The lecture series on Advancements in Geotechnical Engineering: From Research to Practice (AGERP) has shared a recording of Chaido (Yuli) Doulala-Rigby’s Koerner Lecture on MSE walls. The focus of the 90-minute session is “Good practice, lessons learned & unusual fills in MSE design & construction.”

Doulala-Rigby is one of the most active and well-regarded geotechnical engineers in reinforcement geosynthetics. She works for Tensar International Corporation.


AGERP’s introduction notes that geotechnical engineering is a scientific art. “A strong linkage between research and practice is imperative for its further advancement.” This echoes one of Dr. JP Giroud’s renowned lectures from the early 2000s: “From the State of the Art to the State of Practice.”

Doulala-Rigby’s presentation certainly takes a long view of how research and practice have interacted to bring us to where we are today in MSE walls. Her lecture begins with wall-building concepts from thousands of years ago and carries us up through the present day. It is a good way to enforce the essential role that history and human need inform and drive technological innovations in civil infrastructure.

The timeline’s notations on leaps in achievements arrives in the 1950s and 1960s with growth of polymeric materials and the subsequent 1970s’ invention of geogrids by Dr. Brian Mercer (for whom the Mercer Lecture series is named).

Without question, geosynthetic reinforcement materials and designs radically changed MSE walls.

MORE GEO: Bridge Approach Embankment with MSE Walls and Pulverized Fuel Ash

Doulala-Rigby’s lecture covers the application sectors that have benefitted from geosynthetic reinforcement in MSE walls, the design service lives enabled by these technologies, and the decisions made in selecting one type of polymer over another with reinforcement materials and in particular geotechnical situations. She addresses the use of different types of fill, lessons learned from troubled designs, and much more.

It’s a wonderful talk delivered by one of the field’s best.

Learn more about AGERP’s programs at