IGS Foundation News

ETE 2022 Brazil

Educate the Educators on Geosynthetics, Brazil

Brazil’s sixth ETE program took place between November 17 and 19 in a hotel in São Paulo for 3 days of immersion in the world of geosynthetics. It was a very fruitful exchange and exceeded the expectations of both students and instructors, especially Prof. Maria das Graças Gardoni, coordinator of the project.

Key facts:

  • location: São Paulo/SP, Brazil
  • 20 professors received instruction
  • lecturers: Maria das Graças Gardoni (UFMG), Delma Vidal (ITA), Ennio Palmeira (UnB) and Jorge Zornberg (University of Texas at Austin)
  • sponsors: Bidim Wavin, Engepol, Geo Soluções, Huesker, Maccaferri, Ober, TechGround and Geomembrane Geosynthetics

IGSF Sponsors Places At Young Engineers Conference

GeoAsia7Two students attended the Young Engineers Conference at the 7th Asian Regional Conference on Geosynthetics thanks to a grant from the IGS Foundation (IGSF).


Hafsa Farooq, from the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, and Meilani Adriyati, of Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan, were awarded scholarships for the event, which took place on the first day of the hybrid GeoAsia7 conference in Taipei, Taiwan, on October 31-November 4.

The funded places enabled them to meet peers – either virtually or in-person – from around the world, discuss their research projects and widen their knowledge, including learning from prestigious speakers including Professors Soon Hoe Chew, Junichi Koseki, Kerry Rowe, Fumio Tatsuoka and Abdelmalek Bouazza.


Both students said they appreciated the opportunity, which has made a significant impact on their ongoing studies.

Hafsa said: “I learnt about the vastness of my research area and the different experiments and technologies that are taking place worldwide, which will be helpful for my future endeavors.

“The conference was very interactive and the experiments and numerical investigations discussed by various presenters were valuable. In the future, I would wish to take part by presenting physically and involving myself more with face-to-face introductions and interactions with the famous and successful researchers.”

The conference speakers also made an impression on Meilani.

She said: “I met spectacular keynote speakers and invited lecturers in the geosynthetics world. The most special thing for me was meeting Dr. JP Giroud online because he is a pioneer of geosynthetics since 1970.

IGS-Foundation-Logo“I learned that geosynthetics have proven to be a sustainable solution in various civil engineering projects and are increasingly used as regular construction materials in transportation. Therefore, geosynthetics’ success is due mainly to high performance, easy construction, and a lot of sustainable benefits. The future development of geosynthetics technology, especially in transportation applications, will need to be safe, easily applied, economically friendly and sustainable.”

Established in 2019, the IGSF aims to support and extend the education efforts of the IGS. It has already built up nearly $100,000 in donations and provided grants and scholarships that have enabled free conference attendance, and supported research projects and educational initiatives.

IGSF Treasurer Boyd Ramsey said: “It’s imperative we offer young engineers the opportunities to learn at the cutting edge of industry developments, and access networks to advance their research. We’re delighted to again have once again provided the means to do this at GeoAsia7. The IGSF is keen to support other initiatives in this way so please get in touch.”

You can read more about the IGSF in its latest annual report. You can also visit its website where you can learn how to donate or apply for a grant.

job shadowing

Chapters: Join The IGS Job Shadowing Program

Play a leading role in supporting the next generation of geosynthetic engineers by signing up to the IGS Job Shadowing Program.

On-the-job learning is a priceless opportunity for a young person to gain real-world experience, build contacts, extend their network and gain an edge in the job market. It’s also a chance for businesses to give something back to the industry by hosting talented students.

The IGS Job Shadowing Program is an opportunity for chapters to launch their own virtual or in-person work experience schemes to help develop the careers of students and Young Members. The scheme officially launched at the EuroGeo 7 conference this month.

Thanks to a grant from the IGS Foundation (IGSF), a handy guide has been created and is available here (PDF), which explains more about how chapters can set up their own programs tailored to the needs of their membership.

The Foundation, supporting IGS efforts to widen the quality and availability of geosynthetics education, is also providing funding to chapters towards expenses such as lunch and travel if sessions are in-person.

Preston Kendall, of the IGS Young Members Committee, said: “Providing real-world opportunities are vital for students to gain practical understanding about our industry and progress their careers. Meanwhile, our corporate members can gain access to talented and ambitious students with minimal burden or interference with usual business. The IGS is here to help chapters launch their own schemes and I’d urge all chapters to apply today.”

