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Personal profile

Research profile

Dr Maria Pregnolato is a Civil Engineer and holds a MSc in Building Engineering and Architecture from the University of Pavia (Italy) and the Tongji University of Shanghai (China), a PhD in Civil Engineering from Newcastle University (UK) and MSc in Strategy, Leadership and Change from the University of Bristol (UK). Her work focuses on infrastructure resilience and risk management from natural hazards, in particular the impact of flooding to road networks, bridges and buildings. She held an EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, UK) Fellowship to investigate the impact of extreme flooding to bridges, including hydrodynamic modelling and scour risk management. In recent years, she has been focusing on structural health monitoring and Digital Twins, exploring the role of sensing and digitalisation within infrastructural assets exposed to flooding and natural hazards. She is also an Honorary Associate Professor at the University of Bristol (UK). She received the EGU (European Geoscience Union) Outstanding Early Career Award in 2021 for her scientific contribution in the field of natural hazards. 

Educational activities
MSc. in Civil Engineering, Hydraulic Engineering track

*Available to supervise MSc students for their MSc thesis*

Academic background

Key publications

Sechi, G.J., Hendriks, E. and Pregnolato, M. (2023). Digitalization in disaster risk reduction: the use of smartphones to enhance the safety of informal settlements in Iringa, Tanzania. Int. J. Disaster Risk Sci., AHEAD-OF-PRINT. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13753-023-00483-0 
Pregnolato, M., Giordano, P. F., Prendergast, L. J., Vardanega, P.J. and Limongelli, M.P. (2023).  Comparison of risk-based methods for bridge scour management. Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure, AHEAD-OF-PRINT. https://doi.org/10.1080/23789689.2023.2175141
Beevers, L., Popescu, I., Pregnolato, M., Liu, Y. and Wright, N. (2022). Identifying hotspots of hydro-hazards under global change: a worldwide review. Frontiers in Water, 4: 1-14. https://doi.org/10.3389/frwa.2022.879536 
Pregnolato, M., Gunner, S. D., Voyagaki, E., De Risi, R., Gavriel, G., Carhart, N.J., Macdonald, J.H.G., Tryfonas, T. and Taylor, C. A. (2022). Towards Civil Engineering 4.0: concept, workflow and application of Digital Twins for existing infrastructure. Automation in Construction, 141: 104421. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.autcon.2022.104421 
Pregnolato, M., Winter, A.O., Mascarenas, D., Sen, A.D., Bates, P. and Motley, M.R. (2022). Assessing flooding impact to riverine bridges: an integrated analysis. Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci, 22: 1559–1576. https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-22-1559-2022 
Pregnolato, M., Giordano, P. F., Panici, D., Prendergast, L. J. and Limongelli, M.P. (2022).  A comparison of the UK and Italian national risk-based guidelines for assessing hydraulic actions on bridges. Structure and Infrastructure Engineering, AHEAD-OF-PRINT: 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1080/15732479.2022.2081709 Arrighi, C., Pregnolato, M. and Castelli, F. (2021). Indirect flood impacts and cascade risk across interdependent linear infrastructures. Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 21: 1955–1969. https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-21-1955-2021
Vardanega, P.J., Gavriel, G. and Pregnolato, M. (2021). Assessing the Suitability of Bridge Scour Monitoring Devices. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers – Forensic Engineering. https://doi.org/10.1680/jfoen.20.00022
Galasso, C., Pregnolato, M. and Parisi, F. (2020). A Model Taxonomy for Flood Fragility and Vulnerability Assessment of Buildings. Int. J. Disaster Risk Reduction, 101985. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2020.101985 
Pregnolato, M. (2019). Bridge safety is not for granted - A novel approach to bridge management. Engineering and Structures, 196, 109193. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.engstruct.2019.05.035  
Arrighi, C., Pregnolato, M., Dawson, R. and Castelli, F. (2019). Engineering society flood preparedness: a case study for the Civil Protection. Sci. Tot. Env., 654, 1010-1022. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.11.191  
Pregnolato, M., Ford, A., Wilkinson, S. and Dawson, R. (2017a). The impact of flooding on urban transport sector - an integrated depth-disruption function. Transp. Res. Part D: Transport and Environment, 55, 67-81. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trd.2017.06.020 
Pregnolato, M., Ford, A., Glenis, V., Wilkinson, S. and Dawson, R. (2017b). Impact of flooding and urban adaptation in a changing climate. J. Infrastructure System, 23(4), 04017015 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)IS.1943-555X.0000372
Pregnolato, M., Ford, A., Robson, C, Glenis, V., Barr, S. and Dawson, R. (2016). Assessing Urban Strategies for Reducing the Impacts of extreme Weather on Infrastructure Networks. Royal. Soc. Open Sci. 3: 160023. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.160023

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

Education/Academic qualification

Master's degree, MSc in Strategy, Change and Leadership, University of Bristol

Award Date: 1 Nov 2022

Doctorate, PhD in Urban Infrastructure Resilience , Newcastle University

Award Date: 1 Nov 2017

Master's degree, MSc in Building Engineering-Architecture , Pavia University

Award Date: 10 Dec 2012

External positions

Honorary Associate Professor, University of Bristol

1 Mar 20231 Mar 2028


  • TC Hydraulic engineering. Ocean engineering
  • flood risk management
  • adaptation
  • climate change
  • TG Bridge engineering
  • network resilience
  • scour
  • structural health monitoring
  • TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
  • natural hazard


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