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BGA adopts international symposia role

The British Geotechnical Association has agreed to form the secretariat for an international series of symposia focused on instrumentation and monitoring.

The Australian city of Sydney is set to host the ninth International Symposium on Field Measurements in Geomechanics (FMGM) in September. Hopes for the success of this year’s conference are great as previous events in the series, which are staged every four years, have set a high standard.

Despite the achievements of past events, the FMGM symposia have never been run under a formal secretariat, but that is about to change. At the end of this year’s event, the British Geotechnical Association (BGA) will take over management of the secretariat in a bid to ensure future events continue to live up to expectations.

The FMGM events cover the use of instrumentation to monitor the performance of engineering structures.

Until now, FMGM has been run in an informal way, the responsibility for the symposia being handed over from one group to the next, essentially based on personal relationships. Chairpersons of previous symposia and their professional associates have functioned as a de facto secretariat. There have not been any fixed procedures, or even statutes, on how to proceed with the events in the future or how to organise FMGM as a whole.

Nevertheless, all previous symposia, since the first held in 1983, have been successful and have generated much international interest in the specialised topics covered.

According to the BGA, despite past successes arising from the de facto arrangement, there was no guarantee that such success would continue in future. As such, during the eighth International Symposium on FMGM, held in Berlin in 2011, a general assembly was held to discuss the future organisation of the FMGM. It was agreed that a formal secretariat should be established. The BGA was approached to act as a secretariat for FMGM and agreed to do so.

The new secretariat will be formed as a sub-committee of the BGA executive committee and will be comprised of people from the executive, existing FMGM supporters and other co-opted people. The new secretariat will have its own financial arrangements, sitting under the current BGA financial organisation. Adoption by the BGA is not intended to be a long-term solution and the association hopes that, by the time of the 2019 FMGM symposium, the secretariat will have become an independent entity. 

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