Testing Innovation Fellowship Program – Call for Applications

We are pleased to announce the launch of a new student fellowship program aimed at transitioning geosynthetics-related research to ASTM International (ASTM) standards and increasing student engagement in our professional organizations. The fellowship program will be jointly supported by the Geosynthetic Institute (GSI), the North America chapter of the International Geosynthetic Society (IGS-NA), and ASTM’s Committee D35 on Geosynthetics. The program aligns with the combined missions of GSI, IGS-NA, and ASTM to develop and transfer knowledge, geosynthetic technologies, and testing standards to positively impact education, public health and safety, consumer confidence, and overall quality of life.

Fellowship Details:

  • Fellows will be awarded $500 per year, over a maximum three-year period (maximum of $1,500 total per fellow). Up to five fellows can be supported concurrently in any given year.
  • Within the award period, each fellow must:
    • (1) Send in a brief annual report (not later than Nov. 30th) of the project status. After approval through the review committee, the $500 grant will be awarded during the 1st quarter of the next year.
    • (2) Prepare a draft of either a new ASTM standard or a substantially revised version of an existing standard, with oversight from their research advisor or relevant supervisor (by December 15th of the final fellowship year)
    • (3) Present the new/revised standard to the appropriate ASTM committee or the review committee supervisor(s) (latest during the first ASTM meeting after the fellowship program – typically in January or February).
  • As feasible, the fellow will be paired with a mentor to provide input for drafting the standard.

Eligibility: To apply for the fellowship, the applicant must be:

(1) a current student pursuing a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree at a college/university
(2) a current member of both ASTM D.35 and IGS-NA (student memberships are free for both! https://www.astm.org/studentmember/ , https://igs-na.org/join/)


  • Applicants may not submit multiple applications under this announcement.
  • The application requirements include:
    • (1) a brief (2 page maximum) description of the test method being utilized in their research and how they envision the method would support development of a new ASTM standard or significant revisions to existing standards
    • (2) the test method development must align with the mission and goals of the supporting organizations and be directly or indirectly related to the geosynthetic industry
    • (3) a letter of recommendation from their advisor, direct supervisor, or department head
  • Submit applications as a single PDF file via email to info@igs-na.org, attention: Dr. Kristin Sample-Lord, email subject line: “Fellowship application (your last name)”

Timeline (subject to change):

  • Application due date: 30 November 2021
  • Announcement of awardees: 15 December 2021
  • Fellowship starting date: 1 January 2022 (disbursement of award shortly after 1 January)

Note: If the grant recipient has a change in their fellowship eligibility status or decides to drop out of the fellowship program the Testing Innovation Fellowship organizers must be informed immediately in writing. A payback of the last fellowship award is only necessary if the termination occurs before May 1st of the year after the fellowship grant.

Gary Torosian, ASTM D35 Chair

John Allen, IGS-NA President

George Koerner, GSI Director

Our Chapter Involvement in Tailings and Mine Waste 2020

Tailings and Mine Waste 2020 went virtual this year and drew a huge crowd to all of the sessions.  The IGS-NA chapter is proud to be a supporting organization of this annual event that alternates between Keystone, Colorado, Banff, Alberta Canada and Vancouver, British Columbia Canada.  The Geosynthetics session was hosted by IGS-NA board members Kate Patterson and John Allen, who also serve on the conference organizing committee.  There were a 190 attendees in the geosynthetics session which featured papers by Anna Norris who is finishing her PhD at Colorado State University where she is investigating GCL permeability with tailings solutions and pregnant copper and gold solutions.  Pascal Saunier, PE shared his research on a new drainage geocomposite for dewatering tailings.  Dr. Mike Donovan presented his work on lighter and longer geosynthetic clay liners for use in mining applications.  While polymers are the backbone of the geosynthetics industry we continue to see new and innovative uses within all of these papers and the incorporation of new polymers. Dr. Raymond Guang shared his work on how to transfer the use of polyacrylamide polymers from dewatering tailings and apply it to dewatering of dredge materials.   On behalf of the moderators, organizing committee, and the IGS-North America we would like to thank all of our authors and speakers for contributing to a very successful Tailings and Mine Waste 2020.

