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Scientific Director

Maria Cristina Rulli

Maria Cristina Rulli is full professor of hydrology at the Politecnico di Milano, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering since 2019. Graduated with honors in Civil Engineering for Spatial Planning at the University of Perugia, she then obtained a doctorate in Hydraulic Engineering at the Politecnico di Milano carrying out her research activity as an associate researcher at the University of California at Berkeley. She is the author of over 100 articles in the fields of hydrology, river geomorphology, hydrology and slope stability, global water resources and natural resource assessments according to global change scenarios. Her latest research, published in authoritative scientific journals, focuses on the water-food-energy Nexus and environmental sustainability and specifically on the emerging phenomenon of large-scale agricultural land acquisition (LSLA) and the consequent impacts on water, energy and food security.

Postdoctoral Researchers

Davide Danilo Chiarelli

Davide Danilo Chiarelli obtained a MSc degree in Civil Engineering in 2013 and worked seven months for Geoarbor Studio, a geotechnical society in Basiano (Mi). At the moment he is a postdoc at the DICA department of Politecnico di Milano, where he completed his PhD in July 2018 with a research based on Water and Food Security with the title: The Water-Land-Food Nexus. Among the main topics he is analyzing there are: sustainability in the use of natural resources (i.e. water and fertile soil), hydrological effects of land use changes and deforestation, and its related consequences as land erosion and mass movements, crop water demand analysis under present condition and considering future effects of climate change both on crop water demand and crop yields. He strongly believes in the importance of preserving our planet and its (its, not ours!) limited resources and how to achieve this goal it is necessary to start from a good knowledge of the problem and to educate future generations.

Nikolas Galli

Nikolas Galli received his MSc degree in Environmental and Land Planning Engineering in 2019 at Politecnico di Milano (Italy). He then spent six months in Paraguay, where he worked on mapping water resources and participative planning of rural-urban development in the Chaco area. He is now a postdoc in the Glob3science group at Politecnico di Milano, after obtaining his PhD in February 2023 the same group, with a thesis on the use of water scarcity metrics to explore conflictual instances of water use and design synergistic water use strategies. His main research interest are agro-hydrological modeling of water-energy-food nexus-based problems and solutions, conflictual aspects of water resources availability and management, and the public health implications of unsustainable food system practices, including deforestation, forest fragmentation, the livestock revolution and agricultural intensification.

Chloé Nicolas-Artero

Chloé Nicolas-Artero graduated in Political Science from Sciences Po Toulouse in France. She obtained a Master’s degree in Human Geography in 2014 from Sorbonne Nouvelle University, where she also defended her doctoral thesis in 2019. In her doctoral research, she studied water appropriation by extractive sectors in a semi-arid region of Chile. Since 2016, she has been teaching geography at different French and Chilean universities. Between January 2021 and March 2023, she carried out a postdoctoral internship at the Center of Climate and Resilience Research of the University of Chile, where she joined a transdisciplinary project aimed at assessing the level of water security in Chile. She was responsible for identifying factors affecting water security for rural residents. More broadly, her research focuses on the relationships between law, water scarcity, and production of space.

Livia Ricciardi

Livia Ricciardi earned her MSc in Environmental and Land Planning Engineering in 2019 at Politecnico di Milano. She is now a third year PhD student in Environmental Engineering. She tries to focus her passion for nature into her PhD. Her main research focuses on the feasibility of shifting towards healthy and environmentally sustainable diets in the future. Other interests include understanding the overall environmental constraints to achieve climate neutrality.

PhD Candidates

Camilla Govoni

Camilla Govoni obtained a MSc degree in Environmental and Land Planning Engineering in 2020 at Politecnico di Milano. In the same year she started a PhD program in Water Engineering at the DICA Department of Politecnico di Milano, with a research based on the environmental implications of livestock production systems, focusing on the case study of Brazil. She also works as external collaborator with the department of Health, Animal Science and Food Safety of Università degli Studi di Milano Statale. She is currently working on the study of natural resources associated to animal feeding and the feed-food debate. Other research interests include topics such as deforestation, land use – land cover (LULC) change, water footprint and water scarcity, crop analysis.

