Skip to content

Workshop Dutch Chapter: Playing with Geosynthetics VI: Earthquake Resistant Building with Geosynthetics

The Dutch Chapter organized her sixth workshop on a sunny day in April, to share the knowledge about the use of geosynthetics in earthquake resistant building. Nearly forty creative souls from principles, contractors, engineering offices and knowledge institutes searched for earthquake resistant solutions using geosynthetics. After two speakers had provided some theoretical background, the creative souls carried out experiments and brainstormed about new solutions using geosynthetics.

Figure 1. Earthquake resistant building: testing models on a shaking table
Figure 1. Earthquake resistant building: testing models on a shaking table

Relaxation or reinforcement, those are the main two applications of geosynthetics in earthquake resistant building. In other words: reduce excess pore pressures with drainage or reinforce the soil to cope with the horizontal accelerations. In earthquake countries as Japan this is daily practice, but it is quite new in the Netherlands.

Earthquakes in the North of the Netherlands: a new reality

In December 1986, the Dutch town Assen was frightened by the first earthquake due to gas exploration. Since that day, the Northern part of the Netherlands shakes. On 16 Augustus 2012, a human induced earthquake with a magnitude of 3.6 on the Richter scale occurred in Loppersum. This earthquake took longer and was stronger than all earlier earthquakes. Therefore, de government decided to investigate the earthquakes and if necessary, to intervene. Questions considered were: Are our civil constructions safe? The levees, the transport infrastructure, the buildings? Will pipes and tubes remain in place during earthquakes? Which solutions could offer us a safe environment?


Many countries have a lot of experience in earthquake resistant building. But for the Netherlands, this subject is new. What is the difference between the Dutch earthquakes and other earthquakes? What are the consequences of our earthquakes? What can we do to reduce the risks and improve the safety of the Northern part of the Netherlands?

Earthquakes: some background

Siefko Slob, engineering geologist, provided some theoretical background. A few months after the earthquake in Pakistan in October 2005, Slob was there and he was impressed. There were around 72.000 victims, among them many children who died in schools that collapsed. Slob showed pictures of damage, one of them showing a bridge that had moved 1.5 m on its columns. The bridge was still intact. Slob also showed damage to constructions of poor quality: not enough reinforcement in concrete, for example.


Slob explained how plate tectonics, volcanic activity or human activities can cause earthquakes. In the Northern part of the Netherlands, Groningen, human induced earthquakes occur: caused by compaction in the deep sandstone due to gas extraction. Slob showed P-, S-, Love and Rayleigh waves and how to recognize them from accelerogram, and the distance to an epic centre can be determined using these waves. Different methods exist to determine the magnitude of earthquakes. Slob mentioned Richter’s scale, which gives a measure for the energy that is released, and the European Macroseismic Scale (EMS-98). The more damage, the higher the value on this intensity scale. Slob finally explained how ground motion is predicted.

Consequences of an earthquake

An earthquake gives ground motion that can result in the liquefaction of sand or silt. If liquefaction occurs, the pore pressures increase, while the soil shear strength reduces. This can affect the stability of a soil structure. A levee can fail or a sheet pile wall can be overloaded.


Earthquake resistant building

How can we prevent earthquake-induced damage? By reducing the risk of liquefaction and by reinforcing constructions or making them more stable. The probability of liquefaction can be reduced by ground improvement, for example compacting loosely packed sand layers or applying mixed-in-place technics. Drainage can release excess pore pressures that increase during the earthquake. Examples are geosynthetic encased stone columns, drainage pipes or vertical drainage.


Chair of the day Wim Voskamp shows how the international community applies geosynthetics to build earthquake resistant structures. Relaxation and reinforcement are the main two applications of geosynthetics: eliminating excess pore pressure or coping with the horizontal accelerations with reinforcement.


Voskamp showed the development in thinking about earthquake resistance in Japan, referring to work of Fumio Tatsuoka and his co-workers. Reinforced concrete retaining walls were replaced by MSE walls with a cast in situ concrete facing attached to the reinforced soil. Reinforced soil is mandatory in Japan for the construction of steep slopes, bridges or viaducts for railways. Hundreds of kilometres of MSE walls have been constructed in Japan so far. Today, experiments are conducted with integral bridges in Japan, connecting the bridge to the abutments. In these structures, the thermic forces should be considered carefully, but the result is better earthquake- and tsunami resistant.


