NZ Geomechanics News

International Society for Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering (ISRM)

Regional Report for Australasia – June 2020

The report addresses ISRM matters since the December 2019 edition of Geomechanics News, including the outcomes from the first Board meeting for the 2019 – 2023 term in Ljubljana on 1-2 February 2020.

Items relating to the Board meeting include:


ISRM commissions, which have terms over or inside a four-year board period, are run on a voluntary basis. Several are very active, with associated publications (e.g. blue and orange books for testing methods), some less so. Applications for the 2019 – 2023 term Commissions had been received independently by the Secretary General before the Board meeting, and appointment /continuance of Commissions was evaluated by the new Board based on recommendations from the Technical Oversight Committee (TOC). At the meeting TOC briefly summarised Commissions applications and a template for their annual report will be drafted.

Current list of ISRM Commissions is the following:

  • – Commission on Coupled Thermal-Hydro-Mechanical-Chemical Processes in Fractured Rock
  • – Commission on Crustal Stress
    and Earthquake
  • – Commission on Deep Mining
  • – Commission on Design Methodology
  • – Commission on Discontinuous Deformation Analysis – DDA
  • – Commission on Evolution of Eurocode 7
  • – Commission on Preservation of Ancient Sites
  • – Commission on Radioactive
    Waste Disposal
  • – Commission on Rockburst
  • – Commission on Rock Dynamics
  • – Commission on Rock Grouting
  • – Commission on Soft Rocks
  • – Commission on Testing Methods
  • – Commission on Underground Nuclear Power Plants

Rocha medal (2021 & 2022):

Nominations for the 2022 Rocha Medal award are currently open and will close on 31 December 2020 (for evaluation in 2021). The award recognises the most meritorious PhD thesis in rock mechanics, with further details on the ISRM website. Nominations should be sent directly to Secretary General (remembering a 10,000 word summary of the thesis needs to be prepared and ISRM membership demonstrated).

Twenty applications were received for the 2021 award. These applications will be evaluated before the next Board meeting in Norway at the Eurock 2020 conference. Five of the applications are from Australian universities.

John Hudson Rock Engineering (JHRE) Award 2020 and ISRM Science Achievement (SA) Award 2020

Both awards are new and this is the first year to be awarded.

Submission of nominations for the JHRE award ended on 15 January 2020. Two nominations were received.

Submission of nominations for SA award closed on 29 February also with a low number of nominations.

A selection committee consisting of five members from the Board and Fellows will analyse the nominations and submit a proposal to the Board for discussion and approval.

COVID19 effects

The 2020 International Symposium was scheduled for June 2020 in Trondheim, Norway. Following a recent review of the status of COVID19 by the organisers the conference has been rescheduled for 12 – 14 October 2020. Part of the decision relates to the fact that all the papers for publication at the conference had been received.

The 11th Asian Rock Mechanics Symposium, ARMS11, was scheduled for late 2020 in China. The Conference has been postponed to early 2021.

ISRM On-line lectures

Two on-line lectures have been given over the last months:
“Rock Dynamics and Future Trends” presented December 2019 by Prof. Omer Ayden
“Rockburst support in shallow-dipping tabular stopes at great depth” presented March 2020 by Prof. François Malan
The lectures are available on the ISRM website (ISRM online lectures – e.g. for Prof Malan).

The ISRM website ( has information on the Society’s intent, structure and activities, including conferences, commissions, awards, products and publications. For those AGS members affiliated to ISRM as individual members there is a member area with access to further products.
There is also Linkedin, Twitter or RSS access.
Regular means of communication (under ISRM information on the website) are:

  • ISRM Newsletter, which has been published quarterly since March 2008.
  • No. 49 – March 2020 – latest issue
  • No. 48 – December 2019
  • No. 47 – September 2019
  • ISRM News Journal, published annually, now under the editorship of Dr José Muralha (Portugal)
  • Last issue No 22 (Dec 2019 – published in March 2020)

The ISRM Digital Library, which was 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.

It includes proceedings from 56 ISRM sponsored conferences and ISRM individual members are allowed to download, at no cost, up to 100 papers per year from the ISRM conferences. To use this facility ISRM members must register each year, with further details given on the ISRM website (

ISRM Membership:

ISRM individual membership worldwide is currently 8,432 representing 60 National Groups (countries). This is a rise of 3% rise over past year, with 549 in Australasia (7% of total with 357 Australia (4 corporate) and 192 New Zealand). Europe and Asia continue to have the greatest individual membership (>25%), with other regions including Africa and Australasia having ~6% each.

Other items
Vale Dr Giovanni Barla and
Prof Pierre Habib

The ISRM is saddened to acknowledge the passing of colleagues and friends.

Prof. Giovanni Barla, a keynote speaker at the Foz do Iguacu Congress, who passed away on 17 November 2019. A short tribute was published in the December 2019 newsletter.

Prof Pierre Habib, ISRM President from 1974 to 1979, who passed away in June 2019. He paved some of the first steps of the fledgling Society and a short tribute was published in the March 2020 newsletter.

Paul Horrey
18 May 2020


NZ Geomechanics News
Paul Horrey
NZ Geomechanics News>Issue 99 – June 2020
International Report

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