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Dr Francesca Pianosi

Dr Francesca Pianosi

Dr Francesca Pianosi

Senior Lecturer in Water and Environmental Engineering

Office 2.16
Queen's Building,
University Walk, Clifton BS8 1TR
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 331 5701


My main research interest is the application of mathematical modelling to advance the understanding and support the sustainable management of human-environment systems, and in particular water resource systems.

My current research activity develops mainly around two topical areas:

Uncertainty and Sensitivity Analysis: to advance the development and use of statistical analysis techniques for investigating the propagation of uncertainty in numerical models (mainly but not exclusively in the environmental domain). The objective of my research is to provide methods and tools for model developers to enhance the construction and validation of their models; and for model users to assess the robustness of model predictions, and hence model-informed decisions, to the many uncertain assumptions underlying the model.

Water resource management: to advance and accelerate the uptake of simulation and optimisation models for supporting planning and management of water resource systems. My specific interests within this research area are: how to best handle multiple, potentially conflicting objectives in water resource management; the inclusion, treatment and communication of uncertainty in model-informed decision-making; the integration of new information sources, both data and model products, into water system operation.

I hold a prestigious Early Career EPSRC Living with Environmental Change Fellowship, focused on "Robust and transparent planning and operation of water resource infrastructure” [EP/R007330/1]. 

I am also interested in open-source software development and I am the lead author of the SAFE Toolbox (


Francesca Pianosi received her MSc in Environmental Engineering in 2004 and her PhD in Information Engineering in 2008 from Politecnico di Milano (Technology University of Milan), Italy. In 2009 she was visiting postdoctoral researcher at UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education in Delft, the Netherlands, and later Postdoc in the research group of Planning and Management of Environmental Systems at Politecnico di Milano. She joined the University of Bristol in 2013 as Research Associate in the NERC-funded CREDIBLE Project on "Uncertainty and Risk in Natural Hazard". Since January 2016 she is Lecturer in Water and Environmental Engineering. In 2017 she achieved Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).

Awards and recognitions:

2018: Enrico Marchi Lecturer for the Italian Association of Water Engineering
2015: Arne Richter Award for Outstanding Young Scientists by the European Geosciences Union
2014: Early Career Research Excellence (ECRE) award by the International Environmental Modelling & Software Society



  • Water resource management
  • Hydrology
  • Environmental modelling
  • Uncertainty and sensitivity analysis

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system


Dr Pianosi currently teaches 2 courses:

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