Several types of drainage may dissipate excess pores pressures, like normal vertical drainage, stone- and sand columns encased with or without geosynthetics.

Creative earthquake resistant building

Writing down solutions for piping is one thing, the practical application quite another. The 6 teams were challenged to build an earthquake resistant structure themselves. For this purpose, Piet van Duijnen and Ron Voets had put together a shaking table and six test boxes. Two teams had to construct a piled embankment; two teams had to build an MSE wall and two teams a soil structure with 45 degree slopes. All structures had to remain at least 30 cm high under earthquake loading. The models were going to be loaded on a shaking table, put together by van Duijnen and Voets with an old door, a vibration engine and four old car tyres.

The teams had to buy their building materials, such as sheet pile walls and geosynthetics with special IGS-euros: The more CO2 emission, the more expensive the building materials. For each construction-type, the cheapest model that would be approved by the jury would be the winner.

Figure 2. The piled embankment models before and after loading with shaking and a surcharge load

Figure 2 shows the two piled embankments, reinforced with plastic bags and paper and tape. The model in the front sags between the piles, but both models remained intact, despite the double loading with shaking and surcharge.

Figure 3. An MSE wall with paper reinforcement, before and after the seismic loading. Moist paper reinforcement proves to be bad reinforcement.

The MSE wall of Figure 3 had insufficient height and was not earthquake resistant and was therefore rejected. Obviously, moist paper is not a good reinforcement…


Figure 4. An MSE wall with textile reinforcement, before the earthquake.

The retaining wall that was reinforced with an old bed sheet, found in the van of Voets, did also not survive. Insufficient anchorage length and too thick soil layers were found to be the causes of the failure. From this, we should not conclude that MSE walls are not earthquake resistant, as these structures give very good results in for example Japan. There are spectacular examples of really high MSE walls that remained intact while their surroundings were flattened.


The embankments with steep, 45 degrees slopes remained fully intact during the shaking. Their reinforcement did a good job. As all models needed to be destroyed, the supporting box walls were removed and the models were shaken again. That helped: they failed.

Figure 5. Both embankments with 45 degrees slopes were earthquake resistant. Removing their supporting box walls helped: the models were destroyed on the shaking table.


Figure 6. Six teams doing there construction work




More had to be done than just playing with sand, water and reinforcement. After lunch, the six teams started discussing extensively two realistic cases, which had been prepared by Joris van den Berg and Erik Vastenburg. The cases were ultimately discussed with the entire group. The teams had to describe the failure mechanisms and thereafter they had to propose measured to improve the earthquake resistance of the structures, or give suggestions how to construct a new structure.

Case 1: An anchored sheet pile wall

A sheet pile wall is anchored in a layer of loosely packed sand, which is sensitive for liquefaction due to earthquakes. The sheet pile wall is not stable during an earthquake. The participants were asked to produce solutions for earthquakes with a (1) high and (2) low magnitude.

Figure 7 Case 1: anchored sheet pile wall

The following failure mechanisms were mentioned: deformation of the sheet pile wall due to anchor failure or high bending moments in the sheet pile wall. Liquefaction of the sand, followed by settlement, sand boils or uplift and hydraulic fracturing of the soil top layer. Liquefaction of the deep sand layer can result in a deep slip plane.

Several creative solutions were proposed to improve the existing situation: improving the loosely packed sand layer, by compaction or by applying geosynthetic encased sand- or stone columns: these should increase the stiffness of the sand layer and in addition, these should give relaxation and reduce the excess pore pressures.


For the higher amplitudes, the stone columns should be extended downwards. This makes it possible to release the excessive pore pressures downwards. Anchors could be installed in the deep sand layer, or a ballast block in geotextile could be attached to the anchor. Drainage could help, just as a geotube in front of the sheet pile wall, or a sand-leak proof filter. Several types of drainage were mentioned, like sand- or stone columns, vertical drainage or a gravel drain wrapped in a separation sheet. Finally, the loosely packed sand layer could be replaced by a well-compacted soil layer, reinforced with geosynthetics.

