Dottorato di ricerca in Ingegneria Ambientale e delle Infrastrutture

Mission and goals

The doctorate program aims at providing high level skills in the fields covered by critical areas such as water resources management, water and food security, fluid mechanics, hydraulics, hydrology, hydrogeology, environmental technologies for the water-soil-atmosphere system, transportation technologies and risk management and mitigation, geology, geodesy and geomatics, surveying, data analysis, archiving and representation.
Candidates will be exposed to courses which cover a broad spectrum of topics, ranging from general theoretical and methodological aspects to focused and specialized subjects. Classes are chiefly clustered within the first three semesters of the program. Candidates progressively develop their own research project and ideas, leading to their PhD dissertation. The PhD program strongly and actively encourages active participation to scientific congresses, symposia and summer schools as well as research cooperation with international research institutions. All research and educational activities are jointly coordinated by the PhD Tutor and Supervisor.


The PhD in Environmental and Infrastructure Engineering is part of the research and educational program offered at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The program introduces doctoral students to the world of research on critical theoretical and technological elements associated with water, environment, hydraulic and transportation infrastructures, geology as well as geomatics. The program is characterized by a strong inter- and multi-sectoral structure and is organized according to the following three key thematic profiles.

Area 01 - Water Science and Engineering
Topics of interest include the following. Hydrology and water resources: analysis of the main physical processes of the hydrological cycle which determine flood as well as drought phenomena and pollution migration, measurement and modeling of variables active in water and energy budgets, and development of continuous distributed water balance models. Hydrogeological hazard and mitigation strategies, including hydrological extremes, frequency of floods, droughts and precipitation, early warning operative systems for shallow land sliding, snow avalanching and flood risk. Hydraulic networks engineering, with design of urban sewage and aqueducts, water quality and quantity in drainage networks and effects of local and diffused structures for flood and pollution controls. Coastal engineering, comprising analysis of hydrodynamics of wave motion, marine currents, littoral dynamics, wave-structure interactions.

Area 02 - Transport infrastructures and Geosciences
Topics of interest include the following. Transport networks: complex transport network modelling, including functional interactions with regional, national and international territory. Sustainable development: complex phenomenology characterizing the dynamics of development and its relations with the infrastructure system; interaction between tunnels and underground hydraulic systems. Technological innovation: methods, criteria and indicators for the performance characterization of infrastructure construction and maintenance techniques. Risk management: analysis and development of improved measures for construction and management of road infrastructures, aimed at reducing risk for both workers and users; geological risk deriving from the construction of transportation infrastructures. Applied geology: hydrogeological risk linked to the underground excavation in rocks; landslide hazard; water resources identification and management, pollution problems.

Area 03 - Environmental and Hydraulic Engineering and Geomatics.
Research in Environmental Engineering covers the following topics: (a) water supply technology and treatment, disposal/reuse of wastewater, biological and physico-chemical water and wastewater treatment technologies, disposal/reuse of wastewater, sludge management and disposal, anaerobic digestion processes; (b) management and planning of environmental resources, including source apportionment of pollutant loads and assessment of their effects on environmental components; (c) water quality modeling, knowledge-based decision support systems; (d) solid wastes and sludge minimization and management; (e) phenomenology of atmospheric environment and treatment of gaseous emissions: statistical modeling of air quality data, fine particulate in the atmosphere, emissions of micro-pollutants from waste incineration, organic volatile control by biofiltration; (f) contaminated soils and their remediation, groundwater protection and treatment. Research topics associated with Hydraulic Engineering include fluid mechanics; fluid-structure interactions; hydraulic measurements; river hydraulics; sediment mechanics; hydraulic risk assessment and management; flow and transport processes in permeable media; hydraulic networks, hydro-energy. Flowing fluids, their interaction with structures and devices and their control and exploitation are of critical interest. Research and educational activities comprise analysis and development of advanced methodologies of computational and experimental fluid dynamics (e.g. CFD and image analysis techniques for multiple observational scales), modeling of processes of fluid-structure interactions for environmental, civil and industrial engineering applications, including development and optimization of fluid control devices for a variety of industrial and environmental applications. Approaches and technologies for land protection are studied with emphasis on modeling of free surface flows, local and general scour processes, hyper-concentrated flows, flooding and hydraulic risk analysis. Flow and transport in permeable media are approached in terms of characterization of hydraulic and soil properties from pore-scale to aquifer systems. Relevant areas include geostatistics; well testing; inverse modeling; flow and multicomponent reactive transport process in heterogeneous media under uncertainty; multiphase flows; scaling of hydrogeological quantities; uncertainty quantification; mixing processes in coastal aquifers; enhanced oil recovery; geothermal fluxes at the reservoir and basin scales. Geomatics includes all topics associated with positioning, establishment of global/local reference systems, surface surveying and reconstruction from a global scale down to the scale of an individual architectural manufact, representing data by graphical or virtual tools, archiving and cross-referencing spatial information in terms of Geographic Information Systems. Key subjects include: physical geodesy and satellite geodesy; positioning and navigation; surface surveying with optical or other sensors, such as SAR, LIDAR; digital photogrammetry and image analysis; remote sensing; Geographic Information Systems; cultural heritage reconstruction and archiving, with the solution of complex problems of combination of different data into a unique data base, providing three-dimensional virtual models that preserve full geometrical and metrical information.


Courses offered in the Program include:

Statistical Methods; Numerical Methods; Fluid Mechanics; Groundwater; Granular Matter: from packing to flow; Climate Change Hydrology; Sustainable Urban Water Systems; Dam and Reservoir Engineering; Water and Food Security; Remote Sensing in Hydrology; Climate change hydrology; Hydrology of Alpine Areas; Sea Waves and Hydropower; Environmental Chemistry and Applied Microbiology; Environmental Reactors and Biological Processes Applied to Environmental-Sanitary Engineering; Statistics applied to Environmental Engineering; Methods of laboratory experimental analysis; Road Material Performances Characterization; Positioning; Advanced Geographycal Information Systems; Photogrammetry and Image Analysis; Data Processing meets Human Sciences; WebGIS and Geoservices; Satellite Geodesy; DTM generation.


Career opportunities

Typical career perspectives include opportunities at Universities, Research Centers, Public Bodies and Authorities, as well as private companies/industry. Small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) may also require such highly professional profiles to guarantee critical innovation and competitiveness. A PhD in Environmental and Infrastructure Engineering can provide highly qualified personnel for key positions and roles in research centers, top level management in Public Bodies and Authorities involved in environmental policy, and senior consultants for (national and international) engineering companies.

Eligible students and Scholarships

Students holding a Master degree in Engineering, Architecture, Physics, Mathematics and Natural Sciences can apply to the program. Engineers with a Master degree in Civil and/or Environmental Engineering are particularly eligible as PhD students/candidates. Fellowships can also be funded by various bodies/organizations, including external private/public research agencies, private firms, universities. Examples include Italian Space Agency, European Space Agency, Metropolitana Milanese, Breda, Italcementi, Leica, Eni, CTG, Pibiviesse, US Office of Naval Research. Each fellowship is keyed to a specific research area and theme.


For further information about the program, please visit this website or contact the Department PhD Secretariat (elena.raguzzoni(at)