Prize Wout Theuws / Prof. Leenaerts


BEMAS, the Belgian Maintenance Assocation, yearly organizes a competition for students in the final year of vocational and technical high school education, who write a thesis or  an internship report on the subject of maintenance or reliability. In Flanders, the competition is called Prize Wout Theuws where in Wallonia it runs under the name Prize Professeur Leenaerts. With this prize, BEMAS wants to inspire young people in technical education to start their career in maintenance, just like Wout Theuws and Professor Robert Leenaerts, with the ambition of further developing themselves into a real high-level industrial leader. 

For whom?

The competition is open to all students in their final year of vocational and technical high school education, who write a thesis or  an internship report on the subject of maintenance or reliability.

Some examples: 

  • A thesis on how to solve a frequently occurring malfunction in a machine once and for all;
  • An internship report with suggestions on how to improve the preventive maintenance of a plant.
  • A thesis on setting up an automation of the administration in a technical department.

Please note that it is important that a significant part of the work submitted deals with maintenance or reliability. For example, this may involve troubleshooting the maintenance of an existing machine, or calculating/estimating the reliability of a particular design. More 'managerial' aspects of maintenance are also possible. For example, an exercise on spare parts, drawing up a maintenance plan, drawing up maintenance instructions, etc... .  The jury will reject any submissions that do not meet this requirement. 


Why participate?

The Prize Wout Theuws / Professeur Leenaerts puts students who stand out, together with their school, in the spotlight. Participating in this competition is an extra motivation to make a fascinating thesis about maintenance, or to make an excellent internship report about experiences in maintenance. For the winner it is also a nice reference to put on his or her CV. 

There are also real prizes to be won: there is a cash prize for the finalists, and a special prize for the school that submits the winning thesis: an ultrasound machine from the SDT Ultrasound Solutions range for use during practical lessons.


  • For the winner:
    • a cash prize of € 500
    • certificate

  • For the winner's school:
    • an SDT ultrasound machine
    • certificate
    • press coverage

  • For the 2 runners-up=
    • a cash prize of € 200
    • certificate


How to participate?

  1. Students and/or a (technical) responsible person will register his/her students via the form or by mail to infoatbemas [dot] org

    DEADLINE: Friday 25 February 2022

  2. The school/student sends the selected final work (thesis or internship report) to infoatbemas [dot] org.

    DEADLINE: Friday, April 29, 2022 (after this date, a final update of the previously submitted work can be provided)

  3. The professional jury will select the three finalists from all the entries.

    They will be announced at the latest on 20 May 2022

  4. BEMAS will contact the 3 schools of the finalists to ensure that a member of the BEMAS jury can attend the oral defence of the thesis or internship report at the school.

  5. A representative of BEMAS will be present during the proclamation/graduation ceremony for both the winner and the 2 runners-up to present the award to the student and the school. We would like to use 5 to 10 minutes to tell something more about the reason for the contest and the motivation why the student deserves the prize. We also hand out the cash prize and the award to the student and a certificate and the main prize to the school. 

What's in a name?

wout theuws

Wout Theuws, born in 1953, studied car mechanics and started his career in a garage at the age of 16. Through hard work, a great curiosity and evening studies, he was given more and more responsibilities. Thanks to his experience and practical knowledge, Wout Theuws was able to start at Fisher Price in 1975 as a toolldesigner and was promoted to plant engineering manager. In this capacity, he was responsible for the design and realisation of new production machines. He also set up the entire maintenance management system. 

In September 1986, Wout Theuws joined Bosal in Oevel as Technical Engineering Manager. Just like in the early years, he continued to 'learn for life'. In 1991 he completed the "Master in Integrated Maintenance Management" course at the Hogeschool Gent. In 1996 he obtained a post HBO, Business administration and organisation, at the Hogeschool Eindhoven. At Bosal, Wout Theuws has since put high-performance and result-driven maintenance management on track, crowned by the title of Belgian Maintenance Manager of the Year in 2000. This prestigious award was conferred on him by BEMAS on the basis of his excellent dossier, his correct defence and the high score achieved during the on-site audit.


Professor Emeritus Leenaerts was the inspiration and first president of BEMAS.

Robert Leenaerts graduated as an engineer in Liège in 1959. He then worked as a development engineer at UCB in Ghent. He also became an assistant at the Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve. At the age of 40, he concentrated more on maintenance. In 1978, seeing how things were going in Belgian companies, he organised a symposium where he brought together some 200 maintenance professionals. This was the first breakthrough for maintenance in Belgium and paved the way for the creation of BEMAS. On 20 March 1989, together with Jean-Pierre Schellekens, he founded BEMAS vzw-asbl. Professor Leenaerts was also the very first president of BEMAS.  Read here about the history of BEMAS and the role played by Professor Leenaerts.

Professor Leenaerts passed away in October 2021 and BEMAS will continue to dedicate itself, as its founder did, to inspiring the Belgian community of maintenance and asset management professionals. To honour its founder, BEMAS has decided to launch this award to encourage technically trained young people to start their career in maintenance, just like the Professor, with the ambition to become a true industry leader at international level.  The Professor Leenaerts Award will be the first marker on the CV of the winning student.

Winner of edition 2020-2021

The winner of the past Flemish edition ('20-'21) is Sander Callewaert, a 6th year student of electromechanical engineering at 't Saam Campus Cardijn in Diksmuide.  He reported on his internship at Deceuninck Compound in Diksmuide, where he worked on a project to optimise the water filtration and recycling system in the PVC window recycling plant. 

Laureaat Sander Callewaert neemt de Prijs Wout Theuws in ontvangst van Wim Vancauwenberghe. De promotor van zijn GIB kan aan de slag met het SDT Ultrasoon Meettoestel terwijl de directeur pronkt met de trofee die weldra in de prijzenkast pronkt.
Laureate Sander Callewaert receives the Prize Wout Theuws from Wim Vancauwenberghe.



BEMAS, the Belgian Maintenance Association vzw, is the Belgian professional association for professionals and companies active in technical maintenance and asset management. BEMAS helps its members on their way to a higher Return on Assets through a better management of machines, installations and infrastructures. 

We strive to increase efficiency, reliability and quality, and to reduce lifecycle costs, environmental impact, energy consumption and risks. By bringing people together and sharing knowledge about maintenance and asset management, BEMAS forms the bridge to a sustainable and competitive industry and economic prosperity in Belgium. More info


More info

Do you have more questions? Contact BEMAS on +32 9 221 14 19 or send an email to infoatbemas [dot] org