Creative solutions were produced for a new sheet pile wall: a block of reinforced soil, combined with a sheet pile wall or another facing type. The reinforced soil can be constructed as a relieve construction or can be attached integrally to the facing. Really creative is the application of a valve, of course with a geotextile, making dissipation of excessive pore pressures possible, but preventing sand leakage. Geosynthetics can serve as an anchor of a sheet pile wall. Other creative solutions were: a cofferdam instead of the anchor, a strong sheet pile wall without anchorage, a piled embankment to relieve the floor and a tube to reduce the load on the anchor due to soil settlement.

Case 2: A farmhouse

A farmhouse from 1832, in the Groningen earthquake area, has a raft foundation with foundation beams on a small strip of compacted river sand.


Figure 8. Case 2: farmhouse

The following failure mechanisms were mentioned: liquefaction of the sand layer and subsequent loss of bearing capacity of the subsoil, differential settlements, insufficient stiffness, strength and stability of the farmhouse, resulting in damage to the masonry, shear deformation towards the ditch, squeezing of the loosely packed sand layer.

Several creative solutions were produced to improve the existing situation: installing a pile foundation and attach it to the floor, installing a sheet pile wall next to the ditch. Move the ditch or fill it with a heave tube. Drainage of the loosely packed sand layer, replacing the cohesive soil by reinforced soil, injection the foundations with cement or synthetic resin.

The stability of the farmhouse itself can also be improved, for example by reinforcing the masonry with carbon rods. Jacking the house straight again. Wrapping the house with geotextile or applying glass fibre tapestry. Replacing the floor by a light weigh floor like EPS, in combination with light-weight concrete that is attached to the foundation beams. This results a farmhouse on a large slab. Replacing the roof by light-weight synthetic ones.

For the construction of a new farmhouse, the following creative solutions were proposed: constructing a house on a pile foundation, putting the house on a geosynthetic-reinforce mattress, with or without piles, a light-weight house, a floating house, a house on sliding layers, or a farmhouse in American style, with a timbre-frame construction and reinforcements.

This paper reports about a workshop where the participants had a creative brainstorm. The solutions mentioned are not necessarily feasible or practical.


The members of the board of the Dutch Chapter of the IGS thank Piet van Duijnen of Geotec Solutions and Ron Voets of Voets Gewapende Grond for the construction and transport of a shaking table, timbre malls and other equipment to construct the models.

Dr. Suzanne van Eekelen, Chair of the Dutch Chapter IGS Commission: Innovation and Knowledge Transfer, Deltares

Piet van Duijnen, Member the of the Dutch Chapter IGS Commission: Innovation and Knowledge Transfer, GeoTec Solutions

Dr. Siefko Slob, Witteveen and Bos

Wim Voskamp, Voskamp Business Consultancy

Erik W. Vastenburg, Hoogheemraadschap Hollands Noorderkwartier

Joris van den Berg, Low and Bonar

Yoshihisa Miyata


Dr. Yoshihisa Miyata is a Professor at the Department of Civil Engineering, National Defense Academy of Japan. He received his doctoral degree from Kyushu University in 1999. Dr. Miyata specializes in soil reinforcement technology and physical and numerical modeling of geostructures. He has authored or co-authored more than 260 papers in referred journals and conference proceedings and more than 130 technical articles. 

Dr. Miyata is the vice chair of the Japan chapter of IGS. He is also vice-chair of the Technical Committee on Soil Reinforcement in IGS and a board member of Geosynthetics International. As an organizing or scientific committee member, he has contributed to the success of international and regional geotechnical engineering and geosynthetics conferences. Dr. Miyata has received many awards and accolades, including the IGS award twice (2010 and 2023) and the Best Paper awards of ICE Geotechnical Engineering. (2017), Geosynthetic International (2015), Soils and Foundations (2013), Canadian Geotechnical Journal (2008) etc. He gave the 1st Bathurst lecture during the 12th ICG held at Roma in 2023. Dr. Miyata has much experience in geosynthetics. He has strong potential to contribute to the development of IGS.

