Current Mercer Speakers

2017/2018 Mercer Lecture - More details coming soon


Previous Mercer Speakers


Professor Jorge Zornberg, The Unversity of Texas

Dr. Zornberg, P.E., is Professor and William J. Murray, Jr. Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin. He earned his B.S. from the National University of Cordoba (Argentina), his M.S.  from the PUC of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), and his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. He has over 25 years’ experience both in research and practice in geotechnical, geosynthetics, transportation, and geoenvironmental engineering. Prof. Zornberg participated in  the analysis, design and forensic evaluation of retaining walls, reinforced soil structures, transportation systems as well as mining and waste containment facilities. He has served as  expert witness in cases involving the collapse of earth retaining structures, failure of barrier systems, and failure of pavements and structures on expansive clays. Prof. Zornberg  conducts research on soil reinforcement, geosynthetics, earth retaining structures, pavements, waste containment and mining facilities,unsaturated soils, and numerical and physical (centrifuge) modeling of geotechnical systems. He teaches graduate courses at the University of Texas on Earth Retaining Structures and on Geoenvironmental Engineering. Prof. Zornberg served as president of the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS) during the period 2010-14. He has authored over 350 technical publications, edited a number of publications and book chapters, and been awarded three patents. Prof.Zornberg has been invited to deliver keynote lectures in numerous events around the world. He received many prestigious awards, including ASCE’s Croes medal and Collingwood Prize, IGS’ Award and Young Member Award, as well as the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers(PECASE) awarded by President George W. Bush to Prof. Zornberg in 2002.


Dr Heibaum

Dr Heibaum has many years of experience with the evaluation and application of geosynthetics in hydraulic engineering and currently heads up the Geotechnical Engineering Department of the Federal Waterways Engineering and Research Institute in Germany. He has also been heavily involved in research, consulting and teaching in geotechnical engineering, bank protection including impervious linings, geosynthetics and sheet piles; using physical and numerical models. Special works among others, include geotextiles in revetments, coastal protection works, geosynthetic containers for scour protection and all kind of revetments and impervious linings of navigation canals. A full list of Dr Heibaums's publications is available for you to download here.


Professor Junichi Koseki

Professor Junichi Koseki established the Koseki Lab which researches Geotechnical Engineering, on the 1st November 1994 when he was assigned as an associate professor at the Institute of Industrial Science (IIS) based that the University of Tokyo. Later, he was promoted to professor in November 2003. He has a specific interest in the properties of soil deformation and their failure, as well as their effects on structural performance.


Dr. Ennio M Palmeira, University of Brazil

Prof. Ennio M. Palmeira obtained his BSc and MSc degrees in Civil Engineer, from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil , in 1977 and 1981, respectively. He holds a PhD degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Oxford, UK, 1987. In both his MSc and PhD theses he conducted researches on the use of geosynthetics for soil reinforcement. He was a member of the Council of the International Geosynthetics Society for 12 years and chair of the Education and South American Activities committees of that society. He also founded the Brazilian Chapter of IGS and was its first president. Prof. Palmeira has over 300 publications in journals and conferences on different applications of geosynthetics in geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering. He is a member of the Brazilian Academy of Science (since 1987), has received the Scientific Merit Award from the Brazilian Presidency (2008) and was two times recipient of the IGS Award. He is a member of the editorial boards of the journals Geosynthetics International and Geotextiles and Geomembranes, editor of the journal Soils and Rocks, published by the Brazilian Geotechnical Society, and has served as assessor for several international journals. At the present time he is Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Brasilia, Brazil.


Professor Jean Pierre Giroud, JP Giroud Inc

Dr. Giroud, a former professor of geotechnical engineering, is a consulting engineer under JP GIROUD, INC., and Chairman Emeritus and founder of GeoSyntec Consultants. Dr. Giroud is chairman of the editorial board of Geosynthetics International, past president of the International Geosynthetics Society (the IGS) and Member of the US National Academy of Engineering.

He coined the terms "geotextile" and "geomembrane" in 1977 and has authored over 350 publications. He has developed many of the design methods used in geosynthetics engineering (in particular for unpaved roads, filters and liner systems) and has originated a number of geosynthetics applications, in particular for landfills, liquid impoundments, and dams. In 1994, the IGS named its highest award "The Giroud Lecture", "in recognition of the invaluable contributions of Dr. J.P. Giroud to the technical advancement of the geosynthetics discipline".

