NZ Geomechanics News

International Society for Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering (ISRM) 

The report addresses ISRM matters since the June 2020 edition of Geomechanics News.

Board and Council Meetings

The latest ISRM Council meeting took place as a videoconference on 28 October. It was preceded by the Board meetings on 20, 21 and 22 October. 

53 out of a total of 61 National Groups were represented at the online Council meeting. Running a large multinational meeting like this online is a significant challenge and it smooth running is a credit to both organisers and participants, notwithstanding the NZ country representative having to join in the middle of the night.

Membership update

The ISRM has achieved a record of 8620 individual members and 184 corporate members. This represents an increase of 2% in the number of individual members since the last year. The National Group of Mongolia joined the ISRM in 2020.

ISRM Awards:

The following awards were announced at the Council meeting:

Rocha Medal 2021

  • Winner: Yasuhiro Yokota, Japan, for the thesis “Experimental and computational study on rock bolt modelling and its application on a new type of energy-absorbing rock bolt”, presented at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
  • Runner-up: Wenzhuo Cao, China, for the thesis “Monitoring and modelling of microseismicity associated with rock burst and gas outburst hazards in coal mines”, 
  • Runner-up: Bing Li, Canada, for the thesis “Microseismic and real-time imaging of fractures and microfractures in Barre granite and opalinus clayshale”, 

John Hudson Rock Engineering Award 2020 

The ISRM Corporate member 3GSM GmbH, was selected for the achievement “Photogrammetric 3D models from drone imagery for improved rock mass characterization”. 

Science Achievement Award 2020 

This award, approved in 2019 to recognizes outstanding contributions to science and technology in the field of rock mechanics and rock engineering, was conferred to Prof. Jianping Zuo of China.

A new Young Engineers Award has been created to recognize achievements in rock engineering practice by young engineers, that
will be implemented by the ISRM in 2021. 

Other Council/Board Matters:

  • The Board approved the initiative to broaden the number and type of courses available on the website. 
  • Printing of the proceedings of ISRM sponsored conferences was discussed, namely concerning the possibility to print for personal use, the question of copyright and the access to the publications.
  • The conference AusRock2022, in Melbourne, was approved as the 2022 ISRM Regional Symposium for Australasia.

International Symposia 2021 and 2022

  • The 2021 ISRM International Symposium will be held in Torino, Italy 20-25 September 2021.
  • The National Groups of Finland and Paraguay presented proposals to host the 2022 International Symposium of the ISRM, in Helsinki and Asunción, respectively. The Council, by secret ballot, selected the application from Paraguay, which is also the IX Latin American Congress on Rock Mechanics, Rock Testing and Site Characterization.

A more detailed summary of the matters covered in the October Board and Council meetings may be found on the ISRM website

COVID19 effects 

The ongoing effects of the pandemic continue to result in a number of changes to both timing and format of upcoming events. Please refer to the ISRM website for updated information.

ISRM On-line lectures 

Two on-line lectures have been given since the last report: 

  • September 2020 – Damage and Time-Dependent Behaviour of Rocks in Underground Construction, Prof. Frederic Pellet
  • June 2020 – Contact Theory and Algorithms for Discontinuous Computations Dr. Gen-Hua Shi

These have been recorded and are available on the ISRM website


The ISRM website ( has information on the society’s intent, structure and activities, including conferences, commissions, awards, products and publications. For those NZGS 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. 

The latest ISRM newsletter continues to appear quarterly and is sent directly to all ISRM affiliated members. Issues for 2020 so far include:

  • Newsletter No. 51 – September 2020 – Latest Issue
  • Newsletter No. 50 – June 2020
  • Newsletter No. 49 – 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 ( 

Other items

On 26 March 2020, Prof. Manuel Romana Ruiz passed away. Throughout his long professional career, Professor Romana became one of the greatest exponents of Rock Mechanics both in Spain and internationally. He developed the so-called Slope Mass Rating (SMR), one of the most used geomechanical classifications focusing slope stability. He was elected president of the Spanish National Group of the ISRM (SEMR) in 1980 and was in office for more than 20 years. The ISRM and the rock mechanics community deeply regret his loss. 

Tags : #ISRM

NZ Geomechanics News
Paul Horrey
NZ Geomechanics News>Issue 100 - December 2020
Society News

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