Please see his detailed information:

Huabei Liu


Dr. Huabei Liu is an engineering professor at Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) with 25 years of experience in geosynthetic applications. Prior to joining HUST, he was granted tenure as an associate professor at the City University of New York in Dec. 2013. His research focuses on the long-term and dynamic responses of GRS structures, which has been materialized as more than 80 refereed journal papers, and has promoted the applications of GRS structures in earthquake-active areas and advanced the use of locally-available fill materials for GRS applications.

Dr. Liu has been an active member of IGS since 2009. Currently he is an IGS Council Member, the Secretary for the Chinese Chapter, an executive board member of China Technological Association of Geosynthetics, and a member of ISSMGE TC 218 “Reinforced fill materials”. He also serves on the editorial boards of the Canadian Geotechnical Journal, Computers and Geotechnics, Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics, and Transportation Infrastructure Geotechnology.

Dr. Liu is looking forward to better serving the community. He is particularly interested in educating younger generations on geosynthetics, and promoting GRS applications in extreme environments.

G L Sivakumar Babu


G L Sivakumar Babu is an active researcher and academic in geosynthetics and contributed significantly. He is the President of Indian Chapter of International Geosynthetics Society. He served as the President of Indian Geotechnical Society during 2017-2020 and was the Chairman of International Technical Committee (TC-302) on Forensic Geotechnical Engineering (FGE) of International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE) during 2013-2021. He is a Fellow of ASCE and also served as Governor, ASCE, Region 10 during 2014-2020.

He completed Ph.D.(Geotechnical Engineering) in 1991 from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India, after Masters Degree (Soil Mechanics Foundation Engg.) in 1987 from Anna University, Madras and B.Tech. (Civil Engineering) in 1983 from Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati. He worked as Humboldt Fellow in Germany during June 1999- July 2000 and as Visiting Scholar, Purdue University, Lafayette, USA during 2/95 – 2/96.

He guided 28 (23 Phds and 5 MS) research degrees and guiding 4 students for PhD. He wrote a book on soil reinforcement and geosynthetics, edited eight books and proceedings and has several publications (International and national Journals -200, International and national conf. more than 200, Total over 400). He received several awards such as John Booker award from IACMAG, Humboldt fellowship from Germany, DST Boyscast Fellowship, and a few awards for the best papers from Indian Geotechnical Society and American Society of Civil Engineers.

Dylan Armour


I believe fundamentally in the role that geosynthetics play in our future. For many countries, traditional methods of construction are often too resource-intensive and costly to apply throughout all levels of their society. Geosynthetics are an equalizing force in sustainable global development.

My career has given me the opportunity to work holistically in many roles and sectors, across a very broad range of stakeholders. As principal position as head of manufacturing in Canada, US and Europe, I have been exposed to a broad range of industry best practices and policy environments. My international business development and project management experience has provided me the opportunity to develop relationships with people around the world.

Finally, my current role as Director of Sustainability and Innovation is the culmination of this journey, which began with my post-graduate specialization in anthropology and sustainable development. I work to develop products, systems, and corporate strategy based on sustainable business practices.

I believe our industry sits at the centre of many of the most pressing conversations facing the world, and I’d be honoured to serve as an elected member of the IGS.

Fernando H. M. Portelinha


Fernando H. M. Portelinha holds a PhD in Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Sao Paulo (Brazil) and has post-doctoral experience from the University of Texas in Austin (USA). Prof. Portelinha has been a member of the IGS since 2008. In 2018, he was honored with the Young IGS Member Award for his contributions to the Brazilian IGS Chapter and his research with geosynthetics. Currently, Prof. Portelinha serves as a professor of Geotechnical Engineering at the Federal University of Sao Carlos (Brazil), where he has been passionately researching and teaching geosynthetics disciplines for over 10 years. In 2012, he created the Laboratory of Geotechnics and Geosynthetics at the Federal University of Sao Carlos to contribute to the development of geosynthetics in Brazil.

Prof. Portelinha is also a member of the Editorial Board of the Geotextiles and Geomembranes Journal and is involved in the TC-Reinforcement and TC-Barriers committees for the IGS. He has contributed to the Brazilian IGS chapter by delivering courses, organizing conferences, and currently serving as secretary of the Geosynthetics Committee in the Brazilian Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering.

Expressing his enthusiasm, Prof. Portelinha is honored to be a candidate and is eager to contribute to IGS initiatives by serving on the IGS council.

