John F. Kennedy Student Paper Competition

Founding Statement

The John F. Kennedy Student Paper Competition recognises conference papers from undergraduate and postgraduate students on the basis of written and oral presentations at the IAHR World Congress

The Award was established in 1992 to honour the memory of Professor John F. Kennedy, IAHR President (1979-1983) and Honorary Member (1989-1991). Professor Kennedy made significant and lasting contributions to the Association and is remembered particularly for his efforts to foster younger-member membership and participation.

Rules for the administration of the award

Who can be a candidate?

The Competition is open to undergraduate and postgraduate students who, at the time their conference paper submission is made, are actively pursuing an academic degree in the general area of hydraulics and water resources. The conference paper submission shall be accompanied by an official statement from the research advisor confirming the status of the student. Finalists of previous editions are allowed to re-apply one more time with the exception of previous Competition winners, who are not allowed to apply anymore for the Competition.

How to apply?

The application period for the 2023 edition of the John F. Kennedy Student Paper Competition is currently closed. 

>> Watch the informative session held at the 3rd IAHR Young Professionals Congress: Informative session about the John F. Kennedy Student Paper Competition, next station: Vienna!

Screening and selection procedure

The IAHR Technical Committee on Education and Professional Development (EPD-TC) will have responsibility to organise and conduct the Competition under the supervision of the Awards Committee and the Task Force for Young Professionals Network Development. Plans for the Competition will be presented to the respective committees and IAHR Council for approval two years beforehand.

The Competition must include an initial screening of student papers submitted for consideration, and a selection of papers to be presented at the Congress and published as part of the proceedings. The Technical Committees will be involved during this first screening of the received papers with the aim to provide expert revisions. Papers accepted for the Competition must be formally presented by the corresponding author at the John F. Kennedy Student Paper Competition special session, to be held during the IAHR World Congress. The papers will be judged, on both the written and oral presentations, by an international panel of experts convened by the EPD-TC.

Selection panel

A panel of judges selects the winning paper on the basis of written and oral presentations at the IAHR World Congress.

The panel of experts will have full responsibility for selection of the winning contribution. The panel of experts will be formed by: 2 members of the IAHR Hydraulics Division; 2 members of the IAHR Hydro-Environment Division; 1 member of the IAHR Innovation and Professional Development Division; 1 member of IAHR Working Groups; and 1 member nominated by the IAHR Awards Committee.

When and where will the award recipient be announced?

The John F. Kennedy Student Paper Competition (hereinafter referred to as the Competition) will be held in conjunction with each IAHR biennial World Congress

What does the award consist of? 

The winner of the Competition will be awarded a cash prize from the John F. Kennedy Student Paper Competition Award Fund (hereinafter referred to as the Fund). The cash prize, along with a commemorative plaque provided by the IAHR Secretariat, will be awarded to the winner at the World Congress closing ceremony. The two runners-up of the Competition will also be announced.

The local organising committee (LOC) may offer additional cash prizes and certificates to runners up from its own resources.

The IAHR Secretariat will provide certificates of participation to all shortlisted participants. The finalists will also receive tailored feedback from the panel of experts.

The IAHR Secretariat will maintain the Award Fund, and receive contributions in addition to those provided by the Kennedy family from the IAHR membership and friends of Professor Kennedy.

For further information, please refer to our FAQs section on our website. Additional enquiries regarding the nomination process should be directed to the IAHR Secretariat via email to

List of previous winners

15th John F. Kennedy Student Paper Competition | Vienna, 2023
1st prize: Mina Rouzegar, University of Manitoba, Canada. For her work on Experimental investigation of asymmetric border ice effect on sediment transport.
2nd prize: Matthias Bürgler, ETH Zurich, Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology (VAW), Switzerland. For his work on Air-Water Flow Measurements on a Large-Scale Spillway Chute.
3rd prize: Marco Córdova, Universidad de IngenierÍa y Tecnología UTEC, Peru. For his work on El Niño Impacts from Large to Local Scale on Peruvian Rivers.
>> Meet the finalists of the 15th John F. Kennedy Student Paper Competition!
>> Over 120 applications received!