Programs have already been implemented in IGS Australasia and IGS Brazil. You can read more about their approach, as well as feedback from students and businesses that have taken part, in the brochure.

Mr Kendall added: “The IGS is passionate about maximizing education and learning opportunities for our members and we’re very grateful to the support of a number of champions who helped make the launch of the scheme possible, including the IGSF, Dawie Marx, Amber Spears, Natália Correia and our communications partner Inquisitive Type.”

Chapters keen to take part should email youngmembers@geosyntheticssociety.org with an expression of interest.
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IGSF Helps Harness The Power Of Virtual Education

IGS-Foundation-LogoLast year the IGS Foundation (IGSF) supported the work of the IGS Educate the Educators (EtE) program to repackage its ‘Introduction to geosynthetics’ lecture, normally only delivered in-person, into a series of on-demand videos for students and educators.

The new resources built on an initiative already spearheaded by IGS Brazil in its EtE programs since 2020 – the use of virtual teaching sessions.

Thanks to a grant from the IGSF, the one-hour in-person lecture was reimagined as five bite-size videos. These were delivered by former IGS President Professor Jorge Zornberg while complementary videos presented by IGS Brazil Vice-President Maria das Graças Gardoni guided educators on how they could structure and present the virtual lessons to make them more interactive.

Less than a year into their launch, the impact of the initiative on its audience, users and creators has been significant.


Gardoni And Zornberg


Prof. Gardoni, an undergraduate professor at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, described the development of EtE in Brazil as “the realization of a dream”, knowing students would take the knowledge they gained into the diverse industries they were set to enter. Ensuring the videos were as interactive as possible was a key focus for Prof. Gardoni.

She said: “The video of the practical class on the application of geosynthetics in engineering works was created by me with the specific objective of consolidating the knowledge learned in the theoretical classes. But this class should have a dynamic and interactive character. I had been testing this interactive method – Integrated Panel and Geosynthetic Design – for many years in my undergraduate courses in civil and environmental engineering, and the results have always been outstanding. The results obtained with them in EtE have also been exceptional and the participants evaluate it as one of the best parts of the course.”

She added: “When I delivered these videos to the IGS I felt an indescribable happiness of someone who fulfilled their duty and, therefore, reached the goal of teaching with joy and lightness. When I received the final formatted video and saw those students analyzing and discussing each type, function, and main properties of geosynthetics, in another language, but with great enthusiasm, I must confess I was very thrilled and my feeling was ‘mission accomplished’.”

Prof. Zornberg similarly described delivering the videos as “an awesome experience”.

He said: “I have been delivering this content for quite some time, both as part of the EtE programs and to my own undergraduate students at the University of Texas at Austin. However, in this case I took the opportunity to rethink the educational strategy. You will see that I have made significant use of ‘inking’ [live annotation] as I believe this approach allows students to be ‘active’ while watching the video.”

Both acknowledged adopting a didactic approach to communicating the information was key for clarity and international accessibility.

Prof. Zornberg said: “Pedagogy and clarity were the overriding objectives in these videos because the goal was to ultimately reach every single undergraduate civil engineering student on the planet. This was not an easy goal, but the content needed to be such that it was understood by a wide range of students with different backgrounds.”

Prof. Gardoni said the use of videos – already a method of teaching in IGS Brazil’s EtE program since 2020 – scored highly with students when they evaluated quality of learning, quality of content, and course satisfaction.

ETE-2020 Graph
Graph shows the first evaluation made by participants immediately after the end of the Brazil EtE 2020 course.

Prof. Gardoni added: “I’d like to thank the IGSF and its donors for helping make this initiative possible. This pioneering project has elevated EtE to its rightful level, given the importance to have the ‘Introduction to geosynthetics’ information included in undergraduate university courses.

“I hope that the companies that invested so wisely in geosynthetics education at the beginning of the IGSF’s work will continue in this direction because education requires time to produce its fruits. There is no better way to reach a high goal in geosynthetics engineering than by means of education.”

Prof. Zornberg added: “Education is a long-term goal hard to quantify and value within the rewards system of typical corporations and industry partners. That’s why it is so important that the IGSF has stepped up to fill the gap on a need that may not have been emphasized enough by our industry because the results will not be immediately quantified on the balance sheet.

