Log in

Log in

Symposium Format

The Symposium is a 3-day event comprising keynote lectures, oral presentations and special sessions, bringing together students, designers, contractors, clients, experts and others from around the world to exchange knowledge, explore ideas and engage in professional networking. Keynote speakers will introduce topics relevant to the overall theme and give lectures in plenary sessions. The majority of the presentations will be delivered orally in normal sessions arranged in four parallel streams. In addition, some special sessions will take place, some of which will be in workshop/seminar style format and there will be some industry sessions led by some of our sponsors and exhibitors from the accompanying trade exhibition.

In all sessions, delegates are encouraged to contribute through the open-floor discussions that follows each presentation or group of presentations. Audience participation is strongly encouraged to generate genuine debate and discussion.

Who Should Attend?

Professional civil and structural engineers, architects, clients, contractors, academics and students, and all those engaged in the design, construction, management and maintenance of our built environment. Anyone who is concerned about construction’s negative environmental impacts on the planet and keen to find lasting and wide-ranging solutions to the climate emergency should attend this symposium.

Social Programme

There will be a Welcome Reception for all delegates and accompanying persons at 18:00 on the 10th April at the symposium venue, and a Gala Dinner will be held at the famous Science and Industry Museum on 11th April, starting at 19:00. A separate programme of events for young delegates will also be arranged.

Outline Programme

Technical Programme - Paper list.

Full technical programme of presentations and seminars in plenary and parallel sessions

Keynote Speakers

 Speaker  Topic

Will Arnold
Head of Climate Action
Institution of Structural Engineers

Will is a Fellow and staff member of The Institution of Structural Engineers, responsible for bringing sustainability into all aspects of the institution's work. He is well-known for his work on embodied carbon policy in the UK, including on Part Z and the UK Net Zero Carbon Buildings Standard.

Engineering in an Emergency

In 2023, the world practically hit 1.5°C temperature rise. We have lost two thirds of global wildlife and are struggling to bring global society above the poverty line. Meanwhile the damage done by construction materials is clear: 15% of global emissions, 50% of resource extraction, 30% of waste generation.

Yet across material supply chains, 'easy wins' continue to be disproven, and a lack of emergency funding makes it unlikely that we will see meaningful change in this decade. Digital technologies, MMC and AI continue to be touted as the saviours of material reduction, yet we have had decades of such advances, and today's structures are more inefficient than ever.

We must do better than small steps. We must go back to basics and find ways to radically reduce material use on every single project, not just the exemplars. We must report, scrutinise, and hold each other accountable for the damage we are inflicting on the climate, our ecosystems, and global societies. We must treat all living beings with equal sanctity, not as things to balance against the demands of our paying clients.

And we must start this today.


Savina Carluccio
Executive Director
International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure

Savina is a global advocate of the role of civil engineers in tackling our society's biggest challenges. Over the last two decades sha has advised governments, infrastructure owners and operators, multi-lateral development banks and NGOs to develop and implement sustainability and resilience in infrastructure. Prior to ICSI, she worked as an infrastructure advisor at Arup and was Head of Guidance and Standards at the Resilience Shift. She also serves a member of Institution of Civil Engineers' Advisory Board on sustainable and resilient infrastructure and of the ASCE Global Sustainability Planning Committee.

Engineers and climate action: are we rising to the challenge?

'Despite the overwhelming evidence that we are not doing enough, there is still substantial resistance to talking about the possibility of living in a world where we temporarily overshoot 1.5°C.' Debra Roberts IPCC Co-Chair WGII AR6.

It is crucial for engineers to consider the implications of living in such a scenario, where common sense suggests that changes in critical natural systems may become irreversible. We must grapple with an escalating number of win-lose situations, and the disadvantaged and vulnerable will face an expanding array of risks and impacts. Navigating this world demands a fresh toolbox to preserve potential options; adhering to our what we know and have always done – now more than ever - will prove inadequate.

The lecture will discuss the role of engineers in climate action. It will frame the challenges and opportunities for our profession to drive action, presenting examples of what is being done from the global engineering community. It will also set out what will be needed from engineers in terms of innovations, changing mindsets as well as the required skills, training and capacity building.  Finally, it will argue that engineers should be bolder, louder and more visible in advocating for climate action.

Martin Knight
Founder and Managing Director
Knight Architects

Martin is one of the leading UK architects specialising in the design of bridges and transport infrastructure. He is a Fellow of the RIBA, IABSE and the Institution of Civil Engineers and an Honorary Fellow of IStructE.

He founded international bridge designers Knight Architects in 2006 and his award-winning practice has completed more than sixty bridges in the UK and internationally, with projects under construction in Finland, Germany, Poland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the UK. Their approach to design has been hailed as exemplary by bodies including the National Infrastructure Commission and the Design Council in the UK and Baukultur Bundesstiftung in Germany.

Martin frequently serves as a client and industry advisor, including as member of the Design Review Panel of the Design Commission for Wales since 2006. He was appointed a UK Design Council Ambassador in 2021 and is a judge for the BCIA Awards and the Structural Awards.

Reasonable Skill. And Care.

It is striking to see competence, professionalism and ethics included in the themes for a conference on the design of bridges and structures, where the content has historically been technical. Yet this human element is the vital accompaniment to the other themes of the IABSE Symposium in Manchester and they all combine if we are to address the overarching challenges of construction’s role for a world in emergency.

Movement, and the transport infrastructure which facilitates it, is at the heart of how modern societies operate. It can generate powerful social benefit – creating identity, generating opportunity and bringing equity – but it must be conceived, planned, designed, and executed in a positive way to maximise these benefits for people and address negative effects upon the environment.

