With a long term commitment major European Research organizations in geotechnical engineering, each with a strong national position and working both in research, development and innovation, have joined forces since 2002 in the “European Large Geotechnical Institutes Platform” (ELGIP). Its 13 members employ in total over 2000 professional research staff. They have small and large scale experimental facilities as well as analytical and numerical simulation software.
Geotechnical engineering plays a key role in all civil engineering projects, since the built environment is based on or in the ground. Geotechnical engineering is the application of the science of soil and rock mechanics, engineering geology and other related disciplines to civil engineering design and construction, and to the preservation and enhancement of the environment. Avoiding geotechnical failures safe lives and costs.
Soil is a natural material having no uniform strength specifications. Because of natural heterogeneity of soil conditions and the complexities of soil behaviour large uncertainties and risks exist. The profession traditionally uses to large extend empirical solutions and regularly safety factors of 50% to account for unforeseen circumstances. Innovations will help in optimising design for construction and maintenance of buildings and infrastructures.
Nowadays we face many additional challenges, such as climate change, urbanisation, growing population, mobility and aging infrastructures, natural geo-hazards, depletion/reuse of natural resources for building materials, energy and water. Geotechnical scientific progress and engineering solutions have great potential and is essential in dealing with these challenges. Many solutions are underway in smarter use of the subsurface and its qualities and conditions. Better geotechnical risk assessments, monitoring and management add value.
Objectives of ELGIP
- Promotion of the geotechnical science in the network and of its societal relevance;
- Influencing the European research, development, innovation agenda and norm setting through networks;
- Being an active European network sharing facilities, field labs and experts in national and European projects;
- Leading the transition in geotechnical engineering sector to the new generation geo-engineer.