Message from the President

The message is included in the June 2014 ISSMGE Bulletin

Dear Members of ISSMGE,
Dear Colleagues,

Six months have already passed since I last wrote to you

Time flies, indeed. We all would like to get more things done. We get involved in so many different tasks that we often feel each single task does not progress quickly enough... C'est la vie!

I wish to summarise for you the main results of the work of the ISSMGE Board and of the Board Level Committees (BLCs) during the last few months.

The Board of ISSMGE met in London on the 18th and 19th March 2014, hosted by the Geotechnical Consulting Group (GCG) and the British Geotechnical Association (BGA, Chair: Chris Menkiti) – see picture at the end of this message. I also had invited the Chairs of the Board Level Committees (BLCs) to attend the meeting. A number of decisions were made that will be of interest to you.

Two of the BLCs have changed their name:

  • the PRC becomes the Professional Image Committee (PIC), Chair: Sherif Wissa (Egypt), Vice-Chair: Valérie Bernhardt (France) – the new name better reflects the main goal of the committee;
  • the SYMPG becomes the Young Members Presidential Group (YMPG), Chair: Jennifer Nicks (USA), Vice-Chair: Aleksandra Chepurnova (Russia) – the word 'Students' is now deleted, because the membership is only defined by the age (less than 35 years old); of course, most of our students will fall into this category!

As you might already know, the lives of our Technical Committees (TCs) are no longer linked to the term of office of the President of ISSMGE. They have their own life. New guidelines for the TCs had been drafted by the Technical Oversight Committee (TOC) under the direction of Suzanne Lacasse (Chair of the TOC from 2009 to 2013). These are presently being revised by the new TOC (Chair: Pierre Delage). The Board has already approved the recommendation for the term of office for the Chair of a TC. It is now fixed to a maximum of 2 consecutive periods each of 4 years duration. Thus, the Chair persons in charge for 8 years or more will step down. Since September 2013, some ten Chairs have already changed. The new Chairs have all been recommended by the present members of the corresponding TC. I have confirmed all of these nominations and I think that it is the best way to proceed. Our Secretary General, Neil Taylor, with the help of the TOC and of the Innovation and Development Committee (IDC, Chair: Dimitrios Zekkos) will soon be making available a database of TC membership within the ISSMGE website allowing the Member Societies to enter directly the names and contact details of their nominated members (2 full members maximum per MS, and an "unlimited" number of corresponding members). A web-based system should also allow the TCs to report easily about their activities at fixed time intervals.

The Corporate Associate Presidential Group (CAPG, Chair: Sukumar Pathmanandavel, Australia) has finalised its workplan for the 2013-2017 term. It is called "Towards state of the art in geotechnical practice" and can be found at:

The goal is "not only [to] enhance the commercial sector [...], but also improve and enhance the image and influence of the ISSMGE both within the geotechnical profession and the wider public". The fist step is to identify with the help of the ISSMGE and the CAs (and with all of you!) 30 companies around the world most appropriate for the first stage of targeting the CAPG's activities.

The YMPG is now composed of 19 members (the Chair and 3 members who have been nominated for 2 years by each of the 6 ISSMGE Vice-Presidents) – see: The Group includes 40 corresponding members and this number can be increased. YMPG's mission is to "To increase the attractiveness of the ISSMGE for younger generations of geotechnical engineers."
The YMPG has created 4 task forces named:

  • Website
  • Membership
  • Motivation Mechanisms
  • Communications & Marketing

Please also note that YMPG has now a representative in all the other BLCs. This should be very useful for our Young Members and provides them a route to reach ISSMGE Officers. Do not hesitate!

Our Webinars are going to resume in the very near future after a too long period of interruption. The format of delivery had to be changed, in order to keep their access free of any charge. The IDC proposed to the Board a solution whereby webinars would no longer be live, but instead be pre-recorded. The Questions & Answers facility will still exist. Questions should be submitted by e-mail and will be answered by the lecturer during a limited time frame. All the Q & A will then be posted on the ISSMGE website together with the video of the webinar. The Board was happy to endorse the proposal from the IDC. Paul Mayne, VP for North America, is now the lead Board member for the Webinars. He has already approached a number of potential lecturers on topics which we think will be very interesting to many of you!

Bye bye for now! I hope to be back soon with news for you in these columns. In the meantime, do not hesitate to write to any one of us, the Board members or the BLC Chairs, if you wish to clarify something or if you wish to raise a question about ISSMGE and its governance!

Roger Frank
Paris, 5th June 2014

board meeting march 2014 

Picture taken at the Board Meeting in London (March 2014)

First row: Prof. Charles W W Ng (Chair of AC), Dr. Jennifer E. Nicks (Chair of YMPG), Prof. Paul Mayne (Vice President for North America 2013 - 2017), Dr. Etienne Marcelin Kana (Appointed Board Member).

Second row: Prof. Mark Jaksa (Vice President for Australia 2013 - 2017), Prof. Ikuo Towhata (Vice President for Asia 2013 - 2017), Prof. Roger Frank (President of the ISSMGE), Christopher Menkiti (President of the BGA).

Third row: Prof. Pierre Delage (Chair of TOC), Prof. R N Taylor (Secretary General), Dr. Marc Ballouz (Appointed Board Member), Prof. Jean-Louis Briaud (Immediate Past President).

Fourth row: Dr. Sherif Wissa Agaiby (Chair of PIC), Prof. Fatma Elzahraa Aly Baligh (Vice President for Africa 2013 - 2017), Prof. Nicoleta RÇŽdulescu (Appointed Board Member).

Absent from the picture: Mr. Sukumar Pathmanandavel (Chair of CAPG) and Prof. Dimitrios Zekkos (Chair of IDC).