New Zealand is an ideal laboratory for geotechnical engineering research, with a wide variety of intensive and non-intensive land use, a large infrastructure network connecting distant parts of the country, and, of course, a very dynamic landscape all within a relatively small area. We produce world-class research in New Zealand, in a very collaborative environment that brings together industry, academia and government. In this publication we regularly highlight New Zealand research that wins international awards, and this year’s ACENZ awards in this issue show the quality of the innovations we make every year.
The following papers are short descriptions of some of the most recent research that we are currently doing in New Zealand Universities and industry. Since the Canterbury earthquakes much focus has gone into capturing the lessons learned and improving our understanding of seismic geotechnical problems, so the majority of the research we showcase here relates to those advances. Given the most recent earthquakes in the South Island, it is clear that earthquake geotechnics will continue to be a strong focus of research.
One of the main things to highlight in this special feature is the participation of industry in geotechnical research. As a researcher, I cannot stress too much the value of collaboration between industry and academia. Industry provides much of the motivation for seeking solutions to engineering problems through research, as well as providing invaluable data and expertise in the field. We are lucky to work in a country with great industry participation in research, but just as every geotechnical practitioner would love one more borehole, every researcher would love one more industry collaborator.
Finally, underpinning most research in New Zealand are government funding agencies that provide us with the base load research funding to keep our labs functioning, to keep the best researchers in our universities and CRI’s, and to promote industry-academic collaboration. Here’s our chance to show what we’ve been up to and to encourage government and industry to keep investing in New Zealand research in geotechnical engineering.