Confirmed Keynote Speakers

Prof. Dr. Günther Meschke


- Head, Institute for Structural Mechanics, Ruhr-Universität Bochum.

Biography :

Prof. Dr. Günther Meschke is Head of the Institute for Structural Mechanics at Ruhr University Bochum. He graduated 1983 from Vienna University of Technology (TU-Vienna), Austria, with a M.Sc. degree in Civil Engineering, and obtained his Ph.D. in 1989 also at TU-Vienna. After a research visit at Stanford University in 1991 he was awarded the Venia Legendi and was promoted to Associate Professor at TU Vienna. He was serving as Dean of the Department of Civil Engineering and currently is member of the Senate and Spokesman of the Research Department “Subsurface Modeling and Engineering” at Ruhr University Bochum.
His research is devoted to the development of computational models and simulation methods for materials and structures, focusing on durability analysis of concrete structures and simulations in subsurface engineering. Since 2010, Prof. Meschke is the Spokesman of the Collaborative Research Center (SFB 837) "Interaction modelling for mechanized tunneling", which aims to develop innovative material concepts and simulation models for improving safety and efficiency of mechanized tunnel construction and to create new perspectives for participative digital planning in tunneling projects.
Prof. Meschke serves on a number of editorial boards of international journals. He is member of the Austrian Science Board, foreign member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, ordinary member of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and Arts, the German Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech) and the “Academia Europaea”. He is (co-) author of 370 papers, thereof 145 in peer-review journals, 9 book-chapters and co-editor of 13 books.

Lecture Title:

"Robust design of segmental linings in mechanized tunneling: Insights from computational simulations".



As part of the Collaborative Research Center 837 "Interaction Modeling in Mechanized Tunneling", computational models are developed at Ruhr-University Bochum to support the planning as well as the construction of a tunneling project. One focus is the development of realistic numerical models for the investigation of settlements, potential building damage and the loadings acting on the tunnel lining. In the process-oriented tunnel simulation models, the segmentwise installation of the tunnel lining segments and the interaction between adjoining segments, due to the explicit modelling of the longitudinal and circumferential joints, are taken into account. This allows a detailed insight into the actual spatio-temporal evolution of the loadings on the lining during construction.
In tunneling practice, local damage may occur in the concrete lining, which rarely affect the structural stability of the tunnel ring, but which can have a significant impact on the serviceability state of the finished construction. One method to mitigate such cracking and to increase the robustness of segmental linings is to include steel-fibers. Steel fiber reinforced concrete ensures a reinforcing effect in every part of the structural member, which is not limited by concrete cover restrictions as in conventional reinforced concrete. Another advantage of fiber reinforced concrete as compared to reinforced concrete is the improved crack distribution connected with a smaller maximum crack width, and, consequently, an improved durability performance.
A numerical multi-level model was developed to capture the post-cracking behavior of steel fiber reinforced concrete and was validated by laboratory tests. This material model takes the fiber content, the fiber distribution and the fiber properties explicitly into account and therefore allows to assess the influence of individual fiber parameters on the structural scale. This contribution deals in particular with the question of finding lining designs which, on the one hand, meet the requirements of the service limit state and, at the same time, are as cost-effective as possible. Robust optimization is utilized to reduce material costs while ensuring sufficient durability. A robust system is less sensitive to unexpected loadings and therefore robustness is an important parameter, especially in tunnel construction due to the limited accuracy of the loading during construction and limited information on material properties. Through the use of robust optimization, segmental designs can be generated, which do not lead to formation of critical cracks even under unexpected conditions.

