A chat with the winner of Young Author Award 2015

A chat with the winner of Young Author Award 2015

16 Nov 2015

Rudy Helmons, a PhD-Candidate in Dredging Engineering at the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), has won the IADC Young Author Award in 2015. The award was presented by René Kolman, secretary-general of IADC at CEDA Dredging Days 2015 conference at Ahoy Rotterdam on 6 November, 2015.

“It is an honour to win the award and to me it feels like a great compliment. It was so unexpected that I am still a bit surprised,” says Helmons. 

The engineer picked up the prestigious award along with a prize of €1,000 and a certificate of recognition for his research paper, Modeling the effect of water depth on rock cutting processes with the use of discrete element method. This paper will also be published in an upcoming edition of Terra et Aqua.

The paper focuses on the effect that water depth can have on (rock) cutting process. “My research concerns the modelling of rock cutting processes. Initially the research is driven by the question how rock behaves at deep sea locations (>2km) when you want to cut/mine it,” he explains. 

Helmons states that he was working approximately two months to obtain the results and write the paper. “However, this is also partly the result of the research that I am doing to obtain a PhD. At the time of the paper submission I just started on the fourth year of the research.”

The engineer intends to continue with the research and expects to continue for at least another year to work on this specific research. “Currently, we are looking for the opportunities to continue this line of research with a new PhD-candidate. If all goes well, the new candidate could start in about a year.”

He adds that currently, the simulations have been set up in 2D and next year, it will be extended towards 3D. “When that’s done (end of 2016), it can be used to further support the design of equipment.”




When questioned if the award can encourage more young people to join the dredging industry, he says: “I believe that young people most of all are encouraged to choose for an industry mostly driven by their enthusiasm, skills or interest.”

He adds that “winning the award is a great compliment for not only the quality of the paper, it also shows that the field of research is greatly appreciated within the dredging industry.”

The annual Young Author Award is given to stimulate the promotion of new ideas and to encourage young people working in the dredging industry and related fields. Each year at selected conferences, the IADC grants awards for the best papers written by authors younger than 35 years of age. The Conference Paper Committee is asked to recommend a prize-winner whose paper makes a significant contribution to the literature on dredging and related fields.