Call for Nominations – IGS North America Board of Directors

We are excited to call for nominations for candidates stand for election to serve on the next IGS-NA Board (2021-23). The Mission of IGS-NA is to provide leadership in advancing geosynthetics education and research to attain their appropriate and widespread use as engineering materials as the Chapter of the International Geosynthetic Society (IGS) for the United States of America and Canada.

If you are interested in helping to develop the programming, services and leadership offered by IGS-NA, I encourage you to consider standing for office.

Seats open for the upcoming election are:

  • 1 Seat – President Elect, Each new President-Elect shall serve one 2-year-term of office in that capacity following which he/she shall serve one 2-year-term as President, followed by one 2-year-term as Past-President. As President-Elect, the successful candidate will be responsible for assisting the President and performing assignments directed by the President and/or Board.
  • 1 Seat – Treasurer, The Treasurer will serve a 2-year-term. The Treasurer is responsible for managing the finances of IGS-NA.
  • 2 Seats – Vice-President, Vice-Presidents will serve a 4 year term. Vice-Presidents are responsible for representing Members of IGS-NA and performing assignments directed by the President and/or Board.

The successful candidate will join President-Elect John Allen, Vice Presidents Ben Leshchinsky and John Lostumbo, and Past-President John McCartney to lead IGS-NA.

Important Dates & Deadlines

August 30 to November 15, 2020 – Call for Nominations
December 15, 2020 to January 10, 2021 – Election by electronic ballot
February 21 to 24, 2021 – Newly elected Board Members will take office at the next General Assembly of the IGS-NA to be held during Geosynthetics Conference 2021.

To nominate someone else or yourself please email the requested information to Info@IGS-NA.org.

Please include your: name, title, company/institution/organization name, address, email address & phone number as well as 150 word description about your involvement in the geosynthetics industry and your reason(s) for running for the seat. Please also include one photo of yourself. Nominees must a Member in good standing of IGS-NA at the time of submission of the nomination.

If you have any questions or need more information please contact the Chair of the IGS-NA Nomination Committee and Past-President Richard Brachman (brachman@queensu.ca).

Attend the IGS-NA Workshop at Geosynthetics Conference 2020: CASE STUDIES

This four-hour workshop is organized by the North American Chapter of the International Geosynthetics Society. It includes a happy hour reception and is open to all conference attendees. Additional fee applies. For more information, visit geosyntheticsconference.com/igs-na-workshop.

Changing practice by changing education – IGS North America Educates the Educators

January 30, 2020

IGS North America successfully held their third Educate the Educators (EtE) event on December 9-10, 2019 at the University of California, San Diego.  Richard Brachman (Queen’s University), John McCartney (University of California, San Diego) and Ben Leshchinsky (Oregon State University) served as the Instructors.  After one-half-day on the fundamentals of geosynthetics, the remainder of the two-day event provided specialized technical training on environmental, transportation and reinforcing applications of geosynthetics.

The 2019 EtE class was comprised of 22 professors (19 from the USA, 3 from Canada) at the Assistant to Associate Professor rank who all want to teach geosynthetics in their courses.

They were the ideal target audience for EtE as one-third initially identified as geosynthetic novices while the rest had intermediate knowledge on geosynthetics.  This served as an excellent common starting point for lectures and discussions aimed at equipping our class with new knowledge and materials to teach geosynthetics.

EtE 2019 was made possible with the generous financial support of TenCate Geosynthetics, Cetco / Mineral Technologies, Solmax, Huesker and the International Geosynthetics Society.  Sponsor representatives John Lostumbo, Adam Maskal, and Lilma Schimmel were also part of the instructional team.  In addition to delivering high-quality technical case histories, their active, hands-on involvement in the geosynthetics identification workshop was a key part of the training we offered.

IGS North America believes education is essential to attain the appropriate and widespread use of geosynthetics as engineering materials.  Educate the Educators (EtE) was developed and offered in conjunction with the International Geosynthetics Society and industry partners to provide specialized, hands-on training and lecture materials to equip Professors to offer effective geosynthetics content at their own schools.  Special thanks are expressed to Jorge Zornberg (University of Texas at Austin) and Richard Bathurst (Royal Military College of Canada) for sharing their transportation and reinforcement notes with our class.