Francisco Pizarro


For more than a year as an IGS Council Member and Chair of the Pan American Activities Committee (PAAC), I’ve been able to enhance the development of our chapters across the region through the implementation of the IGS’s core programs. In addition, I have been involved in developing synergies between chapters and organizations, recruiting new lecturers for activities, helping to organize GeoAmericas 2024 and currently assisting a regional chapter to apply to host GeoAmericas 2028. Aside from this, there is still a lot to do. 

My commitment lies with all our chapters in the region to increase the widespread use of geosynthetics throughout the infrastructure and engineering industries.

Gary Ng

(Hong Kong)

I started G and E back in June 1984 in Hong Kong. It was a small contractor until the introduction of Amoco geotextile in 1987. From this point, I kicked off my geosynthetics journey and never looked back, specializing in its application, design, distribution and installation. 40 years later, I recognize the significance of educating the younger generation as a cornerstone of advancing geosynthetics. Being a council member offers me a stronger mandate to provide a helping hand.

I also take a strong view on sustainable construction, in which geosynthetics play an increasingly vital role. Its versatility was presented in my paper at GeoAsia 7 in Taipei, and I am proud to continue this excellency.

Having worked for more than a decade across Southeast Asia and China, I see the advantage of exchanging dialogue and sharing thoughts and technology from this region. Effective liaising with the IGS can be expected with closer geography, better mastering of construction mentality, and a better understanding of customs and culture.

I look forward to the opportunity to serve the IGS family with greater dedication, transitioning from being an ordinary member since 2009, after which time one becomes wiser but still has the energy to make meaningful contributions.

Giulia Lugli


Giulia Lugli, P.E., MBA, is a professional structural engineer with experience in design and project management of civil, and geotechnical structures for the geo-environmental and transportation sectors, especially, but not limited to, reinforced soil structures.

She has served in the Geosynthetic Industry for the past 10 years and is currently Head of the Geosynthetics Business Development team and leads the Vertical Walls division of the Maccaferri Corporate GSY Unit, along with focus on R&D with an eye on digitally enabled and sustainable solutions.

Her daily activities include experience with a broad portfolio of geosynthetics products and solutions for applications as reinforced fill structures and soil stabilization, erosion control, drainage works, coastal protection and basal reinforcement.

She is a member of AGI, IGS and ISSMGE. She has served on the ISSMGE Technical Committee on Reinforced Fill Structures TC218 since 2018: from 2018 to 2020 as Secretary, and from 2018 to date as Chairman.

She has served as Guest-Editor for recognized Journals in the field and authored or co-authored several technical publications.

As potential IGS Council member she would support the organization in any activity with dedication, facilitating the know-how dissemination, especially in the field of reinforcement and drainage.


Ioannis Markou


Ioannis Markou is a Professor at the Department of Civil Engineering of Democritus University of Thrace (DUTh), Greece, and the Director of the Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering Laboratory at DUTh. He is currently the President (2022 – 2025) of the IGS Greece chapter and has also served as its Vice-President (2019 – 2022), a Council Member (2016 – 2019) and is a founding member of the chapter. His candidacy for IGS Council Member has the strong support of the IGS Greece Council. 

Dr. Markou is an Editorial Board Member and Lead Guest Editor for the Special Issue on “Soil–Geosynthetic Interaction” of the International Journal of Geosynthetics and Ground Engineering (Q1, IF: 2.9). He is a member of the ISSMGE and serves as member of the TC211 of this society. He has also been a member of the organizing and/or scientific committees of a number of International and National Conferences.

Dr. Markou has 35 years of research experience in “Soil/Geosynthetic Interaction” and “Soil Reinforcement with Fibers”. As a result, he has authored/co-authored one book chapter and several scientific papers published in International Journals and Conference Proceedings. Having long-term experience in geosynthetic engineering research and teaching and in IGS Greece activities, Dr. Markou wishes to play a more active role in the IGS, contributing to the achievement of its goals.

