Graham Scholey, ISSMGE Vice-President, Australasia
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. The ISSMGE is a global organisation that provides focus for professional leadership to some 90 Member Societies and around 20,000 individual members.
The aim of the International Society is the promotion of international co-operation amongst engineers and scientists for the advancement and dissemination of knowledge in the field of geotechnics, and its engineering and environmental applications (www.issmge.org). Benefits of membership include:
- possibility to submit papers to many conferences and symposia
- lower conference registration fees
- possibility of membership in of one the many technical committees working on specific topics
- access to work of ISSMGE in various fields of activity, including Education, Communications, Technology Transfer
- opportunities to demonstrate leadership in Technical Committee (TC), conference and other activities
- opportunities to build lasting worldwide relationships
- a clear demonstration of interest and professionalism in the field of Geotechnics.
- The ISSMGE recognises 6 regions, of which Australasia is one. In the Australasia region, there are currently only two societies, the Australian Geomechanics Society (AGS) and the New Zealand Geotechnical Society (NZGS). Between us, our membership is probably the highest per capita of any of the regions.
The International Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering recently held in Sydney was under the auspices of ISSMGE, being the 20th of these quadrennial events. At the Sydney conference, a new President of ISSMGE was elected, Dr Marc Ballouz. The Vice-Presidents of each region were also selected in Sydney, along with other Board and Committee members. The term is 4 years.
There was recently a meeting of the new Board of ISSMGE in London on Sunday 4 September 2022. At the meeting, the President set out the revised structure for ISSMGE, which shows each of the primary initiatives of the society and the leader.
As the VP for Australasia, I presented a vision for our region, which includes increasing the number of member societies in our region – not hard you would think as we only have two! Those additional societies would need to come from the South Pacific Islands, a challenge in itself as there are currently no known established geotechnical societies in those regions. If you have any ideas or connections, I welcome hearing from you. Currently, Ashe Cooper, Chair of the ISSMGE Young Members Presidential Group is helping to implement some initiatives in Fiji, where he is currently based, aimed at generating interest in forming a local society. This includes providing some assistance to young geotechnical engineers in Fiji to attend the ANZ Young Geotechnical engineers conference in Rotorua in November 2022, and for others to attend the ANZ in Cairns in July 2023.
One of my tasks as VP is to administer membership of the ISSMGE Technical Societies in our region. I do this in conjunction with the ISSMGE VP Liaison in New Zealand, Rolando Orense. Each society can only have two nominated members per TC and, as you can imagine, those positions are coveted. My policy has been to make sure that those who want a TC role are nominated to at least one TC so that everyone gets a chance. At the London meeting, it was agreed that TCs should be asked to evaluate their members every 2 years so that inactive or disengaged members could be replaced.
Some other key messages about the TCs are:
- The proposal by TC103 to create the Sloan Honour Lecture was approved with the proviso that the lecture “at least be delivered at the quadrennial conference on Numerical Methods in Geotechnical Engineering”.
- The name change of TC206 from Interactive Design to Observational Method was agreed.
- The proposed changes in protocol and TC guidelines regarding the election of TC Chairs were agreed.
- The TOC would work to generate more ISSMGE Interactive Technical Talks. There has been one ITT to date.
- The TOC would liaise with the Bulletin to gain greater exposure of the TC activity.
A key initiative being driven from our region is the Time Capsule Project. This was started in 2013 by inviting Member Societies, TCs, and individuals to submit material of significance to geotechnical engineering to be opened in 150 years. The project is now led by Sukumar Pathmanandavel. Sukumar’s passion for this initiative is inspiring. As an outcome of recent discussion, the structure of the project will be streamlined with greater clarity about the objective and content of the TCP.
The Board is responsible for approving awards under a variety of categories, and the responsibility for administering awards is with the Awards Committee. The Awards Committee is represented in our region by Hugo Acosta-Martinez. The local societies should be active in making nominations to the Awards Committee and the AGS might consider a nomination under the Outstanding Member Society, an award which has previously been won by the New Zealand Geotechnical Society.
At the London meeting, it was agreed that the fees for joining the Corporate Associates Presidential Group would be based on three levels of CAPG membership, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. All CAPG members pay a uniform membership fee of $1,500 and receive equal benefits. Companies with less than 20 total number of employees be admitted to Silver membership and receive a $1,000 rebate on membership fees. Companies wishing to achieve Platinum membership should, in addition to the membership fee, contribute $2,000 to any budgeted activity of the ISSMGE, and the sponsorship of Platinum members be acknowledged by the sponsored activity on the appropriate web page.
There are many conferences organised under ISSMGE, by the TCs and regions, of which the following are upcoming in our region:
- 14th NZGS/AGS Young Geotechnical Professionals Conference, 02/11/2022 – 05/11/2022, Rotorua, New Zealand, https://www.nzgs.org/14th-nzgs-ags-young-geotechnical-professionals-conference/
- The 2nd International Conference on Geomechanics and Geoenvironmental Engineering (iCGMGE- 2022), 27/11/2022 – 30/11/2022, Western Sydney University, Parramatta South Campus, Sydney, http://www.icgmge.net.au
- 8th International Symposium for Geotechnical Safety & Risk, 14/12/2022 – 16/12/2022, Newcastle, NSW, https://isgsr2022.org/
- 14th Australia and New Zealand Conference on Geomechanics, 02/07/2023 – 05/07/2023, Cairns, Australia, https://anzgeo2023.com.au/
- 5th International Conference on Transportation Geotechnics, November 2024, Sydney, Australia