NSF, Arlington, Virginia

​July 17 - 19, 2016

Open Announcement

The organizing committee is pleased to announce that a two-and-half-day NSF sponsored workshop will be held July 17-19, 2016 at the National Science Foundation. For more information visit  The workshop will focus on fundamental principles that underlie current and anticipated developments in geotechnical engineering. The organizing committee consists of Professors Ning Lu (Colorado School of Mines), Susan Burns (Georgia Institute of Technology), Patricia Culligan (Columbia University), and Carlos Santamarina (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology).

Fundamental principles in physics, chemistry, biology, and thermodynamics provide the essential knowledge needed to address emerging challenges and to advance new engineering possibilities in the broad field of geotechnology. These possibilities range from novel opportunities in bio-mediated ground modification, to unanticipated emergent phenomena in subsurface energy exploration and storage. The complex inter-dependences and interactions among hydrological, chemical, thermal, biological, and mechanical processes in natural settings and engineered geo-systems, from the pore-grain scale to the macro-engineering scale, are pushing the boundaries of current understanding, indicating the need for new content in research and educational programs in geotechnology. The purpose of the workshop is to provide an open forum for different experts to meet and discuss common, fundamental research and education themes that underlie geotechnical engineering. The goals of the workshop are to: (1) identify clear milestones in fundamental research that sustain the geotechnical engineering field, (2) document current development in the field and capture visions for future research, (3) identify gaps and needs, as well as applications that hold the greatest potential for impact, and (4) explore approaches for enhancing the teaching of fundamental principles in geotechnical engineering. The workshop is intended to cut-across a variety of important knowledge areas including, but not limited to: geobiology, geochemistry, hydromechanics, heat transfer, and electrical phenomena.

We anticipate an attendance of about 40 people representing a range of technical backgrounds and career stages. The participants will be selected so as to include a combination of senior, intermediate and junior level faculty from U.S. universities, with a few attendees from overseas. Up to one-third of the total attendance will be selected from those people responding to this open announcement. All participants will receive support to attend the workshop. A workshop website will be set-up to prepare for the workshop and to disseminate workshop findings after the event to the broader community. A post-workshop volume, consisting of a series of state-of-the-art review articles on the covered themes covered, will also be published. A report describing recommendations for future research and education needs in geotechnical engineering will be prepared by the workshop organizing committee and included in material on the website and in the post-workshop volume.

Anyone interested in participating in this workshop should submit a one-page summary including: (1) your name and full corresponding address; (2) the theme(s) you would like to contribute to and your vision statement on the theme(s): (3) a description of your interest or/and accomplishments in the knowledge/ fundamental areas noted above; (4) your availability to attend the workshop, and (5) your level of commitment to contribute to the review articles for the post-workshop volume. Please send this summary to: Dr. Alexandra Wayllace, coordinator of the workshop ( before August 15, 2015. If you have any questions regarding the workshop, please contact Dr. Ning Lu, chair of the workshop (

NSF, Arlington, Virginia

July 17 - 19, 2016