circular economy. Before she was Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment in The Netherlands (2007–2010). Her background is primarily related to industry, working for many years with more than 200 companies on the implementation of corporate social responsibility and circular economy. She was and still is member of numerous international and national non-executive boards of the government, industry and non-profit organisations, among which Chair of the Dutch Concrete Agreement and chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Plastic Soup Foundation.


Michael J. Cook, Buro Happold (UK) and Imperial College (UK)
Title: Urgent steps to achieve a net-zero carbon construction industry: lessons from the IABSE (UK) Henderson Colloquium 2020 


Michael Cook was a Partner of Buro Happold from 1994 to 2020 and the Chairman from 2011 to 2017. Having retired from the partnership in 2020 he is now employed as a consultant. He is also Professor of Creative Design in the Department of Civil Engineering at Imperial College, London. He is well known for his contribution to designing innovative and award-winning buildings around the world. In 2019 he initiated the Engineers Declaration of Climate Emergency in the UK and he leads the Institution of Structural Engineer’s Climate Emergency Task Group which is setting out the skills required by future generations of engineers. In recognition of his contribution to sustainable engineering design over the past 20 years, he was awarded the IABSE Milne Medal in 2009, Fellowship of the Academy of Engineering in 2010, an honorary Doctorate of Engineering from the University of Bath in 2017 and the Gold Medal of the Institution of Structural Engineers in 2020.


Junho Song, Seoul National University (S. Korea)
Title: Risk intelligence of structural systems: concepts and recent developments


Junho Song received his BSc. and MSc. in Civil Engineering from Seoul National University, Korea and his PhD in Civil & Environmental Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley, USA in 2004. After working as a postdoctoral researcher at UC Berkeley (2004-2005) and a senior vulnerability engineer at Risk Management Solutions, Inc. (2005), he joined the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA. In 2014, Dr. Song joined the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Seoul National University (SNU) as a Young Scholar for the Next Generation. At SNU, Dr. Song is currently serving as Professor, and Associate Director of Education and Research Program of InfraSPHERE. Dr. Song has research interests in structural & system reliability analysis, reliability-based design/topology optimisation and decision-making, risk, reliability and resilience analysis of urban communities and networks, earthquake engineering & random vibrations, and statistical/machine learning for urban infrastructure systems under uncertainties. Dr. Song has presented his research outcomes through 89 papers published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. His technological innovations in the area of System Reliability and Optimisation were recognized by awards including the IASSAR Research Prize (the 10th ICOSSAR conference, 2009). Prof. Song has been serving as a member of the Probabilistic Methods Committee of the ASCE Engineering Mechanics Division, five editorial boards of international journals (including Structural Safety, and Reliability Engineering & System Safety), SC3 subcommittee of the International Association for Structural Safety and Reliability, Joint Committee on Structural Safety (JCSS), and the Board of Directors of the International Civil Engineering Risk and Reliability Association (CERRA). Dr. Song is currently the President of CERRA and the Chairman of the IFIP Working Group 7.5 on Reliability and Optimisation of Structural Systems.


Luc Hellemans, Lantis (BE)
Title: Oosterweel – from an underground and even underwater road infrastructure plan to an urban transformation project


With over 25 years of professional experience in engineering, Luc Hellemans has spent more than half of it at Arcadis. He held several functions and was the CEO of Arcadis Belgium (2012-2015) and also of Italy, France and Spain as CEO of Europe South (2015-2017). Yet three distinguished threads run through his career and come together in his role as CEO of Lantis: public infrastructure, large, complex projects, and his hometown area Antwerp (Belgium). With the Oosterweel project, Luc is facing Belgium’s biggest and most challenging infrastructure project of the century, matching industrial and economic needs with enhanced quality of life, spatial planning, and environmental benefits.

Young Engineers Programme

All participants born in or after 1987 will benefit from a reduction in their registration fee. In addition, any main author born in or after 1987, who personally presents his or her own paper at the Congress, will be considered for additional recognition. An independent jury will select two contributions from young authors and each will receive a prize of 2,000 CHF. The prizes are offered by the IABSE Fellows and the Organising Committee and will be presented at the Closing Ceremony of the Congress.

