In order to optimize our website for you and to be able to continuously improve it, we use cookies. By continuing to use the website, you agree to the use of cookies.

Further information on cookies can be found in our privacy policy

William Dunbar Medal awarded to Philippe Duchène


In the framework of the opening ceremony of IFAT 2012, the William Dunbar Medal was awarded to Mr. Phillippe Duchène. The Medal was awarded by the President of the European Water Association (EWA), Professor Pertti Seuna (Finland), The Parliamentary State Secretary for the Minister of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Katharina Reiche, and the Bavarian Secretary of State for Health, Dr. Huber. Mr. Duchène was bestowed with this prize in recognition of his outstanding contributions to applied technical development in the field of sewage and waste treatment and disposal.

Every three years since 1973 the William Dunbar Medal is donated by the Messe München GmbH and awarded by the European Water Association (EWA) on the occasion of each IFAT. The prize is endowed with 8,000 EUR and comprises a gold medal, a certificate and a financial award. It is given in remembrance to William Phillips Dunbar, who was born 1863 in Minnesota (USA) and was summoned to Hamburg in September 1892 during the disastrous cholera epidemic. Dunbar improved the detection procedure for the cholera and pest pathogens. He regularly surveyed the river and tap water, as the water ways had proved to be especially significant for the spread of cholera. His pioneering research about city cleansing makes him an authority that is still internationally recognised in this sector today. His textbook „Leitfaden für die Abwasserreinigungsfrage“ (Compendium on the wastewater question), first published in 1907, is yet valid in our days.

A European wastewater career

Philippe Duchène, born 1948, is a French technical and scientific expert in wastewater treatment, internationally recognized for his high reference competences and skills. He has devoted most of 35 years of his career in IRSTEA (former Cemagref), a national applied research public institution, where he headed important departments. His activities have covered water and wastewater technology research especially related to domestic and agricultural wastewater treatment.

As a practical engineer he has conducted a large and pragmatic data acquisition on hundreds of full scale plants combining process engineering and biology disciplines. His most valuable production, for the improvement of the technical evolution and the enhancement of wastewater treatment plants, consist of 40 papers, books or booklets dedicated to professionals, concerning the design and operation of equipment and processes. Papers in the scientific and technical advances related to his two main fields, activated sludge aeration and microorganism ecology, were also published.

He has been a member of 10 scientific committees in international conferences and peer-reviewed a number of papers in scientific and technical journals (90 in Water Research and 130 in Water Science and Technology).

In 1995, Philippe Duchène was awarded by the French National Academy of Science; a prize, which is awarded each decade, for one of his 15 reference synthesis papers (on nitrogen in wastewater treatment), which all included operational recommendations and guidelines. He was active in supporting public policies (contribution to the technical translation into French regulation of the Wastewater Directive, expert on court).

Mr. Duchène has a strong international commitment and has been a member of the assessment panel for EC DG Research programs five times. He has assessed projects for national programs and has chaired national and European Standardisation Committees. He was a member of the management committee of the IWA group on “activated sludge population dynamics”, expertise on WWTP projects on several continents among many other merits in his lifelong dedication in the fields of water and wastewater technologies.

Philippe Duchène was a member of the European Scientific and Technical Committee of the European Water Association from 1993 - 2003.


Go back