In 2002, Dr. Giroud became Honorary Member of the IGS with the citation "Dr. Giroud is truly the father of the International Geosynthetics Society and the geosynthetics industry". In 2005, Dr. Giroud has been awarded the status of "hero" of the Geo-Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and has delivered the prestigious Vienna Terzaghi Lecture in Austria. In 2005-2006 he presented the Mercer Lectures, a prestigious lecture series endorsed jointly by the IGS and the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, and sponsored by Tensar International. In 2007, J.P. Giroud became Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Bucharest (Romania) and in 2008 he delivered the ASCE Terzaghi Lecture, the highest honor bestowed on a geotechnical engineer by the ASCE


Professor Richard Bathurst, Royal Military College of Canada

Dr. Bathurst graduated from Queen's University with a BASc in Civil Engineering in 1976 and a Master's degree in Civil Engineering in 1978. He began his professional career with Golder Associates in Toronto as a member of engineering teams working on large geotechnical projects in Elliot Lake and in Trinidad. In August 1980, Dr. Bathurst began his academic career as a Lecturer in the Civil Engineering Department at the Royal Military College of Canada. In 1985, while employed as an Assistant Professor at RMC, he earned his PhD in Geotechnical Engineering from Queen's University. He was promoted to the rank of full Professor in 1991. Since 1996, Dr. Bathurst has been cross-appointed to the Queen's Civil Engineering Department at Professor rank, and from 1999 as an Adjunct Professor with the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Waterloo. Dr. Bathurst is a founding member of the GeoEngineering Centre at Queen's-RMC, which is a multi-disciplinary group of professors and students in geotechnical, geoenvironmental, geosynthetics, geological and mining engineering, and hydrogeology.

The main focus of Dr. Bathurst's research has been in the area of geosynthetic reinforced soil wall technologies. He has also carried out research on the mechanics of particulate media, railway track design and performance, highway pavements and drainage, geosynthetics in reinforcement applications and earthquake engineering, geosynthetic barrier systems in harsh environments, development of geosynthetics-related test protocols, geotechnical instrumentation, geosynthetics for flood control structures, saturated/unsaturated hydraulics of geosynthetics, numerical modelling and reliability-based design of reinforced soil retaining wall systems


Professor Alan McGown, University of Strathclyde

Alan McGown began his professional career as a Consulting Engineer on a number of design projects. He was then invited to join the staff of the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Strathclyde and since then has been engaged in a wide range of Industrial and Governmental research, development and consultancy projects.

Alan has served on B.S.I., A.S.T.M. and ISSMFE Technical Committees. Also, he is a Past Chairman of the British Geotechnical Society, the ISSMFE Technical Committee on Geotextiles and Geomembranes and the ISSMFE European Technical Committee on Reinforced Soil. During his career, he has been involved in the development of Geotextiles, Geogrids, Geomembranes and Related Polymeric Materials and has pioneered the development of all the major ranges of products manufactured in United Kingdom and been instrumental in the establishment of the technical support for the exporting of these materials. These products are now used world-wide in an extensive range of public works, including road embankments, slopes, drainage systems, sea defences, landfills and waste disposal rehabilitation projects.


Professor Fumio Tatsuoka, University of Tokyo

Professor Fumio Tatsuoka who well known internationally for his important contributions to the advancement of geosynthetics, particularly in the area of retaining wall and slope reinforcement applications.

Dr. Tatsuoka is a Professor of Geotechnical Engineering at the University of Tokyo. He is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Soils and Foundations and serves on the editorial boards of the ASTMGeotechnical Testing Journal, Geosynthetics International and the journal of Ground Improvement. He also serves on the Council of the IGS and is Chairman of Technical Committee 29 of the ISSMFE. In addition to his expertise in soil reinforcement using geosynthetics, his research interests span a wide range of other geotechnical engineering applications including: laboratory testing and constitutive modeling of soils and rock, soil-structure interaction, and soil-cement stabilization techniques. His work has been recognized by many awards including the 1994 International Geosynthetics Society Award for "Development ofGeosynthetic Reinforced Soil Wall Technologies" and the 1996 ASTM Hogentogler Award for "Measurement of Small Strain Stiffness of Soils and Rocks".


Professor Jean-Pierre Gourc, University of Grenoble

Professor Jean-Pierre Gourc is currently the Professor of Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering at Grenoble University. His fields of expertise include geomechanics, geosynthetics, bio-hydro-mechanics of waste & landfill confinement.

He is also the Manager of a research team "Hydro-Mechanical Behaviour of Waste and Geosynthetics" at the LTHE Grenoble University. The research conducted by this team are mainly related to geosynthetics soil interaction, laboratory tests for standardization, numerical modelling, design and large scale experimentation, and environmental engineering applications such landfills for nuclear, industrial and biodegradable wastes, and geocomposite barriers systems for waste confinement.

Jean-Pierre has authored 80 technical papers in the field of Geosynthetics and Environmental Engineering, as well as being the author of several invited lectures. His work has been recognised by receiving the Award of Excellence 1999 – North American Geosynthetics Society and IGS Geosynthetics Society Award for the CD-Rom "Retaining Structures with Geosynthetics".


Professor Robert M. Koerner, Geosynthetic Institute

Dr. Robert M. Koerner's (Emeritus Professor of Civil Engineering at Drexel University and Director of the Geosynthetic Institute) interest in geosynthetics spans thirty years of teaching, research, writing and consulting. He holds his Ph.D. in Geotechnical Engineering from Duke University. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Pennsylvania, an Honorary Member of ASCE, and a member of the U. S. National Academy of Engineering. Professor Koerner has authored and co-authored 600+ papers on geosynthetics and geotechnical topics in journals and at national and international conferences. His most widely used publication is the fifth edition of the textbook entitled "Designing with Geosynthetics".

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