An online Young Engineers social event is organised on Wednesday 22 September at 20:30 hours. (Central European Summer Time, CEST)


Congress Proceedings 

The Congress proceedings will be available in electronic format (ePDF via link) at the beginning of the Congress. Authors must register to the Congress in order to have their paper presented during the Congress and published in the proceedings. IABSE Conference Reports are abstracted and indexed under Scopus. We are delighted to have received about 250 paper submissions. All those that register for the virtual event will have access to the full proceedings.

Technical Visits

The Congress technical programme has been extended by several online activities. Technical Excursions are planned during the breaks within parallel sessions. Congress participants can follow a newly built project online. The projects concern ‘the newly built bridges along the Albert Canal, Belgium’, ‘the renewed locks at Terneuzen, The Netherlands’, ‘the renovated Vierendeel Bridges in Mechelen, Belgium’.



Scientific Committee

(Contact: ​)



Bert Snijder, The Netherlands, (Chair)
Bart De Pauw, Belgium, (Vice-Chair)
Ane de Boer, The Netherlands

Vincent de Ville de Goyet, Belgium

Pierre Mengeot, Belgium

Sander van Alphen, The Netherlands
Philippe Van Bogaert, Belgium



Anthony Abu, New Zealand

Mitsuyoshi Akiyama, Japan

Charles-Darwin Annan, Canada

Mourad Bakhoum, Egypt

F. Michael Bartlett, Canada

Corneliu Bob, Romania

Stathis Bousias, Greece

Mikael W. Braestrup, Denmark

Bruno Briseghella, China

Eugen Brühwiler, Switzerland

Elsa Caetano, Portugal

José Matos, Portugal

Alp Caner, Turkey

Colin Caprani, Australia

Robby Caspeele, Belgium

Peter Collin, Sweden

Christian Cremona, France

Hans De Backer, Belgium

Hervé Degée, Belgium

Salvatore DiBernardo, USA

Stephanos Dritsos, Greece

Eleftheria (Elina) Efthymiou, USA

Luigi Fenu, Italy

Ian Firth, UK

J. Ramon Gaxiola-Camacho, Mexico

Yaojun Ge, China

Christos Giarlelis, Greece

Bruno Godart, France

Rade Hajdin, Switzerland

Bert Hesselink, Netherlands

Stephen J. Hicks, UK

Niels Peter Hoj, Switzerland

Dongzhou Huang, USA

Naeem Hussain, Hong Kong

Svein Erik Jakobsen, Norway

Vesa Järvinen, Finland

Konstantinos Kalfas, Greece

Igor Kavrakov, Germany

Ho-Kyung Kim, Korea

Markus Knobloch, Germany

Hyun-Moo Koh, Korea

Ulrike Kuhlmann, Germany

Andreas Lampropoulos, UK

Eva Lansoght, The Netherlands

Guy L. Larose, Canada













Roberto Leon, USA

Heikki Lilja, Finland

Geert Lombaert, Belgium

Jose Antonio Lozano Galant, Spain

Adam Lubell, Canada

Fernando Madrazo-Aguirre, UK

Sébastien Maheux, Canada

Ana Mandić Ivanković, Croatia

Ainhoa Marin Camero, Spain

Agostino Marioni, Taiwan

Philippe Menétrey, Switzerland

Serge Montens, France
Monica Nicoreac, The Netherlands

Alain Nussbaumer, Switzerland

Luís Oliveira-Santos, Portugal

André Orcesi, France

Fabrizio Palmisano, Italy

José Oliveira Pedro, Portugal

Marion Rauch, Germany

António Reis, Portugal

Jose Romo Martin, Spain

Laurent Rus Jenni, Spain

Kristian Schellenberg ,S witzerland

Mike Schlaich, Germany

Ann Schumacher, Switzerland

Peter Seitz, Germany

Reda Snaiki, Canada

Hélder Sousa, Portugal

Alfred Strauss, Austria

Richard Stroetmann, Germany

Harshavardhan Subbarao, India

Karel Terwel, Netherlands

Joseph F. Tortorella, USA

Ourania Tsioulou, UK

Matias A. Valenzuela, Chile

Tina Vejrum, Denmark

Rob Vergoossen, Netherlands

Thomas Vogel, Switzerland

Jan Wium, South Africa

Teng Wu, USA

Ye Xia, China

Takashi Yamaguchi, Japan

Yuguang Yang, Netherlands

Daia Zwicky, Switzerland