14th John F. Kennedy Student Paper Competition | Granada, 2022
1st prize: Antoine Villefer (EDF, France): Interaction of Short Wind Waves and Swell: An Experimental and Numerical study
2nd prize: Acacia Markov (University of Otawa, Canada): Characterizing Live Vegetation Response to Wave Forcing: A Prototype-scale Flume Experimental Program
3rd prize: Nicolas Hanousek (Cardiff University, United Kingdom): Assessing the Sensitivity of Tidal Range Energy Models to Water Level Accuracy
>> Winners
>> Finalists
>> Over 90 applications received!

Kennedy YPN Award | Panama, 2019
Rosa Camila Timana Mendoza, IAHR UTEC-Peru Young Professionals Network, Peru: Acceptance speech
Siddharth Seshan, IAHR-Baden Württemberg (IAHR-BW) Young Professionals Network, Germany: Acceptance speech

13th John F. Kennedy Student Paper Competition | Kuala Lumpur, 2017
Isabella Schalko, Switzerland: Large wood accumulation probability at a single bridge pier
Sabine Chamoun, Switzerland: Venting of turbidity currents: when to act?

12th John F. Kennedy Student Paper Competition | The Haghe, 2015
David Ferras, Switzerland and Portugal: Fluid-structure-interaction in pipe coils during hydraulic transients: numerical and experimental analysis
Pablo Ouro, UK: Large-eddy simulation of vertical axis tidal turbines: study of the blockage effect 

11th John F. Kennedy Student Paper Competition | Brisbane, 2013
S. Van Emelen, Belgium: Erosion Modeling over a Steep Slope: Application to a Dike Overtopping Test Case
Rafael Duarte, Switzerland and Portugal: Air Concentrations in Plunge Pools due to Aerated Plunging High-Velocity Jets and Dynamic Pressures in Underlying Fissures
Mengzhen Xu, China: Experimental Study of Bio-fouling Control of Golden Mussels (Limnoperna Fortunei) in Water Transfer Tunnels

10th John F. Kennedy Student Paper Competition | 2011
Fereshteh Bagherimiyab, Switzerland: Coherent structure and particle turbulence interaction in suspended sediment-laden laboratoy open-channel flows
Peter Brady, Australia: A Novel ILES/VOF solver of the simulation of turbulent free surface flows

9th John F. Kennedy Student Paper Competition | 2009
S. Miyawaki, Japan (2009 Poster Presentation Winner): Numerical Investigation of Three-Dimensional Scalar Transport at a River Confluence
Fei Ye, China (2009 Oral Presentation Winner): Integrated Modelling Of Riparian Vegetation Dynamics Subjected To Reservoir Operation

8th John F. Kennedy Student Paper Competition | 2007
H. Yoshimura: Analysis of open-channel flow with strip roughness using immersed boundary method

7th John F. Kennedy Student Paper Competition | 2005
B. Spinewine, Belgium: Two-layer flow behaviour and the effects of granular dilatancy in dam-break induced sheet-flow

6th John F. Kennedy Student Paper Competition | 2003
K. Kramer, Switzerland: Bottom air concentration of aerated chutes

5th John F. Kennedy Student Paper Competition | 2001
D. Hurther, Switzerland: Sediment transport assessment in suspension flow based on coherent structures characteristics

4th John F. Kennedy Student Paper Competition | 1999
H. Class, Germany: Numerical simulation of non-isothermal steam injection processes in NAPL – contaminated porous media

3rd John F. Kennedy Student Paper Competition | 1997
J. L. Sansalone, USA: Infiltration as an urban source control for metal elements and solids

2nd John F. Kennedy Student Paper Competition | 1995
B. Jefcoate, UK: A model to investigate the roles of texture and sorting in bed armouring

1st John F. Kennedy Student Paper Competition | 1993
G. Huang, China: Effects of moisture and roughness on urban heat island - an analytical and numerical study

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