GIGSA Hosts Successful Education Week

The Geosynthetic Interest Group of South Africa (GIGSA), the South African Chapter of the IGS, hosted a successful Education Week from the 2nd to the 6th July 2018.


The week commenced with a very successful “Educate the Educator” (EtE) two day event at Irene Country Lodge in Gauteng. 18 academics from 12 institutions attended. Day 1 was enthusiastically presented by Professor Timothy D. Stark of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He not only introduced geosynthetics and covered geosynthetic barriers and other topics, but also shared numerous practical ideas on including geosynthetics in existing tertiary engineering courses.


Professor Martin Ziegler of RWTH Aachen University covered reinforcement. A welding demonstration and local case studies rounded off the event.

The EtE was well received and lead to lively discussions about testing, funding, collaboration and more. We look forward to reaping the benefits of many more civil engineering students to the use of geosynthetics as a result of this valuable event. GIGSA would like to thank the IGS for their sponsorship of the international speakers’ travel.


The middle of the week was a highlight for many. Two parallel one day workshops were presented. Professor Stark presented on the stability of geosynthetic-lined sites. This was an excellent masterclass for the 60 attendees, many of whom were keen to hear more. Professor Ziegler presented on Fundamentals of Soil Reinforcement to 28 attendees, and GIGSA President Edoardo Zannoni rounded off that workshop with a presentation on a South African perspective: SANS 8006 – design, SANS 54475 – construction and National Annex SANS 207.


The inaugural Geosynthetic Conference for Young Professionals (GCYP) followed on the 5th and 6th of July 2018. This was attended by 32 delegates, with 21 presentations, 7 exhibitions, and included a welding demonstration and practicals as well as social activities. As a first event, the GCYP went well, with many great suggestions made for further GCYP events.

Thank you to Professors Stark and Ziegler for donating of their time and sharing their expertise so willingly. Thank you to all those who attended and made the event worthwhile.

Thank you very much to the GIGSA team who made the Education Week possible, including Johann le Roux, Edoardo Zannoni, Florian Hoertkorn, Riva Nortje and Yolande van den Berg.


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