IGS-NA Mission

The Mission of IGS North America is to provide leadership in advancing geosynthetics education and research to attain their appropriate and widespread use as engineering materials as the Chapter of the International Geosynthetic Society (IGS) for the United States of America and Canada.

About IGS-NA

IGS-NA (The North American Chapter of the International Geosynthetics Society) is an organization in which individual and student members comprise the learned society whose mission is to support the development of geosynthetics technologies through education, communication and networking. Towards those goals we organize short courses on a variety of geosynthetic topics (typically 3–5 per year), organize or participate as co-organizers and sponsors of conferences such as the Biannual Geosynthetics Conferences put on in odd years with IFAI and GMA, various conferences with the Geosynthetics Research Institute, ASCE, and other local and regional organizations. In many instances, IGS-NA provides the technical arm to develop the technical portion of the conference sessions. Our members are eligilble to participate in all IGS-NA and IGS events and receive discounts in accordance with the individual guidelines of each conference and are typically substantial enough to compensate for the IGS-NA membership fee with just one event registration. Programs sponsored by IGS-NA at our events include Student Award program, Awards of Excellence and others, all of which provide public and financial recognition to the award recipients.

Educate the Educators 2019 – Call for Applications

IGS-NA’s Educate the Educators on Geosynthetics: Call for Applications
UC San Diego – December 9-10, 2019
As the Learned Society for geosynthetics in North America, IGS North America (IGS-NA) is pleased to call for applications to Educate the Educators 2019. This is a focussed, 2-day, specialized training event where leading experts and educators will equip college and university Professors to teach geosynthetics at their schools. Participants need only to pay their travel costs to La Jolla California. Funding from industry, the International Geosynthetics Society and the Members of IGS North America will be used to run the event and host our participants. For additional details, please visit: Educate the Educators 2019

FREE December 4 Webinar on Geosynthetic-Stabilized Roads

On December 4, Dr. Jie Han (University of Kansas) will present the next IGS North America webinar. His topic: “Recent Developments in Geosynthetic-Stabilized Roads: Introduction and Mechanisms.” The free event is part of the new IGS North America – GMA webinar series. Time for the presentation will be 1:00 – 2:00 pm EST.


December 4 Webinar - Geosynthetic-Stabilized Roads Webinar


Geotextiles, geogrids, and geocells have been used widely in roadway stabilization works throughout the world. In this webinar, Dr. Jie Han will deliver an introduction to geosynthetics in roadway engineering. His presentation will focus on the mechanisms involved in geosynthetic stabilization of unpaved and paved roads. Dr. Han is one of the leading practitioners in this area of geosynthetic design and research, and his work has contributed significantly to field understanding on how we can improve soil mechanical properties with geosynthetics and how these design decisions may involve two different functions/mechanisms—reinforcement and stabilization—which depend on geosynthetic/soil properties and loading conditions. The webinar will illustrate the differences and relationships between reinforcement and stabilization by geosynthetics in roads and discuss the selection of proper geosynthetics for specific applications based on controlling mechanisms.

Dr. Jie Han is the Glenn L. Parker Professor of Geotechnical Engineering in the Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering Department at the University of Kansas. He has nearly 30 years of teaching, research, and practical experience in geotechnical and pavement engineering focused on geosynthetics and ground improvement. Dr. Han has authored more than 300 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers as well as the text Principles and Practice of Ground Improvement.

Date: December 4
Time: 1:00 – 2:00 pm EST
Cost: Free


Ben Leshchinsky Leads November 1 GMA-IGS North America Webinar

Ben Leshchinsky

Dr. Ben Leshchinsky

On November 1, Dr. Ben Leshchinsky (Oregon State University) will present the next IGS North America webinar. His topic is one of the biggest topics in the field right now: “A Different Approach towards Limit State Design of Geosynthetic-Reinforced Soil Structures.”

This online event is FREE to industry professionals and students. It’s part of a new series of webinars jointly hosted by the Geosynthetic Materials Association and IGS North America.


