Prof. dr. ir. Nele De Belie

Nele De Belie

Name: Nele De Belie
Title: Prof. dr. ir.
Function: Professor
T +32 9 264 55 22
F +32 9 264 58 45
Mrs. Marijke Reunes (T + 32 9 264 55 35)


Nele De Belie is professor in Durability of Cement Bound Materials at Ghent University (UGent) since 2000. Since 2020 is director of the Magnel-Vandepitte Laboratory for Structural Engineering and Building Materials of Ghent University. She is furthermore head of the “Concrete and Environment” research group which consists of about 20 postdoctoral and Ph.D. researchers. For more information on her research group you can visit the webpage Concrete and environment.

Concrete and environment group

Nele De Belie obtained her Master of Science (1994) and PhD (1997) from Ghent University both with the highest distinction, after which she carried out postdoctoral research at KULeuven (1997-2000), with 6 month research visits to Mt Albert Research Centre New Zealand and KVL University Copenhagen. She obtained the title of Collaborateur Scientifique à l’Unité de Résistance des matériaux et constructions, Gembloux (1997-1999) and has also spent one month at University of Stuttgart to focus on non-destructive testing (2004). She has been expert advisor for “Science and Innovation” of the Flemish Minister of Economy, Enterprise, Science, Innovation and Foreign Trade (2005 – 2009).

Research activities

  • sustainable concrete with supplementary cementitious materials,
  • degradation by acids and salts,
  • concrete/stone-microorganism interactions (biodeterioration, bioconsolidation),
  • smart concrete with self-healing or self-cleaning properties,
  • circular economy and life cycle assessment.

She has supervised more than 50 (inter)national projects in these areas. She is currently vice chair of COST CA15202 SARCOS and coordinator of the European Marie Curie ITN SMARTINCS. She is chair of the Technical Activities Committee of RILEM and of TC 281-CCC on Carbonation of concrete with supplementary cementitious materials. She is author of more than 300 scientific publications, editor of 10 books, author of 20 book chapters, inventor in 3 patent applications and editorial board member of 4 scientific journals. Nele De Belie is laureate of different best paper prizes and awards in recognition of her scientific work, she is RILEM Robert L’Hermite medallist 2010 and holds a RILEM fellowship (2015).


Scientific career

  • Research Assistant of the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO – Vlaanderen) at the Biosystems Engineering Department of Ghent University from 01-10-1993 to 30-09-1997. Ph.D. Research project: “Concrete technological and chemical aspects of floor degradation in pig houses”
  • Postdoctoral Researcher of the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO – Vlaanderen) at the Department Agro-technology and Economy of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KULeuven) from 01-10-1997 to 30-09-2000. Research project: “Mechanical properties of cells and tissues related to fruit texture”
  • Postdoctoral researcher at The Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand, Auckland, New Zealand, from 01-02-1998 to 01-08-1998
  • Postdoctoral researcher at Chemometrics Group of The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University of Denmark, Copenhagen from 06-01-2000 to 15-07-2000
  • Professor at the Magnel Laboratory for Concrete Research, Department of Structural Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Ghent University, since 01-10-2000
  • Invited Professor at the Department of Construction Materials (Institüt für Werkstoffe im Bauwesen) of the University of Stuttgart, from 1 to 29 March 2004
  • Advisor for “Science and Innovation” of the Flemish Minister of Economy, Enterprise, Science, Innovation and Foreign Trade, 2005 - 2009


