NZ Geomechanics News

International Report – International Society for Rock Mechanics

The next Board and Council meetings will be in Cape Town on 01 and 02 October 2017 in association with the AfriRock regional symposium.


ISRM individual membership worldwide remains at 7,800, with two new recently joined National Groups – Macedonia and Tunisia, making for a total number of countries of 62. Europe and Asia have the greatest individual membership (>25%), with Africa and Australasia (~5%) the smallest (265 Australia, 170 NZ). There are 150 Corporate memberships, with four from Australia and none from New Zealand.

Election of President for term 2019-2023

The ISRM Board (President, Regional Vice-Presidents, Vice Presidents at Large, Secretary General) is elected for four year terms – currently 2015 to 2019. The ISRM has a policy of electing the President for the following term ahead of that term so that the elected candidate becomes a member of the current Board as President-elect for two years. The intention of such an overlap is that the next term President becomes fully familiar with Society needs and Board protocols and leadership before formally taking up the Presidential role.
Election of the President for the 2019 – 2023 term will occur during the 2017 Council meeting in Cape Town on 02 October 2017. Two nominations have been received, so that a vote by National Groups is necessary. The candidates, both of whom were elected as ISRM fellows
in 2015, are:

  • Resat Ulusay, currently Professor at Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey (nominated by the National Group of Turkey), and
  • Prof. Jian Zhao, currently Distinguished Academic Professor at Monash University Melbourne Australia (nominated by the National Group of Singapore).

Rocha medal (2017, 2018 & 2019)

The 2017 award “Investigating the evolution of rock discontinuity asperity degradation and void space morphology under direct shear” by Bryan Tatone from the University of Toronto, Canada will be presented at the AfriRock meeting in Cape Town in October 2017.
Nominations for the 2018 award closed on 31 December 2016, with 19 theses received. The winner will be announced at the Council Meeting on 02 October 2017.
Nominations for the 2019 award are currently open and will close on 31 December 2017 (for evaluation in 2018). The award recognises the most meritorious PhD thesis in rock mechanics, with further details on the ISRM and NZGS websites.

Young Professionals

Fostering of younger members (about 20% of members) is a recognised need, but there has been no progress on whether ISRM will more actively promote a young member (under 35) group in its profile. Consequently it may well remain a National Group activity (as it is in Australia and New Zealand).

ISRM On-line lectures

All on-line lectures are available on the ISRM website.  Two new on-line lectures have been given over the last months:

a) 16th presented on 16th December 2016 by Prof. Giovanni Barla with the title “Challenges in the Understanding of TBM Excavation in Squeezing Conditions”.
b) 17th presented on 26th April 2017 by Prof. Charles Fairhurst with the title “Why Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering?”


The ISRM website ( has information on the society’s intent, structure and activities, including conferences, commissions, awards, products and publications. For those NZGS and AGS members affiliated to ISRM as individual members there is a members area with access to further products. There is also Linked in, Twitter or RSS access.

The ISRM Digital Library, launched in October 2010 (, is intended to make rock mechanics material available to the rock mechanics community, in particular papers published from ISRM Congresses and sponsored Symposia. It is part of OnePetro (, a large online library managed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). ISRM individual members are allowed to download, at no cost, up to 100 papers per year from the ISRM conferences (an annual registration is required for this – with a reminder recently circulated as a news item).

Regular means of communication (under ISRM information on the website) are:

  • ISRM Newsletter, which has been published quarterly since March 2008
  • ISRM News Journal, now under the editorship of Dr José Muralha (Portugal)
  • ISRM News, which carries a listing of events and happenings.

The ISRM website heading “Links of Interest” carries a range of website addresses for:

  • Fellow International Societies, (e.g. IAEG, ISSMGE, ICOLD)
  • Rock Mechanics Journals (e.g. RMRE – Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering)
  • Websites with technical literature for free download (e.g. Rocscience – Hoek’s corner)

The ISRM website heading “Products and Publications” carries a range of other ISRM-related items.

Another product that has recently become available is the five-volume set “Rock Mechanics and Engineering”, edited by Prof. Xia-Ting Feng, with the editorial advice of Professor John A. Hudson. It is an update on the 1993 five-volume set “Comprehensive Rock Engineering”, and is published by CRC Press with a 30% discount to ISRM members.


There are 17 ISRM Commissions in the 2015 – 2019 term (not listed here but have been included in a previous edition). Commission purposes and anticipated products, along with membership, are given on the ISRM website heading “Commissions and JTCs” (links on

The Technical Oversight Committee (TOC) – Doug Stead, chair, Stuart Read and Norikazu Shimizu are continuing with their task of evaluating Commission activity (some are very active, others less so) and identifying gaps (mining, an important activity in Australia, being noted as one) or where there is overlap between commissions. New guidelines regarding the setting up and activities of Commissions are expected for the Board Meeting in October 2017.

NZ Geomechanics News
Stuart Read
NZ Geomechanics News>Issue 93 - June 2017
Society News

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