“I hope Chapters will be encouraged to conduct full-scale EtE programs and that educators will request such programs. Ultimately, I hope that all undergraduate students would graduate having heard (at least once) the term ‘geosynthetics’.”

IGSF Treasurer Boyd Ramsey said: “IGS Brazil pioneered virtual EtE teaching and thanks to the help of our generous donors we can develop and extend the benefits of these resources worldwide. This is another example of our donations in action, making such a widespread impact, and is why the Foundation does what it does.”

If you would like to donate, or request funding, simply visit the IGSF website.

*** IGS Brazil is set to hold its third EtE online in August, this year. Stay up-to-date with the chapter’s activities by visiting its website here.


GeoAsia7 Young Engineers Scholarships Launched!

The IGS Foundation and the IGS Young Member Committee is excited to announce the launch of a scholarship program for the GeoAsia7 Young Engineers Conference.  The GeoAsia7 Young Engineers Conference is scheduled to take place virtually on the 31st of October 2022. More details on the conference can be found below.


The following scholarships are available to IGS members under the age of 36 at the time of the conference:

  1. Fifteen scholarships for virtual registration to the Young Engineers Conference and GeoAsia7. This scholarship is open to all IGS Young members.
  2. Five travel grants of $500 each to attend the GeoAsia7 conference in person. This scholarship is limited to Young Members from the IGS Asia region.

To apply for a scholarship:

  1. Submit your abstract to the Young Engineers Conference at https://geoasia7.com/ and select “*Young Engineers Conference” as the subject.  The abstract deadline is the 30th of May.
  2. Fill in the application form for the scholarships at https://forms.gle/115YhAf4LMwAQMSAA . You will need your IGS number for the application form.
  3. Submit a two-page abbreviated CV, as well as a letter of recommendation from an IGS member to youngmembers@geosyntheticssociety.org . The title of your email should be “GeoAsia7 YM Scholarship – Your Name”.

The deadline for applying for these scholarships is the 14th of May.  For any questions please contact youngmembers@geosyntheticssociety.org

If there is no IGS chapter in your country, you can apply for individual membership at www.geosyntheticssociety.org/memberships/.  Student membership is free!

GeoAsia7 Young Engineers Conference

The Young Engineers Conference, scheduled to take place on the 31st of October at GeoAsia7, has adopted a virtual mode of delivery. This will allow Young Members from across the world to attend the Conference.

The Young Engineers Conference requires only a two-page extended abstract from participants and registration is only $60. This session will allow Young Members to present to their peers in an informal atmosphere. You can discuss pitfalls of your case history, future steps in your research work, or use the audience as a sounding board for current challenges in your work/research. Second authors of papers submitted to the main conference are also invited to present the results of that paper at this session. IGS Young Members are under the age of 36 at the time of the conference.

Conference home page: http://www.geoasia7.org/YoungEngineersConference.html


Australasian Chapter Launches New Conference

Pack your hat and sunscreen and head to the IGS’s newest conference this June – GEOANZ#1 in Brisbane, Australia.

Hosted by the Australasian chapter of the IGS, known as ACigs, the three-day event gathers eminent speakers and masterclasses themed around the topic of ‘Advances in Geosynthetics’.

The conference, which aims to be a biennial event, was a natural development following many successful ACigs education and outreach activities over the last few years including 30-plus webinars, Educate the Educator events and more.

Running June 7-9 at Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, the program begins with three masterclasses on advances in design and construction with geosynthetics for:

  • Hydraulic structures and environmental containment
  • Retaining structures, slopes and roadways
  • Mine tailings and closure applications

Keynote talks on the other days are set to cover topics including geo-environmental applications, reinforcement and stabilization, geosynthetics for mining, and sustainability, durability and innovation. There will also be a conference dinner and site tours.

Speakers include John Cowland, Boyd Ramsey, and Professors Craig Benson, Malek Bouazza, Timothy Stark and Jorge Zornberg.

Abstracts are also welcome with a deadline recently extended to February 28, at 5pm AEDT. Selected papers will be programmed for presentation in 20-minute slots giving a more informal structure to these sessions, encouraging greater involvement and a wider range of topics.

Ten student scholarships have been made available for ACigs members to attend GEOANZ#1 for free thanks to a donation from the IGS Foundation (IGSF), a charitable body set up to support the IGS’s educational aims. Apply here by March 31 if you qualify.

