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USUCGER launches Testing Innovation Fellowship Program

News | October 15, 2021 | By:

Photograph courtesy Tensar Corp.

The United States Universities Council on Geotechnical Education and Research (USUCGER) launched a new student Testing Innovation Fellowship Program aimed at transitioning geosynthetics-related research to American Society for Testing and Materials International (ASTM) standards and increasing student engagement in our professional organizations. The fellowship program will be jointly supported by the Geosynthetic Institute (GSI), the North American chapter of the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS-NA) and ASTM’s Committee D35 on Geosynthetics. The program aligns with the combined missions of GSI, IGS-NA and ASTM to develop and transfer knowledge, geosynthetic technologies and testing standards to positively impact education, public health and safety, consumer confidence, and overall quality of life.

Fellowship details

  • Fellows will be awarded $500 per year, over a maximum three-year period (maximum of $1,500 total per fellow). Up to five fellows can be supported concurrently in any given year.
  • Within the award period, each fellow must:
    • Send in a brief annual report (not later than Nov. 30) of the project status. After approval through the review committee, the $500 grant will be awarded during the first quarter of the next year.
    • Prepare a draft of either a new ASTM standard or a substantially revised version of an existing standard, with oversight from their research advisor or relevant supervisor (by Dec. 15 of the final fellowship year).
    • Present the new/revised standard to the appropriate ASTM committee or the review committee supervisor(s) (latest during the first ASTM meeting after the fellowship program—typically in January or February).
  • As feasible, the fellow will be paired with a mentor to provide input for drafting the standard.


To apply for the fellowship, the applicant must be:


  • Applicants may not submit multiple applications under this announcement.
  • The application requirements include:
    • A brief (two-page maximum) description of the test method being utilized in their research and how they envision the method would support development of a new ASTM standard or significant revisions to existing standards.
    • The test method development must align with the mission and goals of the supporting organizations and be directly or indirectly related to the geosynthetic industry.
    • A letter of recommendation from their advisor, direct supervisor or department head.
  • Submit applications as a single PDF file via email to, attention: Dr. Kristin Sample-Lord, email subject line: “Fellowship application (your last name).”


(Subject to change)

  • Application due date: Nov. 30, 2021
  • Announcement of awardees: Dec. 15, 2021
  • Fellowship starting date: Jan. 1, 2022 (disbursement of award shortly after Jan. 1)

Note: If the grant recipient has a change in their fellowship eligibility status or decides to drop out of the fellowship program the Testing Innovation Fellowship Program organizers must be informed immediately in writing. A payback of the last fellowship award is only necessary if the termination occurs before May 1 of the year after the fellowship grant.

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