Prof. Dr. Jinxiu YAN


- ITA President

- Vice President for Chinese Tunnelling Society

- Deputy General Manager, China Railway Academy Co.,Ltd


Professor Yan Jinxiu is currently the current President of the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association(ITA); Vice President of Chinese Tunnelling Society(Tunnelling & Underground Works Society of CCES) and Deputy General Manager of China Railway Academy Co., Ltd. Prof. YAN has been working as consulting engineer or researcher for many major tunnel projects for more than 30 years. In the past 6 years, she has delivered nearly 30 international keynotes or lectures in Asia, Europe, America and Middle East. As research team leaders or experts appointed by the governments or the project owners, she has been involved in the construction of many major railway, highway tunnels and metro projects as well as long subsea tunnels in China, such as the longest 32km long Guanjiao Railway Tunnel; the18km long Qinling Railway Tunnel on Xikang Railway; the 13 km long Yesahnguan Tunnel in Karstic geology on Yiwan Railway; the longest 18km Qining Zhongnanshan Highway Tunnel; the longest subsea highway tunnels in China( Qingdao Jiaozhou Bay Subsea Highway Tunnel and 8.6km long Xiamen Xiang’an Subsea Highway Tunnel) etc.. Lecture Title: Technical Challenges of Long Mountainous Tunnels at Great Depth.

Lecture Title:

Technical Challenges of Long Mountainous Tunnels at Great Depth.  


There are various technical challenges that face the construction of super-long mountainous tunnels at great depth, such as the validity and accuracy of geological investigation at great depth, a long construction period, difficulties in disaster prevention & evacuation, specific problems in specific geological conditions (that is, high ground stress, high geothermal temperature and high pressure groundwater), and the new requirements on tunnel projects arising from social development in the future. To improve the validity and accuracy of the investigation, it is necessary to not only increase the accuracy of ground geophysical exploration at great depth, but also carry out research on the application of such techniques to tunnel investigation as airborne geophysical prospecting and HDD combined with borehole geophysical exploration. To maximize the benefits of tunnel projects, it is of importance that more attention should be paid to those issues relating to the tunnel design concept, such as the multiple functions of tunnel projects, energy saving and emission reduction, and environmental protection. As for tunnel support theories, in addition to optimizing the current theories, some unconventionally new lining theories need to be put forth to make the tunnel structure more durable and economical. It is also suggested that, in terms of construction, sustained efforts should be put into the development of innovative tunnelling techniques for a better and faster tunnelling, as well as the realization of intelligent mechanized tunnelling. When it comes to operation, it is obvious that there will be a trend towards intelligent maintenance in the future. Based on the analysis of technical challenges faced by super-long mountainous tunnels at great depth, the presentation presents technical views on solutions to those challenges and specifies the objectives of related technical development in the future.


Dr. Eric LECA


- ITA Vice President

- Europe Leader for Rail & Urban Transport, Arcadis


Eric Leca is a graduate from the Ecole Polytechnique and the Ecole Nationale des Ponts & Chaussées in France and received his PhD in geotechnical and tunnel engineering from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, Virginia Tech in the USA in 1989. He has thirty-five years’ experience in transport and infrastructure, with responsibilities in research, consulting, engineering, and operations in France and internationally. After starting as a research engineer, with contributions in the development of methodologies for soft ground tunneling (evaluation of tunnel face stability, tunnel liner design, tunneling induced settlements…), he evolved into technical and managerial positions in both public entities and engineering consultancies. Throughout his career, he has been involved in several rail and road tunnel projects at the design, construction, and operation & maintenance stages, including numerous metros and urban road tunnels: the Cairo Metro in Egypt, Dubai Metro in the UAE, Hanoi Metro in Vietnam, Melbourne City Link and Sydney M2 and M5 East motorways in Australia and, more recently, the Rennes Metro and Grand Paris Express in France. Other contributions include expert advice and design studies for rail and road tunnels, as well as feasibility studies for large underground rail crossings. He is currently Europe Leader for Rail & Urban Transport within the international engineering consultancy, Arcadis and Vice-President of the International Tunnelling & underground space Association, ITA.

Lecture title

Risk management and ground motion control in tunneling .

