National sections

CIRIEC-Belgium is a non-profit research association and is one of the founding sections of CIRIEC international. CIRIEC-Belgium ensures the permanent secretariat of the international association since 1957, and sets a specialised university-level dedicated documentation centre in public, social and cooperative economy at disposal.

CIRIEC’s objectives are to undertake and promote the collection of information, scientific research, and the publication of works on economic sectors and activities oriented towards the service of the general and collective interest:  public action and policies; public utilities, infrastructures, networks and mixed enterprises at national, regional and local level; the so-called “social economy” (not-for-profit economy, cooperatives, mutuals, and non-profit organizations); workers’ participation; etc.

CIRIEC’s members are enterprises and organisations associated with network-economics, either socio-political networks (government agencies, public administrations, socio-professional federations, trade unions, …), or technical networks (public utilities, public or regulated enterprises, …); enterprises and organisations from the “social economy” sector (cooperatives, mutuals, associations, foundations, non-profit or not-for-profit enterprises and organisations); experts and individual researchers from universities and research centres interested in CIRIEC’s activities.

CIRIEC-Belgium hosts since the 80s the CIRIEC Documentation Center. The CIRIEC documentation center serves a variety of objectives. The most important is to collect, treat and disseminate specialized information in the fields of public, social and cooperative economy. To that end, documentalists offer various services, host some foreign doctoral students, provide documentary watch in its fields of interest, assistance in documentary research allowing the users to easily find some documents about a particular subject,…



The newsletter CIRIEC Belgium Network Information to Members informs CIRIEC-Belgium members of Belgian and international news, publications, conferences, call for papers,… in public, social and cooperative economy.

Available in French and English.

To register: devenir membre


CIRIEC has an original feature since it develops activities of interest for both managers and researchers active in serving the general or collective interest. CIRIEC aims at being an international meeting point and a locus of research and reflection networking, without lobbying for any particular interests.

The scientific association regularly supports, manages and coordinates various projects and actions linked to its social purpose.  Those are either initiated on an internal basis or upon own initiative (seminars, conferences, researches, …) or realised for external sponsors (dedicated research mainly for public institutions – be they local, regional, national or supra-national -, answer to calls for tender, participation in consortia of researchers, in international action, seminars and other events).


                                                                                                     Updated: 23 06 2022

Honorary President:
former Minister
former Member of the Senate
former Mayor of the City of Antwerp
former President of the users’ Committee of P&V
former President of CIRIEC-Belgium (1980-2020)

Christian VIAENE
General Director, I.B.E.G.-Sibelgas-VENTUM&green


Jean-Claude FONTINOY
President, Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Belges (SNCB) (Belgian National Railway Corporation)

ex-secretaris, ACW (Algemeen Christelijk Werknemersverbond) Limburg (Christian Trade Union)

General Secretary:
Barbara SAK

President of the Scientific Council:
Ordinary Professor, Faculty of Law, ULiège (tax law and public finance law); President of the ULiège Tax Institute

former Federal Minister of Employment
former President, Management Board of the National Social Security Office (ONSS)

Prize Joseph Merlot - Joseph Leclerc 2021

The Prize Joseph Merlot-Joseph Leclercq was created by the Belgian Section of CIRIEC in 1964 and aims to reward a PhD in the field of public economics. (List of all Prizes already awarded)
This triennial Prize-Doctorate is intended to honour the memory of two pioneering promotors of public enterprise and aims to stimulate research on the public economy, especially in the area of services of general interest, public policy and evaluation tools.

In an amount of 3 500 EUR for a doctoral thesis, the Merlot Joseph – Joseph Leclercq is awarded every three years by a jury.  In the absence of a doctoral thesis justifying the Prize, a dissertation (Master) can be rewarded to the tune of 1,150 euros. 
The 2021 Prize is financed by the Province of Liège, RESA (main operator of the electricity and gas distribution networks in the Province of Liège) and intercommunal from Liège (CILE, Intradel). These sponsors thus perpetuate the memory of the founders of the Belgian Section of CIRIEC.

After decision of the jury, the 2021 Prize was not awarded.

Complete rules 2021: FR – NL

Prize Joseph Merlot - Joseph Leclerc 2018-2019

The 2018-2019 award winner is Bert George for his thesis “Unravelling the Determinants of Strategic Planning Effectiveness in Public Organizations: A Strategic Decision-Making Perspective at the Individual and Organizational Level” focusing on the public sector.

Release FRNLEN

Prix Joseph Merlot - Joseph Leclercq 2015-2016

The 2015-2016 award winner is Geoffrey Aerts for his thesis: Public private mixing: a knowledge transfer perspective”

Biography: FRNL
Speech: FR / NL / EN

these-remy-photoCéline Remy, was awarded a special mention because of the societal relevance and the originality of the subject approach of her thesis Des partenariats publics privés pour l’insertion des demandeurs d’emploi: une question de confiance?” 

Biography: FR EN 
Abstract: FREN
Presentation: FR

With the support of:


Section details

Section belge du CIRIEC - Asbl
c/o HEC - Université de Liège
Rue Saint-Gilles 199, Bât. N3a
BE-4000 Liège
Phone (+32-(0)4) 366 27 46
Fax (+32-(0)4) 366 29 58
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