Date: November 1
Time: 1:00 – 2:00 pm EST


Conventional design of geosynthetic-reinforced soil structures is divided into two categories, walls and slopes, based on the batter of the facing system. Internal stability, characterized as sufficient reinforcement anchoring and strength, is performed using earth pressure-based design criteria for reinforced walls, while reinforced slopes are founded on limit equilibrium (LE) slope stability analyses. LE analyses are also used to assess the global or compound stability of both types of structures, accounting for the geometry of the reinforced, retained, and foundation soils.

A Different Approach towards Limit State Design of Geosynthetic-Reinforced Soil Structures

The application of LE-based methods typically results in determination of a slip surface corresponding to the lowest attained Safety Factor (SF), known as the Factor of Safety (Fs); however, it yields little information about reinforcement or connection loading. In this presentation, Dr. Ben Leshchinsky will show how the use of the analyzed spatial distribution of SF (known as a Safety Map) can be modified to attain a prescribed constant Fs at any location in the reinforced soil mass. This modified framework directly enables the determination of a Tension Map that illustrates the required distribution of reinforcement tension to attain a prescribed state of equilibrium. To illustrate the utility of the Limit State framework, a series of instructive examples will be presented. The results of this design approach demonstrate the effects of facing elements, closely-spaced reinforcements, and secondary reinforcement layers. Comparison will also be provided to conventional design approaches.

Ben Leshchinsky, Ph.D., P.E. is an associate professor in geotechnical engineering at Oregon State University. His primary research interests focus on slope stability, reinforced soil, and applications of geomechanics towards assessment of natural hazards.


IGS North America 2019 Photo Contest Is Now Open

The IGS North America 2019 Photo Contest is open to all members of IGS North America. The contest will be open 1 October – 15 December 2018. First, second, and third place winners will be announced in February during the IGS North America General Assembly held at Geosynthetics 2019 in Houston, Texas.

Click on the pictures below to view the 2017 winners.

Take advantage of this great opportunity to demonstrate geosynthetics in action!  All entries should include a photo title, description, and photo credit.

  • Photos should clearly display a geosynthetic type/function in use
  • Photos should provide a clear understanding of what geosynthetic type/function or event is being demonstrated
  • Contestants must be an IGS-NA member in good standing

Contest photos will be used to promote the exemplary work of the geosynthetics community, raise awareness of the importance of your expertise, and add to the beneficial dialogue between professionals and the larger engineering community. Credit to the winning submissions will be given. Promote your work. Promote your field.

Submit photos here.  Thank you for your participation in the 2019 Photo Contest!

If you have questions about the IGS-NA Photo Contest, please contact info@igs-na.org.


Not a member? Join now, gain access to valuable engineering resources (such as the official journals of the International Geosynthetics Society), and share your work through the photo contest! 

IGS North America 2019 Elections – Call for Nominations

The Mission of IGS North America is to provide leadership in advancing geosynthetics education and research to attain their appropriate and widespread use as engineering materials in the United States and Canada. We encourage all members interested in playing a larger role in leadership and program and service development to consider standing for office with IGS-NA.

Nominations for the following seats are accepted through 30 September 2018:

1 Seat – President Elect. Serves one 2-year-term of office in that capacity followed by one 2-year term as President and an additional 2-year term as Past-President. As President-Elect, the successful candidate will be responsible for assisting the President and performing assignments directed by the President and/or Board.

2 Seats – Vice-President. Serves a 4-year term. Vice-Presidents are responsible for representing Members of IGS-NA and performing assignments directed by the President and/or Board.

To nominate someone or yourself, email info@IGS-NA.org.

Please include the nominee name, title, company/institution/organization, address, email, and phone. Also, please include a 150-word description about the nominee’s involvement in the geosynthetics industry and reason(s) for running for the seat. Please also include a photo of the nominee.


  • 1 – 30 September 2018 – Call for Nominations
  • 1 – 15 December 2018 – Election by electronic ballot
  • 19 – 21 December 2018 – Successful candidates notified. Announcement made.
  • 10 – 13 February 2019 – Newly elected Board Members take office at the IGS North America General Assembly, to be held in Houston, Texas during Geosynthetics 2019.


If you have any questions or need more information, please contact the Chairman of the IGS-NA Nomination Committee and Past-President John Henderson (j.henderson@tencategeo.com).