Dr. Davorin Kolić


- Member of Executive Council of ITA-AITES

- President of ITA Croatia


Born in Zagreb in 1961, earned PhD level from Faculty for Civil Engineering, University Zagreb. Won 3 times Rector's Price of the University of Zagreb. Since 1990 active in underground projects as design manager, project leader or checking engineer on different tunnelling, subway or underground space structures on international market with experience in 25 countries world-wide. Expertise in conventional and mechanized tunnelling, management of major projects in the field of transportation infrastructure, urban transit and hydro energy. In 2000 he was awarded first price for the best international consultant of Austria for the Wanjiazhai Yellow River Diversion Project in China as the member of the team. Author of more than 125 scientific and technical papers, co-author of 1 book on conventional tunnelling and 3 guidelines on design and construction of segmental lining in Austria and EU, editor of 8 further proceedings and books on tunnelling, lecturer on master studies in Europe, president of Croatian association for tunnels and underground structures ITA Croatia, member of Executive Council of ITA-AITES (2012-19)

Lecture Title:

“Optimization of underground projects by methods of RA” .     


The main design of the new railway line Divaca-Koper for a single-track solution was finished for construction permission in 2016 and a new version of the main design for a double-tube single track long tunnels was finished in 2018 with the pertinent construction permission that is already issued. Although 27 km of the second rail line with single track consists of 20+15 km of tunnels and 2 viaducts, passing through limestone and breccia formations in the north expecting karstic phenomena on the route. The southern half of the route is located predominantly in flysch. Main design has been prepared for conventional tunneling along the route with no possibility to offer mechanized tunneling.  Financing has been closed and the procurement for parts of the project has started in 2019 with main construction works to be opened in 2020 and end after 7 years of construction. During the project development procedure and as the condition to reach EU partly financing an optimization and rationalization of the 1.4 billion EUR project had to be performed. The project was optimized using methods of risk analysis in a qualitative and quantitative way. The qualitative evaluation identified possible risk scenarios with their level of impact and possible remediation measures. Quantitative evaluation afterwards defined financial impact of remaining scenarios after remediation measures on overall project price. Such analysis enables optimized approach to critical project parts, reduces overall project costs and secures definition of contingency measures for the construction time period. 

Dr. Donald LAMONT

Donald Lamont

- The Health and Safety Executive, UK

- Hyperbaric and Tunnel Safety Ltd.

- Animateur of ITA WG5


Donald Lamont graduated from the University of Aberdeen with a BSc in civil engineering and later from the University of Glasgow with an MEng in geotechnical engineering. He received his PhD from the University of Aston (Birmingham) for a study of decompression illness in UK tunnelling. Following twelve years in the construction industry mainly on heavy civil engineering sites, he joined the Health and Safety Executive in 1984. From 1978 till 2010 he was the HSE national specialist inspector in tunnelling and ground engineering. For much of that time he was also the UK inspector for infrastructure and ventilation for the Channel Tunnel Safety Authority. Now semi-retired, he runs his own international micro consultancy - Hyperbaric and Tunnel Safety Ltd. As a recognised specialist in tunnel safety and hyperbaric safety, he was a member of the Crossrail Engineering Expert Panel, Independent Hyperbaric Adviser on the Tuen Mun tunnel in Hong Kong and has advised Worksafe New Zealand on tunnel safety matters amongst other commissions. He acts as an expert witness and is an external lecturer at Warwick University. He has lectured on tunnel safety from New Zealand and Hong Kong to Vancouver and Santiago. He remains active in British, CEN and ISO standards covering tunnelling along with construction and underground machinery safety standards. He has been active in ITA for over 35 years including periods as UK member nation representative, animateur of ITA WG5 and as a lecturer for ITACET.