  • Study award of the Faculty of Bio-engineering, 1993
  • Study award for teaching “aggregatie UGent”, 1994
  • Title of “Collaborateur Scientifique à l’Unité de Résistance des matériaux et constructions du génie rural, Faculté Universitaire des Sciences Agronomiques de Gembloux, 1997-1999”
  • BBSRC Young Engineer Reward for the best paper presented at the AgEng2000 International Conference, Warwick, 2-7 July 2000
  • Armand Blanc Prize for the paper presented at the XIV Memorial CIGR World Congress, Tsukuba, Japan, 28 November - 1 December 2000
  • Rewarded as the best paper of the session TT3 “Innovative materials and products for durability”, at the 10th International Conference on Durability of Building Materials and Components (10dbmc), Lyon, 17-20 April 2005
  • Best paper award at the Second international conference on Sustainable construction materials and technologies, Ancona, Italy, 31 May - 3 June 2010; for the paper Baert, G., De Belie, N., De Schutter, G. (2010). A multi-compound model for the hydration of Portland cement – fly ash binders
  • Robert L’Hermite medallist 2010
  • Best paper award for: De Muynck, W., Leuridan, S., De Belie, N. & Verstraete, W. (2011). Limestone porosity determines the protective effect of a biogenic carbonate surface treatment. In: Peixoto de Freitas V., Corvacho H., Lacasse M. (eds.), XII DBMC - 12th International Conference on Durability of building materials and components, Porto, 12-15 April 2011, Proceedings Volume II, p. 881-888. ISBN: 978-972-752-132-6.
  • Promotor of several rewarded student theses and conference papers
  • Outstanding Paper 2020 award from the Board of Editors of Materials and Structures and the RILEM president for the paper: Greve-Dierfeld, S., Lothenbach, B., Vollpracht, A., Wu, B., Huet, B., Andrade, C., Medina, C., Thiel, C., Gruyaert, E., Vanoutrive, H., Saéz Del Bosque, I.F., Ignjatovic, I., Elsen, J., Provis, J.L., Scrivener, K., Thienel, K.-C., Sideris, K., Zajac, M., Alderete, N., Cizer, Ö., Van Den Heede, P., Hooton, R.D., Kamali-Bernard, S., Bernal, S.A., Zhao, Z., Shi, Z., De Belie, N. (2020). Understanding the Carbonation of Concrete with Supplementary Cementitious Materials – a critical review by RILEM TC 281-CCC. Materials and Structures, 53, n° 136, 34 p.

Committees and working groups


  • Member of RILEM and chair of the Technical Activities Committee (TAC).
  • Chair of RILEM TC 281-CCC - Carbonation of concrete with supplementary cementitious materials and member of several other RILEM Technical Committees
  • Member of the American Concrete Institute (ACI)
  • Member of WTA – Wissenschaftlich-Technische Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Bauwerkserhaltung und Denkmalpflege e.V.
  • Member of the organising or scientific committee of various international conferences


  • Member of the board of directors of SIM (Strategic Initiative Materials) since 2009
  • Member of the Strategic Advice Council of VITO, Flemish Institute for Technological Research, since 2018.

Editorial tasks

  • Member of the Editorial Board of Cement and concrete composites since 2013
  • Member of the Advisory Board of “Materiales de Construcción” since 2014
  • Member of the Editorial Board of Cement and Concrete Research, since 2015
  • Ex officio (as TAC chair) deputy editor in chief of the RILEM journal Materials and Structures, since 2018
  • Guest editor for a special issue of the journal Materials addressing the topic of “Self-Healing Concrete”, 2017.
  • Guest editor for a special collection of invited papers in the area of cement/gypsum/lime published by The Royal Society Publishing journal Royal Society of Science in collaboration with the Royal Society of Chemistry, 2018
  • Guest editor for a Special Issue “Self-healing materials" for Advanced Materials Interfaces (De Belie, Van der Zwaag, Leeuwenburg guest editors), 2018.
  • Special Issue “Self-healing and smart construction materials” for Materials (2019). Guest editors Nele De Belie, Maria Adelaide Pereira Gomes de Araújo, Didier Snoeck, Kim Van Tittelboom, 20 papers.

Current teaching activities

  • Strength of materials
  • Statistics and data handling
  • Life cycle assessment of materials and structures
  • Sustainability of materials

Concrete and environment group activity