Know of directly useful geotechnical research? Speak up!

Know of directly useful geotechnical research? Speak up!

Research in applied fields of practice, e.g. Engineering, Education, Medicine, aims to improve existing practices and create new ones. Such research is deemed to be useful if improvements and new practices are indeed being applied. Hence, the litmus test for the direct usefulness of research projects in applied fields is whether their results have been used in practice.

This test can be performed by asking for their input the intended recipients of the research results, i.e. engineering consultants and contractors, instructors, physicians. Strangely, although the need for performing usefulness tests has been recognized (Sullivan et al., 2014), reporting on test outcomes is scarce (Fraser et al., 2018).

The purpose of this communication is to bring to the fore research papers directly useful to the practice of geotechnical engineering and geotechnical engineering education.

If you are a geotechnical engineering practitioner or a geotechnical engineering educator and you have used research results published in the literature by a third party unrelated to you, click on this link to share with us the reference of the published research and describe briefly which specific results you have incorporated in a project (for geotechnical engineering) or a course (for geotechnical engineering education).

If you are a geotechnical engineering researcher and the results of your research have been incorporated in state, national or international codes/regulations, please respond, provided that the research has not been commissioned nor funded by the agency promulgating the code/regulation. Click on this link to share with us the research publications with the findings incorporated in the codes/regulations, as well as references to the codes/regulations, and explain to us the relationship of what is stipulated in the code/regulation to your research findings.

This blog focused on three strong ideas: i) directly useful research is research being used in practice (engineering practice or teaching); ii) the intended recipients of research are the ultimate arbiters of its direct usefulness; iii) dissemination of directly useful research should be promoted. Hence, this survey.

Speak up and reply to this blogpost. Share examples of useful research with your colleagues and help close the gap between state of art and state of practice. In order to keep the focus on research results deemed useful by third-party users, please avoid sending research results produced and applied by the same or a related research team or co-produced by industry-academia teams or commissioned/funded by regulatory agencies.

About the author

Marina Pantazidou is the ISSMGE-TC306 (Geo-Education) Chair and associate professor at the National Technical University of Athens, Greece. Her 30-year professional experience includes university appointments in the US and Greece and work in hazardous waste consulting. Her research topics are drawn from environmental geotechnics and engineering education.


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To debate past, current and future issues in Geotechnical Engineering, the Time Capsule Project is welcoming and publishing short articles on the ISSMGE website.

We challenge you to write 200-400 words on any topic that will generate debate within the Geotechnical Engineering profession. Click here to submit your message for consideration.

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