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The Technical Committees of the IGS

JZ_HeadshotDear IGS member,

Exciting new IGS technical initiatives are looming. This is because in addition to the many technical activities of the IGS Chapters, IGS Conferences, and IGS Journals, our membership at large will benefit from the added initiatives of our new IGS Technical Committees (TCs). I believe that the activities of our new Technical Committees will serve not only as a catalyst for activities that are not being currently conducted under the IGS umbrella, but also as a forum in order to provide continuity for those technical activities that have long been a part of our IGS portfolio.

The creation of the IGS TCs fits well within our strategic goal of capitalizing on the existing success of our society while improving communications. Specifically, I believe that the new TCs will aptly serve our strategic goal of improving communication among members interested in specific technical issues. We are proud of the high level of technical excellence that has been regularly offered in our conferences, short courses, and technical journals. However, the continuity of ad hoc technical groups formed in these venues has often been constrained by distance and time. The IGS strategy is to foster these technical interest groups under the newly formed TCs, just as IGS Members currently affiliate into geographically organized chapters. Members can now affiliate into topically organized TCs.

The IGS Council has recently compiled a guidance document for the operation of TCs (see related article by Council Member Neil Dixon in page 4 of this issue of IGS News). Immediately after completion of this guidance document, proposals for the formation of three IGS TCs were submitted to the IGS Council. Accordingly, the first three TCs of the IGS were approved in the recent IGS Council Meeting held in Guarujá in May 2010. Leaders of our geosynthetic industry have been actively planning for the initial steps of the TCs on “Reinforcement,” “Barrier Systems,” and “Filtration.” Participation in these TCs is open to the IGS Membership at large (see related articles by Council Members Otani, Palmeira and Bouazza starting in page 6 of this issue of IGS News). Additional IGS TCs are expected to continue to be created in the near future.

The IGS TCs are expected to add significant value to the IGS Membership by providing continued forum for activities such as:

  • Integration between TC efforts and those of organizers of upcoming IGS Conferences in order to organize technical sessions,
  • Collaboration with sister international organizations to produce joint technical documents
  • Collaborative work with IGS Chapters to offer short courses and other educational activities
  • Engagement of young professionals who will then stimulate the use of geosynthetics among the next generation of engineers
  • Organization of conferences or series of conferences focused on specialty topics
  • Creation of new communication channels among IGS Members through innovative approaches such as online forums
  • Promotion of the IGS and the geosynthetics industry at large in events and venues where geosynthetics have traditionally been underrepresented
  • Contribution to our IGS Journals by working with our journal editors on special thematic issues

Figure 1 illustrates how the new IGS TCs fit within the context of the IGS Operating Units. The figure also shows the officers for each of the current IGS TCs. Since the creation of the TCs in May 2010, the TC officers have been working hard on completing the organizational aspects of the committees, and they are now ready to accept members. Please refer to the call for members within this issue of IGS News. The IGS TC on Soil Reinforcement builds on the past successful activities of the former TC9 of the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE). While ISSMGE served as an umbrella organization in the past, most of its former activities, including the very successful series of IS-Kyushu Conferences on Soil Reinforcement, had been organized in collaboration with the IGS (1988, 1992, 1996, 2001, and 2007 in Fukuoka, Japan). It will be now up to the Reinforcement IGS TC to continue and enhance the past series of successful activities. The IGS TC on Filtration also builds on the success of past activities. Specifically, this Committee follows the initiative of the IGS pioneers who organized the successful series of Geofilters Conferences (1992 in Karlsruhe, Germany; 1996 in Montreal, Canada; 2000 in Warsaw, Poland; 2004 in Cape Town, South Africa). In this case, the Filtration IGS TC may continue the previous effort by conducting activities not only towards new technical developments but also towards implementation of geosynthetic filters in fields such as earth dams, where unfounded skepticism has prevented the widespread use of geosynthetics. Finally, the IGS TC on Barrier Systems will take on centralizing a number of activities in the area of waste and liquid containment. The continuity of activities in this important field has been achieved in the past through organization of IGS Conferences as well as through collaborative activities with sister societies (e.g. the series of International Conferences on Environmental Geotechnics, the series of Sardinia Conferences, as well as ISO, CEN and ASTM activities). The Barrier Systems TC will now be able to provide continuity to activities involving infiltration barriers under the IGS umbrella.

In summary, we expect significant breakthroughs with the new technical arms offered by the IGS Technical Committees. If you are interested in volunteering your time in new, technically rewarding activities, I encourage you to consider joining one of the new TCs of our Society.

All best regards,

Jorge G. Zornberg, Ph.D., P.E.
IGS President
tel: +1(512) 232 3595
Skype ID: jorgezor
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