Dear IGS Colleagues,
I hope this note finds you well, following a tough year for our global members, friends, family, and wider network, as we all continue to navigate the challenges of the pandemic.
This time last year no-one could have imagined how rapidly the world would respond to the fight against Covid-19. We now have a vaccine rollout program that is testament to the determination and dedication of the scientific community.
There is hope, and as the world takes cautious steps on the road back to normality, I thought this would be a good time to update you on some exciting developments in the IGS.
Firstly, our recent IGS Council meeting heard how the IGS is in a sound financial position to carry out our 2021 mission and plans. It also reported the formation of four new chapters – Guatemala, Bolivia, Slovenia and the Nordics – which are in various stages of completion, and the creation of three new Task Forces.
- IGS Recognitions, chaired by Edoardo Zannoni – to review the current IGS Awards and identify opportunities to name them after individuals or groups, or to suggest new awards.
- IGS Structure, chaired by Ian Fraser – to review the current structure of the IGS, develop a gap analysis considering current and future states of the IGS and wider membership, and confirm or suggest modifications to meet the governance requirements for the next 20-30 years
- IGS Credentialing, chaired by Sam Allen – to review existing geosynthetics-related and non-geosynthetics-related credentialing/certification programs, identify their organizational and financial requirements, assess potential revenue generation, and consider if and in what ‘space’ the IGS might offer a program that would benefit IGS and non-IGS members.
In our continued efforts to spread and reinforce the message about the sustainability benefits of geosynthetics, we launched the ‘Did You Know…?’ information series earlier this year. Illustrated with an eye-catching lightbulb and question mark design, bitesize facts share the green credentials of using geosynthetics, and link to a longer supporting article with more detail. I’d encourage members to link and share these with your network.
It is with regret that some IGS conferences have had to be postponed again as health and safety take precedence while global travel restrictions cause uncertainty, but I’m delighted they will still be going ahead. These include GeoAsia7 in Taipei, Taiwan, now on April 11-15, 2022, EuroGeo7 in Warsaw, Poland, which will now welcome delegates on September 4-7, 2022, the 12th International Conference on Geosynthetics in Rome, Italy, which will run on 17-23 September, 2023, and GeoAfrica on February 20-23, 2023. We thank organizers for their continued dedication in ensuring these face-to-face events will prevail.
Despite the postponement of these important in-person events, I am thrilled to see the growth of webinars and online events hosted across all our chapters, allowing members and non-members to continue learning and networking from the comfort of their home or office.
Talking of digital developments, students and engineers can hear from some of the IGS’s most eminent experts via our new university lecture series videos. They aim to widen access to and understanding of geosynthetics for those at the start of their engineering careers and can be found via the IGS Digital Library or YouTube channel. The IGS’s new-look website is also set to launch next month, and we are also opening up the IGS Digital Library, so everyone can benefit from its resources, not just members.
We continue to translate the IGS Sustainability eBook into new languages, with Italian just published, and German and Portuguese on their way. We are also preparing a new edition of the IGS Chapter Chat newsletter, so watch this space for updates.
Finally, the IGS Foundation released its first Annual Report this year. The Foundation was formed nearly two years ago and has already raised more than $100,000 in donations. It has an ambitious target for the year ahead, aiming to raise $500,000 to further support the IGS’s goal to widen the understanding and education of geosynthetics
Friends, the last year has been a very challenging time across all sectors, as well as in the personal lives of our members, colleagues, and loved ones. But I am confident our resilience, positivity and will to win will help our industry survive and thrive post-pandemic.
As getting through the pandemic has shown, we are stronger together, and I wish you success as the year continues.