A University Merit Award

presented by
International Association for Training and Research in Family Education


Every two years, the international family education congress promotes research and innovations in individual, family, social and community development.

The Jean-Pierre-Pourtois Award of Excellence aims to support research projects (thesis or dissertation) of graduate students whose main field of research concerns the family system, its environment, as well as the stakeholders involved with the families. The research project should focus on family education in its broadest sense or should aim to make a significant contribution to the development of the methodology and the promotion of interventions with or around the family.


Co-founder of the International Association for Training and Research in Family Education (AIFREF), the emeritus professor Jean-Pierre Pourtois of the University of Mons (Belgium) has led this association since its creation in 1987. Dedicating a significant part of his professional, academic and social life to the Association, his contribution to the development of knowledge and the advancement of research is indisputable. He has devoted enormous efforts to the emergence of the field of social and educational knowledge relating to the family and its environment. Professor Pourtois is at the origin of several innovative interventions.


Awarded bi-annually, preferably at the AIFREF congress, the Jean-Pierre Pourtois Award of Excellence is proclaimed by the President of the Congress, in the presence of the President of AIFREF by the issuance of a certificate of recognition, during a public session. Additionally, registration fees to the congress are reimbursed. The Jean-Pierre-Pourtois Award of Excellence is accompanied by:
• A publication in an international journal, as well as in the Acts of the congress of the AIFREF.
• A gift chosen by the presidency of the congress or the members of its organizing committee.

All graduates of master’s and doctoral degrees, regardless of discipline, from any university are eligible. Candidates must have submitted the final version of their dissertation (leading to a graduate diploma) or their doctoral thesis, in accordance with the study rules of their home university. To be nominated, the deposit must have been completed in the past two years.

To be eligible for this award, the candidate must send the following documents (in Word or PDF format) :

  • A letter of motivation : explaining the impact of the addressed interventions and their contribution to the development of actions with families, relatives or members of their environment ;
  • A resume ;
  • An abstract of the dissertation or thesis work : clearly exposing the methodological aspects and other aspects required in the context of scientific research promoting the advancement of knowledge ;
  • A letter of recommendation from the director of research (The final report written by the jury which evaluated the dissertation or thesis may be joined to the candidacy) ;
  • A letter of recommendation written by another person chosen by the candidate ;
  • Proof of acceptance of the final deposit of the corrected thesis or graduation ;
  • A photo of him or herself to be published.

Set of two letters of recommendation (25 %)

  • Originality of the research project (10 %)
  • Relevance of the research approach (10 %)
  • Contribution mentioned or anticipated for the advancement of knowledge (5 %)

Thematic and scientific content (75 %)

  • Coherence of all parts of the research (including : problematic, theoretical framework, research questions, objectives, methodology, main results and discussion) (20 %)
  • Rigor and relevance of the scientific methodology (qualitative, quantitative or mixed : collection, processing, data analysis and presentation of results) (35 %)
  • Quality and clarity of the presentation (20 %)

The jury is chaired by a member of the board of directors of AIFREF. This person is a professor-researcher and appointed if necessary by resolution of the board of directors, is responsible for the progress of the evaluation process and has no voting rights, and  reports the work and the result of the competition to the board of directors.

The jury is composed of 3 professors (investigators) from different universities and disciplinary fields. They must not be associated with the candidates. Members of the jury have recognized expertise in research. Their final decision is passed by a majority vote.

The laureate agrees to write a brief article for the AIFREF Congress Proceedings.


Each candidate must register at the AIFREF congress (see the AIFREF congress website). She or he must send at once all the required documents. The candidacy will be inadmissible if the application is incomplete.

Any application must scrupulously respect the guidelines above. The candidacies will be treated confidentially.