This ability to consider both the design itself and the user of the design will be vital in minimising the carbon footprint of our work and maximising its benefit to society.

From the perspective of an architect in the world of engineering, the speaker will discuss what motivates us as designers and what is limiting the pace of change at a time of emergency. Using outstanding international examples as well as the work of his practice, he will explore the ethical dimensions of infrastructure design and the social value it can create, while discussing creative collaboration.

Akio Kasuga
Executive Vice President and CTO
Sumitomo Mitsui Construction.

Dr. Akio Kasuga has been designing and building many bridges and has developed many new bridge technologies. He received fib outstanding structures in 2006 and 2018, Trophy Eugene Freyssinet 2013 and Albert Caquot Prize 2021 from AFGC. He was the President of fib from 2021 to 2022. He was awarded as the Honorary President of fib in 2023.

Low carbon technologies to be challenged in the supply chain of concrete structures

Cement used in structural concrete accounts for 60% of all cement. Thus, the amount of CO2 emission by cement in structural concrete in a year is about 5% of the amount emitted by mankind. However, the LCA of structural concrete emits CO2 not only at the product stage but also at the use stage after construction. Carbon neutrality will be viewed from an economic point of view. Then a rough indicator is presented to grasp the CO2 emissions of structural concrete. Also LCA of structural concrete should consider not only the materials but also the maintenance phase. And low-carbon technologies currently in use is introduced. Then the need for multi-cycle structural concrete with a circular economy is presented. Moreover, it is estimated that CO2 emissions due to disasters in the use stage could be enormous. The carbon neutrality of concrete is not a risk but an opportunity for us.

Dervilla Mitchell CBE
Director and Deputy Chair

Dervilla is a Civil Engineer with an illustrious career who started out as a structural design engineer and progressed to lead major building projects. Noteworthy projects span from Portcullis House and the London 2012 Athletes Village to smaller endeavours like Saga HQ and Goodwood Paddock redevelopment. Her aviation involvement includes designing terminal buildings at T5 Heathrow and T2 Dublin. Former Executive Chair of Arup's UK, India, Middle East, and Africa Region, responsible for over 6000 people and currently Deputy Chair of Arup Group. A decade on the Prime Minister's Council for Science and Technology shaped her commitment to the Net Zero agenda, and she currently chairs the National Engineering Policy Centre's decarbonizing group. Also active in promoting diversity in construction and encouraging youth to pursue engineering careers. Recognised with a CBE in 2014, she holds honorary doctorates from University College Dublin (2016) and Imperial College London (2021).


In plain sight?

Engineering is everywhere and underpins so much of what we expect and need in our daily lives, yet engineers are not generally prominent in society and are perhaps not valued for the role they play.

The speaker will reflect on the changing role of engineers, with a particular focus on the changes she has seen during her career; whether they be the way we work, the tools we use or the diversity in our workplaces.

She will highlight the challenges and opportunities we face and look in particular at some of the ethical dilemmas as we need to navigate in a world where climate change remains a challenge and increasing use of technology requires us to adapt and change at an ever-increasing pace.

Young Engineers’ Programme

Delegates registered as a Young Engineer (born in or after 1990) will be eligible to attend the full technical programme of the Symposium. In addition, a series of events especially intended for younger delegates will be arranged which will include:

1.    A competition to make and test a simple model structure during the Welcome Reception.
2.    A social event after the Welcome Reception to meet and greet other young delegates and some IABSE Fellows.
3.    An opportunity to meet with an IABSE Fellow in a short one-to-one meeting to discuss career opportunities and personal professional development.
4.    A social event on the evening of the Gala Dinner.

Full details of these will be made available to registered delegates.

In addition, young author-presenters are automatically eligible for the Young Engineer Paper Award to be presented at the Closing Ceremony of the Symposium. To be considered, the young person must be the principal author of the paper and must have delivered the presentation themselves at the Symposium.

Note that evidence of date-of-birth may be requested from Young Engineer registrants upon arrival at the Symposium.

Technical Tours

A programme of Technical Tours has been arranged to run in parallel with some of the sessions in the Symposium. These are as follows, and full details are available on the event website here


1. Manchester bridges guided walking tour.
2. Etihad Stadium (home of Manchester City FC) and Co-Op Live.
3. Viadux and St Michael’s Net Zero Development.
4. Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre. 
Wednesday 13:30 and Friday 08:30
Wednesday 13:30
Thursday 13:30
Friday 08:30.

Places for these tours must be reserved at the time of registration using the online registration form. Numbers are limited and places will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

Post-Symposium Tour

A visit to the award-winning Mersey Gateway Bridge has been arranged for Saturday 13th April.

This impressive cable stayed bridge between Runcorn and Widnes received the Outstanding Structure Award from IABSE in 2019. Full details are on the website here, and places must be reserved at the time of registration using the online registration form. As with the other tours, numbers are limited and places will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

Pre-Symposium Event

Future of Design conference, 9th April, 2024

Before the main IABSE Symposium kicks off, the IABSE British Group will be holding their notable "Future of Design" conference on the 9th April 2024 at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Future of Design is a conference for early career design professionals and students to engage with leading lights in engineering. Presentations, talks and workshops during the day-long conference will provide a unique platform to engage with influential and inspiring individuals on the design challenges that we face in the future.

Further details on speakers and ticket sales will be released shortly via the IABSE British Group website:

Registration for the Future of Design conference is handled separately and not through the Symposium registration system. Visit the website above for registration details once available.


Jungholzstrasse 28
8050 Zurich

Location: Map Info

Have a question?
+41 43 443 97 65

Bank details: Click here.
Privacy Policy

Follow Us
on Social Media