SDC 2022 has concluded. See SDC 2023 for current competition content

Competition Rules


  • September 15, 2022 4:00 PM EDT – Awards section
  • October 4, 2022 2:22 PM EDT – Webinar date updated
  • October 31, 2022 4:14 PM EDT – Submission deadlines extended

About the Competition

A rock engineering design problem will be presented by the competition organizing committee on September 2022. The problem will be a case study on tunnelling within the vicinity of a fault. Teams will present a design solution using analytical tools and rock engineering design principles.

Eligibility and Team Registration

All members of the teams must be enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs related to rock-engineering disciplines. This includes, but is not limited to, mining, civil, and geological engineering. Each team may have two to five undergraduate and/or graduate students. Teams composed of varying disciplines is welcome and encouraged. Each university may have more than one participating team. Teams must be registered by the registration deadline through the registration form.

Advisors and External Assistance

Each competing team must have one faculty advisor. Their role will be limited to ensuring that the competition’s rules are being followed throughout the duration of the contest. Teams may not communicate between each other about their solutions after they have been officially registered.

Software Use

Any software may be used. FLAC3D demo downloads are available for free through Itasca’s download page.


All teams must submit a report consisting of the team’s solution addressing the topics outlined by the Problem Statement. The report should be concise (ideally within 8 pages) but there is no formal limit. The submission page for reports will be open until the submission deadline as defined in the time frame.

The report should address the following topics in addition to the Problem Statement‘s specific questions:

  • Problem definition
  • Figure representation of geological/geotechnical model
  • Overall approach and assumptions
  • Analysis methodology and justification
  • Variability of rock mass strength in design
  • Key risks to proposed solution
  • Risk mitigation

Finalists will be selected to present on their project in a virtual webinar. The duration of the presentation will be announced on the day of finalist selection. Each finalist presentation will be followed by a Q&A session open to all participants of the webinar.


The finalist judging panel will include experts involved with ARMA from academia, industry, and government agencies.


Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three teams and will be acknowledged in the ARMA Monthly News. The prizes will be awarded in USD as follows:

First Place$1000
Second Place$650
Third Place$350

Participants residing in countries with financial transfer restrictions from the US may be unable to receive the cash prize. However, the winning teams will be acknowledged in announcements following the competition.

Time Frame

Team registrationby September 30, 2022 11:59 PM EDT
FLAC3D webinarOctober 7, 2022 9:00 AM CDT (10:00 AM EDT)
Problem set released & Beginning of competitionOctober 3, 2022 12:00 PM EDT
Problem solutions submission deadlineNovember 5, 2022 11:59 PM EDT
Report review and finalist selectionNovember 2022
Finalist selection announcementNovember 2022
Finalist project presentations and awardsNovember 2022
These dates are not yet finalized and may be subject to change.


For additional information, please contact the event coordinators:

Aly Abdelaziz
PhD Candidate
University of Toronto

Earl Magsipoc
PhD Candidate
University of Toronto

Robin Flattery
Graduate Teaching Assistant
University of Kentucky

Peter Smeallie
ARMA Executive Director