Chapter President Siamak Paulson said: “We’re incredibly excited to bring this new conference to members and the wider IGS and geosynthetics community. It’s important to be aware and maintain knowledge of developments and trends in the industry – that is how we improve and innovate – and this event is an ideal opportunity to learn about current challenges and solutions.

“We’re also delighted to be able to offer 10 student scholarships to members and we thank the IGSF for making this possible.

“While the conference is in the Australia/New Zealand region, we have invited distinguished speakers from overseas and are expecting participation from many surrounding countries such as Papua New Guinea and South East Asia. Also, we have so far received several abstracts from overseas presenters from Europe and the US who are expected to attend the conference.

“We aim to stage GEOANZ every two years and hope our inaugural event will be a lively and informative start to a key fixture in the IGS calendar.”

To register for GEOANZ#1, click here.

Last days to achieve “Founding Donor” status. Act by the end of 2021!

Join geosynthetics industry greats and become a Founding Donor of the IGS Foundation (IGSF) before it’s too late!

Give before the end of December 2021 and you will enjoy unique status as an inaugural donor to a charitable body dedicated to expanding opportunities, understanding and education in geosynthetics.

The IGSF was formed last year to help enhance the IGS’s educational efforts. Our thanks to donors including Platinum donors J.P. Giroud and Solmax and renewing Donors – FLI, FC Geosynthetics, FR Liners and others. The Foundation
has already provided scholarships to 19 students to attend the virtual GeoAmericas 2020 conference, Funded the digital versions of the IGS Educate the Educator program and recently announced funding to promote the IGS’s student Job Shadowing scheme.

New donors now have until December 31, 2021, to enjoy ‘Founding Donor’ status. Any financial contribution is welcome but new givers can climb the honor ladder depending on size of donation. Categories, which come with associated perks, are:

*IGS Hall of Fame: $100,000+
*Platinum: $25,000+
*Gold: $10,000+
*Silver: $5,000+
*Bronze: $1,000+

Treasurer of the IGSF Boyd Ramsey said: “Giving to the Foundation is a wonderful opportunity to help make real change in improving access to and growth of educational opportunities in our industry. The results are immediate and impact exponential, leaving a lasting legacy to the next generation of engineers.

“Being able to count yourself as a Founding Donor in a body with ambition and impact for your industry is an opportunity that should not be missed!”



Kent von Maubeuge joins the IGS Foundation Board of Trustees

The IGS Foundation welcomes Kent von Maubeuge to the Board of Trustees.  Kent has been involved in the geosynthetics industry for more than 30 years.  Across these decades, von Maubeuge has been a strong advocate for geosynthetics. He has served actively with various engineering professional associations and standards bodies, such as DIN, CEN, ISO, The Geosynthetic Institute and ASTM International. He has also served on the IGS Council, helped establish the IGS Technical Committee on Barrier Systems, and contributed numerous papers and lectures to technical conferences and professional societies around the world. For more than 20 years, he has lectured on engineering at the University of Applied Sciences in Ostwestfalen-Lippe and for the past 8 years he has also lectured at the University of Applied Sciences in Bielefeld.  He is a leader in the geosynthetics industry and his participation will help the Foundation and our industry grow and advance.

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IGS Foundation delivers Educate the Educator Videos

Civil engineering students can now access one of the IGS’s key geosynthetics lectures online thanks to the IGS Foundation (IGSF).

The ‘introduction to geosynthetics’ lecture, devised and supported as part of the IGS Educate the Educators (EtE) program, was traditionally given face-to-face. But the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on live events inspired the IGSF to create a digital version of the talk so it can be accessed anywhere at any time.

Presented by former IGS President Professor Jorge Zornberg, the one-hour lecture is designed for those new to geosynthetics and is split into five bite-size videos. It includes a guide for instructors on course content and learning outcomes, followed by sessions introducing geosynthetics, their types and functions, and concludes with a summary.

Complementary videos from Vice-President of IGS Brazil Professor Maria das Graças Gardoni suggest how instructors might want to structure and present the videos to create a more interactive and engaging experience for students.


To access the digital lectures, contact IGS Secretariat Manager Elise Oatman at igssec@geosyntheticssociety.org .

Find out more about the IGSF, becoming a Founding Donor, or applying for funding, by emailing the Secretary of the IGS Foundation: Admin@TheIGSFoundation.com.

Learn more about the IGSF by visiting this website and reading its first annual report.

Explore more IGS Educate the Educators initiatives here:  https://www.geosyntheticssociety.org/initatives/educate-the-educators/