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Geotechnical Performance and Climatic Effects

Final Report Summary - GEO-PACE (Geotechnical Performance and Climatic Effects)

The Marie Curie Career Integration Grant 'Geotechnical Performance and Climatic Effects (GEO-PACE)' undertaken by Dr Philip Vardon has now been finalised. The grant has allowed Dr Vardon to integrate into his new university (Delft University of Technology) and into a new scientific funding system while continuing a high level of research output.

The proposal aimed to investigate the impact of climatic change on slopes as a major part of geotechnical infrastructure. Such infrastructure is pervasive around the world as a cost-effective method of forming topographical change for highway embankments/cuttings, flooding defences and retaining walls. Much of the infrastructure is aging and there are significant costs in maintaining it, for example over €800m per year in the Netherlands.

An investigation into the potential effects of more extreme weather due to climate change and how this could affect the stability and reliability of geotechnical slopes was proposed. The work aimed to develop robust understanding of the processes and produce computational numerical tools that could be used in the assessment and design of existing and new geotechnical infrastructure.

The project described in the proposal was significantly beyond the resources available/requested and success has been had in attracting the remaining funds. Moreover, in doing so, Dr Vardon has collaborated with other scientists within his department furthering his integration. In particular Dr Vardon and his colleagues won an STW (the national technology research council) grant of approximately €1.1m to investigate reliability-based geomechanical assessment tools ( embankments-delta-areas-reliable).

The scientific output yielded during the project includes 9 published international journal papers and 3 further submitted international journal papers. In addition, Dr Vardon took part in a European project on 'Impacts of climate change on Engineered Slopes for Infrastructure', co-chaired a mini-symposium on Soil-Atmosphere Interaction at the IACMAG international conference and is a co-editor of a special edition due to be published in late 2017 in Environmental Geotechnics.