Online profile:

Wang Deqi


Mr. Wang Deqi is the inventor of anti-UV weed mat in China, the  Deputy Director of the Innovation Committee of the China Agricultural Plastics Society under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture, and a member of the International Association of Geomaterials. Previously, Mr. Wang served as the Workstation Director of the National Industrial Fabric Quality Supervision and Inspection Center. Mr. Wang led his team to successfully upgrade the “anti-aging” geotextile to the professional “anti exposure” stage, especially the weed mat (100-300g woven geotextile), with an exposed service life of up to 10-15 years, the world’s highest level.

Today, I am applying to join the IGS Council in order to participate in academic exchanges, technology promotion, and other related work, together with promoting the development and progress of international geotextiles in the field of environmental protection, and fulfill the mission of IGS.

Ivan P. Damians


Dr. Ivan P. Damians is an Associate Researcher Professor at the International Centre for Numerical Methods in Engineering (CIMNE®). He serves as a Geotechnical Engineer responsible for Research and Development (R&D) of the VSoL System at VSL International Ltd, which is part of the Bouygues Construction Group. Additionally, he works as an Assistant Professor at the School of Civil Engineering (ETSECCPB) of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya·BarcelonaTech (UPC), teaching courses in Soil Mechanics, Geotechnical Engineering, Geotechnical Projects and Constructions, and Life-Cycle Analysis and Sustainability Assessment for both Bachelor’s and Master’s programs in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Dr. Damians actively participates in various research projects funded by national and international programs, as well as industry-sponsored initiatives. He is a member of technical committees and professional societies including:

  • CTN-UNE 140/SC 7, developing standards like EN 1997-3 (Eurocode 7) and 104 (Geosynthetics)
  • TC218 Reinforced Fill Structures and TC307 Sustainability in Geotechnical Engineering of the ISSMGE
  • International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE) and the Sociedad Española de Mecánica de Suelos e Ingeniería Geotécnica (SEMSIG)
  • Current Secretary of TC-Soil Reinforcement at the IGS.

Dr. Damians is the author of several publications and an active reviewer of international journals in the sectors of soil reinforcement, geosynthetics, sustainability, numerical methods, and behavior of clays as a long-term insulation material for nuclear waste disposal facilities. Moreover, he supervises Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD theses in Geosynthetics at CIMNE/UPC·BarcelonaTech.

Links to online profile & publications:

Jabulile Msiza

(South Africa)

Over the past two years, I’ve had the honour of serving on the IGS Council alongside some brilliant fellow members whom I now regard as colleagues. Although all my activity has been rewarding, the following particularly standout – serving as vice chair of the Technical Committee on Barriers and Representing Africa and the Middle East as their Regional Activity Chair, particularly at a time GeoAfrica (Cairo) was held and the first named lecture series was announced.

I’m a Civil Engineer, Professionally registered, and specializing in Waste Engineering as a Consultant of the company Jones & Wagener Engineering and Environmental Consultants (J&W). I’m the Head of Department of a dynamic team of engineers, technologists and draughts persons servicing waste management facilities across South Africa and other African regions; I’m also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of J&W.

With over 18 years’ working experience, I’m passionate about design for environmental protection, particularly for waste management facilities, construction of barrier and capping systems, and promoting the understanding and appropriate use of geosynthetic materials. It is a humbling industry in that while many advancements have happened in the past few years, there’s still much to learn as installed systems are tested with time and various exposure conditions.

I’m a member of the Associations: South African Institute of Civil Engineers (SAICE), Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) Board Member, the South African Chapter of the IGS and the Institute of Waste Management of South Africa. I have been an elected council member of the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS) for the past four years and eager to continue serving in the future.

Jacek Kawalec


I am a chartered geotechnical expert with 30 years of engineering experience, including 22 years of research and teaching at Silesian University of Technology (SUoT) in Poland where I obtained my MSc. in Civil Engineering (1994) and PhD in Geotechnics (2000).

My IGS membership began in 2005 and my involvement in the society since then has been divided between national and international activities. In Poland, as President of the Polish Chapter, I organized an “Educate the Educators” course bringing together participants from three countries (Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia). In addition, I had the honor of serving as Chairman and leader of the Scientific Committee of the very successful IGS event – the regional EUROGEO-7 Conference, held in Warsaw in 2022.

