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United Arab Emirates University hosts ICEG 2017 as global experts gather to share innovation and expertise

asfInternational experts in engineering geophysics have gathered at United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) for a high-level conference aimed at sharing knowledge and advancing innovation in this critical field.

The fourth edition of the International Conference on Engineering Geophysics (ICEG) is taking place at UAEU from 9-12 October 2017, with 250 delegates from 44 countries attending for an event that is showcasing cutting-edge science and research designed to enhance techniques for producing data about the earth’s surface – a vital aspect of engineering.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Tahnoon bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in Al Ain Region, and organized by UAEU and Al Ain City Municipality in partnership with the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, ICEG 2017 will focus on global innovation and new approaches in the field of engineering/environmental geophysics. It will give participants from the US, Europe, Australia, China, Japan, the GCC, and other countries the opportunity to share experiences and insights and discuss future goals, while also raising public awareness of the role of geophysics.

The conference – ranked as one of the foremost global events in its field - is intended to support the UAE’s vision of building a sustainable, diversified economy by helping to drive forward the development of effective and technically-sound engineering geophysics, a pivotal factor in the nation’s construction industry and overall economic growth. Geophysics allows underground geological formations that have the potential to cause hazards to be identified without the need to radically alter a site’s features, as well as for discovering underground water sources, making it increasingly important in construction, archaeology, the environmental sector and other areas.

The number of nations participating in ICEG 2017 has doubled since the first edition of the conference in 2011, with 200 research papers being submitted and 132 accepted for discussion and exploration at the conference. Over four days, 17 panel sessions on a diverse range of topics will be held, as well as two interactive sessions – focusing on the role of women in geology and best practices in geophysics applications – and the announcement of the three winners of the Geophysics Innovation Award, the first accolade of its kind in the world. Meanwhile, 14 UAE government bodies will display their geophysics applications at an exhibition alongside the conference.

H.E. Dr. Abdullah Bilhaif Al-Nuaimi, The Minister of Infrastructure Development, who held the main Keynote Speech; 'UAE: Competitive Infrastructure with Innovative Technology’, highlighted the importance of the conference which has attracted world-renowned global experts who have gathered to share innovation and expertise.

“This conference is a scientific addition to the efficiency of the operation of services, infrastructure networks and helps in reducing the negative effects on the environment,” he explained.

He emphasized the significance of the fourth Conference on Engineering Geophysics, which sheds light on the-state-of-art applications in the field of Geophysics through its sessions and conference papers presented by specialists from various international universities and research centers. 

He said that the UAEU, thanks to the interest of the country's wise leadership, has gained a distinguished position in the field of science and infrastructure and is working to keep pace with developments in various fields. 

H.E. Al-Nuaimi pointed out that the conference is an ideal platform to gather national and international experts and researchers to enrich the content of the conference, its discussions and exchange of experiences on geophysics and environmental engineering. It also presents the latest scientific findings in this field to ensure sustainability of natural resources for future generations and to achieve sustainable development. 

"We are confident that this conference will produce scientific recommendations that benefit UAE and the world at large as it hosts international scientific bodies, distinguished experts and researchers,” he added. “The Ministry of Infrastructure Development is aware of the great importance the country places on the infrastructure sector, because of its essential role in boosting the economic and social development and providing better potentials for a better life. 

"This requires searching for solutions and technology and adopting the best global practices to achieve the aspirations of the Government of the UAE, to achieve the centenary of 2071."

Professor Ahmed Murad, Dean of the College of Science, Vice Chairman of the Conference High Committee and the Chairman of the Conference Preparatory Committee, stressed the global significance of ICEG 2017.

“This conference is one of the most important in the world in the field of geophysics,” he explained. "It has been ranked as one of the top five international specialized conferences in the field of Geophysics Engineering in the last thirty years and that indicates how the people in this field trust the UAEU and how the UAEU continues to reach its scientific goal by contributing to such important scientific discussions.”

Rick Miller, Scientist of Geophysics and Section Chief, at the University of Kansas, was among the many Technical Speakers addressing the conference.

"This is a conference primarily focused on engineering and geophysics and we will be discussing new technologies and new methodologies applied to problems that are not only significant to the region but also has international applications as well,” he explained. “We have an excellent selection of speakers who span the entire world; we have a large contingent from Asia, we also have speakers from all over Europe and South America. 

“Here at the conference we are tackling a wide range of issues. We have a couple of panel discussions; one is on women and integrating more into the geophysics community. We also have a panel session on industry - which is looking at taking the technology that is predominately in the world of research and the world of development and putting some technologies into practice and getting them applied to the right problems. 

"We are also dealing with issues on the industry side, looking at how to ensure the best practices. So how to make sure that the sciences you see in these conventions - and in this one in particular - gets translated to the operational aspects so that the best available technology is being put out to play to solve real world problems. So it is a very broad, all-encompassing conference."

On the first day of the conference, Technical Speaker Estella Atekwana, Dean of the University of Delaware College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, held a panel discussion on 'Women in Geosciences'. She said the conference helped contribute to an important global message about encouraging the careers of young females in the field of geosciences.

“This session helped highlight the role of women within the context of geosciences and to promote activities that support them,” she said. "A lack of women is a problem worldwide in this profession, which traditionally attracts more men. Conferences like this help bring more young women into the profession by providing them with an environment which is supportive.”

Technical Speaker Maxwell Auka Meju, of Petronas Upstream, which explores, develops, produces and monetizes oil and gas resources both domestically and internationally, held a discussion on 'Joint Electromagnetic and Seismic Structural Inversion and Uncertainty Analysis’. 

He said: “This conference really is about how you use geophysics to find out what is happening below the surface of the ground. If you are trying to build a tall building you need to know the ground is firm and can withstand the weight of the building. Does it having cavities below? Geophysics can really find out if those geological hazards exist and where they are.”

Dr. Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, Chancellor of the UAEU, said: “Hosting this prestigious gathering of expertise and insight in the field of engineering geophysics is a proud achievement for UAEU, and reflects the importance our university places on both developing and attracting the knowledge that will enable the realization of the UAE’s vision of a sustainable, diversified economy.

“This high-level conference, at which we are delighted to see the attendance of so many participants from throughout the world, is an opportunity to harness the unique experiences and perspectives of the global engineering geophysics community, with the aim of addressing common challenges and identifying shared techniques and solutions for accelerating innovation and excellence in this hugely important field.

“We hope that this conference will succeed in unlocking new ideas, strategies, and impetus for further developing engineering geophysics; that it will prove to be an immensely valuable platform for the exchange of knowledge; and that it will enhance global awareness of the important role of engineering geophysics across many sectors. In addition, we believe it will reinforce UAEU’s position as a global hub of knowledge, where homegrown talent and international perspective align to bring benefit to our nation.”

Oct 12, 2017