Lecture Title:

“Tunnelling deeper in soft ground – some of the health and safety challenges”  


Tunnel boring machines even in soft ground, require regular inspection and maintenance of the cutterhead and its tools if excavation is to continue as planned. In many cities around the world the value of the underground space as a location for infrastructure is being recognised. Even without pressure groups such as ITACUS and Think Deep which successfully lobby politicians to educate them in the benefits of developing the underground environment for commercial use, successive layers of metro lines or utility tunnels get built deeper to avoid existing obstructions. This means that tunnels are no longer built at a depth of one or two diameters to prevent flotation and uplift but a much greater depths to avoid other tunnels and building foundations. Likewise, large road tunnels are being planned and built under major water features. Because of their large diameters, with even one diameter cover the depth to tunnel invert can easily equate to 4 – 6 bar of water pressure.
The paper will look at the health and safety issues associated with access to the cutterhead for inspection and maintenance along with the technological advances to reduce the need for human interventions. It will discuss the use of high pressure compressed air techniques for access where technological solutions are not available. The need for standards and guidance to keep abreast of technology and even to anticipate future problems will also be discussed.



Dr. Fathi TARADA

Fathi Tarada



Dr Fathi Tarada is the founder and managing director of Mosen Ltd, an engineering consultancy. He is qualified in engineering, management and law and is a leading expert in fire safety engineering, tunnel ventilation and Computational Fluid Dynamics. Fathi is the inventor of the MoJet® ventilation system, a patented energy-efficient device that has been installed in tunnels worldwide. He represents the United Kingdom at the Technical Committee on Road Tunnel Operations for the World Road Association (PIARC), and was awarded a medal for Construction Health & Safety by the Institution of Civil Engineers.

Lecture Title:

“Innovations in Tunnels' Ventilation Systems”  


Prof. Gad M. El-Qady

Prof. Gad M. El-Qady

- Prof. of Geophysics, President of NRIAG


Prof. Gad El-Qady is a Professor of Applied Geophysics working in the area of application of Geophysical techniques for, but not limited to, Environmental investigations, archaeological, geotechnical, groundwater, geothermal investigations. Currently, Prof. El-Qady is working as a president of the National Research Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics (NRIAG) Since Jan 2019. Since July 2018 till Jan 2019 he was appointed as Vice President of NRIAG. During 2017 he was the acting president of the National Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries (NIOF), Egypt. He got his PhD from Kyushu University, Japan in 2001. Since that time is an active member of the Egyptian Geophysical community. Prof. El-Qady supervised many postgraduate students at different Egyptian universities. Prof. El-Qady is the managing editor of the journal of National Research Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics (NRIAG) and has published many scientific papers, reviews, in peer-reviewed international journals among them: archaeology, Earth Planets Space, Journal of African Earth Science, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, ….etc and he is a participant in several international Conferences and functioning as a referee for international Journals. He also organized several international conferences such as the 20th EMIW, ACAG5th, AFSC2016. He is also a working group committee member of the Electromagnetic induction in the earth (WMIW) that is now Div No. 6 of the IAGA (2008-2016).

Lecture Title:

“Rules of Geophysics in Geotechnical and Tunnel construction and Risk Assessment”  


Unexpected subsurface conditions are the primary causes of disputes and litigations from the contracts of underground constructions. The risk of unknown sub-surface conditions is a primary concern of contractors. Also, problems related to placement and compactions of rockfill is a major for the  [roject budget. In developed countries, investments into the transportation infrastructure (construction and maintenance of roads, railways etc.) is very crucial. Then optimization of the design and construction of the infrastructure can, therefore, bring significant benefits to society. Geophysics is the science of applying the principles of physics to investigations related to the structure and properties of the subsurface of the ground from shallow subsurface deep to the mantle. Recently, the application of geophysical investigations has been increasing in site characterization. Geophysical methods can be used to provide volumetric knowledge of unforeseen, highly variable subsurface ground conditions - assisting in highway design, construction repair and maintenance phases. The ground conditions that transportation engineers are mainly concerned about during project planning include the thickness of unconsolidated overburden; bedrock depth; bedrock excavation; voids location; and groundwater depth. Several case studies from Egypt and worldwide will be presented.