Martina Sardo

Martina Sardo received the M.Sc. degree in Environmental Engineering and Land Planning at Politecnico di Milano, Italy, in 2020. In 2018 she has participated to an Erasmus+ exchange programme at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna (Universität für Bodenkultur Wien). At the moment she is enrolled at PhD program at the DICA department of Politecnico di Milano, where she is currently analysing interrelation between hydrological extremes (floods and droughts), food security, water scarcity and human conflicts. In collaboration with the Mathematics Department, she works on spatial econometric models and Bayesian statistic to assess quantitative relationships among hydrological and social variables. Other topics of her interest are: redistribution of natural resources through virtual water and food trade, assessing water and crop demand in present and future scenarios, under different crop distribution, diet and intensification scenarios.

Sinafekesh Girma Wolde

Sinafekesh is a Junior Integrated Water Resource Manager; Civil Engineer specialized in holistic research development and implementation. She is currently a Ph.D. research fellow in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Politecnico di Milano. Her research focuses on identifying the role of extreme hydrological events in human migration and understanding the possible future migration patterns in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, and Rwanda. The research aims to identify the drivers of migration and assess the level of water scarcity in the above countries. She has a strong background in working with pastoralist communities in Kenya, civil war refugees from South Sudan, and voluntary work with local and international organizations in Ethiopia and Kenya. She also contributed to the publication of the UN Environment’s GEO-6 for Youth in Africa and the smart water management case study by the IWRA.

Maddalena Curioni

Maddalena Curioni obtained her MSc degree in Energy Engineering with a focus on energy use for sustainable development at Politecnico di Milano in 2022. In the same year she moved to Paris, where she currently works in the non-governamental cooperation sector to enahnce energy access in developing countries. At the same time, she started a multidisciplinary PhD program in Science, Technology and Policy for Sustainable Change at Politecnico di Milano, with a reserach focused on agrivoltaic systems as instrument to increase human resilience to climate change and boost sustainable economic development. She is also interested in coupled food-energy systems and water-energy-food nexus problems and solutions.

Francesco Capone

Francesco Capone obtained in 2023 a Master’s degree in Environmental and Land Planning Engineering, with a research focus on the application of agrivoltaic systems, promoting them as an optimal solution in addressing water-energy-food nexus problems and sustainable development. In September of the same year, he started a multidisciplinary PhD program in Science, Technology, and Policy for Sustainable Change at Politecnico di Milano, focused on the potential and limitations of carbon-free synthetic fuels.  . Studying this technology from a WEF nexus perspective will assess its use as a strategic asset in the energy transition process.

Arianna Tolazzi

Arianna Tolazzi obtained a MSCc degree in Environmental and Land Planning Engineering in 2022 at the Politecnico di Milano, with a research focus on urban agriculture as a mean to improve dietary habits in a megacity, through a case-specific but exportable approach. After a 6-month experience as a consultant in the field of climate change and sustainability, she decided to start a PhD in Environmental and Infrastructures Engineering, deepening the thesis work and focusing on the integration of food systems into a territory’s challenges, studying how urban agriculture can address different environmental concerns in cities, while considering the competition for the use of natural resources. The challenge is to integrate the aspects of urban greening in a framework that considers urban agriculture as a strategy for a more resilient food system, bridging hydrological simulations and locally sourced knowledge.

Research Fellows


Harsh obtained a MSCc degree in Environmental and Land Planning Engineering in the year 2023 from Politecnico di Milano, with a research focus on the use of brackish water in irrigation as a medium to offset the existing and predicted stress on the existing freshwater resources, through analysing a case study with the ability to expand on a global scale. He is currently working with us on our project CASTLE as a research fellow.