NZ Geomechanics News

International Society For Soil Mechanics And Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE)

Vice President – Regional Report For Australasia

Above: John Carter, Neil Taylor and Philip Robins

The ISSMGE is the pre-eminent professional body representing the interests and activities of Engineers, Academics and Contractors all over the world that actively participate in geotechnical engineering.

1. Introduction

Like most of us, I am preparing this report from my home office while New Zealand is at Alert Level 3.
The following is a summary of recent highlights of ISSMGE activities regionally and internationally.

2. Message from the President

We are all under the threat by the COVID-19 and have suffered and affected by it one way or the other. Many universities and training centres are closed. Many students and engineers may not be able to access and receive necessary education and training. This is a serious disruption to their future. However, the free ISSMGE’s online “Virtual University” should be able to assist them while they are at home or under quarantine. We have developed seven full courses including:
Course 1: Risk-Mitigation, monitoring & Observational Methods
Course 2: In Situ Testing
Course 3: Earthquake Engineering
Course 4: Foundations
Course 5: Soil Characterization
Course 6: Geo-Engineering
Course 7. Unsaturated Soil

In addition, there are many webinars available online. Please visit the ISSMGE website to find out more details as follows:
Please let whoever needs the education and training know in your countries and regions.
Please watch out the COVID-19 and take great care of your health conditions. God Bless you all.
Charles Wang Wai Ng

3. ICSMGE 2021 Sydney 2021

Preparations for Sydney 2021 continue, with the ISSMGE Conference Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting with the Local Organising Committee (LOC) in Sydney on Thursday 13 February 2020 at the Hyatt Regency. This was preceded on Monday 10 February 2020 by a tour of Sydney’s International Conference Centre.
I joined John Carter (Chair – LOC), Neil Taylor (General Secretary – ISSMGE), and Emma Bowyer (Managing Director – icms Australasia) for a walk through this world class venue. With Darling Harbour as a backdrop, the ICC Sydney will serve as an excellent venue for The Conference.
The ISSMGE President – Charle Ng flew into Sydney for the International Planning Committee meeting on Thursday where Mark Jaksa presented his wonderful Technical Program. The CAC provided some guidance on potential Keynote lecturers and other plenary speakers. Other topics discussed at the meeting were; the method of paper submission and the review process; involvement of TCs and the iYGEC program, as well as the social program, opening and closing ceremonies. The LOC is putting together an outstanding International Conference with a
jam-packed technical program.

I encourage you to support them, and this world class event, in whatever way you can.
The Abstract submission deadline has been extended to 31 May 2020. For more information:

4. “Are we over designing?” A survey of international practice

A joint initiative by the CAPG, the YMPG, TC2015 – Safety and Serviceability and TC304 – Risk. The survey is intended to assess the consistency of calculation models and design methods for a variety of geotechnical structures, and where possible, to compare the results with full scale tests and reliability analyses.

The CAPG, will have a large focus at ICSMGE 2021 Sydney 2021, with several plenary sessions and presentation of the findings from the “are we over designing?”. I would like us to have a strong showing from Australia and NZ.

In addition to providing valuable insight into the practice of design across various countries in the world, the survey is also a great opportunity to benchmark your companies approach to design of relatively simple geotechnical problems. No details of the company are required nor would these details, even if provided, be released.

Full details of how to undertake and submit the survey can be found both on the ISSMGE website: and in Geoworld (

5. ISSMGE Online Library

The ISSMGE Online library ( is in continuous development – please note the following additions:

  • 17th African Regional Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering;
  • 17th European Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering,
  • Australia New Zealand conference series back catalogue,
  • XVI Pan-American Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (XVI PCSMGE 2019)
  • 9th International Symposium on Geotechnical Aspects of Underground Construction in Soft Ground, Sao Paulo, 2017 (TC204)

Hugo Acosta-Martinez, Past Chair of the Australian Geomechanics Society continues to drive the upload of ANZ Conference Proceedings in this open access database. This month, 103 papers from the 6th ANZ Conference (Christchurch, 1992) have been added.

The NZGS Management Committee has kindly offered to cover the costs for the digitization of paper copies of the full set of proceedings of the regional ANZ conferences. Thank you to the NZGS for organising this and for driving it forward – it will be a fantastic resource for our future. Thanks to Sally Dellow who has found some missing paper proceedings tucked away in the GNS library.

6. ISSMGE Foundation

The ISSMGE Foundation was created to aid individual ISSMGE members throughout the world to enhance their geotechnical engineering knowledge and practice by providing financial support for participation in technical and professional activities approved by the ISSMGE Foundation. There is no prescriptive list of admissible events and all reasonable applications will be considered, considering the relevance to ISSMGE and active rather than passive participation by the applicant.

The next deadline for receipt of applications for awards from the ISSMGE Foundation is the 31 May 2020. For further information on the ISSMGE Foundation:

7. ISSMGE Time Capsule 2017 – 2021 Task Force

Sukumar Pathmanandavel from Australia has set up a task force to create and display a time capsule. The purpose of the time capsule is to “capture notable advances in all facets of geotechnical engineering made in the current ISSMGE Presidential Term, 2017 -2021, and enable creation of further time capsules for successive ISSMGE presidential terms leading to the centenary of the ISSMGE in 2036.”

8. ISSMGE Board Meeting

As the COVID-19 pandemic was quickly spreading through Europe at the beginning of March, a decision was made by the President not to meet in Tunisia for the ISSMGE Board Meeting. The meeting was to be in Hammamet, Tunisia on Sunday 8 March 2020. At the last minute, the board meeting was moved into a skype video conference format instead. Following the Board meeting several members went on to present virtual lectures at the International Conference on Geotechnical Engineering (ICGE’20) organised by the Research Laboratory in Geotechnical Engineering and Georisk (RLGEG).

Best regards,

Philip Robins
ISSMGE Vice President for Australasia





NZ Geomechanics News
philip Robins
NZ Geomechanics News>Issue 99 – June 2020
International Report

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