My involvement at the international level includes membership in the IGS Council (as an invited and co-opted member between 2014-2020, and as an elected member from 2020 to present). As Chair of TC-Stabilization, I organized the joint TC-S & TC-H workshop in Prague in 2019. Over the years I have also contributed to various IGS committees, including Educational, Corporate & Publication Committees. Currently, I am focused on a special IGS session at the Railways 2024 Conference.

I would like to declare my continuous commitment to the Society, and if elected, I hope to continue this mission for the next 2024-2028 Council term.

Kasia Ria Zamara

(United Kingdom)

Dr Katarzyna (Kasia) Ria Zamara is a founding member of the IGS Diversity Task Force (DTF). She was instrumental in organising the first DTF event at the Rome ICG 2023 with continued strong contribution to DTF activities. Kasia is also an active member of the IGS Sustainability Committee, and Vice Chair of the IGS UK chapter. She has supported IGS since joining the organisation in 2009.

Kasia is proactive and keen to table new ideas designed to open new lines of thought and encourage innovation. She is successful in her personal career and seeks to inject this same level of energy and influence into the Council.

To find out why I am worth your vote, look me up on LinkedIn.

Maria das Graças A. Gardoni


Dr. Maria das Graças A. Gardoni, is a Professor at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil. She earned her PhD from the University of Brasilia with 1 year of research at École Polytechnique de Montréal, Montréal (Canada), and she completed a post-doctoral program at the Joseph Fourier University (UJF), Grenoble, France, and the National Research Institute of Science and Technology for the Environment and Agriculture (IRSTEA), Anthony, France, in 2011.

She has more than 30 years of experience in applied and laboratory research in geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering and geosynthetics. She has conducted research mainly on filtration and drainage, durability, waterproofing, and geotextile confinement systems in mining, dams. Prof. Gardoni has acted as an expert in tailings dam accidents in Brazil, and in waterproofing systems for dam reservoirs. She teaches geosynthetics in geotechnical and geoenvironmental applications in Civil and Environmental Engineering undergraduate and graduate courses and has supervised several MSc and PhD research projects.

She is a member of the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS) Council (2022-2024), the IGS Education Committee and was awarded by IGS in 2004. She is President of IGS Brazil (2023-2025), as well as the coordinator of the Educate the Educators program. In 2019, she received the Inconfidência Commendation, a medal awarded by the state government of Minas Gerais.

Song-Hun Chong


Dear IGS Members,

I am very pleased to apply to be a Council Member nominee on behalf of the Korean Geosynthetics Society (KGSS, IGS Korea Chapter). My short biography is as follows:

Song-Hun Chong, Ph.D. is an associate professor in Civil Engineering at Sunchon National University. He earned his PhD degree from Georgia Tech. My research group addresses the scientific and engineering development of geotextiles, geomembranes, and related products to stabilize geostructures. These research projects have been funded by National funding agencies and industry.

Because of my passion and profession for geosynthetic research, I expect to establish successful collaborations with many researchers in this area. Thank you in advance for your consideration of my application.


Song-Hun Chong, PhD
International Affairs Managing director of KGSS
Associate Professor
Department of Civil Engineering, Sunchon National University

Timothy D. Stark

(United States of America)

Timothy D. Stark (USA) is a Civil Engineering Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Stark has been conducting research on geosynthetics for 30 years ( Dr. Stark is Technical Director of the Flexible Geomembrane Institute, an industry-sponsored research organization at UIUC investigating geosynthetics for containment and other applications (

Dr. Stark is also an Editorial Board Member of the two IGS journals. Dr. Stark has received a number of awards including: 2023 J.E. Jennings Award, South African Institution of Civil Engineering; 2023 Cross USA Lecturer, ASCE; 2019 George H. Norman Medal, ASCE; 2017 Best Paper Award in Performance of Constructed Facilities Journal (ASCE); 2016 Best Paper in Geosynthetics International Journal, IGS; 2013 & 1998 Thomas A. Middlebrooks Award, ASCE, and others.

After serving as vice-president of IGS-North America, Dr. Stark was elected to IGS Council in 2020. He was then elected Chair of the IGS Pan American Committee Chair and helped reinvigorate this Committee. He is now serving as Chair of the IGS Education Committee, which is developing a certification program for geosynthetic engineers, chairing a subcommittee that is re-evaluating the EtE Program, and serving on the IGS Committee developing a Geosynthetics Handbook.