50 delegates from 26 European countries nominated by their respective Member Societies gathered in Barcelona in September for the 23rd European Young Geotechnical Engineers Conference (EYGEC-2014). The Conference was organized by the Department of Geotechnical Engineering and Geosciences of the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC) on behalf of the Spanish Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering. The organizing committee was chaired by Professors Marcos Arroyo and Antonio Gens and composed by Ph.D. students and Postdocs, several of whom had themselves participated in previous EYGEC meetings. The Conference took place in the main lecture theatre of the Civil Engineering School. Conference participants, including senior lecturers, were lodged together in a Students Residence close to the Conference venue.
The Conference lasted for three days, the first two were devoted to lectures and presentations and a technical visit was organized for the third day. A welcome reception was offered during the evening prior to the Conference. In the opening ceremony, chaired by Sebastià Olivella (Dean of the Barcelona Civil Engineering School), the President of the ISSMGE, Roger Frank, addressed the delegates with an overview of the International Society’s role, objectives and activities. Special mention was made of the Young Members Presidential Group as the most suitable way for the Conference attendants to engage with the ISSMGE.
Oral presentations were made by all delegates; a consistently high standard of both presentations and technical content was achieved; no doubt reflecting the fact that all participants had been especially selected by their National Societies. In addition,
Professors César Sagaseta (University of Cantabria) and Lidija Zdarvkovic (Imperial College) were invited to deliver special lectures to the Conference. Lectures were also presented by Professors A. Gens and A. Ledesma from UPC. Discussion of presentations and lectures was often lively, filling the time allocated without difficulty.
Participants had to submit papers summarising their work in advance of the Conference that were subjected to review and revision before publication. Although, in accordance with the EYGEC guidelines issued by the ISSMGE, there was no conference theme, it was possible to structure papers and presentations around a number of topics: Experimental studies and constitutive models, Dynamics problems, Pile foundations, Geo-environmental problems, Marine geotechnics, Soil improvement, Geo-hazards, and Soil-structure interaction.
All papers have been collected in a Proceedings volume; the electronic version can be downloaded from the Conference website
A prize was awarded to the best paper and presentation. It was won by Audrey Huckert from France for the contribution: “Experimental and numerical approaches of the design of geosynthetic reinforcements overlying voids”. Runner-ups were Henri de Chaunac (Belgium) and Çağdaş Arda (Turkey).
On the third day of the Conference, there was Technical visit to the Sagrera station works that involve a very large anchored excavation and water table drawdown operations. The Sagrera station will become the main transport hub of Barcelona linking high speed train lines with conventional railway, bus station and two metro lines. Participants went on to visit the Sagrada Familia church, in the vicinity of which a tunnel for the high-speed train had been recently constructed sparking strong public controversy.
Fortunately there was also time for social events. In the first evening, a cooking workshop was held in which participants enthusiastically learnt to produce a variety of Spanish tapas. And the results were consumed during dinner with the same enthusiasm! On the second day, the Conference dinner was held in which the award for best paper/presentation was presented. The full set of photographs taken during the Conference is available in the Conference website
Following the long tradition of the EYGEC meetings, the Conference provided an excellent opportunity for promising young geotechnical engineers to present their work, discuss their results, share experiences and, of course, make new friends and