Penn State faculty to bring international scour and erosion conference to the U.S.


By Caitlin Gailey

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa – The 2020 International Conference on Scour and Erosion (ICSE) will be held in Washington, D.C. thanks to a winning proposal by Penn State civil and environmental engineering faculty members.  

The biannual conference offers scientists and engineers from around the world a place to share their ideas and discuss advances in research on the scientific and engineering challenges related to scour and erosion. 

Ming Xiao, associate professor of civil engineering, led the winning proposal in the 2020 bid.

“This conference is organized and decided by the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering,” said Xiao.

In September, Xiao attended the 8th ICSE in Oxford, UK. There, Bangladesh, Denmark, Taiwan and the United States competed to host upcoming ICSE conferences. Taiwan was selected as the host for the 2018 conference, and the United States was selected as the 2020 host.

The four-day conference will include technical sessions and presentations by keynote speakers and will be chaired by Xiao. The conference co-chair will be Peggy Johnson, professor of civil engineering at Penn State.

Topics covered in ICSE conferences can include fundamental mechanisms of erosion and scour, modeling of erosion and scour processes and engineering applications that involve scour and erosion processes.

Attendees include scientists and engineers from a range of engineering fields including civil engineering, hydraulic engineering, and coastal and offshore engineering.

Looking forward, Xiao is excited about what he can bring to the 2020 conference. He wants to focus on bringing the hydraulics and geotechnical communities together in order to exchange the newest developments in their respective fields.

“As the organizer, I want people to enjoy the conference,” said Xiao. “I want them to enjoy the venue, the discussion, and tours that will be given.”

The ICSE conference series was initiated by the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering in 2002 and is currently run by the Technical Committee TC213 (Scour and Erosion). Xiao is the chair of the ASCE Geo-Institute's Technical Committee on Geotechnics of Soil Erosion.


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Caitlin Gailey

Jennifer Matthews

Ming Xiao headshot

Ming Xiao- ICSE 2020 Chair

Peggy Johnson headshotPeggy Johnson- ICSE 2020 Co-chair

“This conference is organized and decided by the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering,” said Xiao.



The Penn State Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, established in 1881, is internationally recognized for excellence in the preparation of undergraduate and graduate engineers through the integration of education, research, and leadership.

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

212 Sackett Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-1408

Phone: 814-863-3084