NZ Geomechanics News

ISSMGE YMPG In-person Meeting Report

On the 8th and 9th of March, the ISSMGE Board meeting was held in Singapore. The ISSMGE YMPG took the opportunity to have their first in-person meeting since the YMPG was established back in back in 2009, a refreshing change to the ad-hoc skype meetings. The mission of the YMPG is to increase the attractiveness of the ISSMGE for the younger generations of geotechnical engineers.  Meeting in-person was an opportunity to grow and strengthen connections among the board members and plan for the future.


Above: YMPG with ISSMGE Board Members

The purpose of the in-person meeting was to discuss and organise the Bright Spark Lecture awards (locally, regionally, and internationally), provide updates and plan regional conferences for young members and in collaboration with the Corporate Associates Presidential Group (CAPG), discuss and plan engagement with young members, and review the YMPG mission statement and goals.

Eight members of the YMPG were able to attend the in-person meeting, representing each region across the world. Attendees included Lucy Wu (Chair), Jean Potgieter (Vice Chair), Ceres Chung (Secretary), Aswin Lim (Indonesia), Fabio Tradigo (Europe), Ezra Tjung (North America), Vitor Pereira Faro (South America), and Ashe Cooper (Australasia). The YMPG and ISSMGE board are both made up of a combination of academics and practitioners from across the globe.

The group recognised that news about young geotechnical engineers within the Engineering Geology and Geotechnical Engineering community needed to be more actively shared and updated, particularly when recognising those who has received awards. The YMPG is going to become more visible through web and news content highlighting what is going on in the geotechnical community, at a global level, for young geotechnical engineers.

With the 20 ICSMGE on the horizon, a plan of attack was developed for the selection of the Bright Spark award recipients. With the Sydney 2021 conference being an international conference, the YMPG recognised there should be a difference in distinction within the Bright Spark awards between regional and international. The distinction will be worked through with the ISSMGE board. Two winners for the upcoming European conference have been announced, congratulations to Federico Pisanò and Matteo Oryem Ciantia on your achievement.


Above: YPMG with YMGeoSS Members

On Sunday 9 March, the YMPG joined the ISSMGE board for the afternoon slot of their meeting to disseminate the weekends work, highlighting what was accomplished, what is planned for the future, and, specifically, the importance of the in-person meeting. The board supported questioned and supported the ideas and vision of the YMPG. They also provided a timely reminder that we are shaping the future of interaction for a part of the future Geotechnical community.

The succession planning to future proof the YMPG was also discussed. Board members of the YMPG are on a bi-annual term, with the Secretary, Vice Chair, and Chair on a four-yearly term. Discussion around the transfer of knowledge and continuation of momentum were identified as key things to be implemented to ensure the YMPG remains cohesive and relevant for young members. The YMPG plans to have a framework for this in place before the next term.

On Monday evening, the YMPG was invited to an event held by GeoSS young members, kindly hosted at the Arup office. It was an awesome opportunity to meet some of the young geotechnical engineers of Singapore, talk about the geotechnical community, and the projects that some of the members are working on. It was interesting to hear about the underground projects since this is not something that is commonly done here in New Zealand and is something we will need more expertise in for future projects.

The value of the in-person meeting was clearly shown by the amount achieved by the group over the two day period together. It also highlighted how important it is to build connections. So the next time you are sitting down at your desk, you have a personal connection with the people on the other end of the call. Getting buy-in from one another, listening to different points of view, and working together as a team. This is a key takeaway from the meeting and one that is applicable in all facets of life.

Outside of the meetings and sessions, the evenings provided a forum to get to know one another on a personal level, sample some of the sights, and get amongst some of the hawker food. I’d strongly recommend the satay skewers to anyone visiting! The Marina Bay Gardens and rooftop bars were personal highlights of mine.

I’d like to personally thank the NZGS and Beca for funding my trip to attend the inaugural meeting, along with the GeoSS for arranging the accommodation during our stay in Singapore. If you are interested in being associated with the ISSMGE and the YMPG, head over to the ISSMGE website and sign up Also if you are interested in what the YMPG is up to, have a look under the new section of the ISSMGE website or join us on LinkedIn Alternatively, if you are interested to know more, feel free to drop me a line at


NZ Geomechanics News
Ashe Cooper
NZ Geomechanics News>Issue 97 – June 2019

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